External Examiners Induction Event October 2022 video transcript

Good morning everybody welcome to our External Examiner briefing here at the University of Derby today. We have a few more colleagues that we are expecting to join us so we will kick off with the formal welcome in about two minutes time, so we'll leave this slide on we'll leave the mic open but we will just give us another couple of minutes before we roll out with a slightly fuller attendance than we have at the moment.

Okay our number of attendees seems to have settled so we will get the ball rolling; one or two may still drift in as we are speaking, and it's always difficult first thing in the morning with getting connected up to the technology.  So welcome everybody, thank you for joining us this morning my name is Professor Neil Fowler I'm the Associate Provost for Learning & Teaching and the Acting Head of Quality at the moment.  It's my pleasure to welcome you, as Externals, to this event I believe we have a mixture of new starters and those of you who may have taken up posts during the course of the last year joining us, so welcome thank you for committing your time to being External Examiners with us.  As we will hear, in a few, minutes from June Hughes our University Secretary, we live in reasonably interesting times for Higher Education, with a little bit of change happening around us and in that environment the sharing of experiences and the support of you as our group of peers helping us to make sure that we're doing the right things institutionally has never been more important.  And so we're really grateful for you as our External Examiners are contributing to our work as a University, and we really do value the critical friend role that you provide to us, and I hope that as Externals, as I certainly always do when I'm at External Examining, you get as much out of working with us as we will get out of working with you.  During the course of this morning we will run through a sector background, we'll talk to you about the specifics of the role of External Examiners here at the University of Derby, and a little bit of the lived experience of that for you as well.  I'll then loop back in before we have our coffee break, tell you a little bit about what we're doing with respect to the Learning, Teaching and Assessment policy here at the University, and then we'll have a break before you go into a set of Workshop sessions later on this morning.  And I believe most of you will also be joining us this afternoon for engagement with College based teams, where you can sort of get immersed in the detail of your subject areas that you're examining, and meet some of the programme teams that you will be working with more directly.  So hopefully you'll find that an interesting and enjoyable day as we go through that range of things, so without further Ado I shall pass across to June Hughes our University Secretary and Registrar who will give you the sector overview, June over to you.

Thank you Neil, and good morning colleagues, and I'd like to echo Neil's welcome and thank you for making time to join this session this morning.  Our External Examiners are very important to us and continue to do a critical job in the sector and particularly for us as the University of Derby.  I just want to spend the next 10 or 15 minutes going through some key sector issues, forgive me if you're already aware of these, but I think it's helpful if we just run through them together as a group because it sets the context for the role of the External Examiner, and obviously how these issues affect us as a University but right the way through the sector.  I think, as Neil indicated, we do live in interesting times in all sorts of ways; one constant at the moment is the Office for Students.  We know the Office for Students was established in 2017, we're a registered HE provider under The Higher Education and Research Act, and it's the conditions of registration as part of that with the OfS that guide quality assessment through a compliance framework.  And there's been quite a bit of change on that recently, the B3 metrics, which I think what I hope most of you are familiar with the OfS has moved to a baseline position of monitoring ongoing compliance with registration between B1 and B3 metrics actually, and that's across a range of outcome measures and those outcome measures build up throughout the whole of the student journey towards the final assessment.  So it's these baseline metrics, as it says there on the slide, irrespective of location; so it does draw in Partnership work, work based learning.  We are a University that spans work right from level two/three apprenticeships and higher education, all the way through to PGR, and everything in between.  Sampling of student work, a key part of an External Examiner's role, is critical to drill down and get that indicator of quality and standards and assessments through subject levels, so that's also very important.  The Office for Students at the minute, I know our sector group, my sector group, the AUA (Association of University Administrators) are in dialogue with the Office for Students about retention of student work.  They are keen that all Universities retain work of students for five years, we're trying to push back on that because of the burden and the cost of managing it, nevertheless it indicates that they're keen that they want to assess quality by having access to prize students work.  We also, as a University, have multiple regulatory bodies that we deal with; not just the OfS.  We've got the ESFA that's the Education Standards and Funding Agency for FE and apprenticeships and higher apprenticeships, if you've got higher apprenticeships in your own institutions.  We have Ofsted for our provision auditing of our provision, again that's across FE and apprenticeships, and we have numerous professional statutory registry bodies.  And we can't ignore the CMA which is the Competition and Markets Authority and that's about how we admit students to programmes, what we offer, whether we're true to our offer, and whether the students experience and the outcomes that they achieve follow that pattern.  As External Examiners I'm sure you're very aware of the grade inflation discussion in the sector and the apparent increase in the volume of firsts and two ones.  Another part of an External Examiner's role just to test the standards across University of Derby our out turn figures for 21/22 first and two ones similar to last year around about 71% mark which is probably lower than the benchmark average, so it isn't something that we the University perceive as an issue with regards to inflation, perhaps more that we're a little bit behind the sector average.  Assessment of English language proficiency; we this year we have increased our International recruitment quite significantly a lot through postgraduate programmes so if you're a postgraduate External Examiner you will no doubt be aware of this when you start working with the programme teams and the output so that's something as we move into 22/23 that we want to pay particular attention to.  And then we have TEF and TEF is going ahead; the documentation consultation has been out, it's a separate process but it does draw on outcomes of students, and by outcomes I mean graduate outcomes, as well as completion and success rates of students across our programmes. Next slide please.

So just to hone in on those conditions of registration that I've mentioned, and particular ones for attention of external examiners; something here first one about well-designed courses. High quality academic experience enable a student's achievement to be reliably assessed, and there's different indicators and it depending which programme you're an external examiner for you'll be looking at all sorts of assessment measures and practical work and opportunities that students have to get that rounded academic experience on the programme, and that it is reliably assessed, and the standards can be checked across that programme, and in a broader sense to the benchmarks value at the point of qualification, and over time in line with sector recognised standards.  That's something else that we're very aware of it's that before condition of registration and helping external examiners helping us to ensure that we have got that currency of qualification; drawing on sector benchmarks and experience, and then finally as you would expect academic standards as described in the HEQ framework for level four and higher degrees in apprenticeship so those are the kind of core B metrics as they apply to the role.  But also those, as I was talking about earlier, Baseline data indicators but for performance of modules and programmes which as an external examiner you will want to have a view of, and increasingly split metrics, the access and participation plan, and the performance of different characteristics of students on those programmes.  Not just in terms of place and mode of study, but as I say the characteristics of the students.  Next slide please.

So OfS and QAA and the quality code; we're still using the quality code as the guide for standards across provision in the sector, but of course as it says on the slide we know we're heading towards a decoupling of the regulatory framework and the QAA code, as QAA in March 23 ceases to be the designated Quality Body in England.  We are yet to hear what the arrangements will be beyond that date, however we're still in the situation where we are using the existing code to carry us through 22/23.  The code reflects the regulatory position in England, QAA will continue to operate in other nations of the UK, but not in England; and there are updated characteristics for apprenticeship provision, we have as I mentioned, got a range of apprentices here at the University of Derby and if you're an examiner on some of those programmes then looking at those updated characteristics will be important to you.  So we still have the commitment to the three-part structure to provide the reference point for Quality standards and quality assurance, and some of this does echo back to the big conditions of the OfS.  So the first one; expectations outcomes, so outcomes at Derby and the provider should achieve standards and quality derived from the OfS registration and conditions that harks back to the B1 condition that was talking about practices, and Neil a little bit later will be talking about the LTAF the Learning, Teaching and Assessment Framework and our Curriculum Development Framework and how that's shaping and will influence and impact on assessment and program design and delivery and will pick up on core practices that will need to be demonstrated as part of that, and then advice and guidance.  There's 12 thematic areas, there's a reference there a link, and I think these slides will be made available to you after the presentation and we've recorded this so if you want to delve a little bit deeper into those thematic areas if you're not familiar then please use the link there that's on the slide.  Next slide please.

So core practices for standards relevant to external examiners; useful to draw these out for you particularly if you're a new examiner rather than one of our existing examiners just having a refresher.  Threshold standards we need to ensure that they're upheld for qualifications but also consistent to relevant National Qualification Frameworks, that's a critical test for us, that we are meeting those required standards, that our students rewarded qualifications to achieve standards beyond the threshold of those achieved in other UK providers.  So it's all about that again consistency and comparison something that the OfS are particularly interested in in our national if you like examining system that comparability and that consistency across UK qualifications, and you'll see for Derby we have a lot of Partnerships in place whether that's through provision with providers in the UK or overseas or apprenticeships.  And knowing that we've got arrangements in place that secure standards means that we protect our awards, that they’re credible whoever delivers them, wherever the courses are, that we've got those academic quality checks and balances and comparisons in place and that we use external expertise, in this case external examiners to test us on that assessment our classification degree algorithm positions that are reliable fair and transparent so those are the core aspects of the code that is worth focusing in on, as I say, for your role as external examiners.  Next slide please.

So we've had a number of developments at the University, and our Centre for Quality Assurance, and the colleagues that you'll see during the day in the different sessions here, do provide a repository and a central Focus for external examiner support, so please use that - again there's a link there and there's an email address, so if ever you've got any queries or have got any questions then that's a One-Stop shop to filter through beyond the programme level, so take advantage of that.  We have made some revisions to academic regulations as we've moved through this year.  We are moving, as lots of universities are, out of the mitigation that we put in place that was relevant for covid, and removing some of those requirements.  But also looking, particularly in Derby, at the number of referral attempts that students have and making sure that the academic regulations are both sector benchmarked, but also enable students to pass first time, on time.  So it is a supportive set of academic regulations, we have also introduced, as I mentioned a moment ago the Learning Teaching and Assessment Framework and Curriculum Design Framework, and Neil will say a little bit about that I think towards the end of this session.  We have updated and revised our external examiner reports; the Centre for Quality team organise the issue and the collation of those reports.  If when you look at that you've got any questions on those reports then please come through to the Quality team.  And we've also taken a revised module assessment verification process we put in place. So we've replaced internal moderation of setting of examinations and coursework prior to publication to students, so to streamline that whole process we've introduced a new setup there; during last year we used personal learning plans for students who were trailing credit, we found that through covid and beyond there were students who were legitimately trailing credit through across years and through semesters and so we put in place personal learning plans to take account of that.  What we want to do now is actually focus more on the personal academic tutor sessions and use the framework, not wholly rely on those personal learning plans, but still have a very close connection with students who require through the engagement monitoring that we will do that extra guidance that extra supporter as they progress through their modules and through their programmes.  We are trying to streamline our approach to validation and approval; so like many of you I suspect we use now virtual validation and approval panels and that includes the consultation with externals and external representation.  Covid meant we had to change the way we do things; I think it's allowed us to be a bit more creative with the way that we manage these processes, and that's one that we're sticking with and working with the Union of Students we've introduced a new Student Portal Student voice and representation system which is very good; it's given us real time, individual, feedback from students on programmes that we collate that our programme teams have got access to and can and should be responding to beyond the formal representation that they have through programme committees and so forth.  So last year was the first year of operation proved to be successful, we've carried out some further enhancements but we believe it gives us a much richer and broader immediate sense of issues and feedbacks from students than just relying through the deliberative representative feedback position.  Next slide please.

I think I was going to say I think that concludes my quick canter through sector level issues, I hope some of that was familiar to you at least some may not have been but hopefully helpful in setting the context.  There is a lot going on at the University, in many Universities, and across the sector; we keep a watching brief, we all have to respond to the OfS requirements for whether it's conditions of registration and TEF submission and so forth.  But I'll just conclude before we move on to the next session by saying that we believe the LTAF the new Learning, Teaching and Assessment Framework and Curriculum Development Framework sets us in the position to deliver the best experience for our students through their programmes of study, to achieve those standards, to achieve those qualifications that will have the currency will have the graduate attractiveness, the graduate outcomes, to have successful careers, successful opportunities in life, as they move forward.  All of that then, if we do that correctly should mean our review of data begins to see us and we you know it's not wholly across the board but we have very solid B3 data indicators that tells us that we're doing a lot right; there's a lot more we can do and we'll continue to look at things like educational gain, things like split metrics performance and achievement of our students to maximize success and a fantastic student experience for all.  Thank you for listening, hope that was helpful, I'm going to now invite Jill Schofield, one of our Quality Managers, in the Centre for Quality to take us to the next part of the presentation. Thank you.

Many thanks to June for that sector overview.  So good morning everybody, and welcome. My name as June said is Jillian Schofield, and I'm one of the Quality Managers who work in the Centre for Quality Assurance, known as CQA, here at the University of Derby.  So I'll be joined later by Professor Ian Whitehead who is the Academic Head of Online Learning so you'll meet him in a little while.  So the aims of this session, some of you are already experienced external examiners, and some of you are new to the role, but all of you are new to the University of Derby; I appreciate some of being here a few months if you're new to this induction process.  So within this session we hope to outline some of the key aspects around the role of being an external at the University of Derby, and what that entails; providing you with an overview of your role as an EE, but also providing some context of how this might translate into reality.  There are quite a few slides in this section which I will be moving through quite swiftly, but the slides will be available, and a recording the session will be available to you afterwards so don't feel you need to take any notes - you will have the information afterwards. So as I already mentioned if any point during this morning you have any questions please do submit them to the Q&A area because we do have the External Examiners Team there who are a part of the Centre for Quality Assurance who will be trying to answer as many as they can during the session.

So there's some key Central induction information that will be made available to you in your appointment which you may have already had; some of you may not have had it especially if only just if you've not actually attended the local induction for your programme.  So you will get that information quite soon, and you should get it if you've only just arrived as that one of our EEs within the next four weeks maximum.  Much of the information that you'll need is accessible via our external examiners page on the University of Derby website, and this will be your go-to location for most relevant versions of templates and forms so that external examiner page is kind of a really important touch base for you, and particularly useful when it comes down to writing your reports, or finding out how to claim your fees and expenses.  So the University of Derby has a centralised approach, a centralised area, for the Centre for Quality Assurance which is where external examiners sit within, and you've already met Professor Neil Fowler the Associate Provost for Learning & Teaching who as he mentioned is the interim head of CQA, and you may have already met Cheryl Hannon as it's her team who are the at the end of the external examiners email inbox.  So I'm sure lots of you have had experience of contacting our external examiners via the inbox and that's the team behind there and that's the email address which should be your main point of contact when you're contacting CQA; and they'll deal with any queries you have around your appointment around your fees around your expenses and importantly access to the VLE because we know that sometimes technology is not our friend.  And it's also the email address you have when you submit your annual report, in addition to this you'll have your local contact within the College that you've been appointed to.  Hopefully you've met them already if not you will have plans to meet them within the next couple of weeks.  So now the local contact you can see you've got module leaders, programme leaders etc. So your key reference points if you are a new external or want to refresh your understanding are the practical guidance on external examining provided by the QAA which June talked about a little while ago.  And the Advance HE; the Advance HEs website provides a valuable source for external examiners has a student pointed to earlier on Advance HE they actually do have a handbook which brings together the outcome from research and development in the field, and it also provides evidence, supported guidance, for practicing external examiners because those are those of us who've done it.  It sounds straightforward and often it isn't so then they use case studies to illustrate potential issues that can arise.  There is professional development available as well through the Advance HE do run a course which has been highly recommended by other EEs who have attended so it's worth having a look at.  So if we go to appointment and tenure typically your appointment will be for a period of 4 years although we know life has its situations and circumstances, and to ensure continuity of coverage there may be the possibility of extending by an additional year during this time.  In particular as programmes change and develop there may be a need to reallocate some of your duties so always in agreement with yourself so your role may change to allow you to take on a more senior position for instance or actually to become a mentor for new external examiners which as you know quite an interesting thing to do is to help somebody else as they start off as an external Examiner.  You should of course be fully consulted about any changes, so any changes we have to your contract will be fully agreed with you and a part of what the external examiners team do is ensure we have your signed agreement, so it will always be discussed with you first.  And of course circumstances can change that may be necessary for you to resign.  You know you will have lives and things happen I mean we hope this won't happen, but we also have to be realistic and if this is the case we ask that you provide us and the programme team with as much notice as possible so we can find a replacement.  We do recognise that that might not always be easy but if you do have some ideas of that is coming up do please let us know.

So key responsibilities; so as has already kind of been highlighted a little bit today is your key responsibilities as an external examiner is to verify the standards of our awards and to help maintain and enhance academic standards including fair and valid assessment processes, so OfS.  In addition you'll be asked to advise on the development and design of our curriculum; ultimately in this role you're responsible to the Vice Chancellor who's the Chair of the University's Academic Board.

So what can you expect in order to fulfill the role? There are a number of things that you can expect to be advised on and consulted on.  You can expect to verify assessment briefs because we want to ensure that the assessments we set for students are actually beneficial, and meets all the requirements, but also to look at exam papers again to ensure that they are actually what they're setting out to do because we all know writing these things is not always straightforward.  And of course to review assessed work, and this may include level three modules.  Not all level three and four modules are, as we know, are examined but sometimes they are.  You can request them or we can request you can request to actually externally examine them or you could be requested by the programme team to have a look at those.

So reviewing samples of work; if you haven't already done so, one of the things to discuss and agree with the programme team is the sampling requirements.  So you all can have a chat with your programme team and you'll know exactly what it is that you're expecting.  We do have some specific requirements at the University, and one of them is you'll have a maximum of 250 pieces of work which includes all assessments and reflects the full range of grades awarded and all delivery modes and locations. I know 250 sounds a lot, and it's very rare that actually that anybody has that kind of level of work, but we need to have a definitive ceiling.  So the vast majority of work you will look at will know will not be anywhere near that amount of work.  So as a rule, what we tend to use is the sample size is calculated as the square root of the total number of students taking the assessment with a minimum number of five.

So assessment boards; at you're working Institutes you're all aware of assessment boards, and we hold a few of those throughout the year, and at least one external examiner has to be present at each of those boards - more often than not the College Level External; so you don't feel that as an external examiner you have to attend every single assessment board. Attendance at an assessment board can give you good staff development and it's relatively easy because they take place virtually, so no longer do we have to take the day out of work to go somewhere and miss out on having a soggy sandwich for lunch.  You can request to attend them if you actually want to.  We have different types of assessment boards so we also have Academic Partner and Online Learning assessment boards, in addition to the standard Boards we have students with Academic Partners or Online Learning so they have their own assessment boards, and again any requirement for you to attend these will be discussed with you at appointment, and be confirmed at the beginning of each Academic Year.  It's worth noting that Online Learning hosts three assessment boards a year; there is no requirement to attend all of these, although you can if you wish, and again these tend to be quite popular for CPD purposes.

So attendance requirements may still be subject to Covid because we do appreciate that Covid seems to be over, but not quite, so we're not quite sure.  So maybe, so although, we've moved from that obviously things can change if it comes back.  And so this slide reflects the normal times these visits can take place, but may remain has been virtual for the time being, again this is something you may wish to discuss with your programme leader now on whether you're going to attend anything physically.  So reports and responses; you are required to produce an annual report, and this needs to be on the latest University of Derby template, because we do review these regularly so it is a worth ensuring that you actually have the correct template.  And you'll find that on the external examiners UoD page, and so use that one rather than adapting a previous one.  Your report is due to be received by us within four weeks of the assessment board, and should be submitted to the external examiner's email address.  You are likely to receive a gentle reminder about this from the external examiners team as we head into the main season for reports.  The incentive to submit your report promptly is it activates payment, so once it's been received then the payment can be released, also not forgetting that your report will be available to quite a wide audience; to students and Academic Partners as well as any external Auditors.  You should receive a full response to your report from programme leaders within six weeks of receipt and we do monitor that so you will get that as part of your local induction from the programme leaders.  You should spend some time discussing/agreeing the general and specific expectations of your report so you can explore with them the kind of things that you want to put in there.

So your cover and termination policy; we understand that there may be times and circumstances that could prevent you from being able to fulfil your duties, as we've talked about before.  If this is the case, let your programme leader know so that we can arrange someone to cover and hopefully we can organise some another external examiner in the same area.  Should you fail to fulfil your duties, which I'm sure you won't, but occasionally it happens, we do have a policy for escalation which can lead to your appointment being terminated.  The main trigger for this is usually failure to submit an annual report within the four weeks of the assessment board.

So what should you expect from your programme team alongside our requirements for you?  There are also some things that you can expect to receive from the programme team, much of this will be available through our VLE, which we use Blackboard, and you'll be hearing more about that later today.  So principles for effective external examining, so finally from me a few pointers for effective, happy and successful external examining is all about building good relationships.  One of the reasons we become external examiners, or I have been in the past, is it's about building good relationships, also being able to challenge, advise and seek clarification.  And we've talked about the importance of your role early on, so what a part of your role is being able to do that challenge advice and see clarification all of that will lead to a really good report, a really good response, and most importantly the best academic experience for our students.  So on that note I'm going to hand over to my colleague Professor Ian Whitehead.

Yeah thank you very much Jill, and good morning everybody.  As Jill was just saying then, I think absolutely critical to the relationship is that human professional contact with the programme leaders, and the programme team.  So if you haven't already had the opportunity to establish kind of those meetings with the teams then I'd really encourage you to do that, because as Jill was saying before we are operating now in a very dynamic sector and that will create different challenges and indeed different opportunities for the variety of disciplines that we have across the University many of which are delivering to different constituencies of students now, so not just standard undergraduates and postgraduate taught students, but also other groups as well; students who are entirely online students, who are apprenticeships students as well.  So getting to know the context for the programme outside of maybe some of our more formal structures can be really important to understanding the direction of travel.  Also I think for me, when I've been an external examiner I found it really valuable to actually get to meet the students and talk about their lived experience on the programme; and again at the University of Derby we have a lot of emphasis on applied assessments and many public facing activities that our students undertake as part of their assessment journey, so your opportunity to come along and see those things, and then meet our students and discuss their progress with them and their views of their experience will be really really valuable to us, particularly when we're trying to think about the ways in which we're ensuring that students understand not just the knowledge that they're gaining from their degree but also that full range of skills that we hope to set them up with.  So that they're ready not just for one career after their degree but potentially several career changes during the course of their graduate career, so ensuring that we are kind of pulling those things forward and I think also that the students themselves feel that their voice is part of the way in which we're kind of planning and designing the curriculum as well so that's all really key, I think, to getting to know the programme.  Hopefully our evaluation documents will also help you with this, and as Jill was saying earlier, we've worked on hopefully kind of making these more user-friendly for you.  So we're, at the moment, in the process of digitising our forms, but in the meantime we pulled together several processes so the internal moderation of Assessments, the verification of Assessments, all of those things will be part of an integrated process, and you'll be able to see the reflections on the previous iterations of the module and how those have helped to inform the current delivery.  And again making sure that you're a part of that conversation is really key.  Moderation is the area that some can sometimes lead to confusion; sometimes we do have assignments which are both first and second marked, a lot of the time actually.  However what we have is a first marker followed by an internal moderation process and that moderation process therefore is not about changing the grades of the students in the sample but moderating the standard.  And likewise then when things come to you as the external examiner we're not looking to you as a third marker, but critically as someone who is moderating that standard, and so again through that conversation with the team it isn't about whether individual grades should be changed but whether the sample gives you confidence that the standards of marking and feedback are what we would expect.  And if there are any concerns about that, I hope there wouldn't be, but if there are then that should trigger a review of the grades and the feedback to all of the students on that particular module, not just the students who are in the sample. And again with that sampling process, as Jill was saying before, it's important that we understand where a programme is being delivered to multiple constituencies of students so that you get to see the work from students who might be studying with a partner institution, students who are apprenticeships students, who are online, as well as those who are Campus based.  We do of course have the assessment boards as the more formal structure for those conversations, and you being able to attend those and contribute to those is really important; that’s where we get to analyse the performance at module level as well as individual student progress being monitored through.  And again we do look very much to the to the external examiner voice in those conversations I think also from my experience working with teams, both as an internal moderator, and externally, people often don't appreciate when they're engaged in good practice and certainly through those relationships that you develop with the team if you're able to actually point out where they're doing exciting things, and indeed where perhaps there ought to be some pedagogic research around it that helps to develop the profile of the team as well as bringing in kind of an additional enhancement to the student experience, who really are very much welcome that.  And then finally of course I hope there wouldn't be a many major issues and I think it's just about being very clear about what a major issue is, that when you flag anything as a major issue it really is something that's fundamental to the risk around quality and standards for the programme, and indeed something that might have implications for the University overall.  The big driver of conversations that you'll no doubt be having with colleagues over the next year or so, is as June has alluded to already, the new Learning, Teaching and Assessment Framework for the University of Derby. And I am now going to hand over to Professor Neil Fowler, the Associate Provost Learning & Teaching, who's going to give you a little bit more a detail on the context for that.  So, thank you all very much and over to you Neil.

Thank you, colleagues, and welcome from me again.  I'm conscious that I'm the thing that stands between you and coffee, and internal colleagues will be well aware of the fact that I can wax lyrical about our approaches to learning, teaching and assessment for many a happy hour, so I shall try to be strict with myself and stay within the time that we have allocated.  If we could just nudge to the next slide, please. I've joined the University in January of this year as the Associate Provost for Learning & Teaching, and one of the first things that I was asked to do was to pick up the baton on the review of our Learning and Teaching Strategy.  We had a robust strategy in place that was due for renewal in 2020, and considerable work had been done institutionally on consulting and discussing what that new version of our Learning and Teaching Strategy should look like.  And then there was that minor disruption that happened to University life in early 2020, and that work was put on ice whilst we dealt with the very real and immediate challenges of adapting all of our approaches to learning and teaching, to accommodate the changes of the pandemic.  We introduced a blended learning policy that saw us through that period of the pandemic.  I have to say with a good degree of success.  And it had supported some really significant staff development, in our approaches to digital and online learning, to reviewing the ways in which we engaged in assessments, and how we made that accessible during the period of the pandemic.  So it had been a really successful interim, and to a certain extent that was our de facto Learning and Teaching Strategy for the intermediate years.  So when I arrived in January, I came to a point where actually a lot of discussion had happened.  We had a robust interim strategy, and I was charged with turning that into the new future facing strategy for Learning and Teaching.  What became clear, relatively early in that journey, was actually rather than replacing the strategy what would be more useful would be to create a couple of Frameworks that supported the academic agency of our disciplinary areas; that provided them with the flexibility to apply the principles that we required for delivering really high quality programmes, to the variety of different contexts within which that happened. That was the variations between the different disciplinary contexts; of course, we should teach different subjects differently to each other in the specifics of the actual modes of delivery, but also that we wanted to have a set of Frameworks that works for all of our students, regardless of level or mode of study.  So that the Learning and Teaching Frameworks apply to our undergraduate studies, they apply to our post-grad taught, and to our PGR approaches; that they are relevant to students who may be on apprenticeships who are on traditional three-year full-time degree programmes, or who might be working part-time flexibly on work based programmes; or in the area that Ian leads for us in terms of our significant online provision.  They should still have the same expectations of what being a student at the University of Derby is like, and what should you expect as your experience and the principles that drive that experience, so that there is a commonality to what we're doing but not a fixed recipe for how you achieve that.  And so, we set about creating the Frameworks, and we also decided that in order to make them more accessible we would actually split the dimensions of the framework into the ‘what we do’ and ‘how we do it’. Hence, we have a Curriculum Design Framework which talks about what should be in the programmes and what informs the content of the delivery of our courses; and the Learning, Teaching and Assessment Framework, which looks at ‘the’ and ‘how’ do we deliver and assess that to our students.  And they're both driven by some high-level themes that we're seeking to achieve so the Curriculum Design Framework.  You will not be surprised by the key themes that we have to inform that, and we're asking all programmes to reflect upon the ways in which the Curriculum Design Frameworks principles the Curriculum Design Framework are reflected in their approach to the subject.  And we're trying to see this as sort of philosophically as being that these are the four key elements that exist within the context of what you are studying.  It's a little bit of a pivot in our mindset from the discipline being the centre to these principles being the centre, but crucially our students come to us and they want to study the thing they've come here to study.  So that's that sort of primacy of the subject is still really really critical, our students want to do physics or dance or accounting that's the thing that they want to do, and that is essential to them doing it so we're not homogenizing our provision; but we're saying it has some consistent DNA within it that whilst you're studying physics you can also expect your study of physics to be informed by the research and knowledge exchange themes of the University.  We have six academic themes across the University that inform the work that we're doing, and they span Public Services, data science, Net Zero, the Creative Industries at Social Economic and Business policy, and the Biomedical Sciences.  So the broad academic themes, they define the work that we're doing in terms of our Research and Knowledge Exchange, and we want our students to experience and be informed by that research endeavour, but not just that they have research informed teaching, but that through the teaching they are informed about how to do research that we are preparing them with the potential to become future researchers, if that is the career path that they choose to follow.  So not just content of research but process method context and understanding of the research thinking.  We wish all of our students to leave us being consciously curious, to accept the fact that they are prepared for a lifelong of learning, even if they don't go on and become researchers, they require the skills of research and inquiry generation to serve them for the futures that they're going into, whatever that might look like.  We've deliberately selected the theme of personal development rather than more explicitly referring to careers or employability because that's actually quite a narrow focus; and whilst it may span the same set of skills many of our students go on and they want to become entrepreneurs they don't want to be employed by somebody, so giving them employability skills is not relevant to them because they don't see themselves as being employees.  They want to become entrepreneurs, they may wish to go and work in public service and don't really see themselves again as the employees, but as public servants; and that ability to prepare our students with a broad range of skills that they can reflect upon and understand is really crucial, so we have this strand of personal development.  I'll talk a little bit about how we're achieving some of that strand in a moment on the next slide.  

Sustainability has never been more important to us as a set of global issues and preparing our students with an awareness of sustainable development, and the UN sustainable development goals provide a solid foundation for that, although we don't limit ourselves to just saying it is that the UNSDGs that that are important.  But understanding sustainability in its broader sense, and that that is economic, it is environmental, and it is social sustainability, and it's where we start to fold in some of the global perspectives and the internationalisation of our curriculum; issues of ethics, issues of decision making that become important to us, of understanding what does sustainability mean to me on my dance course, what does sustainability mean to me on my course in engineering.  So, we want all of our students to be exposed to this and to reflect upon it as they go through their learning and assessment, and of course we wish to be proactively inclusive, why wouldn't we be. And again we're working in June's comments earlier about supporting our students to be able to pass first time and on time.  A lot of that challenge is about making sure that we we've actually addressed barriers to learning and assessment; our students may find not by having lots of exceptional factors, not by having lots of scaffolding, outside of the curriculum, but actually designing out those barriers so we have fewer exceptions to them and more of our students can actually engage with their learning from the outset.  And inclusivity is not simply about addressing aspects of disability, particularly learning disabilities that might be relevant, or addressing the decolonising of the curriculum, both of those things are absolutely critical and important to us but it is much broader than that.  It is about the inclusion of multiple identities, it's about recognising that our students have multiple different approaches that are important to them and including as many of those as possible, so it's not diversity, it is generally about inclusion, it's about making sure everybody feels that they belong in the room.  So, they define what we should be putting in our programme and over the next few years we will be going through a series of programme reviews and asking teams to actually formally reflect upon that as they go through the review process; but I expect in your engagements with the programme teams over the next few years they will start to talk about these themes and they may be introducing minor modifications for their provision, or just folding it in, there's not all of those things requires a change to our programmes we're very good at lots of this already.  But having those discussions about how they could express that more explicitly in the provision that they are delivering. Our approach to learning teaching and assessment in the Frameworks is really quite simple but quite different to the traditional approach that I have seen across the sector to learning teaching assessment strategies.  This isn't about the recipe book of saying all of our programmes will do thing A or thing B but actually giving the list of a set of factors of success, and how these are being developed through the delivery of our programmes.  And so, we have five factors of success that we have identified that we're asking programme teams, module teams, to reflect upon in the design of their curriculum, and how they go about delivering and assessing this.  And you will see that there are overlaps to some of the curriculum design features here as well. So sensor purpose, sense of belonging, self-efficacy, resilience, and engagement, are our five learning teaching assessment themes, and they can be manifested in lots of different ways, and we appreciate that they intersect with each other, and they intersect with the curriculum design framework.  There's obvious symmetry between the aspects of inclusion and sense of belonging, and you don't have to travel very far into the higher education literature at the moment to see how strong the themes around belonging are, and the resonance that they have to aspects around retention of students on their programmes, you're much more likely to be retained in an environment where you feel that you belong; but actually your engagement is also enhanced by being in an environment where you belong, and that needs to reflect the identities of our students.  That means that we are addressing our aspects of inclusion so that students can see themselves reflected; but also that they have voice that they have agency; so how do we build choice into our design of assessment, how do students choose the themes that they wish to bring together; the sources of evidence that they use to underpin their work you know that all connects to and engages with this idea of belonging.  I quite like to use sense of purpose as an exemplar for the fact that when we're looking at our framework it can apply as much to an individual learning task as it can to the design of an entire programme.  So when we're setting our tasks, our students may have a grand vision of why they have come to University, I've come to University because I want to become an accountant, coming to University because I want to be a nurse. That's grand, many of our students begin their studies with those kind of views, some of them keep that view throughout their period of study; but I wonder if I did a survey of people in the room as to how many of you when you went to University had the ambition that you were going to become an external examiner or an academic teaching, the thing that you are now teaching. I know I didn't, and I suspect that relatively few of us did when we set out on our journey as undergraduate students that that was the thing that we wanted to be; and so, we need to recognise that that grand purpose changes, it evolves, it develops with our students. So they may start with a particular thought in mind, and even actually if they go through and they stick on that same path all the way through, that part of our job is giving our students the view as to how they can change that, how they can get a broader sense of it, and it may be that they start generally going yes I want to work in business management, but by the time they leave us they've got a much clearer focus; actually it's this type of business and this type of role in managing that business that I want to have, because now I understand in much more detail what that purpose actually reflects.  Sense of purpose, however, is also relevant to “what am I doing here on a Thursday morning in December in this room, at this moment in time”; “what is my purpose for today”; “what is the purpose of this learning activity that you've given me”.  And again, I suspect that there are relatively few of us who have gone through our academic careers without somebody at some point saying to us, “why are we doing this”; and there'll be some of us who teach some parts of our curricula who get asked that question more often than others.  And just know we can't just give the answer because it's important, we have they're teaching them what is its relevance, why this task, why this assessment, and our students have a clear idea of what we're trying to achieve through a particular assessment are much more likely to A succeed in that assessment, but more importantly to understand the positioning of that assessment in their broader personal development.  So, it takes us back to that understanding of the skills, how am I developing as an individual, and how can I take that context and understanding of what I did today to make me better at something that I will do in the future. How does this connect to experiences that I don't yet know that I'm going to have in contexts that may not yet exist. Certainly for many of our traditional undergraduate students, you know who may be in their late teens early twenties who face in the 40 years of the career that they're going to have after they've left our hands, that's quite a long time that we can't possibly hope that we will taught them everything that they're going to need to know, but we've equipped them with the skills that will enable them to go on and learn into the future.  So those aspects are really important. Similarly in terms of things like our approaches to self-efficacy what does that mean how are we supporting our students on their journey.  So that's the intent that there's not a recipe book it's that these are the things we need to think about when we're designing individual tasks modules assessments whole programmes.  If we can just look at the next slide, because I was going off on one again. I did warn you that I could wax lyrical about the Frameworks for some time.  One thing that you know I was particularly committed to, in the institution, was committed to, was the Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy, that has become the framework. It was not simply going to be a document that sits on the shelf, albeit these days a virtual shelf on the web, that might get looked at, or pointed at occasionally when we were going through validation events, or we had some kind of external review going on.  We were really determined that it became a living thing that impacted upon the learning experience for our students and supported our colleagues to be better at the thing that they wanted to do.  It needed to be an enabler, not just a document. And so, we've been thinking about our implementation plan and we accept that it's not going to be done in one year, it's not going to be done in one hit, this is about creating a culture and an evolution of our continuous improvement in practice.  And Jill made reference to our continuous Improvement Cycles, our Annual Monitoring cycles, your role as external examiners in helping us cycle after cycle to get better at doing this, to identify where we're doing it well, so it can be shared with others, to spotting where we could do it better, and helping us to go “here's how we could be better at doing these things” in your reports.  And your engagement with the programme teams and the discussions that you will have with them become crucial in helping us on that continuous enhancement journey.

So we've asked all of our teams, having approved the two Frameworks in the summer, we've asked our teams to reflect upon that in terms of how might they start to manifest that into their programmes of study during the course of this Academic Year, and we'll continue to ask them that question year after year to keep thinking about and reflecting upon the Frameworks into the curriculum. So, we'll see some changes that have come through this year in what people do and how they approach doing it.  

We're changing our approaches to module evaluation to ask our teams to really reflect upon these things that we've said are important; so, having created the new Frameworks, it's important that when we're asking our teams to engage in their critical reflection of the outcomes and experiences of their students, that they reflect on them in the context of those Frameworks that we're doing it institutionally across the sector.  We sometimes get guilty if we have a strategy that does that, says one thing, but we have a bunch of measurement metrics that makes it something different.  So we're trying to make sure that that what we're measuring aligns with what we said is important; and so that there's some changes to our approaches to module evaluation as we go through this year and we'll continue to enhance them in the years to come.

Engagement is one of our key areas that we have within our factors of success and so we're looking at different ways of measuring that. We know we’re not as sophisticated as some institutions are in our approach to engagement monitoring; so, we have introduced some change this year as a first step for us towards a much more sophisticated approach to engagement monitoring over the coming years.  And again, teams may well wish to engage with you about understanding how do you do that in your institutions, and your experiences of what works would be very helpful for us to understand as we go forward.  And we will be sharing our plans for doing that with you as they become clearer to ourselves, and we're going through that process at the moment.  

I mentioned earlier that we will be introducing new methodologies for programme review and targeted support for programmes that are shift to, as June referred in in her earlier section, of looking at the sector practice, we know we have new benchmarks for the B3 metrics; some new approaches to benchmarking for TEF that have just been published for us.  So how we use those and how we support those programme areas where they may need more supportive intervention, if their performance against some of the new split metrics become more challenging, how do we help them to make the change that might be necessary.  And we're working through at the moment what our new programme review methodology will look like.  We'll aim to bring that to our academic committees, our academic governance committees, at the back end of this calendar year for introduction during the course of this Academic Year.  And undoubtedly your voice as external examiners will be an important part of the evidence base that we look at within that new methodology for our programmes.  Doesn't mean they're changing your role as subject-based externals and the modules that you're being asked to look at; but how we use your feedback, how we draw from your reports to inform the forward planning for programmes is something that we are going to look at.  So, we get best value out of the valuable feedback that you provide to our teams on that journey we are rolling out, and you may see some reference, and I would hope you'll see more reference over the coming years to what we're referring to as Develop@Derby.  This is our new branding that's being wrapped around some resources existed for some time but also our programme of enhancement to those resources for the development of those personal reflective skills of our students.  So Develop@Derby gives us an easier gateway to signpost our students to areas of support, to help them with their skills development; and as we build up that resource of curated resource, as we make it more accessible, and more useful for our students, we will over the course of the coming year look to see how we can more proactively embed Develop@Derby into our taught modules and our forms of assessment.  So, providing those explicit links from within the curricular to key resources that are available through Develop@Derby, as well as students being able to self-serve and engage with them through current extracurricular activities for things that they may be particularly interested in; but that we will weave it through as a golden thread within the curricula so the students are signposted to the most important resources at the most appropriate time for them.  So, at the moment we're studying this bit in your module, at the moment, or you've got an assessment that involves this type of skills, at the moment, here are our resources to help you be better at that, and so we signed post them out and we start to draw them in, but also there's the potential with some of these for them to become core parts of the modules, or core parts of assessments of students engaging with some of these resources, and so we hope that you would see that beginning to emerge within some of the modules that you have line of sight on over the next couple of years or so.

June made reference to; we have some regulatory change coming through.  We've made a number of changes to our regulatory practice this year that I suspect will come up in discussions with you, and in engagements with your programme teams, and we would welcome your feedback of those as we go through and see them be being rolled out.  The two most notable, or by no means the only ones that we have introduced this year; one is a change to our approaches to what was previously our EEC process, which are exceptional factors process for looking at students who had particular circumstances mitigating circumstances.  It's referred to in a number of Institutions that affected upon, that affected their ability to engage in particular items of assessment we've introduced.  A new, we hope, more streamlined and simple process for students for dealing with those.  So, it's a request for additional considerations, our new RAC process that will be operating this year. There are a number of ways in which students could previously engage with us to make similar types of requests, and we've now brought them all into a single process which is the RAC process.  And around that trying to build the culture of A through being more inclusive in our design to teaching and assessment, but also with a bit of a reset with our colleagues in student support of trying to encourage more students to actually engage with their assessments at the first opportunity.  The deferral of assessment is not always the best thing for a student to do, even if they are experiencing some challenges in their personal circumstances at that point, so we're trying to actually, you know, create a more supportive culture that leads to more students submitting first time and on time than we have had in in the past. That's going to be a journey; there is a lot of culture change involved in doing that, but those new processes are about being better at doing it.  So those who require additional time to do their assessment have the opportunity to do that in a supported way, but that more students do submit in a timely fashion because it's the best outcome for them, even if the performance on that individual item of assessment may be depressed because of the context they find themselves in at that moment in time.  Actually, their final outcome is better as the consequences of them learning, at that moment, and it helps to build their resilience, their self-efficacy of working through those challenges and having a successful outcome as a consequence.  The other change that with coming into effect for this academic session of them progressing through over the next year as well, is a shift to module aggregate pass, rather than students having to pass every element of assessment within their programmes. And so, we will be working on module aggregate score for our students at level three and four this year.  That doesn't come into effect for students in their honours levels this year because we appreciate that if we change the conceptual nature of the regulations in that way we want to give colleagues at the honours levels and at postgraduate level opportunity to think about what that may mean and to re-evaluate their design of assessment strategy. So, you may well have programme teams talking to you about that change and preparing for changes that they may wish to make to their assessment design for modules at levels four, five, and six for next academic year when the regulation moves through into the honours level.  So they're probably the most significant bits of regulatory change that we have; and that's probably where I will pause, I've noticed the clock.  The other remnants that we have on this slide more or less speak for themselves, but happy to take questions and you can discuss those with your programme teams as we move forward, but I think that gives you a bit of a sense of where we're going with our approach to learning teaching assessment.

So, thank you for your engagement in this first part of the day. We now have a short break for you and if my memory serves me correctly, from the yes, my team are great, we have a break through to 11 o'clock, so if you hop back onto our link again at 11 o'clock and you'll be just, yeah, connected up to the chosen workshops that you're aligned with.  So, look forward to joining you again at 11 o'clock.   Please take the time to have a comfort break and we'll see you again soon. Thank you everybody.

Hello and welcome back everybody.  We have most of this morning's attendees back into the room and I think most of the discussion sessions have brought themselves to a close, so thank you for your engagement this morning and your attention.  I hope you have found it to be interesting and useful, and giving you a sense of what it is that is expected of you, and hopefully giving you a sense that we genuinely are interested in your engagement with us in helping us move forward.  So, thank you for that once again.

We've had one or two questions that have come in, hopefully you can see those in the meeting chat, and answers have been provided to those questions in the chat.  We will be updating our FAQs to reflect those questions, so some of them will be of interest to others who aren't part of this morning's briefing; so we will be updating our frequently asked questions section of the external examining website, so hopefully you will be able to see those uploaded soon; and where they relate to new processes and updates to forms you will see those new aspects of our provision being available to you, okay.  I appreciate that we can't necessarily do everything immediately, so we beg your indulgence as we work through some of this change.  

Welcome to those who've just joined us, since I started speaking, from your Workshop session.  You haven't missed anything other than me thanking you all um and pointing to the fact that we will be updating our FAQs on the external examiner’s website based on the questions that have been posed into the chats and answered as we have been going along.  We will have a recording of this session and the workshop sessions that we will make available via our external examiners web pages in the coming weeks, so do please look out for those if you want to come back and refresh anything that you have heard this morning. And we will, as you would expect for after a session of this nature, be seeking your feedback, so please when we make contact with you requesting feedback on the session, do please give us your honest views of how it's been, what you found useful, what you would have liked us to cover but we haven't yet done so.  That will help us both inform future versions of this for new examiners who join us in future years, but also highlight any areas of training development or information that you would like us to share with you, and we may be able to pick that up in in other ways directly with you to ensure that you get the information and support that you require to allow you to do your role as external examiner.  So do please respond to that request for feedback when it comes, and I believe you will also get one as it relates to this afternoon's sessions as well.  So, if you can separate your feedback into the general piece from this morning, as well as your specific feedback on your college led events for this afternoon, which is the final thing for me to make reference to.  You should all have received by now the link to your college led meetings; they have a variety of start times, so I won't make reference to a start time because different colleges are beginning those sessions at different moments.  But you should have your diary invite and teams link to those college based sessions, and they'll be your opportunity to engage specifically with the curricular teams in the disciplinary areas that you are interested in, and allow you to start to explore some of the matters that are critical in those areas, to talk about some of the college based provision and the details of how they wish to work with you over the coming year and allow you to get your teeth into the specific subject areas that you will be examining now. I hope you find those really engaging.  Do please take the opportunity this afternoon to build that network both amongst yourselves as teams of examiners but also between yourselves and the disciplinary teams that you'll be working with.  It is a team effort in terms of enhancing our provision through this role and I hope you get that opportunity through this afternoon, so thank you very much, we shall let you off the hook now.

Please sort of take a short break before your afternoon session start at the times indicated in the diary invites that you have received.  Once again thank you very much enjoy the rest of the day.

External Examiners Induction Event October 2022 video

Back to External Examiners