9 research outputs found

    Exploring self-assessments in university undergraduate students : how accurate are they?

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    Self-assessment, whereby students are actively engaged in assessing the quality of their work, has been shown to benefit them. It is not routinely carried out in all institutions. This pilot study aimed to explore the extent to which students chose to engage with self-assessment when invited to do so, and how accurate they were when they did. A short pilot tool including qualitative and quantitative elements, was circulated to students within a school of the largest faculty of Kingston University. Students completed the self-assessment and submitted it with their completed assignments. Actual grades achieved were compared with self-assessments. Qualitative data were analysed using basic thematic analysis. The highest average marks achieved were in the group who correctly self-assessed their work. More students incorrectly self-assessed than correctly assessed their work, and almost a third of students did not engage with the activity. Those who incorrectly over-assessed their work had average marks similar to those that did not engage with the activity, significantly lower than the average marks achieved by the incorrect under-assessors and the correct self-assessment groups. Correct self-assessing students were more specific about the skills they demonstrated and the support they used for their assignments

    Student perceptions of belonging at university : a qualitative perspective

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    Belonging is multidimensional, personal and geographical in nature. Establishing a sense of belonging benefits students and institutions. This study sought to explore aspects of belonging from the student perspective. Data were collected using open text boxes within a questionnaire and an optional focus group. A total of 617 students participated of whom 85% completed the questionnaire. One focus group with 3 participants was held. Qualitative data highlighted personal and social aspects of belonging, and the benefits of belonging for successful study. The importance of belonging was not agreed universally but most students identified it as important, and felt that they personally belonged. Understanding what belonging means and what influences it is important to enhance student engagement and retention

    Food insecurity among students: why does it matter and how should universities address it?

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    Food insecurity (FI) is a major concern, particularly affecting those on low incomes, students included. FI may affect student attendance, engagement and sense of belonging to the university. A short survey about the cost-of-living crisis in a large London widening-participation university received 1090 student responses and these expressed high levels of concern. We contend that universities must help alleviate FI among their students. We accept that offering practical help to students may require significant continuing investment. Utilising existing community support within the context of a mutually beneficial relationship could reduce the burden on institutions and, in exchange, could offer in-kind support to the local community.

    Belonging, the physical space of the university campus and how it is perceived by students : a quantitative analysis among a diverse student group

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    The physical space of campus may influence student belonging. Quantitative data were collected using a bespoke questionnaire among a diverse group of students at a post-92 UK university. A total of 635 students, primarily female, undergraduate and of diverse ethnicity participated. Overall sense of belonging and agreement that campus space was important were high, with no differences by study or demographic characteristics. The main functions identified were academic or social, as were the spaces students considered most important. Gender and ethnicity differences in the extent to which the campus matched expectations were seen

    Covid 19 and the move to online teaching : impact on perceptions of belonging in staff and students in a UK widening participation university

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    The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated campus closures at short notice, with teaching and assessment moving online. Understanding the impact of this upon belonging from both staff and student perspectives, and exploring whether demographic or study characteristics have an impact, was needed to inform future educational provision. This paper describes the findings of a bespoke questionnaire collecting quantitative and qualitative information administered online to staff and students at a UK university with a strong widening participation focus. A total of 208 students and 71 academic staff responded. In both groups, a fall in belonging was observed in the early stage of the pandemic

    Staff and student perspectives of online teaching and learning : implications for belonging and engagement at university : a qualitative exploration

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    A sense of belonging within higher education (HE) enhances educational engagement and attainment. The rapid shift to online provision has implications for reducing students’ sense of belonging at university. We have previously shown that students consider belonging in HE to be important and that their personal sense of belonging was high. We also found that sense of belonging had elements of people and place: relationships with peers and staff were influential and the physical campus facilitated social relationships. In the first lockdown, we showed that sense of belonging in both staff and students at our large widening-participation London university was reduced. In this paper, we report on a continuing project to explore the impact of sustained provision of learning online, focusing on qualitative interviews carried out with forty-three students and twenty-three staff. Both groups identified advantages and disadvantages of online provision. Advantages included flexibility and accessibility, with savings – financial and time – owing to reduced commuting. However, both groups identified a negative impact on social relationships, student motivation and engagement. Future development of blended learning should be planned, supported and structured to optimise the benefits

    Public health teaching in practice, peer learning and partnership working : the Cook School project

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    Authentic learning opportunities replicating working environments will enhance learners’ employability and intrinsic motivation. Within most undergraduate curricula, opportunities for students to experience hands-on learning opportunities which mimic public health practice are limited. A pilot university cook and eat programme (the Cook School) was developed based upon community cook and eat programmes. The aim was to enable trained undergraduate Nutrition students to facilitate healthy eating activities to their peers, as a voluntary co-curricular activity. Two cook and eat programmes, each of five weeks duration, were offered to undergraduate students (12 participants per programme). Cooking was delivered by trained chefs and the healthy eating components were facilitated by trained undergraduate Nutrition students. Participants did not know beforehand that sessions would include nutrition information activities in addition to cooking. Facilitators identified ‘employability’ as a key driver for their participation in this project. Their post-course evaluations suggested that key employability skills like team work, time management, communication and organisation were enhanced by involvement in the Cook School.  Participants suggested that attending Cook School improved their knowledge of healthy eating. Whether this translates into improved diets long term is currently unknown. This pilot project offered undergraduate Nutrition students a unique opportunity to gain key employability skills within an authentic learning environment, working in partnership with their peers. Keywords: Authentic learning, Peer learning, Motivation, Partnership, Employabilit

    Studies of the effects of dietary fats upon metabolic responses to tumour necrosis factor a, in the wistar rat

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    Tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) is a cytokine which mediates many of the acute phase responses to inflammation. Several of the metabolic effects of this polypeptide can be modulated by dietary changes, particularly alterations in dietary polyunsaturated fat intake. Modulation may occur through modifications in substrate availability for eicosanoid generation, or altered membrane fatty acid composition resulting in modulation of fluidity or receptor activity. A reduced cytokine production may also occur. Studies documented in this thesis reveal the extent to which both qualitative and quantitative alterations in dietary fat intake can modify metabolic responses to exogenously administered TNFα. Dietary fat can modulate organ weight, fractional rate of protein synthesis, protein concentration and total protein content in the liver and lung, and to a lesser degree, kidney and muscle. Modulation of activity or synthesis of hepatic acute phase proteins is indirectly examined. Both polynunsaturated and saturated fats are shown to alter acute phase responses. In this thesis, it is shown that the effects of saturated fats do not appear to be due simply to low levels of linoleic acid, but to other compositional differences. The effects of supplementation with the monounsaturate oleic acid are also examined, in order to ascertain the degree to which this fatty acid accounts for the differences observed. Age appears to affect inflammatory responses to TNFα. Older animals are better able to mount an inflammatory response. Modulatory effects of dietary fats are present in both younger and older animals, but modulation of most responses was greater in the older animals. The hepatic synthesis of acute phase proteins is shown to be particularly affected by age.</p

    European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO) position statement on medical nutrition therapy for the management of overweight and obesity in adults developed in collaboration with the European Federation of the Associations of Dietitians (EFAD)

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    Introduction: Obesity affects nearly 1 in 4 European adults increasing their risk for mortality and physical and psychological morbidity. Obesity is a chronic relapsing disease characterized by abnormal or excessive adiposity with risks to health. Medical nutrition therapy based on the latest scientific evidence should be offered to all Europeans living with obesity as part of obesity treatment interventions. Methods: A systematic review was conducted to identify the latest evidence published in the November 2018–March 2021 period and to synthesize them in the European guidelines for medical nutrition therapy in adult obesity. Results: Medical nutrition therapy should be administered by trained dietitians as part of a multidisciplinary team and should aim to achieve positive health outcomes, not solely weight changes. A diverse range of nutrition interventions are shown to be effective in the treatment of obesity and its comorbidities, and dietitians should consider all options and deliver personalized interventions. Although caloric restriction-based interventions are effective in promoting weight reduction, long-term adherence to behavioural changes may be better supported via alternative interventions based on eating patterns, food quality, and mindfulness. The Mediterranean diet, vegetarian diets, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, portfolio diet, Nordic, and low-carbohydrate diets have all been associated with improvement in metabolic health with or without changes in body weight. In the November 2018–March 2021 period, the latest evidence published focused around intermittent fasting and meal replacements as obesity treatment options. Although the role of meal replacements is further strengthened by the new evidence, for intermittent fasting no evidence of significant advantage over and above continuous energy restriction was found. Pulses, fruit and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and dairy foods are also important elements in the medical nutrition therapy of adult obesity. Discussion: Any nutrition intervention should be based on a detailed nutritional assessment including an assessment of personal values, preferences, and social determinants of eating habits. Dietitians are expected to design interventions that are flexible and person centred. Approaches that avoid caloric restriction or detailed eating plans (non-dieting approaches) are also recommended for improvement of quality of life and body image perceptions