Journal February 15th 2011

Write a brief summary of any work-related activities undertaken on 15th February 2011 and/or your nearest working day . In posting your reply, you consent to the potential use of anonymised extracts from this material in resources that may in future be published by the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education (ALDinHE), for educational and professional development purposes only.

Carol Elston

As with most mornings I began by responding to emails; I keep joining discussion groups which prove interesting yet extremely time consuming. Once drawn in I find it difficult to unsubscribe, just in case I miss something. I’m definitely a self imposed victim of information overload.

Having managed my mail I moved on to consider the e-learning resource we are currently working on; I believe I mentioned it last month – it’s an end of project resource for a JISC funded digitisation project called Life-Share. It’s getting there and should be finished by next month.

Next task, abstracts for the ALT-C conference – I noticed that the deadline has moved but try to ignore this and make a start anyway. Am I the only one who finds it difficult to write an abstract submission for a conference that is more than 6 months in the future? In the world of e-learning development a lot can happen in 6 months.

To end the day I had a very productive meeting with colleagues from the Library and the Food Sciences Faculty looking at student transition. This is my next major project funded by a small pot from my UTF award. I hope to design and develop an academic skills ‘hub’ that can be used throughout the University to encourage students to consider building a foundation of skills before they start University. This is something that is already included within the offerings of some Schools and departments but not all. I’m on a mission!

Debbie Holley

Well had such a nice day – delightful that things are still possible. Here we have a fabulous students union and they have been successful in bidding for an ‘apple’ centre for the students union – and want to develop links with the education faculty to show what lovely things can be done in schools.We talked about projects large and small, and will take some key things forward. Then off to teach about feedback on the PGCert, once agin such diverse and interesting staff, and a result of which I have an invite to visit a murder scene – no they haven’t murdered me (yet!) but our forsenic science team are running some crime scenes. Quick change of role after that to become a (hopefully) professional chair to a PhD students annual progress review. Now just finishing this off before going to our faculty internal PhD students training event, Chrissie is covering literture reviews and I am running the evening session next month on biographic narrative research method. No tweet today as yet! Look forward to finding more of you tweeting.

Janette Myers

A long to do list today, full of lots of little bitty things as well as some big ones that I’m putting off until I’ve done the little ones.
I finalised the paperwork for a case based learning session that we’re trialling with the biomedical science students. They are used to cases which develop their understanding of biomedical science, usually in the context of a medical case. It will be interesting to see what they make of a completely open scenario using a student story as a context, with no right answer. I’m kind of looking forward to the feedback sheets, but also a bit worried.

Still on the careers theme, I circulated the Foundation Degree leaders with a plan for careers enhancement for the full time courses, to see if it would work with their part time, employed students.

I faffed around with the details of a project on student perceptions of feedback. At the moment we’re finalising the ethical approval and trying to find people and a time they can meet, for our steering committee. Tomorrow I’m going to look at the questionnaire data, preparing for our LDHEN conference presentation. (Incidentally I heard on QI, a much more reliable source than Wikipedia, that Symposium originally referred to an event at which much drinking took place- well!). Then I booked my flight, just the hotel to do now.

I wrote a set of comments on our draft Institutional Briefing paper for QAA institutional audit.

The AUA branch has just started a monthly lunchtime meeting where people give presentations. Today’s was on the AUA’s CPD framework, so I went to see how that might inform the LDHEN’s CPD work. This should be useful place to find out more about how the university works.

Michelle Reid

Tues 15th Feb was a day that seemed to alternate between seeing students and teaching on the one hand, and wider strategic issues on the other. I started the morning with some one-to-one Study Advice appointments which was a good way to begin. Then I attended a meeting about the results of the consultation process for the merger of our Academic Services and Student Services directorates – it seems like every few years our Study Advice team is asked to cope with moves or reshuffles – we are getting used to being flexible and adaptable! After a quick lunch, I was off to team-teach a workshop on avoiding plagiarism with our new International Student Officer; I met some great PhD students and hopefully answered their tricky referencing questions. When I came back, the student I was due to see had cancelled, which gave me enough time to finish my HERA regrading form. We are aiming for an increase in the grade of my and my colleague, Kim’s, post. Our roles have transformed and developed amazingly since I joined the team in 2007. Initially we were employed mainly to do face-to-face Study Advice appointments and possibly 1-2 workshops a term. A few years, reshuffles, profile raising, a team member retiring, and a split from Counselling later….we are doing far more embedded teaching, consulting with academics on curriculum design, and participating in strategic committees. I stayed late to finish the HERA form…and did a dance of joy once it was completed. When I got home, I booked my flights to Belfast for the ALDinHE conference – see you there!


Up at 6.50 to get ready and have coffee and cakes with sister and niece… Left at 8.00 and walked to work as normal (35 mins) picking up for all-day meetings, coffee, tea, milk and madelaines (not so much recherche les temps perdu as Costcutter). Caught up with emails – then checking that our two meeting rooms are working – that we can log on to the WiFi and the PCs… oh – and open the door.
From 10.30 colleagues arriving from across the country for rare face to face meeting of the LearnHigher Working Group (we’re all Flash Meetings these days – which I also like). Very productive meeting wherein we reviewed peer reviewer comments on the current state of play of the LearnHigher website (accessble direct and via the ALDinHE site) and considered the way forward… After a working lunch, AH stayed on and helped me to finally upload some resources to the ‘Academic REading’ and ‘Notemaking’ pages of the LearnHigher site. AH extremely patient as I sulked and fumed and was generally the stroppy student who could not see the point, who could not understand and who would NEVER get it!!
I finally got it – and uploaded some stuff. Carried on after AH left – even managed to delete some stuff, re-name some stuff – and make another page live. Wow! Feelings of great joy…
Left about 19.30 and walked back home. Thought I saw northern lights in Islington – but possibly they were from the O2 where they were having the Brit Awards last night.
Kind partner had cooked roast chicken dinner and after stuffing my face collapsed in front of the TV.
A very good day.

Joanne Wood

I started off today with the usual 30 minutes set aside emails (always takes longer – but I never learn!!). Mainly the emails are requests by students for tutorials. Then onto “10 o’clock open house”: I’m currently squatting in a meeting room that can accommodate 10 of us, so I invite those students along who can benefit from the social structure/support/pressure that a safe space and a regular routine can provide. It’s not a drop-in because I have to get on with my essay reading at the same time. Popped upstairs to fill the hot-water flask at 10 past so we could all have a cuppa. (No resources for this, of course!).
At 11 I met up with my surviving Student Learning Development Centre colleagues. The Centre was closed over the summer and the 3 of us who kept our jobs were scattered to the 3 Faculties. We are supposed to keep in regular contact, but find it difficult to fit in. Today we talked of what to do with these meetings – with no obvious lines of communication we feel we need to think strategically! Also worried about workload (who isn’t?) and about my lack of professional development funding. I shan’t be getting to Belfast at this rate…
Trotted back for a tutorial. Student didn’t show up. Caught up on emails and reading student essays.
Lunch at 1. Had a surprise visit from a colleague, so didn’t leave the room.
Had ‘prep’ pencilled in for the afternoon, but haven’t done any yet! The session is next week and for a group of social science PhD students whose native langauge isn’t English. Instead I had a tutorial with the lass who should have come at 12. Oh well. One more tutorial at 4 – that should bring me nicely to home-time!! (but what about that prep?)

Carol Edwards

Tuesday 15th February
Started the day by finishing and sending off a report I had been asked to write in relation to an education student facing a ‘fit to practice’ committee later this week.
Gave 3 one-to-one student consultations.
Drafted a plan for a 2 hour twilight research skills session to support 20 course reps who will be conducting a research study for the university later this term.
Investigated the potential for creating some new online tutorials on a range of topics e.g.: Finding your voice. Brainstormed some ideas, and checked out some existing material that we may be able to use.
Phoned to check my report had been received, as the committee is being held tomorrow and I had not received any reply.
Took call from Welfare concerning how we could help a student who is in ‘a terrible state’ after just failing her exams.
Worked to finalise and annotate the script I will record next time I’m in, for a new online tutorial on note-making.
Read a paper sent to me from an Information Literacy colleague in Newcastle upon Tyne. Replied with ideas about how we may be able to take forward our idea of collaborating on a new project.
The day will end with the weekly Advisers’ meeting. This week a representative is coming from the English Language Teaching Unit, so that we can discuss our respective roles, and consider students’ needs and experiences across the boundaries between our areas of work.
Just the usual interesting mix…


I’d be really interested in sharing your on-line tutorial on notemaking whenyou’ve finished it – and i have some resources I could share with you…? Best – Sandra Sinfield London Met

Kerry Bellamy

This morning was spent in our Learning & Teaching Committee discussing loads of exciting and inspiring work that is going on in relation to our Students in Distress scheme which sees colleagues from all over the university working collaboratively and holistically to support students in all areas of the study and lives. Areas of discussion around the opening of our new City Centre Campus and the staff and student experience of working in a totally new and very different learning environment (all very positive I have to say). Then after a tasty roast beef lunch (yum yum!) I embarked on another set of interviews recruiting new Student Mentors. I have been really impressed at the level of integrity, creativity and motivation shown by all the students I have interviewed for the posts so far and would love to offer them all roles within the Mentor Scheme if I could. The Scheme is going from strength to strength with a 53% increase in the engagement from the student population and the Mentors are developing a real expertise and voice within the institution. I’m like a proud Mummy  All in all a vocal and productive day so far.

Joe Allison

Started off contacting a colleague regarding piloting a new ‘teacher online’ service, and then drafting an email to advertise this to his students. Next, made some minor tweaks and adjustments to our extranet page that have been bugging me/us for a while, took an hour and a half! Proofread and re-drafted an abstract for a joint conference paper on critical thinking in PBL. Read formative feedback for EdD assignment and started to do a bit more writing. Finally had team meeting to address current issues and plans, drink tea and have biscuits.


So far today, I’ve had a meeting with disability and dyslexia colleagues to discuss running an event for academic staff around neurodiversity (contested term, but they were using it to cover spectrum of overlapping issues ranging from dyslexia and dyspreaxia through ADD to Aspergers and other conditions on the autistic spectrum). With reduced funding and constraints on staff time we need to be sure that events presented by our unit are very clearly focussed on learning/teaching practices, and it soon became clear that what they had in mind was actually aimed at other disability professionals. So instead we’ve agreed that they;ll run this themselves, but we’ll contribute a session at the end help the specialist staff draw out key implications for teaching staff, and then provide a space at our L&T conference in July to highlight these. Meanwhile I’m continuing to develop a user-friendly format for an online integrated curriculum planning toolkit, which will eventually incorporate all such guidance into a more manageable set of resources for staff. After that, answering emails, and writing feedback on some late portfolios for our PgCert, and preparing resources to take to this afternoon meeting – about a HEFCE funded project on embedding Sustainable Development into insitutional QA processes. All these overlap – and hopefully will eventually contribute to improved learning experiences for students – but it would be very nice to have a whole day to get on with one thing at a time!


Already a busy morning, came in to find two pebble pad enquiries from staff and as person responsible for eportfolios, getting these sorted quickly is priority! So I am now looking at setting up a gateway.
Onto an LDC Journal Club where Patrick Baughan will talk to us about conducting a literature review. Necessary evil for my research study on student directed learning. Then onto a catch up lunch with my close pal on Ereflect and Pod evaluation project which we work on. ooh and along with that need to meet up with some staff on school liaison communications and learning development projects. Also need to provide feedback to a colleague in another school on a teaching observation I did for her last week.. then booked in for a spin and core class so bring it on!!

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