Imperial College London

Mrs Kate Ippolito

Central FacultyCentre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship

Principal Teaching Fellow in Educational Development



+44 (0)20 7594 8789k.ippolito




Sherfield BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Publication Type

7 results found

Skopec M, Fyfe M, Issa H, Ippolito K, Anderson M, Harris Met al., 2021, Decolonization in a higher education STEMM institution – is ‘epistemic fragility’ a barrier?, London Review of Education, Vol: 19, Pages: 1-21, ISSN: 1474-8460

Central to the decolonial debate is how high-income countries (HICs) have systematically negated ways of knowing from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and yet the paucity of empirical decolonization studies leaves educators relatively unsupported as to whether, and how, to address privilege in higher education. Particularly in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) institutions, there are few published examples of attempts to engage faculty in these debates. In 2018–19, we invited faculty on a master’s in public health course to engage with the decolonization debate by providing: (1) descriptive reading list analyses to all 16 module leads in the master’s programme to invite discussion about the geographic representation of readings; (2) an implicit association test adapted to examine bias towards or against research from LMICs; (3) faculty workshops exploring geographic bias in the curriculum; and (4) interviews to discuss decolonization of curricula and current debates. These initiatives stimulated debate and reflection around the source of readings for the master’s course, a programme with a strong STEMM focus, and the possibility of systemic barriers to the inclusion of literature from universities in LMICs. We propose the notion of epistemic fragility, invoking DiAngelo’s (2011) ‘white fragility’, because some of the responses appeared to result from the challenge to perceived meritocracy, centrality, authority, individuality and objectivity of the HIC episteme that this initiative invites. We posit that the effortful reinstatement of a status quo regarding knowledge hierarchies in the global context, although not a representative reaction, can lead to a significant impact on the initiative in general. Efforts to decolonize curricula require actions at both the individual and organizational levels and, in particular, a managed process of careful engagement so that fragility reactions

Journal article

Charalambous M, Hodge JA, Ippolito K, 2021, Statistically significant learning experiences: towards building self-efficacy of undergraduate statistics learners through team-based learning, Educational Action Research, Vol: 29, Pages: 226-244, ISSN: 0965-0792

Competence in statistics is a fundamental component of a biological scientist’s toolbox. However, anxiety often affects undergraduate students’ development of this competence and research has shown that perceived self-efficacy for statistics is correlated to academic performance. Self-efficacy may be promoted by reducing anxiety , and also allowing students to practice their skills in groups to model approaches used and obtain peer feedback. We undertook action research to investigate how a change in teaching method to team-based learning (TBL) affected our students. The first iteration of the teaching with Year 2 students led us to change our delivery to allow more time for teamworking for the next iteration with Year 1 students. We found that some measures of self-efficacy were correlated with a post-TBL summative test performance of Year 1 and Year 2 students. However, Year 1 students were less positive about TBL. This corroborated quantitative findings revealing that they had lower collective efficacy than Year 2 students, despite teams performing as well during formatively assessed TBL. We draw on self-efficacy theory to better understand why students perceive and report differing learning experiences, and to make recommendations for designing teaching and learning that helps build their self-efficacy.

Journal article

Ippolito K, Boyd N, Bale R, Kingsbury Met al., 2020, Emotions as pedagogical tools: the role for educational developers in university learning and beyond, ETH Learning and Teaching Journal, Vol: 2, Pages: 322-326, ISSN: 2624-7992

Journal article

Ippolito K, Pazio M, 2019, Suck it and see – transforming STEMM university teachers’ assessment perspectives and practices through disorientating experiential learning, Higher Education Pedagogies, Vol: 4, Pages: 331-346, ISSN: 2375-2696

At the heart of changing institutional assessment and feedback practices is the need to transform university teachers’ ways of thinking about feedback and assessment. In this article, we present a case study of a three-year Master’s in Education offered to UK STEMM university teachers as an opportunity to develop critically reflective and theoretically underpinned approaches to their practice. We outline the extent to which, in Mezirow’s terms, through a disorientating combination of studentship, self-reflection and paradigm crossing, the programme has the potential to change the participants’ frames of reference. Drawing on our experiences of working with these students and in-depth interviews we discuss the impact the programme has had on the participants’ assumptions around feedback and assessment, their identity, own practice and wider institutional perspectives and practice. Barriers identified by participants that inhibit assessment and feedback change are also explored.

Journal article

Horsburgh JL, Ippolito K, 2018, A skill to be worked at: Using social learning theory to explore the process of learning from role models in clinical settings, BMC Medical Education, Vol: 18, ISSN: 1472-6920

Background:Role modelling is widely accepted as being a highly influential teaching and learning method in medical education but little attention is given to understanding how students learn from role models. This study focuses on role modelling as an active, dynamic process, involving observational learning and aims to explore the process involved, including strategies that learners and medical teachers use to support this. Methods:To gain insight into medical students’ and clinical teachers’ understanding of learning through role modelling, a qualitative, interpretative methodology was adopted, using one-to-one semi-structured interviews. Six final year medical students and five clinical teachers were purposefully sampled and interviewed. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed. The data were then analysed using open and axial coding before codes were combined to develop broader themes. Results:Students could identify ways in which they learnt from role models but acknowledged that this was complex and haphazard. They described selectively and consciously paying attention, using retention strategies, reproducing observed behaviour and being motivated to imitate. Students evidenced the powerful impact of direct and vicarious reinforcement. Clinical teachers reported using strategies to help students learn, but these were not always consciously or consistently applied or informed by teachers’ understanding of their students’ cognitive processing. ConclusionFindings illustrate in what ways the process of learning from role models in clinical settings is challenging. They also support the relevancy and usefulness of Bandura’s four stage social learning model for understanding this process and informing recommendations to make learning from role modelling more systematic and effective.

Journal article

Shalhoub J, Marshall DC, Ippolito K, 2017, Perspectives on procedure-based assessments: a thematic analysis of semistructured interviews with 10 UK surgical trainees, BMJ OPEN, Vol: 7, ISSN: 2044-6055

Objectives: The introduction of competency-based training has necessitated development and implementation of accompanying mechanisms for assessment. Procedure based assessments (PBAs) are an example of workplace-based assessments that are used to examine focal competencies in the workplace. The primary objective was to understand surgical trainees’ perspective on the value of PBA.Design: Semi-structured interviews with 10 surgical trainees individually interviewed to explore their views. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed, following this they were open and axial coded. Thematic analysis was then performed.Results: Semi-structured interviews yielded several topical and recurring themes. In trainees’ experience the use of PBAs as a summative tool limits their educational value. Trainees reported a lack of support from seniors and variation in the usefulness of the tool based on stage of training. Concerns related to the validity of PBAs for evaluating trainees’ performance with reports of ‘gaming’ the system and trainees completing their own assessments. Trainees’ did identify the significant value of PBAs when used correctly. Benefits included the identification of additional learning opportunities, standardisation of assessment and their role in providing a measure of progress.Conclusions: The UK surgical trainees interviewed identified both limitations and benefits to PBAs, however we would argue based on their responses and our experience that their use as a summative tool limits their formative use as an educational opportunity. PBAs should either be used exclusively to support learning or solely used as a summative tool, if so further work is needed to audit, validate and standardise them for this purpose.

Journal article

Ippolito K, Horsburgh J, 2017, On the job learning in clinical settings, Informal Learning Perspectives, Challenges and Opportunities, ISBN: 9781536122503

This book would be of interest to educators and managers alike, and aims to highlight that informal learning occurs all around us, and if we recognise it and its impact, then we can enhance our potential as lifelong learners and make work ...

Book chapter

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