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I currently fulfil a role covering teaching and learning within the School of Applied Sciences. I have extensive experience of course development, quality assurance and teaching over the last 20 odd years. I have a particular interest in widening participation and the challenges facing students from various backgrounds. I am currently working with colleagues from across a range of Yorkshire institutions as part of Yorkshire Universities’ project tackling “hard to reach students”. The fundamental aim is to encourage more students from under-represented groups (specifically BME and white working class males) into Higher Education.
The successful transition of students into Higher Education is a multifaceted process and we are currently working on initiatives to enhance this. A successful transition has clear benefits in terms of the student experience, specifically impact on enjoyment, retention and ultimately attainment.
Education is a process not a commodity and as such it requires engagement with the learning activities. I have been working with students from our Science Extended Degree (Year 0) on measures to enhance engagement. This partly focuses on enhancing the students’ understanding of what is expected of them at university but also identifies strategies to help them match these expectations. Our approach also involves changing mindsets! I am an advocate of Carol Dweck’s work on growth mindsets and we aim to foster a belief that every activity, including setbacks, is an opportunity for growth and development.
Linked to this are developments to improve students’ understanding of how they as individuals learn. This is an empowering process and allows the students to take charge of their own development. This drive to develop independence is a core aspect of my teaching activities.
In my current role I have focused on enhancing the learning environment through adoption of technological responses to address engagement. I use the flipped class-room and combine it with the use of response software (voting pads/apps) to solicit a response to questions in class. This process means that I can deal with knowledge deficit in class-time rather than impart content. Results indicate that this does foster greater engagement which is reflected in outcomes.
We are one of a few UK institutions to adopt Labster on-line teaching materials. These virtual labs allow students to learn at their own pace which helps reinforce theory in a practical context. I am currently evaluating this technology in terms of educational benefits to my Year 0 students.
Bentley, S., Allan, R. and Belton, D. (2014) ‘Flipping the Classroom with Peer Instruction - How Effective Is It?’. In: eLearning 2.0, 23 July 2014, Brunel Business School
Bentley, S., Allan, R., Belton, D., Moffat, F., Pufal, D., Balac, P., Hunter, A. and Shaw, N. (2013) ‘Flipping the Classroom with Just in Time Teaching and Peer Instruction: Case Studies from the Sciences and Business’. In: ALT-C 2013, 10-12 September 2013, East Midlands Conference Centre, University of Nottingham
Belton, D., Allan, R. and Bentley, S. (2013) ‘Inverting the Classroom for Final year Analytical Chemistry’. In: HEA STEM: Annual Learning and Teaching Conference 2013, 17-18 Apr 2013, University of Birmingham
McDowell, J., Allan, R. and Evans, C. (2012) ‘Effecting institutional change through the cultivation of a community of practice on video-enhanced assessment and feedback’. In: ALT-C 2012 a confrontation with reality, 11th - 13th September 2012, Manchester University, UK
Allan, R. and Bentley, S. (2012) ‘Feedback mechanisms: efficient and effective use of technology or a waste of time and effort?’. In: STEM Annual Conference 2012, 12-13 April 2012, Imperial College, London
Ellis, R., Allan, R. and Jensen, K. (2011) ‘Transitions, inventories and aspirations. New learners and their longer-term learning goals’ Research in Post-Compulsory Education , 16 (3), pp. 303-314. ISSN 1359-6748
Ellis, R. and Allan, R. (2010) ‘Raising aspiration and widening participation: diversity, science and learning styles in context’ Journal of Further and Higher Education , 34 (1), pp. 23-33. ISSN 0309-877X
Ellis, R. and Allan, R. (2008) ‘Learning styles and learning strategies: assessing their impact on Science Foundation students’ Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning , 10 (2). ISSN 1466-6529