Name of the participant and other supporting staff if relevant

Dr Olga Pischukhina

Name of the module and discipline, level and  year of study and any useful background info

CSC2051 Systems Administration and Support

This is a computer science module and is designed to introduce students to the common areas of systems administration and support focussing on Hardware and Windows-based systems along with SoHo networking principles and Windows administration at a system admin level. It is a very specific module so it wasn’t possible to find a community partner for it, however I implemented a lot of the learning from CIRCLET in it.

Check course catalogue for info on ECTS

 Learning outcomes include

 Learning Outcomes 

• Identify, understand, and troubleshoot all major PC components
• Understand the process, planning, and execution of upgrading PC hardware
• Be able to work safely with hardware
• Install, upgrade, maintain, and update Windows operating systems and common applications
• Manage and maintain storage systems on a PC within Windows
• Manage user accounts on Windows systems
• Understand and use enterprise features of Windows Server including distributed storage, backup, file shares, and recovery processes
• Understand and apply knowledge of Active Directory including planning and implementation of suitable models
• Understand SoHo networking including SNAT and DNAT 


• PC Procurement and Upgrade
• Windows Network Administration
• Windows Server Administration
• Small Network Administration
• Troubleshooting IT Systems
• Active Directory Planning 

Name of community partner and/or any other supporting partners (public or private sector)

For this first trial at working on a CERL project I did not connect with a community partner but designed a programme of work that would be relevant to real life. 

CERL project title(s)


What they changed about their programme/course in relation to CERL

I didn’t change the assessment methods or learning outcomes, however I did use the concepts that I learned from CIRCLET, particularly because I had to change to teach the module online due to COVID-19 restrictions. I used different questions and scenario questions to get students to think analytically and use their problem solving skills. For example I held a session on active and cognitive learning domains based on pre-work had a discussion with colleagues in my CIRCLET Triad. After those discussions and exchanges I developed a creative assignment as another form of educational activity and higher order thinking. I got feedback re discussion forums. 

Can you provide any tangible info – e.g. module descriptor, learning outcomes, assignments, assessment criteria


For the creative assignment project I gave students 3 different exercises. They were given a budget to build a computer for a general office block and had different conditions and limits re the customers and requested to compile a full list of components and costings. The students needed to do research on more vulnerable groups of customers (such as lower income or older) and take this into account.  For this first one I selected the students and put them into groups in Teams to produce a solution to this exercise. Most of them found it challenging in a good way – communication, sharing ideas, promoting ideas. I also offered quizzes  and discussion forums – so that students didn’t just learn and pick up on technical specifications, but think about what’s the best solution for this problem 

How was it taught:

·        number of students

·        student groupwork or individual,

·        how they worked with the partner,

·        how the project proceeded,

·        any reflection done with students,

·        evaluation or formal assessment of their learning,

·        Could or should we follow up with students?

·        tech used

·        Anything else interesting?

Computing info technologies  – 44 students.

 I  asked for feedback via a poll and also got feedback from the student rep on the course. Individual comments on feedback form included that it was an enjoyable way to demonstrate my learning through this module, that students could put theory into practice, and that they appreciated interactive nature of this exercise.

 I found that it was a way of building interaction into Computer Science – which often isn’t there

 It made the module more enjoyable and less stressful

What did your students learn or how will they benefit?

The student learning was more enjoyable as a result of building in the new activities

What do you think the benefit was to the partner? Do they have any feedback from the partner?


 On a related topic though, I am in close touch with industry partners– they all look for this logical and analytical/critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. Companies are also part of the community and we as a department need to respond to company need. 

How could/will you improve your CERL teaching practice next time?

I would like to consider working with a community partner if a relevant topic arises from them. I will also continue to use these methods as a supplementary source if on campus – will continue to use all of this because students liked the blended approach 

Any challenges and how you overcame them


Of course the pandemic meant that this was a very unusual year. I had to change my perception of teaching itself and switch to different mode of understanding of teaching. Not just giving info and theory and asking for comprehension. I also enjoyed the fact that I had to invoke a critical part of teaching – how to do it what type of questions and projects to offer them. 

Advice you would give to someone starting a CERL project with students?


It is best to start from basics, and use the pyramid structure of learning and remind yourself how it looks.  After that everyone is able to provide material – in fact that is the easy part. The complicated and interesting part is analysing and evaluating information. So what is the best way to help students to analyse and apply/evaluate info- and focus on higher levels. It really helps to use interesting ways to get feedback and to help students identify gaps in their own knowledge so I can support them through this. It is useful to use questions – eg what is their RAM and imagine if you needed to upgrade – what would you do and how would you approach it. Canvas is a fantastic tool for this. 

It is also useful to find ways to co-create with students and learn from them, e.g. understanding the things they are finding very hard and seeing what you can do to support them through that, this helps your own learning.