This sub-section of my website is specifically focused on CMALT certification. In it, I provide insight on Operational Issues; Teaching, Learning and Assessment Processes; a View of the Wider Context; Communication; my Specialism; and Future Plans.
2. Teaching, Learning and Assessment Processes
Demonstrating understanding of and engagement with teaching, learning and assessment processes.
Understanding and Engaging with Legislation, Policies and Standards
Statements here should show how relevant legislation, has influenced your work. You are not expected to have expert knowledge of all of these areas, but are expected to be aware of how they relate to your current practice.
In the UK you would be expected to demonstrate how you work within the context of relevant
legislation such as:
- Accessibility including special educational needs
- Intellectual property (IPR)
- Freedom of Information (if you work for a public body)
- Data protection.
- Child protection
- Anti-discrimination law
- Points Based Immigration System (PBIS)
- Other related examples
In your country there may be different requirements, and you should indicate this in your portfolio. It
is suggested that you pick at least two areas to discuss.
The Context of My Understanding and Engagement with Legislation, Policies and Standards
In my principal role as course director for the foundation degree in computing programme, there are a number of pieces of legislation and policies that I must not only be aware of, but also follow very closely.
The legislation I must adhere to is:
- Copyright and Patents Act (1988)
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR, 2018)
There are a number of policies that I must also follow closely. These include but are not limited to:
- Consumer Markets Authority
- Student Equal Opportunities
- Good Relations and Cultural Diversity
- Disability Equality for Staff and Students
- Digital Learning – Data Protection and Copyright Policy
- IT Security Policy
- Bullying and Harassment Policy for Students
- Student Malpractice
The college has adopted the definition of copyright as defined by JISC, that:
“Copyright is a legally enforceable property right that makes it possible for the holder of that right to profit from a work such as a book, for example. It does this by preventing others from exploiting the work without the rightsholder’s say so for a period of time.”
“Copyright protects the expression of ideas but not the idea itself. For a work to gain copyright protection it has to be original and should be expressed in a fixed form – for example, in writing (whether in print or electronic). Research data, teaching materials, lecture notes may all be works which attract copyright protection. Copyright becomes effective at the time of the creation of the work. It arises automatically – in the UK no registration of the copyright in a work is required in order to protect it.”
JISC Copyright law [accessed 18/02/19]
Having a good & proper understanding of copyright law and how it applies in my educational setting in the wider context is of fundamental importance to the FE and HE courses I teach in because as users, producers and disseminators of information, I have a responsibility to guide students in how they need to maximise their ability to exploit the value in their work as well as minimise the risk of infringement and the consequent liability towards others.
For example, the internet facilitates an open dissemination of information in an historically unprecedented way. Ads a lecturer, I need to be aware that my material will often contain work that has originated elsewhere and on many occasions this can be copyright-protected content. Simply because I find the information online, does not mean that it can be freely used. As an example closer to home, the images on this site have all been used with permission. I have found them online by using sites like pexels.com or unsplash.com that allow for free commercial or non-commercial use. However while I can be very precise about what goes on my personal website (being the sole contributor), I need to ensure greater care is taken within my team on the Foundation Degree in Computing.
Within the Foundation Degree in Computing, the material that we use that would be covered by copyright would include the following (but not exhaustively)
- Course textbooks / ebooks
- web sites/pages
- computer programmes
- teaching materials (designed by the module lecturer, or sourced elsewhere)
- films (including tutorial videos)
- Class handouts (10% of the total book or one chapter)
The college has in place various agreements that allows students and lecturers make use of ebooks through a digital library lending service and there are specifics rules that students and lecturers must adhere to. This can include lending the entire ebook, or downloading certain sections for free, for ever. This can be useful for the student and the lecturer were certain chapters are of specific use to a particular part of a module.
Within the course requirements, lecturers are to make use of TurnItIn, a digital plagiarism checker that will measure a student’s originality score in a submitted piece of coursework. This also fits under this section, as we are training our students – particularly those on the Foundation Degree programme who wish to progress to a full degree course in a named university – to respect the work of others by citing it correctly and not attempting to pass it as their own work.
Within my role as course director, I also have to maintain GDPR legislation with regards to student records. This can be current enrolled students or potential students. With regards to the first, personally, I would only access the information when it is required – i.e. at the beginning of an academic year to make note of any student who has particular access needs, or learning needs. This is so I can plan my lessons to be more tailored to their needs, or to make amendments to existing learning materials if required. I will also access learner records if there is an issue that requires parental contact or recording new and updated information in their learner file.
With regards to the second, I will only contact students during the application process. At the outset, I will make clear to them that they will only ever be contacted by the college with regards to the courses they have applied for. I can only speak to the course I administrate, but once a student declares that they have no further interest in the Foundation Degree in Computing, I will withdraw their application and provide a followup email to alert them that this has been completed and that they should no longer here from the NRC with regards to Computing course.
Digital Inclusion and Accessibility
Before being in a position to say that our websites, resources or apps are digitally accessible, it’s necessary to understand what the term means.
For this, gov.uk defines the concept of understanding accessibility, as making a website or mobile app accessible “by as many people as possible” (GOV.UK, 2018). They further explain this as including those with:
- impaired vision
- motor difficulties
- cognitive impairments or learning difficulties
- deafness or impaired hearing
This practically means that there is a responsibility on NRC lecturers to ensure their learning material is
- easy to read
- easy (as far as possible) to understand (or not obscure)
- easy to navigate
- delivered in multiple formats – video recordings, audio recordings, printer friendly and screen friendly.
As part of the Foundation Degree in Computing course revalidation, we have had the opportunity to revisit course material and ask these questions:
- Is the content easy to read (for vision imppaired students)?
- Is the content easy to follow / read?
- Is our online content easy to follow / navigate?
- Is our curriculum content available in different formats?
As a result of this audit, I found that a lot of our teaching material did not meet these standards and so as part of our revalidation process, while undergoing the curriculum development process, I inputted the requirement that our new course material be designed with accessibility in mind. This has resulted in new video and audio content being planned and existing course content being amended and updated to reflect these requirements. As this is now part of the planning process, our course as a whole will benefit. Our staff will benefit from developing better resources. Our students will benefit from being able to review the course material at their convenience and also at a speed that matches their learning ability. Material will be easier to access for all students and as a result, greater achievement should follow.
Student Equal Opportunities Policy
The purpose of the NRC Equal Opportunities Policy is to:
“the promotion of equality of opportunity in all of its activities. We aim to ensure that we provide a supportive, fair, inclusive and welcoming environment for all staff, students and visitors free from any form of discrimination or harassment.”
The NRC aims to promote equality of opportunity across all functions namely:
- Assessments and progression
- Provision of support to students, student services and related facilities
- Teaching, learning, examining, curriculum development and quality assurance
- Community links and partnerships.
Working through this policy in my capacity as foundation degree course director into the wider context, it is my responsibility (as far as possible) to ensure that direct, indirect and covert discrimination does not occur – in the recruitment process of new students, in how students are treated during the completion of their course and that all students have equal and fair treatment in the assessment of their course.
This will also apply – as required by law – that discrimination on the protected statuses: age, ethnic origin, gender, marital status, religious belief, sexual orientation and whether or not you have a disability or dependents does not happen. It is the position of the college that this is unacceptable and not tolerated by staff. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken where individuals discriminate, or incite others to discriminate, in this way by language or action.
Equally, the College will not accept indirect discrimination, in which an action, direction or procedure leads to unfair treatment, exclusion or disadvantage in respect of a particular group even though the action, direction or procedure itself is not intended to have this effect. Our aim is to prevent this from happening and by monitoring our policies, training staff and taking action when appropriate, we hope to achieve this aim.
The right of every student to equality of opportunity is embodied in the Equality Scheme and is fundamental to all aspects of operation of the College. Our aim to promote positive attitudes towards disabled people and to promote the participation of disabled people in public life is evidenced in our Disability Action Plan.
Within the Foundation Degree course, admissions is through merit – by student achievement in a set area to meet pre-determined criteria. The only other limitation is the available number of places on the course. To this end, having overseen the admission process in the last academic year, it has been my focus when talking to prospective students as to how they envisage their own success on the course and through discussion of their previous experience to help them gauge the level of expectation and demands of the course. Issues like sexual orientation, ethnic origin, marital status or age do not enter this conversation at all.
There is a conscious effort to promote the course to females. This is due to a lack or representation of females in the wider context of the computing industry. However, while this would never result in discriminatory treatment and would never be to the detriment of any male applying to the course, we are atively marketing our course to improve the number of women in IT.
- Student Equal Opportunities Policy, 2018, Northern Regional College
- Digital Learning – Data Protection and Copyright Policy, 2018, Northern Regional College
- Copyright Law,2017, JISC https://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/copyright-law [last accessed 19/02/19]
- GDPR Regulations, 2018 https://eugdpr.org/ [last accessed on 19/02/19]
- Digital Inclusion and Accessibility, 2018, GOV.UK, https://www.gov.uk/guidance/accessibility-requirements-for-public-sector-websites-and-apps [last accessed on 04/04/2019]
- UK Law on Accessibility, 2018, JISC, https://www.jisc.ac.uk/accessibility [last accessed 04/04/2019]