Journal November 15th 2010




Collective Diary

Write a brief summary of any work-related activities undertaken on 15th November 2010 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.

julia dawson

I was not at work on the 15th Nov, but was on the 16th. I arrived at 9.10 for a meeting with a careers advisor and an academic from Maths and Stats. We discussed a first year module on which I am teaching a session at the start of next month. It was a frustrating meeting as the academic showed no interest. We discovered that the module timetable had changed and he had neglected to let us know. He hadn’t even thought about the assessment weighting for the module. We did mange to sort things out and hopefully the students will not suffer as a result of his lethargy.
Returning to the office I went through and cleared lots of emails and then went to see a student for a tutorial. She didn’t turn up. Returned to the office after 25 minutes, discussed and agreed a teaching session with a colleague, responded to 2 student email enquiries on referencing and drafted some text about the LD service during the Xmas Vacation for the web. At 15.30 there was an LD team meeting for an hour (which included discussions on travel to Belfast for the ALDinHE conference) and I then prepared my teaching for this Friday.

Ruth Marciniak

Started my work day with a lecture followed by a seminar. Seminar was an employability session. Students were asked to identify one particular skill in which they were accomplished in and which they could effectively communicate in a job interview. Most of the examples they gave were skills that they had developed in their work place. For example, stress tolerance, for the students who said it, a skill developed from working in a call centre or in a customer service capacity for a retailer. Not one of the students drew from their university experience – interesting. I questioned myself as to whether we as a university are contributing to developing skills that employers want. Perhaps we are but it is not being made explicit to students. Make a note to myself – for the next seminar, ask students whether they think there are any skills they are developing at university, which will be relevant to future employment – I wonder what they will answer.

Had lunch in my office and met with a colleague to discuss a module we are delivering together. Discussion revolved around the seminar that she had just had with her students in regard to two students who walked out of the seminar, she thought, because these students did not fully understand the task they were asked to do, which required some level of numeracy. They had asked her for help but left not long after and well before the session finished.

Spent most of the afternoon dealing with emails. A coursework is due in tomorrow and a number of students are sending queries of which the subject matter consists of: worry over the word length, where to submit the coursework (these are first students so probably may well be their first coursework submission) and a number of queries about referencing. Guidance on these had been given in previous lectures and again in seminars and also guidance is on weblearn. Am I bad at my job or are students needy, dependent learners? – well they are first term, first year students. What ever, I can remember being a student and asking a lecturer for particular information and being informed I had already been told this. It is human nature, we demand information only at the time we need it and we go direct to source i.e. the lecturer.

Before I left for home, agreed to meet with and deliver a taster session to a group of Btech Retail students who are visiting the university – hopefully with a view to applying to us in the future.

Debbie Holley


This is my second week in a new job, this I have been up to today:

Got in early and checked my twitter feeds, emailed colleagues as per their interests (as far as I know thus far); compiled a ‘research snippets’ mailing for the whole faculty and got this sent around. Further sorting of desk and filing cabinet with a special folder for ALDinHE of course! Then down to second marking an MA dissertation and thinking about feedback to the student. Met with Phil, my mentor to discuss modules we may teach together, and talked about the student voice in when and how these modules are run. ie they hate a Friday afternoons 4-6 one.

Michael from the Computer helpdesk came along to assess my PC needs and install free software, on my list: Jing, Second Life, iPlayer, Mozilla firefox so I can have the delicious buttons for bookmarking, Itunes. We also discuss the format for a blog I want to create.

I worked on my second life project ‘out’ of second life as the graphics card on the PC isn’t great. I found an entry on cloudworks when I was following up some twitter feeds first thing about virtual worlds and added that to the project blog ( Spent time emailing my professional contacts to try to sort out when and where we could film a warehouse for a day, and did some project finance admin.

Then put together some briefing notes for the Head of Department on voting systems in the classroom, and started to research the background for a working party on reviewing the Anglia Ruskin student charter. Off to a meeting now…more next month, debbie

anne morris

let me see…

yesterday (tuesday) began with final formative marking of ‘critical reflections on practice’ to give feedback to PGCert TADLHFE students (i.e. those on the trainee specialist dyslexia / SpLDs tutors’ course)

followed by teaching from 10.30am – 1pm (critical thinking and how to support students in developing their critical academic skills, understanding their value, etc; plus discussion of the observation of tutoring process and other issues of assessment -topped off nicely with a box of Quality Street from one participant celebrating Eid with us!)

1pm Individual discussion with student

1.15pm onwards:
– entering class attendance on Evision for morning group
– updating some content in Weblearn module
– emailing…and emailing (l&t courses enquirers, colleagues internally and externally, inc some currently at the SEDA conference – and bit tongue as not there in person)
– finalising arrangements with LSBU for my visit to their PGCert in L&T as EE this Thursday
– asked to find case studies online for colleague for afternoon session
– arranging two interviews for the Feb start of the PGCert TADLHFE course
– wrote memo to the PGCert (L&T course for staff) on DTFL and the LTP course participants re Weds workshops and update on their next assessment
– organised tutor observations for DTFL (PGCert in L&T) participants
– met with HPL for TADLHFE course to discuss arrangements for next week and the observation process (she to oxford? me to gillingham, and so forth)
-prepared L&T courses workshops for both the DTFL module of the PGCert & the LTP course for today & produced handouts and programme / uploaded
-phoned several colleagues on various work matters
– briefly met with another course leader re professional body updates
– briefly discussed the new requirement for dyslexia training in schools & forthcoming meeting attending
– wrote reference for ex-participant
– undertook some small courses management activities
– rang my father’s new nursing home to check he is settling in well
– remembered to go to canteen to get lunch at 3.45ish
– prepared docs for 9.15am meeting this morning

…and i can’t remember the rest, to be honest, but working fast until realised it was 9.19pm and i was yet again in danger of being locked in the building (and partly wishing i were, if not so tired and beyond rational – or any – useful thought)

so, another typical day in london town, then, really, except that being a Tuesday it is more skewed than usual towards the dyslexia course than the Learning & Teaching courses and other CAPD work – a productive day, nothing unusual today, except the horrible feeling at back of mind all the time about current proposals and worrying about colleagues.

David Hardman

I am a lecturer in the School of Psychology at London Met; 25% of my time is allocated to facilitating good practice in teaching & learning, with specific regard to modules with low pass rates. I only heard about this project today (16th Nov), so hadn’t made a specific record of my activities on the 15th. I dealt with various administrative aspects of my job (mostly enquiries of one sort or another), but I am already struggling to remember what they were!

On 15th November my day began early. I woke at 5am in order to try and photograph the sunrise along the Thames (as a keen photographer I check the next day’s weather forecast before going to bed). At about 7.30am I was taking advantage of the wi-fi in Starbucks at Tower Hill, in order to upload some pictures to my photo blog.

Sometime between 8.30 – 9am I was in my office. I emailed my tutorial group students with time slots for their forthcoming class presentations. I dealt with a reference for a student. Quite a bit of time was taken up either seeing students in person or exchanging email in relation to final year projects (including reading and approving their proposals). I spent a little time helping a student set up an online questionnaire, as she had no prior experience of this.

Sometime around the middle of the day one of our technicians assisted me with setting up a digital signature in order that I could access some statistical information on module pass rates that I’d downloaded from the university’s online archive. I then extracted the information that was relevant for our specific faculty (Faculty of Life Sciences) and compiled this into a separate file. I emailed this to the Dean and School Heads (actually I forgot the attachment and had to re-send today).

In the afternoon, I was supposed to attend a meeting of the Pedagogy working party connected to the current review of Undergraduate provision. However, I had already signalled that I might not be able to attend, as I had a conflicting engagement connected to my position as a UCU officer. So, in the afternoon I met up with a colleague for whom I am providing support in relation to a complaint made against her. We travelled to the University’s North Campus, where we had a meeting with a manager who is investigating the complaint. The meeting was quite difficult, and I was feeling a little frazzled by the time I got back to our City Campus.

Not being able to concentrate very well, I went for a short walk along the Thames before travelling across to the London School of Economics for the “Work in Progress” group, which discusses theory and research relating to evolution and evolutionary psychology. Partway through that meeting my early start began to catch up with me, and I was feeling quite tired. The meeting finished at 7pm, and I took my camera along the Victoria Embankment, where I had a specific project in mind, the cold evening waking me up. I finally got home at 8.45pm.


November 15th was a ‘non-work’ day (babysitting granddaughter, interspersed with checking and responding to email and approving new comments on this site – really pleased how people are responding)
So nearest official work day is today (16th) – attended Student Retention Improvement Team meeting this morning, discussing plans to move our ASK online study guide out of the VLE into a proper website for improved design and accessibility. We also made some progress in trying to join up the various initiatives around the university into a more coherent set of resources based around the student lifecycle. Staff facing version will be part of a curriculum planning toolkit, student version will link to videos and other resources. PM back at desk, wondering where the time to do all this is going to come from…..


On the 15th November I met with Katherine Harrington from the Write Now CETL to discuss possible responses to the deletion of both Writing and Learning Development at London Met. We both attended a Review of Undergraduate Education (RUGE) Pedagogic Workstream meeting to discuss future directions for pedagogy at the University… All slightly bemused that we are being deleted before the outcomes of this Review process. Meanwhile in LDU, North Campus, members of my Team ran an Essay Writing Course, lunch time, a drop-in service from two till seven (though the tutor stayed till eight thirty to make sure all the students were seen) and an evening Study and Academic Skills workshop.

Michelle Reid

Today, I was preparing for an embedded workshop on writing for a Part 2 Real Estate and Planning module which involved creating a session which looks at the purpose, structure and writing process for research papers, as well as how to integrate theory with empirical data. I was creating subject-specific examples of writing for literature reviews and for discussion sections to use in activities. I had a meeting with my colleague, Kim, on how we were going to proceed with a pilot project we have just won funding for – to train PhD students to do quick query study support embedded within departments. In the afternoon, I saw 6 students for Study Advice appointments – the students ranged from History to Biomedical Sciences and Cybernetics, and the issues we discussed ranged from visualising information and applying it in exams to structuring essays.

Ann Barlow

Yesterday started with a text from one of the team to say she was off sick. Luckily she only had one meeting set up which we had to cancel.
Mid-morning I did some joint planning over the phone with a colleague in another faculty. We’re running parallel Public Engagement competitions over the next few months with a grand final across the University. I’m going to be delivering workshops on “Knowing your Audience”. I’ll also be setting up the judging panel for the competition heats in Humanities.
The next phone call was from a colleague wanting a report on LearnHigher activity in preparation for the QAA visit in April.
After that there was just enough time to collect together the felt pens and paper I needed to deliver a workshop on mind mapping/concept mapping to our Humanities post-grad researchers. It was intended as a one and a half hour session but they turned out to be very lively and conversational so it was lucky I’d got the room booked for three hours. They all seemed to be enjoying themselves and the feedback was very positive.
It was a good day.

John Cowan

06.45 Still to resolve problem of not having posted my diaries for the first two months. Up to as usual anticipate e-mail from students in Taiwan, see what is expected of me in this Web 2.0 course. Log in. Nothing there as yet.

Had a Share reminder. That’s the first one.

Just lost my diary updating till 08.45. Must get this Share system right.

06.00 – 07.00 Sleeping 45 mins.
Checking and replying to overseas e-mails 15 mins.

07.00 – 08.00 Converting Share diary for Sept to plain text (15 mins)
Making coffee and toast for self and wife, and consuming in bed (45 mins)

08.00 – 09.00 Finishing reading sports supplement (10 mins)
Converting Share diary St/Oct to plain text (20 mins)
Reading and printing task for Web 2.0 online course (10 mins)
Updating this diary – twice, having lost the first version 10 mins.
Washing, shaving, shower (10 mins)

Have just discovered that if I opt to edit, it seems to delete everything I’ve done so far. Ugh!

09.00 – 10.00 Shaving and showering, 20 mins. Struggling with this online course, as a participant. Simple questions with which I need assistance will take an age to get answers for. Struggle on. 40 unproductive minutes looking for an image, and wondering what’s wrong with my formulation of the search criteria.
10.00 – 11.00 IT problems on the desktop I need to view the explanatory video – which in the end tells me nothing that helps. 30 frustrating minutes. Back to Share diary; it needs amplification in bland and general terms (30 mins)
11.00 – 12.00 Need a break. Go to public library to change books. 60 mins
12.00 – 13.00 Struggling with IT on Web 2.0 course. I give up. (30 mins).
Snailmail: Old university newsletter. Interesting read. (30 mins).
13.00 – 13.45 Lunch. (45 mins)
Reading personal mail (15 mins)
14.00 – 15.00 Messing about on Web 2.0 course. I’m lost, can’t find help, and feel a total failure. (10 mins)
Now searching for references for paper on assessment, from JISC brochure. One at least of them doesn’t work. Got it by another route. (20 mins) Reading papers (30 mins)
15.00 – 16.00 Reading assessment papers to update me. (30 mins)
Grandchildren arrive, then to be looked after (30 mins)
16.00 – 17.00 Looking after grandchildren (60 mins)
17.00 – 18.00 Ditto and tea. (60 mins)
18.00 – 19.30 Adding references to draft paper on assessment (90 mins).
19.30 – 20.30 Then revising the paper – again!(60 mins)
20.30 – 21.00 Break to watch a favourite TV comedy character.
21.00 – 22.00 Watching Trump running over NE Scotland
22.00 – 22.30 More work on online course. Can’t get the last bit done.

Then to bed.


A funny day, with no online tutoring almost – just one Edinburgh enquiry. Spent a fair bit of time multi-tasking – on the online Web 2.0 course,e-mail routine, mixed up with working on the paper on assessment, and a wee bit of wrestling with IT.

Kim Shahabudin

I like the idea of this exercise, as much to remind me of how many different things I do in a day as anything else! So, today I’ve been:

– a tutor (1-2-1s with PhD students on academic writing style and giving presentations)
– a student (completed online training course on Freedom of Information Act)
– an author and marketer (wrote article promoting our new training and transition resources for Freshers –
– a collaborator and project worker (meeting with my colleague Michelle to discuss our new project developing a model for training and supporting postgraduates as departmental LD advisers)
– a webmistress (checking the webstats for early academic year usage of our website against the last two years)

And it’s only my second day back after a three month sickness absence…

Sandra Sinfield

Had a quick look at your new resource and am really impressed! My nephew has just started as an undergraduate so I get a special insight into what the students are really up to. He says that the other students on his course are all waiting for all the information they will need to complete their assignments to just appear before them in the VLE just like it did at college. I don’t think many people realise quite how passive the teaching/learning process has become pre-HE (and in the light of League Tables that loom and terrify people into spoon feeding). Of course all this feeds into pressure on HE academics to put material into VLEs even if they have reservations about the ethics and pedagogical merit of the activity…
AND – so glad you are recovering from your operation – I think you must be twirling round the house outshining the Strictly stars by now! Best, Sandra


Well this morning started off with a bang! I started early what with the ice and freezing temperatures ( well it was cold for me)..the commute in from Richmond to Islington wasn’t too bad and I was at work by 9am. I organised myself and made a list of things to do. I had edited a couple of staff members on i-movie and so needed to post the videos up on our Learning Development Centre(LDC) blog and podcast feed. I also prepared our showcase at the HEA Seminar – What works? Exploring personal tutoring for student success for a poster presentation. After that I met with one of the team on Pebble Pad to develop an overview of eportfolios so that I can take the work off her bless her as I have agreed to being ‘chief guardian’ of eportfolios! Back to the office after moving our meeting to various locations seeing as we hadn’t booked an actual room. Blimey lots of students milling around the corridors and it makes the large corridors warm again. Then time for lunch where I find out my I.D card has expired so off I go to HR to get my card rejuvenated.
Now settling down to review an article and another meeting to oversee the Pods at City University..I await to hear of others..

Emily Danvers


I’ve been thinking of setting up a blog for our site and tried to find the link to yours but couldn’t. I was hoping to get some ideas!



Hi Emily – I think its this

Sandra Sinfield

Rae – so good to see your contribution. We must meet up in Islington! Perhaps have a working lunch to share the great practice you have described here, I’d like to know more… Best, Sandra Sinfield


Hi Sandra,

apologies I only saw this email from you today. Would love to meet up let me know if you’re popping in to Angel and we can go and do lunch!


Helen Bowstead

Not supposed to work on Mondays, but here I am. Lots of (Chinese) students wandering the corridors looking for tutorials. As ever, I fail to direct them to the official sign up sheets (I know all the slots are full) and see them anyway. Grapple with paraphrasing for 45 minutes. Realise tomorrow’s lesson is still unplanned. And my new lever arch file, the optimistic symbol of the new organised me, is still empty.
Ah well.

Emily Danvers

Phew! Last week was a busy one. In the autumn and spring, we organise a week long event of academic skills workshops ranging from designing surveys, writing literature reviews and understanding statistics to writing concisely, planning assignments and working with feedback. Almost 600 students attended and although the numbers were slightly down from last year, 97% rated the workshops very useful or useful which is more important to me.

Suprisingly, the workshops were dominated by taught postgraduates who made up 52% of those attending, far more than in previous years. I wonder if anyone has noticed similar patterns.


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