Teaching and Learning Strategy for Medical Physics & Bioengineering

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1 LONDON S GLOBAL UNIVERSITY Stage 1: the narrative or vision Teaching and Learning Strategy for Medical Physics & Bioengineering What does the department stand for? What does it want to achieve? What is it going to do meet its objectives? Drafters may wish to look first at the questions below and use them as 'prompts' or suggestions for the kind of things they might wish to include in their statement but this element of the strategy is intended to be as 'individual' as possible: a chance for the department to present its vision in its own words. We aim to treat our students to an inspiring, rewarding and enjoyable learning experience which is challenging and wellsupported, and which equips them for their chosen careers, be they in Medical Physics and Bioengineering (MPB), in other fields of science and engineering, or beyond. The context and content of our teaching is research-rich, interdisciplinary, informal, and interactive, reflecting the character of the department. Our teaching is delivered by research active staff and is therefore highly informed by the latest research. Medical Physics is inherently interdisciplinary and involves thinking across the boundaries between traditional conventional disciplines and communicating effectively with members of other professional tribes. We aim to expose students to this diversity of disciplines through the diverse backgrounds of the staff delivering the teaching and of the students receiving it, and through the highly varied content of courses and projects. Our class sizes and student cohorts are small enough to facilitate an informal, interactive teaching style and good support through tutorials. Our degree programs are accredited by the relevant professional bodies, ensuring that our students leave us with qualifications that are highly regarded by employers. We will continue to review the content of our degree programs and how we deliver them and support them, in pursuit of excellence.

2 Stage 2: the department in context 1 Strategic Environment a) What external factors influence the design and delivery of the department s teaching programmes? This question encourages drafters to discuss those factors which are currently driving the department s strategy on teaching and learning. Drafters may wish to consider any or all of the following in responding to this question: * Changes in school curricula and in the skills / knowledge base of the student cohort on entry * Changes in the department s student profile (international student numbers; WP students etc.) * Developments in the discipline more broadly * The need to respond to innovation elsewhere in the sector * Student expectations of the programme and of the subject * The requirements / expectations of professional and accrediting bodies * The ways in which collaboration with overseas institutions may impact upon ideas about teaching and learning * Funding issues and the need to generate income to support teaching activity * Any additional issues as determined by the department s context In responding to this question, drafters should comment on both the undergraduate and the graduate teaching that they offer. Only a few school-level physics syllabuses include a module on MPB and so new students arrive with a broad range of experience in the subject. Our undergraduate degree programs address this issue by not presuming any prior knowledge in MPB. Limited teaching of MPB in schools has another major consequence: many students who might be suitable for our programs may be unaware that they exist. We therefore actively support school exam boards that do offer an MPB module by a) advising boards on syllabus development; b) assisting teachers who deliver (or might be inspired to deliver) a MPB module by providing them with good-quality syllabus-relevant teaching resources (CD-ROMs, videos, resource lists, etc.); and c) raising the profile of MPB as a degree subject through school lectures and contributions to conferences for school teachers. Although we do not require our undergraduate recruits to have prior MPB knowledge, they do need a strong background in maths and physics, and in recent years we have had to address the problem of declining maths skills. For programs (F350, F351, CFG0 and FGC0) run in conjunction with the Department of Physics & Astronomy (PA) this is achieved by PA providing an extensive program of maths education during the first two years designed to cater for a range of starting abilities. For our intercalated Medical Physics degree program (F37M), this is achieved through a dedicated maths course (introduced in 2002) devised by our department specifically for intercalated students. Recruitment levels to our undergraduate and graduate programs are monitored and discussed through reports by program tutors at termly Departmental Teaching Committee (DTC) meetings and monthly Academic Group Meetings (AGM). Digital technology is inevitably playing an increasing role in our teaching delivery. Beyond the classroom, communication between staff and students is primarily based on moodle and , facilitated by appropriate group addresses. Portico is expected to facilitate the compilation of accurate course-based group addresses. Key undergraduate and postgraduate teaching information (for staff and students) is available via the departmental website and intranet. Course notes and related materials are provided via moodle. Data projectors with internet access are available in all main lecture rooms and are used by almost all our teaching staff. Some video recording of lectures are also available to students via the UCL Lecturecast system. In 2011, the department launched a Distance Learning MSc, and recruited its first cohort of part-time students on to the course. These students are provided a broad range of electronic media, including extensive recordings of videoed lectures. Many of our undergraduate, MSc, and PhD students are recruited from overseas, indicating that our programs are perceived to be internationally relevant and competitive. F350 and F351 are accredited by the Institute of Physics, and our MSc program is accredited by the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine. Both accrediting organisations ensure that our programs are meeting the needs of MPB and related professions, both nationally and internationally. The strong overseas profile of our student cohorts ensures that all our students are automatically immersed within an international environment with exposure to a rich range of different national perspectives. We are seeking to promote and sustain our programs by broadening their appeal to students with different backgrounds and interests. For example, our MSc degree now includes three parallel streams for students with backgrounds/interests in a) Physics, b) Engineering, and c) Computer Science. Almost all of our lecturers are research-active and most are involved in international research collaborations. This enables students to be kept up to date with the latest developments and technologies, and the content to be enriched by the interaction of lecturers with overseas colleagues. All the students on our undergraduate and MSc programs carry out a substantial research project for which they become immersed within a research environment, either at UCL or in an appropriate hospital department (e.g. medical physics, radiology, radiotherapy, etc.). Many of our teaching staff particularly at MSc level - work (or have worked) in the health service and so are able to bring students another enriching perspective. Similarly, many undergraduate and postgraduate projects are (co)supervised by health service based staff who can provide students with experience of research (and healthcare delivery) in a clinical environment. Our undergraduates often stay with us to undertake an MSc and/or PhD, strengthening the interaction between the teaching and research activities of the department. Template for Departmental Learning and Teaching Strategies

3 MPB is inherently interdisciplinary. Our research groups comprise staff and PhD students from diverse backgrounds who collaborate with external groups and individuals with an even broader range of skills. Inevitably, the diversity that characterizes our research strongly influences our teaching. Student cohorts on our modules are invariably interdisciplinary too, to the benefit of all. For example, the students who take our year 3 courses are typically divided about equally between (intercalating) medical students (and those with a life sciences background) and those who specialize in either physics or engineering. This provides a working environment which reflects that which many of our graduates will later experience in hospital careers as doctors or medical physicists. Many students are attracted to MPB by its human and social elements, and are motivated by a desire to help people. Overseas students are often strongly motivated to take their skills back to their home country for the benefit of its citizens: their understanding of citizenship and global justice is strong, and this is reflected in their contributions to classes and tutorials. b) What will the key external challenges be for teaching, learning and assessment for the department over the next four years? This question invites consideration of the ways in which the factors influencing teaching within the department might change. The response should therefore develop out of the response to question 1 (a). a) Undergraduate programmes Our modules and programmes are under continual review by the Departmental Teaching Steering Group, which reports to the Departmental Teaching Committee. The most significant challenge for our current 3-year and 4-year programs is to sustain the encouraging increase in numbers which we have achieved since 2009, which coincides with our department taking full control of the programmes from the Physics & Astronomy department. The increase from a typical intake of between 5 and 10 students to an average of about twenty has been due at least in part to our efforts to promote our programmes via public engagement events and improvements to the student experience during UCAS days. Despite (misguided, in our opinion) efforts of UCL to eliminate interviewing from the recruitment process, we enthusiastically retain UCAS interviews, recognising their important role in implementing the principles of wider access: we can better judge the abilities and qualities of candidates beyond their (predicted) exam results. Our student cohorts on UCAS days are kept sufficiently small to facilitate informal discussion and visits to research groups. Our intercalated BSc has remained very strong, and popular among students and staff alike. We are optimistic that it will survive the current plan to reduce the number of intercalated degrees offered by UCL. The greatest opportunity to develop our undergraduate teaching over the next four years will be the proposed introduction of the Common Engineering Programme (CEP). This initiative would introduce a Biomedical Engineering strand to the COP, which would be an opportunity to create 3-year and 4-year programmes where students take core engineering modules during the first two years, followed by a diet of medical physics and bioengineering modules in the third and fourth years. Most of these modules are already provided by our department, although a few additional bioengineering-flavoured modules will need to be created or borrowed from existing programmes provided by other UCL departments. b) MSc programme A key challenge during the next few years will be the effective management of a completely new structure to our taught graduate degree programme. Until recently, the department offered three MSc degrees, entitled Radiation Physics with Medical Applications (RPMA), Biomedical Engineering & Medical Imaging (BEMI), and Medical Image Computing (MIC). From the start of the 2010/11 academic year, the RPMA and BEMI degrees were combined in a single MSc, with two distinct strands for physics and engineering students. And from the start of the current academic year, this degree was combined with the MIC degree to form a single programme called the MSc in Physics and Engineering in Medicine. Under the new structure, students take a core programme of common modules, and pursue one of three distinct strands for students with a background and/or interests in physics, engineering, or image computing. The new structure significantly reduces our administrative overhead, and provides students with a broader variety of options. For many years our Radiation Physics with Medical Applications MSc degree was an approved academic component of the Department of Health (DoH) training scheme for clinical medical physicists. However, as part of a new DoH scheme entitled Modernising Scientific Careers, the training requirements for medical physicists working in UK hospitals have changed. The DoH have decided to concentrate the academic component of the training in just a very few centres. The outcome of a bidding process announced in the summer of 2011 was that just King s College, Liverpool and Newcastle were selected to provide training for medical physicists. Although our MSc remains fully accredited by the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM, the professional body who have traditionally accredited MSc degrees for clinical physicists), it is not clear at the moment what significance this accreditation now has. These changes obviously impact student recruitment immediately as we can no longer accept NHS trainees on to our MSc programme. However, a much greater concern is that our MSc degree may eventually be perceived as inferior to the new approved programmes, and thus we may lose much greater numbers such that the degree may no longer be viable. Nevertheless, the future of DoH training of clinical scientists is still very uncertain, and the department intends to re-apply should, as anticipated, Template for Departmental Learning and Teaching Strategies

4 further bids to provide training be requested. At the start of the 2011/12 academic year, we still have several part-time trainee clinical medical physicists on our MSc course, although as things stand these will be our last. c) Distance Learning MSc We face a challenge during the next few years to firmly establish the distance learning version of our MSc, with a healthy (but manageable) number of enrolled students. For many years, our MSc programmes have attracted overseas students although the number of enquiries has far exceeded the number that eventually enrol. We particularly received expressions of interests from students engaged in clinical medical physics training in their own country. The vast majority of these students are ultimately unable to afford the considerable expense of living in London in addition to the UCL fee for overseas students, and thus never come to UCL. Thus, recognising the obvious demand, we introduced the distance learning version of our MSc, offered at a reduced fee. This has involved converting lectures into online resources through a combination of annotated videoed classroom lectures (including UCL Lecturecast videos), animated Powerpoint videos with voiceover, and prepared documentation. A sufficient number of modules are now available online in order to accept our first cohort of four part-time distance learning students in September The remaining modules will be available next year (2012/13). We aim to steadily grow the cohort to around students per year over the next four years. c) How will this context shape the department s teaching, learning and assessment strategy over the next four years? Drafters should outline how the department is intending to respond to its current circumstances, and to those future challenges identified above, over the next four years. a) Undergraduate programmes Our desire to establish a consistent annual undergraduate intake of around students will require ensuring that our product continues to represent the best of its kind, and fits the needs of a global society with an appetite for advances in healthcare technology which is unlikely to diminish in the foreseeable future. This implies: i) maintaining a content which includes state-of-the-art medical physics built on a solid foundation of transferable physics, engineering, and mathematical skills and knowledge; ii) providing students with a broad range of transferable skills to ensure they are in high demand by potential employers; iii) ensuring that our teaching staff as well as students have the necessary skills and facilities to exploit the increasingly broad range of learning tools available to them, especially new digital technologies; Adjustments (recently, quite radical ones) to our programme content are initially devised via the department s Teaching Steering Committee. These are usually prompted by a combination of feedback from lecturers (particularly during our Annual Review of Teaching meeting, held during the summer term after the exams) and students. Student feedback is available almost continuously from various sources, including module evaluation forms, moodle forums, weekly tutorials, and termly meetings of the Departmental Staff Student Consultative Committee (DSSCC). Adjustments to module content are typically implemented by a specific module organiser under the guidance of the Teaching Steering Committee. The provision of transferable skills requires being alert to the shifting demands of society in general and the employers of graduates in physical sciences and engineering in particular. For example, communication skills (oral and written) have become an essential and highly-weighted part of the physics curriculum at UCL (contributing five percent towards the final mark of our graduating students). Even more recently, training in Matlab and other advanced computational packages has been highlighted as a valuable component of a physics/engineering education. We already make extensive use of new technologies in the delivery of our teaching and will continue to review current practice and new teaching tools as they become available in an ongoing quest to teach more effectively and efficiently. We will continue to encourage all teaching and support staff to draw on the training provided by the Academic Service Unit to maintain, update and extend their teaching-related skills. Feedback to lecturers on the quality of their teaching is provided through regular peer observation, as well as via module evaluation forms and discussion and DSSCC meetings. We recently introduced problem-based-learning (PBL) as a major assessed element of an undergraduate module. It has proven sufficiently successful that we plan to explore ways to introduce PBL into other modules taught within the department. Compared to many other UCL departments, the average teaching load for our staff is quite light (typically <50 lecture hours per year), and the class sizes are relatively small (typically <35 for undergraduate modules and <60 for MSc modules). This enables our staff to be more focussed on the quality of their teaching, and to be more open to the introduction of new creative approaches to teaching. While we believe that recent changes to our taught programmes have resulted in improvements in their quality and in the efficiency of their administration, the readiness of our staff to pursue and enact changes represents a significant strength of the department. This again stems from our relatively light teaching loads, as well as our small size. Our response to the challenge of introducing a new degree programme as part of the proposed CEP will be formulated though discussion by the Departmental Teaching Steering Group, which will make appropriate recommendations to the Departmental Teaching Committee. However, the proposed CEP is still at the very earliest stage; although a CEP Director has been appointed Template for Departmental Learning and Teaching Strategies

5 (Dr. John Mitchell) and a Faculty of Engineering Committee has been set up to examine the proposal, the Committee has yet to meet. b) MSc programme Changes are being made to the management of our MSc programme in order to deal effectively with the new structure. Our plan for the next few years is bring the management of the MSc programme into line, as far as possible, with that which works very effectively for the undergraduate programmes. This implies introducing identical deadlines (e.g. for exam paper submissions) and identical administrative paperwork (e.g. evaluation forms, attendance registers, etc.), and appointing MSc module organisers academics identified as responsible for coordinating the teaching and assessment on each of the MSc modules (these have been appointed, but it is essential that a greater sense of ownership is engendered in those organisers). Effecting these improvements will be the responsibility of the new Graduate Tutor for Taught Programmes. c) Distance Learning MSc The distance learning programme is brand new to the department, and teaching staff have a relatively low awareness of its organisational structure and ongoing requirements. This will be addressed by ensuring that the programme features much more strongly in the business of meetings of the Academic Group (monthly) and the Departmental Teaching Committee (termly), and that module organisers are fully aware of their responsibilities towards the management of the online material. As the distance learning programme becomes established, we intend to advertise it more broadly to steadily increase numbers. So far, almost no advertising has been conducted, apart from a few paragraphs on a departmental webpage. Finally, the department will need to establish a mechanism for ensuring that online material is updated alongside classroom-taught material. This will achieved partly through the increased awareness of module organisers, but also by requiring formal reviews of online module content (e.g. to be reported at the departmental Annual Review of Teaching meeting in July). Template for Departmental Learning and Teaching Strategies

6 2 Aims and Objectives for a) What are the department s key aims for teaching, learning and assessment for ? Drafters are asked to briefly outline the strategic direction for the department in terms of its teaching activity, given the external strategic context and the Institutional Learning, Teaching Strategy. Responses may consider: * The relationship between teaching and research within the department, and the profile of teaching as an academic activity * How curriculum content and delivery methods might evolve and change (e.g. to become more international; to respond to changes in the discipline; to reflect the needs of the student cohort) * How assessment methodologies might evolve to respond to curriculum changes and to changes in the student cohort * Where the department would wish to position itself in relation to similar programmes offered by other universities nationally and internationally * The staff profile of the department * The relationship between undergraduate and graduate teaching * Income generation strategies and support for strategically valuable teaching activity a) Relationship between teaching and research The research activities of the Department are probably broader than any other medical physics department in the UK. An essential feature of the department s research has been to provide a bridge between basic science and healthcare, with close collaborations with clinicians within UCLH and other hospitals. Although almost all teaching staff are involved in research, the department s activities have traditionally been biased far more towards research. In 2010, for example, the department had the second largest research income of all the nine departments within the Faculty of Engineering Sciences, yet had the second smallest income from teaching. Most of our teaching staff use their research to inform the content of their taught material. b) Changes to curriculum content and delivery The department (via the Teaching Steering Committee) has recently completed a review and overhaul of its first-year and secondyear undergraduate teaching. The result was the introduction of three new modules (replacing three others), all taught for the first time in January The department has decided to postpone a review of its third-year undergraduate provision until the consequences of the proposed introduction of the Common Engineering Programme (CEP) have been clarified. It is likely that the creation of a Biomedical Engineering strand within the COP, will require a few additional bioengineering-flavoured modules to be created or borrowed from existing programmes provided by other UCL departments. The department s MSc teaching has also undergone many changes to its content and organisation during the past three years, resulting in three separate MSc degrees being combined into one MSc with three distinct streams. The department intends that a period of consolidation now follows before attempting any other significant changes to the MSc content. Opportunities for radically changing delivery of MSc material has arisen as a direct result of the introduction of the distance learning version. Online material has been made available to on-campus students, and this will expand over the next year or two. However, so far this has had no discernible impact on student attendance at lectures; feedback suggests that they have generally used the online material for revision purposes only. c) Changes to assessment methodologies The only significant change to MSc assessment being considered for the next few years is the potential introduction of Open Book Exams (plus viva) for taught MSc modules. The principal motivation for introducing this form of assessment is that it would enable distance learning students to be assessed without them needing to attend an examination centre in their home country (which may be many miles from their place of residence). d) Position of department relative to other universities The department is the largest academic (i.e. non hospital-based) medical physics department in the UK. There are about ten medical physics undergraduate programmes in the UK, and a similar number which offer programmes in bioengineering, biomedical engineering, or medical engineering. The majority of these are run by large physics or engineering departments. Our exceptionally strong involvement in medical physics research gives us a major advantage over competitors in linking course content to the latest research innovations. We aim to expose all our students to the most recent outputs of our research as part of their taught modules as well as during their laboratory-based project work. The strong link between taught material and research is highlighted in particular at events aimed at recruitment, such as the department s annual Masterclass and Taster Course. e) Staff profile The content of the department s taught programmes is inevitably based on a recognised set of core medical physics topics (such as x-ray physics, medical imaging, radiotherapy, etc.) but is also influenced by the research profile of the department. For example, the department is home to Europe s largest research group devoted to biomedical optics, and therefore our undergraduate and MSc programmes all offer a 30-lecture biomedical optics module Optics in Medicine (perhaps unique to UCL in the UK). We are also home to UCL s Centre for Medical Image Computing (CMIC), and consequently we offer a speciality stream in medical image computing as part of our MSc programme. The department regularly reviews the content of our programmes (via its Teaching Strategy Committee) in order to ensure that new active areas of research in medical physics are incorporated, and to Template for Departmental Learning and Teaching Strategies

7 exploit the expertise of academic staff within the department (which hopefully reflects those active areas). For example, we recently introduced a new second-year module devoted to Biophysics after having recruited a new lecturer with a very strong research background in this area. f) Relationship between undergraduate and graduate teaching Until recently, there was little or no strategic link between our department s teaching at undergraduate and graduate level. This situation is being changed (and has already changed to some extent) in two ways. First, we have begun to register modules such that they can be taken by both undergraduate and MSc students. Specifically, our module Optics in Medicine is open to year-3 and year-4 undergraduates and MSc students, with some differences in assessment. Similarly we have enabled our undergraduates to take a Bioengineering module originally intended for MSc students. This has the benefit of broadening the options available to students without requiring lecturers to present their lectures twice. Second, we are the process of streamlining our management of the undergraduate and graduate programmes by adopting common procedures and, as far as possible, administrative schedules. For example, we are introducing common forms for activities such as monitoring student attendance and recording lecturer observation. We now also require lecturers to prepare, check, and modify examination papers according to a common timetable. g) Income generation strategies and support for strategically valuable teaching activity Undergraduate programmes. As described above, the department s activities have traditionally been biased far more towards research than teaching, and in 2010 the department had the second largest research income of all the nine departments within the Faculty of Engineering Sciences, yet had the second smallest income from teaching. This situation makes the department vulnerable to reductions in funding available to the UK Research Councils and other grant funding agencies. Our income from undergraduate teaching has been particularly small for many years. We therefore made a decision in 2009 that our 3-year and 4- year undergraduate degrees should be terminated unless the annual intake of undergraduate students could be increased to a minimum of 10 students (with an actual target of students). The consequence of such an action would have been the loss of just two taught modules (the viability of our year-3 options being sustained by our intercalated BSc students), but a considerable gain in terms of time spent on recruitment and administrative activities. Since 2009, our efforts to promote our programmes via outreach and public engagement events, and improvements to the student experience during UCAS days have been rewarded with an increase to our typical intake from less than 10 students to an average of about twenty. We have also observed a corresponding increase in the average ability of our students, partly as a result of increasing our standard offer from ABB to AAB. This has more than doubled our income from undergraduate students, and improved the quality of our undergraduate experience for both students and staff by orders of magnitude! Our strategy for the next four years is to sustain this increase in intake, aiming to maintain an average of students. We perceive our intercalated programme to have been an ongoing success for the department and for UCL. We have steadily grown our intake of students to a steady number of around students per year. A high proportion (sometimes over 50 percent) of those students typically obtain first-class degrees, and feedback suggests that the students find their intercalated year highly stimulating and rewarding. Like providers of other intercalated degrees at UCL, we regard it as unfortunate that external students are no longer permitted to take UCL intercalated degrees. Although UCL plans to reduce the number of intercalated degrees available to its medical students, we do not anticipate that our degree will be one that is lost. MSc programmes. As described above, changes have occurred to the training of medical physicists working in UK hospitals as a result of the new scheme for Modernising Scientific Careers introduced by the UK Department of Health (DoH). This has already impacted student recruitment as we can no longer accept NHS trainees on to our MSc programme. However, a much greater concern is that our MSc degree may eventually be perceived as inferior to the new approved programmes, and thus we may lose much greater numbers such that the degree may no longer be viable. Nevertheless, the future of DoH training of clinical scientists is still very uncertain, and the department intends to re-apply should, as anticipated, further bids to provide training be requested in the near future. It is frequently claimed that the greatest potential for increasing income at UCL from teaching-related activities is through the provision of distance learning programmes. The business case for our distance learning MSc was based on a calculation that we require just two full-time (or four part-time) students per year to make the programme financially viable. We have achieved a target of four part-time students in the first year (2011/12) without any advertising apart from a single page on our departmental website. We propose to grow the intake of our distance learning MSc to around 15 students per year by Template for Departmental Learning and Teaching Strategies

8 b) How will the department s teaching and assessment activity reflect and support UCL s key priorities for teaching and learning in its provision over the period ? Research-led teaching * How does the research of departmental staff, and the research base in the discipline more generally, influence the taught curriculum? Education for Global Citizenship: Drafters should consider how the following are reflected in the taught programme: * Global issues / perspectives considered in course content wherever appropriate * Consideration of methodologies used in other cultures * Teaching and assessment approaches which are accessible to students from a range of educational and cultural backgrounds * The ways in which students at UCL develop their sensitivity to cultural difference * Programmes developed which equip students for employment in a range of countries * Assessment tasks devised to encourage students to communicate with a range of audiences, and to work in teams * Collaboration on curriculum content or delivery with overseas partners * Integration of study abroad opportunities into the curriculum Innovative and effective teaching and learning methodologies: Under this heading, drafters should consider the following, in the context of their discipline: * Increased use of digital technologies to support course development, delivery and student collaboration * Student-led research * Distance and blended learning * Peer-to-peer learning * Redesign of teaching / learning spaces * Engagement with museums and collections resources * Engagement with information literacy and digital resources Improved support for students learning (pastoral support; feedback and assessment): Drafters should comment on their department s approach to: * The UCL personal tutor system and the Higher Education Achievement Record * Systems in place to support students to reflect on their own skills development * The department s approach to providing students with appropriate and timely feedback * Any other pastoral structures which operate within the department, as appropriate Employability, entrepreneurship and leadership: * The profile of careers advice (both departmental and from the UCL Careers Service) within the department and the support structures which encourage students to prepare for life after UCL * The extent to which the curriculum has been developed with an eye to students future employment prospects * The scope within the curriculum for students to show intellectual and practical leadership * The scope for students to pursue their own research and to set the pace of their own learning * The role of Student Representatives within the department s decision-making structures * Any other academic opportunities within the department for students to show initiative and to develop their entrepreneurship skills Recognition of the importance of teaching and learning in maintaining UCL s international reputation: * The level of training and teaching expertise required of staff with teaching responsibilities * The process by which the teaching load is apportioned across the staff body * The way in which the peer observation of teaching system operates * The expectations of staff who have been asked to develop new courses * Promotion of staff achievements in teaching * The promotions process * Other opportunities for staff to develop their teaching practice Where drafters identify areas under any of these headings where additional development is necessary, this should be indicated in the response. Drafters should ensure that these development needs are reflected in the departmental strategic aims and objectives section (above). Template for Departmental Learning and Teaching Strategies

9 a) Research-led teaching Almost all of our teaching staff are involved in research, and most use their research to inform the content of their taught material. We will continue to ensure that our taught programmes include content which strongly reflects the research expertise of our lecturers. As cited above, our department is home to Europe s largest research group devoted to biomedical optics, and consequently our undergraduate and MSc programmes both offer a 30-lecture biomedical optics module Optics in Medicine, which is possibly unique to UCL in the UK. Likewise, we are also home to UCL s Centre for Medical Image Computing (CMIC), and consequently we offer a speciality stream in medical image computing as part of our MSc programme. We will continue to review the content of our programmes (via iour Teaching Strategy Committee) in order to ensure that new active areas of research in medical physics are incorporated, and to exploit the expertise of academic staff within the department. b) Education for Global Citizenship The core medical physics content of our undergraduate programmes is consistent with that of virtually any other medical physics degree taught anywhere in the world, and thus is easily recognisable to students from other countries and cultures. Communication of medical physics across cultural boundaries also benefits from the discipline being heavily dependent on the universal language of mathematics to express many of its most important principles. Likewise, much of the assessment involves numerical calculation which is attractive to students with limited skills in written English. The skills developed and knowledge gained by the students are relatively easily transferred to other cultures. For example, a knowledge of the principles of x-ray imaging are of as much relevance and importance to a physicist working in a central African hospital as they are to one employed in a hospital in Western-Europe or the USA. Our distance learning MSc is specifically targeted at overseas students, and we have engaged a professional company with considerable experience in delivering learning materials to a variety of overseas audiences to provide and manage the platform for our online resources. Finally, we have recently established a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Science & Technology in Omdurman, Sudan. As part of this agreement, we will provide our distance learning materials free-of-charge so that they can be used by teachers in Sudan to educate their students taking a Sudanese postgraduate degree. c) Innovative and effective teaching and learning methodologies We propose to continue to explore problem-based learning as a learning mechanism in our course content. We have recently introduced a problem-based learning assignment as a major component of a medical physics module MPHY3892, such that it is 40% of the total module mark. This has proved quite popular with the majority of students on the module. During the 2011/12 academic year, a new lecturer within the department introduced e-learning components into two of our undergraduate modules and into a Journal Club module for graduate research students. The objective is to encourage students to create their own e-learning videos as a means of conveying their understanding of certain principles to other students (including those students who will take those modules in subsequent years). For both undergraduate modules, the development of an e-learning tool has been set as an assessed coursework assignment. So far, the response of the students has been very positive indeed. During the next four years the department will explore the introduction of e-learning into other modules while carefully monitor the effectiveness of this approach as we assemble a significant resource of student-created videos. The greatest potential for innovation during the next 5 years is the increased use of digital technologies. We have begun making our online MSc distance learning materials available to our on-campus students, which includes recorded lectures, animated powerpoint presentations, and electronic documentation etc. Somewhat surprisingly, this has had no noticeable impact on attendance: students clearly wishing to continue to enjoy the interaction with both lecturers and fellow students provided by live lectures. However, feedback has indicated that the students appreciate using the online materials as revision aids. Likewise, a small minority of our lectures are automatically captured by UCL s Lecturecast system, which enables students to access video of lectures given in selected lecture theatres. During the next five years it is inevitable that the availability of Lecturecast will expand and play a major role in learning at UCL. d) Improved support for students learning (pastoral support; feedback and assessment) Since 2009, when our department took over full control of our undergraduate programmes from the Physics & Astronomy department, we implemented a new system for tutoring and pastoral care, fully in accordance with UCL policy. Each of our undergraduate students is assigned both an academic tutor (which may change each year) and a personal tutor (which remains the same for the student s time at UCL). Academic tutors meet with students once every one or two weeks (for up to one hour) during the first two years, and with personal tutors at least three times per term. Intercalated students are assigned the same tutor, who provides tutorials on a weekly basis throughout the year. MSc students receive academic support through their assigned project supervisor, and receive pastoral support from the department s Graduate Tutor for Taught Graduate Programmes. The department strives to follow the UCL policy that all assessed coursework is marked and handed back to the student within two weeks of it being submitted. All lecturers hold tutorial sessions as part of their taught modules which are used to provide feedback to students on coursework assignments. e) Employability, entrepreneurship and leadership The department provides a Careers Event each year, open to all our undergraduate and MSc students. The event consists of a series of short presentations covering general careers advice (including a representative of the UCL Careers Service) and speakers (many of them former students) employed in areas of specific relevance to our students, including the NHS, industry, academia, and education. Our January 2012 Careers Event lasted over three hours, was extremely well attended, and was very well received by our students. Template for Departmental Learning and Teaching Strategies

10 Our undergraduate curriculum prepares our students, first and foremost, to be a physicist. As such, they have a considerable advantage in our increasingly technological society which has an insatiable demand for creative people with excellent numerical and problem-solving skills. Our undergraduate students are also advised on careers pertinent to physics in general, particularly by careers advisors in the UCL Physics & Astronomy department. The development of entrepreneurship and leadership skills are a specific focus of the Group Project undertaken by MSci undergraduates in their third year. These are also developed by both undergraduate and MSc students as part of their individual projects, which invariably requires them to work within a research group and to contribute creative ideas. f) Recognition of the importance of teaching and learning in maintaining UCL s international reputation Maintaining UCL s reputation for excellence in teaching and learning requires, far above all else, excellent teachers. Although education in the UK has sadly become increasingly focussed on measurement and reporting of performance, and on drafting of strategy documents, these activities have little influence on the quality of teaching and learning compared to that of an energetic and imaginative teacher. The strategy of the department over the next four years is to continue to encourage, recognise, and support excellent teaching, and recruit the most creative and highly motivated teaching staff. This includes encouraging enthusiastic postdoctoral staff as well as permanent academic staff. Excellence in teaching will also continue to be receive a very high prominence during staff appraisals and the promotion process. c) What objectives and timelines has the department set with a view to achieving its aims for teaching and learning? Our principal objectives (with timescales) over the next four years are as follows: a) Sustain recruitment to 3-year and 4-year undergraduate programmes at an average of students per year by Sustaining the recent growth in our undergraduate intake will require us to continue to promote our programmes via appropriate outreach and public engagement events, as well as improve our online presence. We also aim to continue to introduce innovations into our UCAS day visits to enhance the experience of visiting students. b) Develop our distance learning MSc programme, with a yearly intake of 15 students by To firmly establish the distance learning version of our MSc with a healthy (but manageable) number of enrolled students, we aim to gradually increase publicity for the programme, with specific focus on the overseas market. This will be accompanied by ongoing improvements to the quality and presentation of the online material. As described above, we will also increase awareness among our own teaching staff of their responsibilities towards the brand new distance learning programme, which will be achieved by ensuring that the programme features much more strongly in the business of meetings of the Academic Group (monthly) and the Departmental Teaching Committee (termly). c) Introduce a Biomedical Engineering undergraduate degree under the proposed Common Engineering Programme. The Dean of the UCL Faculty of Engineering has expressed the aspiration to establish a Common Engineering Programme (CEP, a common entry point for all engineering-based undergraduates in the faculty) as soon as possible, as perhaps as soon as the 2013/14 academic year. Our department views the CEP as an exciting opportunity to develop its undergraduate teaching: essentially offering our existing modules to students with an engineering focus as well as a physics focus, as well as introducing several new modules covering bioengineering topics not previously covered by the department. The Head of Department and Undergraduate Tutor are both engaged in discussions with Dr. John Mitchell, the designated Director of the CEP. The timescale for the introduction of the CEP is beyond the control of this department. d) How will the department monitor progress against the objectives outlined in this strategy? What indicators will the department use to track and measure its performance? Drafters should indicate the structures and processes that are currently, or will be put in place, to ensure that its strategic objectives for teaching are met. Reponses may consider: * The role of the Head of Department * The role of the Departmental / Faculty Teaching committee * The role of staff-student consultative committees * The function and frequency of curriculum review * The use of objective quantitative data (e.g. student attainment data; student recruitment data; RAM) * The use of external feedback measures (e.g. recognition; leadership on curriculum design and development) * The frequency with which the department will monitor progress Additionally, drafters should list 3-5 key indicators which the department will use to evaluate performance over the period covered by this strategy. Template for Departmental Learning and Teaching Strategies

11 a) Role of Head of Department The Head of Department (HoD) is responsible for the appraisal of all permanent academic staff and research fellows in the department, and thus for nearly all the staff involved in lecturing and tutoring of students on the department s undergraduate and MSc programmes. He is therefore able to ensure that staff are appropriately motivated to develop their teaching skills and meet the strategic aims of the department. Furthermore, the HoD is able to recognise and reward excellence in teaching through the UCL promotion process and the award of salary contribution points. In consultation with the programme tutors, the HoD is also responsible for encouraging recruitment of appropriate lecturers and tutors to specific teaching roles within the department. b) Role of the Departmental / Faculty Teaching committee The Departmental Teaching Committee (DTC) meets at least once per term, to discuss and review matters related to the management of all the department s taught programmes. Membership includes all staff involved in the department s undergraduate and graduate teaching and tutoring, and two elected student representatives. At the end of the summer term, the DTC holds a meeting known as the Annual Teaching Review. This provide an important opportunity for teachers and module organisers to highlight particular successes and problems, to discuss summaries of student evaluations, to review exam board results, and decide appropriate action on any recommendations from external examiners. The minutes of DTC meetings are forwarded to the Faculty Teaching Committee (FTC). The Chair of the FTC is regularly consulted regarding the proposed introduction of any innovative practices or changes to the structure and administration of our courses. c) Role of Departmental staff-student consultative committee The Departmental Staff Student Consultative Committee (DSSCC) meets at least once per term, usually during the week preceding the termly DTC meeting. It is chaired by an elected student representative. The student membership consists of representatives of each year of each undergraduate and graduate programme (including PhD), and includes representatives of fulltime and part-time students where applicable. Staff membership includes the Head of Department, the Undergraduate Tutor, the Graduate Tutor (Research), and the Graduate Tutor (Taught Programmes). The minutes of DSSCC meetings are forwarded to the Dean of Students. These minutes regularly contain a number of Action Points which are addressed by the appropriate member(s) of staff as soon as possible. Our DSSCC has proven to be a very effective vehicle for monitoring the effectiveness of teaching and learning practices within the department. d) Function and frequency of curriculum review and progress monitoring The Departmental Teaching Steering Group has the remit of taking a strategic view of the department s overall teaching provision, and developing a vision of how it should progress. Membership consists of the Undergraduate Tutor, the Head of Department, the Intercalated Student Tutor, the Graduate Tutor (Taught Programmes), and several other academic staff with a strong interest in curriculum development. It currently meets several times per year on an ad hoc basis. Review and modification of the curricula of our taught courses is the principal responsibility of the Steering Group and is an ongoing process. The Steering Group aspires to keep curricula fresh and up-to-date, including the latest innovations in medical physics, and to introduce new learning mechanisms when considered appropriate (e.g. problem-based learning). Modules are frequently revised (and sometimes eventually replaced) as a directly result of student feedback, as discussed at the Annual Teaching Review meeting in June. Until recently, review and modification of the curricula of our MSc programmes was led by an MSc Management Committee, but this is now covered by the Departmental Teaching Steering Group. Recommendations of the Steering Group are passed to the DTC. e) Use of objective quantitative data and external feedback measures Questionnaires are distributed to all students taking each module and for each lecturer involved. The forms are also made available on moodle webpages. Students are normally given a few minutes at the start or end of a lecture in order to complete the forms. The questionnaires are returned anonymously (either directly to the lecturer or to our Teaching Coordinator) and composite statistics are compiled. The results are analysed at the Annual Review of Teaching DTC meeting, which takes place at the end of the summer term. If any substantial actions are merited (e.g. redesign of a module), these are normally considered by the Departmental Teaching Steering Group as well as the DSSCC, who will then make firm recommendations to the DTC. All students are aware of, and indeed take, the opportunity to provide feedback to their personal tutors, who are likewise requested to solicit such information from their tutees. This feedback is then relayed to the programme tutor and thus to the Departmental Teaching Steering Group. Student representatives are requested to poll the students they represent to provide feedback to the DSSCC or directly to a member of staff, where appropriate. A standing item at both DTC and AG meetings is to report any problems associated with particular students or modules, although for reasons of confidentiality, these are discussed in the absence of student representatives, and do not appear in the minutes. f) Key indicators to evaluate performance i) The student feedback forms for all modules will continue to be assessed, and all modules will be expected to receive a minimum overall average rating of good (a score of 3 out of a maximum of 4). ii) Our relatively new arrangements for providing academic and pastoral support to students via our tutorial system will be reviewed via feedback from the DSSCC, as well as the tutors themselves. iii) The effectiveness of new teaching tools (e.g. online distance learning resources and e-learning tools, problem based learning, etc.) will be carefully assessed via student feedback and through marks achieved in exams and courseworks. Template for Departmental Learning and Teaching Strategies

12 3 Approaches to Teaching, Learning and Assessment a) What distinct principles underpin the department s approach to teaching, learning and assessment? This question invites drafters to define the fundamental characteristics of their department s approach to teaching, both in the context of their discipline and as part of UCL more broadly. Drafters may wish to consider: * Aspects of their provision which are specific either to their discipline or unique to their approach to it * The factors that influence course content (e.g. staff expertise; innovation; demands of professional bodies; future graduate employability) * The factors that inform the department s approach to assessment (the purposes for which it is used; the needs and expectations of the student cohort; curriculum content * The extent to which the department seeks to innovate in teaching and learning methodology * How the synergies between teaching and research support student learning * The extent to which the department offers an internationalised curriculum (see 2b, above) * The role of generic skills development and employability skills in programme and module development * The relationship between academic challenge and pastoral support; * The extent to which the department s teaching equips students to take on leadership roles * How far the department is engaging with the potential of new technologies for teaching, learning and assessment * Other factors as relevant There are three key factors that make teaching and learning in the department distinctive: i) it is research-informed: almost all of our lecturers are research active; ii) it is highly interdisciplinary: medical physics is inherently interdisciplinary and our students come from a broad variety of educational backgrounds; iii) it is both informal and interactive: our class sizes rarely exceed 30, facilitating an interactive teaching approach. The relatively small size of our student cohort for each of our programmes also enables us to provide strong supervision of student projects in the context of active research groups, giving them valuable opportunities to develop their research skills. Undergraduates develop their generic skills through a variety of activities throughout their programmes. For example, two modules taught by the Physics & Astronomy Department PHAS1901 (Developing Effective Communication I) and PHAS2901 (Developing Effective Communication II) provide broad training in oral and written communication skills. The huge importance of these modules is emphasize to students, and is underlined by the fact that the combined mark on them contributes five percent to students final overall degree mark (far more than any other module). Students are also required to take computing courses. In their final year, students produce a final written report for their research project and an oral presentation to peers and staff. These skills help equip students for a diversity of career options. Similarly, MSc students produce a project report and present their work in poster form. PhD students are also required to present their work annually via internal symposia and UCL-wide poster presentations, and to participate in a departmental Journal Club module. Undergraduate students taking the 4-year MSci have the opportunity to explore and develop their leadership skills via the Group Project (organized by the Physics & Astronomy department) in their third year. Another mechanism for developing leaderships skills is via representation on the Departmental Staff-Student Consultative Committee. In particular, a PhD student representative is normally appointed to chair the Committee and produce and distribute appropriate minutes. The department is heavily engaged in the use and development of digital technologies for learning and assessment, particularly via the distance learning MSc (whose materials are also made available to on-site students) and e-learning tools. b) What are the department s strengths and weaknesses in teaching, learning and assessment? How might these be capitalised upon or addressed over the next four years? Frank responses to this question are encouraged. Drafters should use this question as an opportunity to reflect on what the department does particularly well in its teaching, and where improvement might be necessary. Drafters may wish to consider the following prompts when identifying strengths and weaknesses: * Course content * Reputation of programme * Student successes * Innovative methodologies for teaching and assessment * Assessment and feedback * Use of new technologies * Internationalised curriculum * Personal tutor system * Employability (including relationships with professional bodies) Template for Departmental Learning and Teaching Strategies

13 * Relationship between undergraduate and graduate teaching * Recruitment * Student cohort profile * Relationship between research and teaching * Staff workload * Relationship to developments across UCL * Leadership on issues relating to teaching and learning * Structures which support teaching and learning * Peer observation of teaching Drafters are also encouraged to outline any steps that will be taken to address areas of deficiency, or to build upon strengths. a) Strengths of the department Compared to many other UCL departments, the average teaching load for our staff is quite light (typically <50 lecture hours per year), and the class sizes are relatively small (typically <35 for undergraduate modules and <60 for MSc modules). This enables our staff to be more focussed on the quality of their teaching, and to be more open to the introduction of new creative approaches to teaching. As has been described above, our department has made significant changes to its taught programmes during the past three years. While we believe that these have resulted in improvements in their quality and in the efficiency of their administration, the readiness of our staff to pursue and enact changes represents a significant strength of the department. This again stems from our relatively light teaching loads, as well as our small size. Our department is also characterised by its multidisciplinarity: our staff and students come from a wide range of educational backgrounds, including physics, medicine, biology, computer science, mathematics, and most engineering disciplines. This enables the department to provide broad curricula, and expose students to many different facets of scientific research. Our links with surrounding hospitals enables our taught students to witness how basic science and engineering is put into clinical practice, and our research students to perform projects in collaboration with healthcare professionals. Unusually for a department in the Engineering Faculty, our recent undergraduate student intake has a roughly 50:50 gender ratio, and we aspire to maintain this in the expectation that this will eventually lead to a more equal gender ratio among our populations of PhD students and staff. We note that our outreach events have involved our people attending schools visits, with a particular emphasis on girls schools. Our deliberate targeting of girls schools is based on the conviction that medical physics may attract women students interested in physics who might otherwise be deterred by the traditional perception of physics being the dominion of the geeky male. So far, this strategy appears to be working. We also pride ourselves on our reputation among students for being friendly and approachable. Relatively low student numbers means that staff and students get to know each other very well. The medium term prospects for our taught undergraduate programmes look healthy. While the significant increase in student fees is likely to negatively impact the number of applicants we can expect to receive from less advantaged economic backgrounds (severely detrimental to attempts at widening participation), the obvious vocational character of our degree programmes is likely to appear attractive to students concerned about their ability to pay off substantial debt incurred during their further education. b) Weaknesses of the department The greatest threat to the future development of the department and its activities is the severe lack of space. We are probably the most overcrowded department in the UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences. Since we moved into the MPEB in 2004 from our former home in Shropshire House, in nearby Capper Street, our number of staff has increased by more than 40 percent, and our number of PhD students has increased by more than 130 percent! The recruitment of every new PhD student is a test of our collective ingenuity to identify a space for him or her to occupy. Allocating space for MSc and undergraduate student projects is an ongoing struggle, and plans are continually being devised to enhance the usage of the space we have currently available as student numbers increase. Until very recently, the department has suffered from a very top-heavy academic profile, with a majority of academic staff having professorial status. We have been fortunate to recruit two outstanding young lecturers in the past 12 months, and this rejuvenation process needs to continue to ensure the future health of the department s research and teaching activities. It is inevitable that younger, less experienced academics are more likely to devise, support and lead innovative teaching practices. As described elsewhere in this document, the role of our MSc degree in the training of medical physicists working in UK hospitals has changed as a result of the new scheme for Modernising Scientific Careers introduced by the UK Department of Health (DoH). This obviously impacts student recruitment immediately as we can no longer accept NHS trainees on to our MSc programme. However, a much greater concern is that our MSc degree may eventually be perceived as inferior to the new approved programmes, and thus we may lose much greater numbers such that the degree may no longer be viable. Nevertheless, the future of DoH training of clinical scientists is still very uncertain, and the department intends to re-apply should, as anticipated, further bids to provide training be requested in future. A consequence of our department s relocation to the Malet Place Engineering Building in 2004 was the physical split between the UCL and UCLH halves of the joint department of Medical Physics & Bioengineering. This has inevitably weakened our working relationship, such that far fewer of our staff now collaborate with UCLH medical physicists. Both departments regard this situation as unfortunate, and we have recently endeavoured to re-establish a closer partnership. Template for Departmental Learning and Teaching Strategies

14 Finally, our interaction with alumni is very limited, and the department has no formal mechanisms in place to maintain contact with former students or staff. We realise this is a significant shortcoming, and needs to be addressed in the near future. c) How does the department structure and resource teaching and learning? Will this change over the next four years, and if so, how and why? This question is intended to encourage drafters to reflect on the way in which the department currently manages the staff and other resources which support teaching. The response should provide both a statement of the current position, and a consideration of the ways in which these resources might need to be deployed differently in response to some of the pressures, challenges and trends identified in earlier questions. Drafters may wish to refer to the following in their response: * Staff workload allocation (of teaching, and of enabling roles relating to teaching, e.g. Departmental Tutor) * Use of hourly-paid staff * Use of post-graduate teaching assistants, demonstrators etc. * Peer observation of teaching * Committees in support of teaching within the department * Use of central UCL resources (e.g. use of internal consultants on teaching methodology and learning technologies; Museums and Collections) * Use of central UCL pump-priming funds (e.g. teaching grants; away-days funding) * Income generation strategies * Collaborations and exchange agreements with universities overseas * Any challenges which are unique to the department, or which require additional central support to be addressed a) Staff workload allocation The vast majority of our teaching is provided by our HEFCE-funded academic staff. They spend relatively few hours lecturing compared to UCL departments who run more or larger programmes. Our academics typically provide between 30 and 60 lecture hours per year, and some spend up to 20 more hours per year in group tutorials. The Head of Department is responsible for the allocation of teaching hours, although the principal criteria in determining who should provide lectures on a specific module are expertise and enthusiasm for the task. For some topics we require the expertise of external lecturers (particularly on some very specialized MSc modules), who are often honorary members of our academic staff. We occasionally allocate small numbers of lectures (say a group of four lectures on a specific topic) on some modules to enthusiastic postdoctoral staff with specific expertise. The contributions of such staff are carefully monitored and the student feedback closely examined. All academic and many research staff, plus some PhD students, contribute towards the supervision of undergraduate and MSc projects. PhD students are only used as secondary supervisors. b) Peer observation of teaching All lecturing staff are required to be observed by another (experienced) lecturer at least once per module, and twice if they provide more than 15 lectures for that module. The observer is required to complete a form which confirms that the observation has taken place, and provide appropriate feedback (usually verbal) to the lecturer. Observers are encouraged to provide positive as well as negative feedback. The forms are collected by the Teaching Administrator, and compliance with this scheme is monitored by the Programme Tutor. c) Departmental committees in support of teaching As mentioned above, our Departmental Teaching Committee (DTC) meets at least once per term, to discuss and review matters related to the management of all the department s taught programmes. Membership includes all staff involved in the department s undergraduate and graduate teaching and tutoring, and two elected student representatives. At the end of the summer term, the DTC holds a meeting known as the Annual Teaching Review. This provide an important opportunity for teachers and module organisers to highlight particular successes and problems, to discuss summaries of student evaluations, to review exam board results, and decide appropriate action on any recommendations from external examiners. Our Undergraduate Exam Board meets once per year, in the presence of the external examiner, in late June. It reviews the (anonymised) results of all examination and project modules, and recommends progressions and degree awards. The Board is chaired by the Undergraduate Tutor, and membership consists of all staff involved in the teaching and tutoring of the undergraduate programmes. Also invited to the meeting are: the Engineering Faculty Tutor, the Biomedical Sciences Faculty Tutor, and the Undergraduate Tutor for the Department of Physics & Astronomy. The deliberations of the Board may take into account, where appropriate, the recommendations of an ad hoc Extenuating Circumstances Committee. This committee, which is also chaired by the Undergraduate Tutor, meets a few days before the Exam Board. Our MSc Exam Board meets in early September with the external examiner(s) to review all examination (written and oral) and project results, and recommend progressions (for part-time students) and degree awards. In some years, the Board meets in late June to review the written examination results, which reduces the amount of work required at the September meeting. Membership consists of all staff involved in the teaching and tutoring of the MSc programmes. The deliberations of the Board may take into account, where appropriate, the recommendations of an ad hoc Extenuating Circumstances Committee. The Board has a nominated Chair, and membership consists of all staff involved in the MSc teaching and project supervision. Template for Departmental Learning and Teaching Strategies

15 Finally, as mentioned above, our Departmental Teaching Steering Group has the task of taking a strategic view of the department s overall teaching provision, and developing a vision of how it should progress. It currently meets several times per year on an ad hoc basis. d) Use of UCL Central resources and funding The department frequently makes use of UCL s central resources. For example, development of our distance learning programme has benefitted from the advice and expertise of Dr. Clive Young and his colleagues with the UCL LTSS. Our programme also uses lecture material captured by the UCL Lecturecast facility. One of our lecturing staff recently obtained a small award ( 2500) from the LTSS to develop the e-learning tools described earlier on this form. e) Income generation strategies Our ongoing income generation strategies are described in detail above in the Aims and Objectives section. We do not anticipate departing from these during the next four years. d) What mechanisms are in place for monitoring the effectiveness of the way in which the department is teaching and assessing? Do these need to be revised or reviewed in light of projected trends for the next four years? This question invites drafters not only to identify current mechanisms and briefly explain their function, but also to consider what monitoring might be necessary in order to support the department to achieve its strategic aims over the next four years. Responses may include reference to: * Internal curriculum review processes * Staff-student consultative committees * Other sources of student feedback * Use of external examiners and other peer review mechanisms * Student assessment outcomes * Evaluation against departments nationally / internationally in the same discipline * Evaluation against departments nationally / internationally in other disciplines * Staff performance appraisals * Staff promotion procedures * Financial monitoring * Programme approvals procedures * Mechanisms in place for monitoring the effectiveness of supervisions for doctoral students The principal means of reviewing and assessing the content of our degree programmes is our Departmental Teaching Steering Group (DTSG) which has been described in detail several times already in previous sections of this form (and will not be repeated here). The effectiveness of the delivery of our programmes is assessed throughout each academic year by various means, including our Departmental Staff Student Consultative Committee (also described previously) and module evaluation forms. As described above, all lecturing staff are required to be observed by another (experienced) lecturer at least once per module, and twice if they provide more than 15 lectures for that module. The observer is required to complete a form which confirms that the observation has taken place, and provide appropriate feedback (usually verbal) to the lecturer. Observers are encouraged to provide positive as well as negative feedback. The forms are collected by the Teaching Administrator, and compliance with this scheme is monitored by the Programme Tutor. Comments and recommendations received from visiting external examiners are considered at the next DTC following the relevant Exam Board, and/or at the next meeting of the Departmental Teaching Steering Group. The chairs of the Undergraduate and MSc Exam Boards generate annual reports which address any comments raised by the external examiners, and this report is submitted to the Faculty Tutor. Actions requested are reported back to external examiners by the Programme Tutor. Our review and assessment processes culminate in our Annual Review of Teaching DTC meeting, which takes place at the end of the summer term, after the final meeting of the Undergraduate Exam Board. This involves a detailed scrutiny of the student feedback on each of our modules, and of the performance of the students on those modules. This results in recommendations for specific changes to modules should any problems be identified (usually referred to the DTSG for discussion), as well as highlighting good practice and innovations in teaching. The performance of individual lectures are also monitored via the appraisal process. The Head of Department (HoD) is responsible for the appraisal of all permanent academic staff and research fellows in the department, and thus for nearly all the staff involved in lecturing and tutoring of students on the department s undergraduate and MSc programmes. He ensures that staff are appropriately motivated to develop their teaching skills and meet the strategic aims of the department. Appraisals are also used to recognise excellence in teaching, and recommend appropriate reward through the UCL promotion process and the award of salary contribution points. The Head of Department receives monthly reports of the department s compliance with the staff appraisal process. For any appraisals which are overdue (i.e. more than 2 years since the last appraisal), reminders and a copy of the form are sent to both the appraiser and the staff member to be appraised. Template for Departmental Learning and Teaching Strategies

16 Many structural and organizational changes have been made to our undergraduate and taught graduate programmes during the past 3 or 4 years (including all our processes for monitoring effectiveness), and the next four years represent an important opportunity to consolidate these changes. e) How does the department innovate in teaching, learning and assessment? How will the department seek to develop its teaching over the next four years? Drafters are invited to outline the extent to which the department seeks to challenge orthodoxies in teaching and learning, and the extent to which its innovations have been successful. Responses should also consider how the department s context influences the kinds of innovation that are appropriate. Responses to this question may cover some or all of the following: * The synergies between teaching and research and the ways in which these are exploited; * New modes of delivery, assessment that have been trialled or introduced * New approaches to content * Interdisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning * The use of new technologies to underpin teaching, learning and assessment; * The extent to which the department offers an internationalised curriculum, including in collaboration with overseas partners * The role of the student in shaping teaching, learning and assessment strategies * Any constraints on innovation e.g. from accreditation by professional bodies; financial constraints Responses should also consider whether innovations in graduate teaching differ from that for undergraduates. The principal mechanism by which innovations are introduced into our teaching is our Departmental Teaching Steering Group (DTSG) which has been described in detail several times already in previous sections of this form (and will not be repeated here). Meetings of this group are an opportunity for staff with a particularly strong interest in teaching to brainstorm new ideas and approaches, and discuss new modes of delivery and assessment. We will continue to use this Group in this way over the next four years. As has already been described, an upcoming challenge for this Group will be the introduction of a new undergraduate Biomedical Engineering degree under the proposed Common Engineering Programme. All our course lecturers and project supervisors are research active and are therefore able to keep their teaching up to date with the latest developments and technologies. All the students on our undergraduate and MSc programs carry out a substantial research project for which they join the research group who devised and supervises it. In this way, they work closely with research staff. Some of our teaching staff particularly at MSc level - work in the health service and so are able to bring students another enriching perspective. Similarly, many undergraduate and postgraduate projects are (co)supervised by health service based staff who can provide students with experience of research (and healthcare delivery) in a clinical environment. Our undergraduates often stay with us to undertake an MSc and/or PhD, strengthening the interaction between the teaching and research activities of the department. Medical Physics is inherently interdisciplinary. All of our research groups comprise staff and PhD students from diverse backgrounds who collaborate with external groups and individuals with an even broader range of skills. Inevitably, the diversity that characterizes our research strongly influences our teaching. Student course groups are invariably interdisciplinary too, to the benefit of all. For example, the students who take our year 3 courses are typically divided about equally between (intercalating) medical students (and those with a life sciences background) and those who specialize in either physics or engineering. This provides a working environment which mirrors in microcosm that which many will later experience in hospital careers as doctors or medical physicists. Many of our undergraduate students are recruited from overseas, more than half our MSc students and around half of PhD students. Accordingly, to belong to any of our student cohorts is an international experience with exposure to a rich range of different national perspectives. Many students are attracted to medical physics by its human and social elements, and are motivated by a desire to help people. Overseas students are often strongly motivated to take their skills back to their home country for the benefit of its citizens: their understanding of citizenship and global justice is strong, and they bring this perspective to tutorial and other teaching sessions. f) What is the student profile of the department? Will this change over the next four years? How will the department respond to the various needs of disparate student groups? Drafters should use this question to give a statement of the current recruitment position, and to outline recent trends. Responses should also consider how the department might respond to the challenges and opportunities these trends represent: Areas that responses might cover include: * Balance between home students and EU / international students * Previous educational experience of home students (e.g. WP cohort) * Balance between undergraduate and graduate students Template for Departmental Learning and Teaching Strategies

17 * Influence of external / short course / CPD students on teaching and learning activity The concept of student needs covers a range of areas, including: * The need for additional catch-up tuition * The need for additional support with unfamiliar methodologies and modes of assessment * The ways in which the taught undergraduate curriculum and the taught postgraduate curriculum interrelate * The teaching of doctoral students * The need to respond to student expectations about e.g. assessment and feedback; the use of new technologies; the level of challenge in particular courses a) Undergraduate programmes The 2010/11 undergraduate profile of the department (the last year for which we have accurate data) is as follows: Affiliate Medical Physics 1 home/eu BSc(Intercalated) Medical Physics 18 home/eu 6 overseas BSc Physics with Medical Physics 9 home/eu MSci Medical Physics 27 home/eu 7 overseas All our students have a strong background in Physics and Maths, with the occasional exception of one or more intercalated students who lack an A level in one or other subject. When this occurs, the student is given a reading list during the summer, and is expected to catch up with the necessary material (such as differential calculus for those lacking A level maths) before the start of the course in October. All our intercalated students are also required to take a mathematics module as part of their course (MPHY3893: Mathematical Methods in Medical Physics), designed specifically to provide the additional maths they require to tackle the level-3 medical physics modules. The Physics & Astronomy department (where our 3-year and 4-year programme students spend most of their time during years 1 and 2) provide appropriate remedial support to students where starting skills/knowledge in certain areas (particularly maths) are identified. In terms of preparation for the course, we have not noted any strong evidence that overseas students are disadvantaged. As described above, we anticipate establishing an average annual intake of students for our 3-year/4-year programmes. We also expect that our intercalated BSc will remain popular with UCL medical students, and that it will survive the current plan to reduce the number of intercalated degrees offered by UCL. The only major change we anticipate during the next four years is the proposed introduction of a Biomedical Engineering degree under the Common Engineering Programme. This will clearly have a very big impact on our student profile, but this is impossible to predict at this time. a) Taught graduate programmes The 2010/11 taught graduate profile of the department (the last year for which we have accurate data) is as follows: Affiliate Medical Physics 2 home/eu 1 overseas MSc Medical Image Computing (FT) 6 home/eu 2 overseas MSc BEMI (PT) 1 home/eu MSc Radiation Physics (PT) 16 home/eu MSc Physics & Eng. in Medicine (PT) 22 home/eu 1 overseas MSc Physics & Eng. in Medicine (FT) 13 home/eu 9 overseas For 2011/12 we also have the following numbers for our new distance learning MSc: MSc Physics & Eng. in Medicine (PT) 1 home/eu 4 overseas As described elsewhere on this form, our three MSc degrees (entitled Radiation Physics with Medical Applications (RPMA), Biomedical Engineering & Medical Imaging (BEMI), and Medical Image Computing (MIC)) have recently been combined in a single programme called the MSc in Physics and Engineering in Medicine. Under the new structure, students take a core programme of common modules, and pursue one of three distinct strands for students with a background and/or interests in physics, engineering, or image computing. The backgrounds of the students for the three strands are different, and appropriate for that strand. Because of the changes to the training requirements for medical physicists working in UK hospitals have changed (see earlier sections), we can no longer accept NHS trainees on to our MSc programme. However, the future of DoH training of clinical scientists is still very uncertain, and the department intends to re-apply should, as anticipated, further bids to provide training be requested. At the start of the 2011/12 academic year, we still have several part-time trainee clinical medical physicists on our MSc course, although as things stand these will be our last. We plan to develop and expand our distance learning version MSc, steadily growing the cohort to around students per year over the next four years. We expect to mainly attract EU and overseas students, but we note we are getting significant expressions of interest from home students too. We are working with LTSS, other UCL departments, and companies familiar with distance learning provision to ensure that we are prepared to address any difficulties that may arise in future as a result of relying on online technologies (such as skype and ) as the primary means of communicating with our students. Template for Departmental Learning and Teaching Strategies

18 g) How does the department support staff to develop their teaching? How will the department ensure that staff can give due priority to teaching activity within their overall teaching load? How will the department recognise staff for excellence in teaching? Drafters are invited to outline the support currently offered to staff with teaching responsibilities, and to consider how this support might be enhanced or extended over the coming years to better support the department and UCL in realising its aspirations for teaching and learning. Support may include: * Work with CALT, via consultancy or attendance at relevant training courses * High profile for completion of the PG Certificate in Learning and Teaching in HE for all new lecturers * Regular peer observation of teaching * Nominations for Provost s Teaching Awards * Release to attend national conferences on pedagogical issues or to publish on pedagogical issue * Staff rotation around key teaching enabling roles (e.g. Chair of Departmental Teaching Committee, Undergraduate Tutor) * Acknowledgement of the importance of teaching as an academic activity * Expectation that staff will seek to innovate and keep their teaching expertise current * Staff away-days * Whole-staff involvement in strategic planning for the development of teaching activity * International collaborations on teaching and learning with overseas partners All new staff joining the department are presented with a copy of the Departmental Staff Handbook, which is revised annually (every July) by the head of department. Current staff can access the most recent version of the Handbook via the departmental intranet. New staff are, of course, subject to UCL s normal probationary procedures (including mandatory PG Certificate in Learning & Teaching in HE), and all staff are subject to annual appraisals. Appraisals are used as a mechanism for assessing teaching contributions, discussing the expectations of UCL and the department, recognising excellent performance, and identifying training requirements. Teaching staff also receive feedback both from students (via module evaluation forms) and from peer observation of lectures. The latter involves one-on-one discussions with the observer. If particular issues are highlighted as a result of the observation, subsequent discussions will involve the programme tutor. All new HEFCE-funded lecturing staff are assigned a mentor, who meets with the individual on a regular basis and provides guidance on all aspects of the his/her career development. The mentor is normally a senior member of the same research group (and often the head of group). The department maintains an intranet and other internet webpages which serve as sources of general information for staff. For example, the following webpage: provides links to various important documents and forms related to teaching and student supervision. The department aspires to rotate key enabling roles at least every 5-10 years. During the past four years, virtually all enabling roles have changed hands (including head of department) except that of Undergraduate Tutor, which is an exceptionally demanding and important role. Very many changes have occurred to the undergraduate programme (mostly as a consequence of taking over control of the 3-year and 4-year undergraduate programmes from Physics & Astronomy) which have required the overall guidance and expertise of an exceptionally competent and experienced academic in the role of Undergraduate Tutor, which the department is fortunate to have. During the period of consolidation which we anticipate entering during the next few years, the role will be handed on to another member of staff. The department does not currently have its own award to recognise excellent teachers, although this has been discussed several times recently and will be explored again in the near future. However, a member of our teaching staff, Prof. Clare Elwell, was recently awarded the Public Engager of the Year prize (grade 8+ category) at the UCL Annual Provost s Awards for Public Engagement ceremony. Template for Departmental Learning and Teaching Strategies

19 4 Financial Context a) What are the financial / resource implications of the department s strategic aims for ? Drafters should consult their School Finance Director for assistance with this question. The following prompts should be considered: * From what activities does the department derive its teaching income? Do you anticipate that this will change (e.g. through changes in your student profile/demand) and how will you respond? * Does the department use income from other sources to support the delivery of teaching and learning on full degree programmes (e.g. short courses; CPD programmes; cross-subsidy from other departmental activities). * Describe any strategies you have identified to improve the cost-effectiveness of your programmes. Have they been implemented and what has been the outcome? * Outline any Faculty / departmental mechanisms and processes that are used to consider the financial viability/sustainability of new modules or programmes. The Medical Physics & Bioengineering Department s activities have traditionally been biased far more towards research. In 2010, for example, the department had the second largest research income of all the nine departments within the Faculty of Engineering Sciences, yet had the second smallest income from teaching. Income from undergraduate teaching has been particularly small, although recent attempts to grow the undergraduate programmes have produced encouraging results. The income supporting teaching and learning comes entirely from student fees; there is no cross-subsidising of teaching from research or enterprise. The majority of modules for our 3-year and 4-year programmes are provided by another department (Physics & Astronomy) and therefore cost-effectiveness only needs to consider a relatively few number of modules taught by our department. However, most of the same modules are also taught to Intercalated BSc students and Natural Science students, and therefore class sizes (>30) are easily large enough to make them cost effective. Our MSc has traditionally been our largest source of teaching income. Our distance learning MSc has a fixed fee ( 15,000) for both home and overseas students. We expect that the distance learning alternative will prove attractive to both UK/EU and overseas students, and we expect to see some reduction in the intake of both coming to UCL. Each conversion of a UK/EU student represents an additional income, while each conversion of an overseas student represents a slight loss. However, the total number of overseas students on our MSc courses is traditionally very low, and therefore even conversion of all overseas students cannot have a major negative impact. The proposed introduction of a new Biomedical Engineering undergraduate degree as part of the Common Engineering Programme will have to be properly costed by the Faculty at the appropriate time. b) What central support or resources (if any) will be necessary to support the department in achieving its objectives in each of these areas? None beyond the existing support structures, especially estate. Template for Departmental Learning and Teaching Strategies

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