WEENGLAND Learning and Assessment Workshop: Improve Your Vital NSS Statistics

‘Welcome. You are here because your department performed below the norm in the NSS. Our aim today is to ‘Enhance Learning Outcomes to Improve NSS Scores.’ I’m Professor of Blended Learning, Adam Smithe. Yes, a question?’

‘Did you say enhance? To enhance beauty, to enhance monetary value. That I understand. But to enhance learning?  You want to make it more valuable? More valuable for the NSS? I don’t know what you are on about.’

‘Yes, Professor Wiles. That is why you are here. Philosophy at Weeengland has the lowest NSS scores in the country.’

‘That’s because we teach students what a load of shit the NSS is. I encourage all students to rate us worst in every category. We are 94% below the median. A remarkable achievement by the way, a median of 94% when one Department proudly achieves 0%. Fabulous students we had! How the hell do you statistically quantify the value of education anyway? It’s mad, mad and meaningless.’

‘Josie we all know what you think. Enhancement is crucial to improving the value of what you do. You can enhance teaching methodologies, enhance lectures with learning aids and specialised audiovisual techniques, you can develop innovative online social media to engage students, establish student led academic assessment…Josie?’

‘You mean outsource teaching to students? Great idea. They will do better than those idiots at Capital Academicians. Thanks Adam I am already on an upward learning curve. You have officially enhanced me. Could we enhance our appendages as well? I’d like double Ds please. 28 centimetres for you, perhaps, Adam?’

‘And if you take seriously what we do you could write a summative assignment at the end of this workshop for academic credit on an MA, thus enhancing your CV. Today we will learn how to fill out the new module template,  and how to embed comparability of credit weighting between modules on different courses. This ensures that students have greater choice. They can structure their own modular programme cutting between Philosophy, Architecture and Biology as long as the learning outcomes are commensurate. What, Josie?’

‘What the fuck are you talking about?’

‘Is there any need for that language Professor Wiles? Many learning practitioners appreciate what I can offer. These are essential skills for teaching in Higher Education. There are new members of staff here learning the ropes. We have lots to get through: ELTs, module descriptors, programme specifications, enhanced connectivity within learning communities, embedding transferable skills into the curriculum, embedding information literacy, rethinking formative assessment processes, institutional e-portfolios, podcasting as productive learning, patchwork writing as an alternative to the academic essay, blended learning in mobile contexts, computerised apps to assist intercultural interactive learning in the classroom…yes Josie…again?’

‘What the fuck are you taking about?’

‘Josie have you developed aspergers in your dotage? Do you have to repeat…’

‘Yes I am repeating. Your words keep repeating, as vomit. Listen to your inane self…blended learning? Have you seen what happens to a frog in a liquidiser? Patchwork writing? What? You want to award credits for quilts now? Embedding transferable skills? Perhaps we can offer heated blankets and duvets, feather pillows…no? Podcasting as productive learning?  A PhD for my twitter account? Last twitter message just sent: ‘Screw all learning and teaching method courses. They screw your teaching.’ Seriously  Adam. You were once a relatively decent version of a human being. The enhanced version seems to be suffering some formative assessment failure. A neo-liberal android like yourself must see through this crap?’

‘Josie. You come from the old world of Higher Education. In the new world the customer, the consumer, is king. We have to enhance what we give to the customer. Increased consumer confidence in the product we deliver is the aim. I am certain that everyone else here wants to learn  how to enhance formative assessment, about blending – incidentally just one of the great educational innovations of the last decade – about pod casting. You, Josie, you are an alien species in the new world. Have you read Darwin? Yes? You are one of his almost extinct Giant Tortoises. You insult the important work of this unit, the enhancement of value, of quantity, of..’

‘Adam you don’t even know the meaning of the words you use. You copied them off others, a plagiariser like your namesake without the e, Mr Smith. I’m surprised you kept the e by the way. Would be typical of you to drop it and become Adam Smith. Sorry? What, your name is Adam Smith? Well fuck me gently you did drop the e! Ha! Don’t you ever feel just a little of that sleaze greasing your crater of a head?’

‘Ok Josie. You do it. Give us the enhanced version of Professor Josie Wiles, great know it all, who can learn nothing from anyone yet can condemn everyone. This is my life Josie! Teaching enhancement is crucial to economic recovery from depression, to producing employable graduates, to giving every one an equal chance. Come on you do it, you cretinous charlatan!’

‘Ok. Adam. It is simple. Learning is not modular it is developmental. Courses should build knowledge, not offer a pick and miss without coherence. Seminar groups should be small – never more than 15 but around 10 is the optimum. Assess participation every week for every seminar. You should introduce continuous assessment, through essays, projects and workshops in addition to seminars. Make sure students can write, can talk, can plan can argue, can sniff out bullshit like enhance learning techniques.. And stop teaching so many useless lectures which go in one side of the head and leave as a fart that no one can smell. Quality not quantity. The  NSS. I would not wipe my arse with it. You think I am crass Adam? This is crass… the learning objectives and outcomes, the module descriptors, the credit system, the standardisation of every course. That is crass Adam. That will destroy education, as the likes of you take over!’

‘Thank you Josie. Class shall I proceed to tell you how learning objectives are embedded in module descriptors and put into practice so that they have impact in the enhanced learning environment?’

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