ILT Project – final report

As part of the ILT supported project process, I am required to upload my final report to this blog. This is not my final post though – there are other posts I will be sharing over the next 1-10 days, and you can see some of what they might be in the report below. Here it is:

Final Report

(To be completed by projects funded by the Learning and Teaching Enhancement and Innovation Fund 2019-20)


  Key contact details
Author(s): Dr Rachel Bassett-Dubsky
Job title(s): Senior Lecturer
Faculty: FHES
Date submitted: 30/06/2020


  1. Project title: ‘Student engagement: holistic mapping to better understand and support subjectivities of student experience’


  1. Project aims and objectives


Intended aims and objectives Achieved in full? Comments
Identify, substantiate and acknowledge diversity in what might constitute student ‘engagement’. Yes ·       See blog post on Diamond 9 activity


Identify barriers to, and enablers of, student engagements. Yes ·       As above

·       Further explored in 1-2-1 tutorials (that are noted but not shared on the blog)

Analyse how university systems might differentiate in support or stigma when measuring ‘engagement’. Yes ·       See blog post on measurable data
‘Map’ a synthesis of data to establish whether (and how) more meaningful and individually responsive indicators might be identifiable to support student RPC. No – will be YES by 10/07/20 ·       Please check for blog post mapping to Korhonen et al (2019) that will be published by 10/07/20
  1. Project outputs and deliverables
Intended outputs and deliverables Achieved in full? Comments
Completed project blogs documenting process and findings. Yes
Advancing our model of student engagement to acknowledge and work supportively and pro-actively with subjective student engagements. Yes I’m not sure this could be something ever ‘achieved in full’ but more of an ongoing process of enhancement and advancement.

Positive feedback on progress from divisional, faculty and ILT management

Thorough evaluation of the project data documenting findings, outcomes and opportunities for further development beyond level 4 and across programmes of a different profile, as well as implications for generic university student engagement tracking systems/processes. Yes There is clear scope for further development of this project and I hope to progress it further beyond this academic year.


Dissemination materials; article/s and conference presentation; to be shared (ideally with student participation) Partially & differently ·       Multiple extensive blog posts have been shared with colleagues and discussed in blog comments, emails and shared on Twitter.

·       COVID-19 overtook student engagement conference agendas, so a ‘virtual’ conference presentation video will be recorded on Kaltura and shared to the blog by mid July 2020. (also formalised in PDR)

·       Articles are more of a post-project aim. The extent of the blog posts has been deepened in lieu of articles within the project timeframe and the content of these posts are indicative of article intentions.


  1. Project evaluation

This project was evaluated through discussion with colleagues and students – both participating students and those in levels 5 and 6 within the same programme.

Discussion with colleagues was ongoing. Sometimes facilitated through blog posts, always through team meetings, often in person on campus, often by email.

My evaluation is based on feedback from relevant stakeholders, relating to how useful and transferable they are finding the outcomes and discussion from this project for their own programmes/faculties and practice.


  1. Project impact


Intended impact and benefit Achieved in full? Comments
How will your project improve the student learning experience?


Through recognising (and being seen by the students as seeking to recognise) individual context and impact of these on diverse (and potentially equally valid, non-generically measurable) engagements and support needs



Discussions with students during this project – in groups and in 1-2-1 tutorials – showed that students were very aware of their PATs recognition of individual context and non-generically measurable engagements. This was best illustrated by their comments during Diamond 9 activity discussions.
How will your project change practice?

Helping PTs navigate available student data and be selective in prioritising key data, dependent on their cohort; thus allowing more efficient use of most relevant data to support student RPC.

Yes Learnings from navigating and prioritising available data have been shared with PTs across my division by email (and on the blog – see ‘measurable data’ post).

As interim programme leader, I can also support next year’s level 4 PAT as new students’ data emerges.

There is scope for further roll out of learnings to PATs.

How will your project inform institutional policy or strategy?


Towards recognition of subjective engagements acknowledging the complexity ‘engagement’ and engaging with it without value judgment, whilst still working to meet external NSS/TEF-related requirements; balancing performativity and desire for high academic standards alongside Changemaker values, widening participation and Inclusive practice.


Yes Feedback from colleagues who shape internal policy and strategy suggests the value and potential impact of the project has been recognised.


It will now be important to maintain momentum beyond the project timeframe, whilst recognising that a post-Covid context is one that has significant implications for the focus of the project and revisions it would have suggested. Relocating those original recommendations into a post-Covid world is a significant extra layer of challenge and work. However, it is necessary to gain maximum benefit.



  1. Dissemination activities

Some of my dissemination plans have been delayed – but NOT de-railed – by the pandemic. This means it is very hard to evaluate an impact beyond the main dissemination activities completed to date. I have therefore also indicated further dissemination plans beyond the project ‘end’ date.

Dissemination activities Impact
Extensive blog posts.

I have really enjoyed these blog posts and found them very productive, and will continue with them on the same blog after the project end-date.

Engaged colleagues inside and out of the university in discussion around the project – both on blog comments and by email and Twitter. Made links with other colleagues’ work on other programmes (eg Ed Studies)
Regular discussion of emerging themes and reflections with the participating student cohort. Increased student awareness of what constitutes student engagements and why it might matter – to the university and to them.
Ongoing sharing of project progress, emerging themes and outcomes at team meetings. These fed through into ARAPs and team actions, as well as tutor responses to individual student needs.
To follow by mid-July 2020:

·       Video virtual conference presentation to be shared on blog and Twitter (including responses to all comments posted on the blog to add some of the conference discussion element)


I hope it will continue and develop the conversations started from the blog posts, and lead to discussion about how the outcomes of the project might be adapted to a post-COVID context.

To follow by September 2020:

·       Submission of 1-2 journal articles

To follow during block one, 2020-21 academic year:

·       Further dissemination and development of the project themes with the participating students (who will then be level 5) through using their data as part of their research methods module


I hope it will make the research skills they will need to develop more relevant and engaging, as well as giving us further chance to reflect together on the project process and outcomes.


  1. Budget update


Project spend on Pay costs: As anticipated – £2,520


Project spend on non-pay costs: Unspent (£330)


Total cost of project at application: £2,850

Total project cost: £2,520


Summary of budget: Underspend of £330




  1. Final reflections

I under-estimated the time required to navigate the volume of data I generated. This is largely because the topic and data became progressively more interesting as I got to know the individual students more and more. I therefore ended up generating far more data than I had first anticipated.

The challenge of navigating all this rich data was then compounded by significant personnel changes in my programme team (leaving me the last of a team of 4, and acting programme leader from February/March 2020 – with additional workload that had been entirely unforeseeable at the start of the project). This was further compounded by the pandemic and lockdown.

Despite these additional complexities, I feel even more passionately about the need for this project, and the significance of its outcomes, now than I did at the outset. My effectiveness as PAT for this cohort has been significantly improved as a result of the role running concurrently with the project. I do not think that we, as a programme team, would have known or been able to support the year one students in such detail were we not involved in this project… which in itself is worthy of reflection!

I am not finished with this topic or this venture, and appreciate the opportunity to pursue the project that the ILT has provided. This is only the beginning!



Please submit this final report to no later than 30th June 2020. Please also make your final report available on your project blog.


We’ll need a couple of weeks to assess your final report and proceed with the release of the final 50% of the fund to your Faculty before the end of the University’s current financial year which is the end of July 2020. Thank you for your cooperation!


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