SCALE-UP at NTU
NTU was the first UK university to introduce SCALE-UP across an extensive range of subjects. Following an evaluation of the pilot teaching staff reported greater student engagement with materials, more interaction and an increased conceptual understanding as a result of SCALE-UP. SCALE-UP is now widely embedded across NTU and both academics and students’ responses to the pedagogy are positive.
Early SCALE-UP Adoption
In 2013-14, thirty-three module leads from diverse disciplines including Physics, Sociology, Marketing, and Law volunteered to pilot SCALE-UP teaching in bespoke rooms in the Boots and Clifton libraries. Some module leaders chose to adopt SCALE-UP pedagogy across the whole module, while others opted to start smaller, initially targeting specific aspects of their modules which they felt would adapt easily to and benefit from the approach.
It was very important during the early implementation of SCALE-UP that the pedagogy was not mandated, otherwise there would be negative experiences of the approach.
While SCALE-UP was originally designed to enhance teaching and student engagement in large groups, it was been found to work equally well with smaller class sizes.
Following the overwhelmingly positive response to the NTU pilot, and increased demand among teaching staff, the University invested in additional bespoke teaching rooms to allow more students and academics access to the benefits of SCALE-UP.
Scaling up SCALE-UP
More than 200 NTU academics from a diverse range of subject areas are now involved in SCALE-UP teaching across NTU, with over half of undergraduate courses containing at least one SCALE-UP module. This teaching takes place across our 21 bespoke SCALE-UP rooms.
Our SCALE-UP Team works to support academics with their induction, support and development to ensure that both facilitators and students can benefit as much as they can from the pedagogy.
In a recent survey, 91% of NTU staff were satisfied with the decision to use SCALE-UP, and 76% consider it to promote deeper learning.
“My heart used to sink when I thought about teaching the following year, and it doesn’t sink anymore because I know [it] works and it’s better, and we’re all benefitting from it.”
Students are also positive about the pedagogy as they believe it improves employability and develops group-work skills.
We continue to grow the use of SCALE-UP, and more specifically, active learning, across NTU as it is now a core component of any newly designed or redeveloped courses to ensure all students can benefit.
SCALE-UP is award-winning, gaining the 2019 Guardian University Award for Course and Curriculum Design. The panel commended the impact the pedagogy has on those from widening participation groups, and its ability to be scaled up across an institution.
The SCALE-UP Team have also been recognised at the 2019 NTU Team Awards where the Team won the prize for ‘Change and Innovation’ due to the impact SCALE-UP has had across the institution, which only looks to continue to grow and develop as we embed the pedagogy into further disciplines.
The Benefits of SCALE-UP at NTU
The use of SCALE-UP at NTU is associated with reduced non-continuation gaps, reduced attainment gaps, improvements in attendance, and improvements in engagement. This has been demonstrated by an extensive evaluation project, ‘Scaling up active collaborative learning for student success,’ which was funded by the Office for Students and ran from March 2017 to February 2019.
The Project also found a ‘tipping point’ which significantly improved the success of the above factors. This was three SCALE-UP modules in a year for non-continuation, attendance and engagement, and three modules across an entire programme for attainment.
These benefits were particularly apparent for both NTU’s lower-socio economic and BAME students, helping to address some of the greatest challenges in Higher Education – ensuring all students can succeed, regardless of their background.
Further information about the Project and the full report can be found on the Active Collaborative Learning page.
We also have a SCALE-UP handbook primarily aimed at NTU staff but can be used by those looking to implement the pedagogy.
If you are interested in implementing the pedagogy yourself, at NTU or externally, contact the SCALE-UP team for more information.