Journal July 15th 2011

Write a brief summary of any work-related activities undertaken on 15th July 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.

Lucy Hughes

Hi all; I have been teaching fashion in FE for 7 years and after completing a masters 2 years ago I have been desperate to progress to HE (as much as i lve engaging with the 16-19 cohort, I now need more ‘brain food’) I have had a couple of unsuccessful interviews with no feedback. My next interview is looming and I have stumbled across your blog when researching pedagogy in fashion HE. As part of the interview I have to do a 10 minute presentation on ‘the challenges facing the teaching of fashion education in HE’ : I am planning to discuss the importance of learning in context and links with industry, about engaging with contemporary practitioners and learning ‘real time’ skills relevent to the current market. Any thoughts?


Hi Lucy – you’ll probably get more replies if you send this to the associated email list Good luck!

Kim Shahabudin

Hi Lucy, Agree with Pauline that LDHEN will give you more responses. Couple of things that spring to mind though are [1] creative arts students often have difficulties with the increase in written elements in more academic HE courses – mediating this transition can be crucial for academic success [2] everyone in HE is anticipating an increase in consumerist attitudes from students paying huge top-up fees – how can you persuade students that they are getting ‘value for money’, especially in a discipline where, post-graduation, careers are often dominated by unpaid work experience in expensive cities? Hope that’s helpful – good luck!

Lucy Hughes

Thank you both; I have sent the request out to the email so hopefully I will get some replies. Kim, your comment on ‘value for money’ is certainly something I agree and will explore further!

Michelle Reid

Friday was mainly focused on our upcoming office move which Kim mentioned above!
I have (foolishly) taken on the task of ordering all our new office furniture and computers. Just as I feel I have done this successfully, another round of chasing and bureaucracy starts, so quite a lot of Friday was taken up with following up suppliers and their bizzare internal invoicing procedures.

However, the move also means we have to produce new publicity, and I have been liaising with our University designer to create new stickers and bookmarks. It was really exciting on Friday to see the proofs of our stickers, complete with QR codes. The design makes use of the space and the QR code well. The designer was particularly excited by the project and I think we will be the first department in the University to use QR codes in this way – Study Advice leading in innovation and geekery!

By the afternoon, I was definitely in the mood for getting back to some Study Advice as a very welcome relief from chasing suppliers, so I was disappointed that the two students I had booked in both cancelled. One was a new student I hadn’t met before who was looking for help with their resit exams. One was a student I have been seeing for a while for help with resubmitting a lot of coursework for her Masters degree. I was concerned that she cancelled but she emailed me soon afterwards to rebook.

I used the time to start planning out new resources that I am developing for Masters students to help understand and clarify the transition from undergraduate to Masters level study. There seems very little out there specifically for Masters students and the learning curves they have to make in their intense year courses are very steep.

Chris Doye

I’d just got back from a wonderful week’s holiday in Bologna on 13th so lots of catching up to do. I’m moving to a new job soon so I spent the first part of the morning continuing to write up notes for my colleagues on proposed collaborations with academic staff that I’d been setting up before I had any idea I would be leaving.
It’s a fairly quiet time in terms of seeing students but I did have a one-to-one consultation, a follow-up appointment with a student who had failed an assignment some time ago and with whom it had taken a lot of negotiation to persuade her to actually come and see us. The news was good: she had passed the resubmission and she had taken up my suggestion to have an inital dyslexia screening with the result that she has been formally assessed and should have appropriate support in place for next term. She seemed much more positive and confident as we discussed her approach to her next assignment.
In the afternoon, I attended a meeting that brings together members of various different support services (library, learning technologists, registry and so on) who have any connection to the Education faculty. It’s an attempt to compensate for the lack of effective communication at institutional level and very useful – I discovered that the room we’ve booked for all our workshops next year is about to be made into a computer lab!
Came back to find a message from the Exams office – could we print more fliers outlining our support for students who have failed exams. Oh dear.

Debbie Holley

Today was my first back in the office after annual leave. Huge volume of email as ever and heart sank as saw messages on phone too….
However message one was saying my iPad had arrived  huge excitement and now using it to do this entry. Love at first sight!
Anyway on with day formatted a journal article for Social Research Journal they are now on emerald and allows pre publication citations. M Lunch with my great mentor Phil Long who talked me through the resubmission process for students and answered loads of queries as this is my first assessment round in new post. Two colleagues and I all had abstracts accepted for our research conference in September. Spent some time this afternoon with a student on resubmission tutorial. Final task was reviewing feedback from our ethics panel for a research project and drafting the amendments before emailing to my partners. Twitter going well I think I am @debbieholley1

Kim Shahabudin

Friday was a fairly typical ‘vacation’ day: saw two postgrad students for individual advice sessions, did some work on updating existing resources and on the exciting development of new ones, started clearing my desk and thinking about packing for my fifth office move in six years, and (just to break up the day nicely) sat in a hospital waiting room for an hour and a quarter. We were also celebrating appointing a really excellent candidate as the new member of our Study Advice team – no doubt there’ll be more on that at a later date!

The first student wanted advice on writing literature reviews. She was studying for her Masters degree, having only previously completed a level 4 HE certificate and a short ‘postgrad’ diploma. As a consequence, her academic experience and confidence were not quite up to where she needed to be – though her interest, enthusiasm and commitment to study could not be faulted. I’m sure you’ve all met students like this recently.

The second student had succumbed to the distractions of conference organising and extracurricular language learning while writing his PhD thesis – well, don’t we all? He needed help to get him back on track.

The updating was mostly adding new logos to some of our existing resources where we’d got funsing to further develop them – that’ll be my expertise at applying for project funding, image manipulation and web authoring put into practice. But the best bit of the day was seeing the proofs of our new stickers which we’re going to give to tutors to place on students’ work as part of their feedback – using QR (Quick Response) codes to link directly to instructions for booking an appointment via students’ smartphones. Woo-hoo! Geek heaven!

Janette Myers

I work Monday to Thursday, so my post is going to be a bit about Thursday 14th and also about Saturday 16th. On Thursday first thing I met with a student who had been referred to me by our disability support officer as her dyslexia screening had showed she was unlikely to have dyslexia. This is our usual practice, if students are likely to have dyslexia they are referred for diagnostic testing and to the SpLD tutor, if not they get me. I then carried on reviewing an article which was returned for revisions. I realised how students feel, you need to include this this and this, but you’re already at the word limit so what are you going to leave out to get the new stuff in? Supposing they wanted the other stuff in as well, can I choose sensibly or shall I use a pin?
In the afternoon I went to a seminar on the ethics of widening participation which contained some ideas I was unfamilar with. Thankfully my philosopher son was visiting this weekend and filled in some of the blanks on the capability approach.

On Saturday I attended a very useful conference on international foundation programmes. As they are to be added to my institution’s portfolio this was a wonderful way to become aware of the issues. One very interesting question for me was why it was on a Saturday. When I asked I was told that many people would not be released from teaching to attend in the week. As a member of Aldhe’s CPD working group I was interested by this additional barrier to undertaking CPD and felt relief that this is not the case for me. Aren’t these colleague’s institutions fortunate to be able to count on their devotion and professionalism.

Sandra Sinfield

I am writing this on the 18th July. This is supposed to be the first day of my vacation – but I have been out and about for a couple of weeks (presenting a session on Teaching Notemaking for Academic Liaison Librarians at Leeds University, participating in an International students day at Anglia Ruskin and in a two-day Academic Literacies symposium organised by Jackie Cawkell, Sheffield Hallam University) so I have a back log of emails to tackle, a BRIEF performance review to prepare and some other work stuff to complete… Oh and we’re writing the third edition of Essential Study Skills as well…
To prepare for all this typing and non-ergonomic hunching over the computer I did manage to go to yoga this morning – but alas there will be no Monday morning yoga across August – so I’m not sure how to de-crease myself this summer. I guess I’ll be playing my Geri Halliwell yoga tape rather a lot. Have happy summers people!

Terry Finnigan

On Friday 15th July I was very busy working with students

In the morning I had a meeting with two students who have been nominated for a University award for achieving so highly in their course. It is a Tell Us About It award and they will receive £100.00 and have to let new students know what helped them learn, what were the challenges and any tips or strategies for new students. They can create any response to those questions- could be written, video or as one of the students who got a first in costume design said she may create a dress with her learning experiences on it-that was exciting!

Then I went to listen to the presentations of 15 college students on their last day of the one week Business summer school. They were very good! Then in the afternoon I ran a session on their next step on applying to university.

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