UMF Review Evaluation Phase 2 Focus Groups – Introduction and Overview of Progress so far

Firstly, I would like to introduce myself after gladly joining the Institute of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (ILT) as a research assistant.

After working in a health-related research role for the last three years and completing a Health Psychology MSc, I am very excited to be delving into a completely different research area. I received a very warm welcome from my new team in ILT and I really look forward to working as part of the team.

My role in the ‘Evaluation of the UMF Review of Assessment’ project will be to work on its second phase, which follows on from the survey study that was conducted to explore staff perceptions on the impact of the UMF Review and the usefulness of the COGS toolkit (Phase 1). Phase 2 will consist of a series of focus groups conducted with academic staff that were involved in the review at UG level. The main aim of which is to further explore and understand the emerging themes and concepts around staff perceptions on the value and potential benefits of the UMF Review changes.

Secondly, to provide an overview of the work that I have been doing since I started the post in November 2018.

Over the last three weeks, I have been working to prepare the materials and documentation required to get the focus groups underway. This started with firstly becoming familiar with the underlying principles behind the UMF Review of Assessment, along with the key changes that were made as a result of the review. Such key documents include the UMF Assessment Review 2017/2018, the ChANGE Framework of Graduate Attributes, the Changemaker Outcomes for Graduate Success (COGS) Toolkit, and the Active Blended Learning project.    

Following this, myself and my team developed a set of questions that will be discussed during the focus groups. We based the questions on the principles underlying the UMF Review changes to assessment. The questions will also build upon the responses received from academic staff who completed the Phase 1 survey. After finalising our study materials, I have been preparing the documents required to gain ethical approval for the study – including the informed consent form and the final ethics document.    

A number of focus groups have been scheduled between December 2018 – January 2019, and we have contacted academic staff members that are willing to participate in the focus groups. Consequently, we are now in the process of booking staff members onto the focus groups so that we are able to start the data collection process in mid-December.   

Finally, we are preparing the equipment that will be required during the focus groups, including the audio recording device and the PowerPoint slides that will be used to help guide group discussion.

Project plans for the next month:

  • To finalise all materials and equipment for the focus groups
  • To continue recruiting willing staff to attend the focus groups
  • To successfully run a series of focus groups before and after Christmas (to be completed by the end January 2019)

Thank you for reading this post. If you have any questions, please feel free to email myself at Natalie.Bisal@northampton.ac.uk. If you are interested in finding out about how you can get involved in our research, please find details of this below.


We welcome UoN staff, who would like to support our research on the UMF Review Evaluation, to participate in one of our focus groups.

The focus groups are expected to take around 1.5 hours and sessions will mostly be based at Senate. The proposed dates for the first groups are as follows:

  • Monday 10 December 2018, 11:00-12:30
  • Monday 17 December 2018, 13:30-15:00
  • Tuesday 18 December 2018, 13:00-14:30
  • Thursday 03 January 2019, 14:00-15:30
  • Wednesday 09 January 2019, 12:00-13:30

Please note that further focus group dates may be added.

If you are a member of UoN staff and have been involved in the UMF review at UG level, please feel free to book a place on one of our focus groups, by adding your name to this online form.

If you have any queries regarding this research or would like to be informed about any additional focus groups that we may organise, please email Natalie Bisal (Natalie.Bisal@northampton.ac.uk)

 

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