Journal October 15th 2010

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

David Bowers

As well as our published programme of scheduled workshops and drop-in advice sessions, our Learning Development team also have time allocated to be able to go into the faculties and run one-off skills sessions with specific course groups. So the morning of 15th October 2010 saw me in front of 60 Science students, running through methods of data analysis and graphical presentation (I am the maths’n’stats member of the LD team!). Some might think that this is simply “doing their teaching for them”, but in general we appreciate the chance to meet groups of students on their home ground, to introduce ourselves and our services within a relevant context.

Lunchtime was a maths drop-in. Kept busy with Nursing students who are re-sitting their drug dose calculations paper next week, wanting extra examples to practise.

Spent much of the afternoon making logistical arrangements for a trip to Berlin next month, where I am invited to run a CPD event on statistical meta-analysis for an international meeting of osteoporosis specialists. (I’ll have to “bone up” on the subject – ha-ha!).

Jan Sellers

I am part of Kent’s inter-disciplinary ‘Creative Campus’ team. In conjunction with Kent Union, we’re running a series of lunch-time events as our ‘Love Your Campus’ campaign – fun, free and community-building. I was on holiday on the 15th – but did pause at a craft shop to buy some materials for the 19th. My first day back in the office was the 18th, partly catching up and partly preparation. (The event on the 19th was an opportunity for anyone passing to drop by and learn how to draw, and make, a small labyrinth to take away – I can recommend glitter glue which brought out the inner six-year-old in quite a few students and staff!)

Andy Hagyard

October 15th was not a typical day (though not many are!). I was asked to do a workshop on critical thinking as the introductory session on the weekend study school for our EdD students. I began by presenting and applying the critical thinking model developed by the LearnHigher team at Plymouth, then went on to consider the more complex model presented by the American Foundation for Critical Thinking
It was really stimulating to work with doctoral students, and preparing the session helped me develop my own understanding of CT, its role in the undergraduate curriculum and how best to support UG students in becoming critical thinkers.

Becka Currant

I discovered a cure for cancer on this day…. no, not really! I was at a HERE (Higher Education Retention and Engagement) project team meeting in Nottingham with colleagues from NTU, Bradford and Bournemouth (hello Natalie, Chris, Sarah, Ed and Ruth!). We had a very productive meeting discussing the methodology and outputs from the project as well as setting progress review dates to ensure we deliver what we need to by the end of the project in July 2011.

julia dawson

I’m a part time learning development advisor and don’t often work on a Friday. I was in the office on Thursday 14th and started the day with a pleasant meeting with my colleague Carolyn about our new ‘Teacher online’ service. At 10am we opened the service for a 1 hour pilot run for health students on our Taunton campus. Sadly there were no takers. We later discovered that all students were in lectures at that time, but the admin staff had not told us this when we requested a suitable time and asked them to advertise it! It was a useful hour anyway. A colleague (a registered Plymouth student) logged in, so we tested the system and had some very useful discussion. We will be running further pilots of the service with a view to making it a regular weekly slot, particularly for students not based on the main campus.
From 12 till 2 I was in the library running the drop-in zone (DiZ). Only one delightful student came to see me. A first year from Sri lanka who was completely phased by his first assignment brief. I then spent some time doing emails and preparing teaching materials for a final year group on dissertation planning and writing. At the end of the day I had a meeting with one of our learning technologist to get some help with changing the css for one of our websites.


The days around the 15th saw me organising a PG student focus group to review the new Alpha model of the Reviewing, Managing and using Literature e-module that I developed with colleagues. This module is part of a project to assist new PhD students with their studies/activities as they embark on their research projects. The modules seem to be well received by the students, which is possibly partly due to the multi-media we use in them as this is often commented on.

Joe Allison

Started off Friday Oct. 15th in the drop-in zone (DiZ) in the library, trying a new slot this term from 9-11am as the afternoon slot was not too popular last year. Alas no takers today, guess it is early days still with respect to assignments. So managed to prepare some materials for sessions planned next week: report & essay writing for 1st year Business Studies students (Monday); and, assignment writing for all 1st year health programmes (Tuesday). I am also on duty on Friday’s for our email service so answered a couple requesting tutorial appointments. DiZ was followed by three tutorials, the first was a group tutorial for a group in a physics programme who have to write up a number of experiments together. Unfortunately only half (two) of them turned up, which seemed to really annoy the (I think self-appointed) leader, who had organised the tutorial in order to establish some ground rules etc. It was still productive and they went away with a much clearer idea of report writing. The second tutorial did not show up. The third tutorial was with a 3rd year Nursing student on writing, her dissertation proposal and critical literature reviews, felt like a really positive session for me so hope she had a similar experience. The afternoon was spent finalising my materials for the next week and some reading for my EdD.

Terry Finnigan

Friday 15th is my research day. I have just started my Doctorate in Education at the Institute of Education library . Today I was studying at the library working on my first essay on professionalism in teaching.

I also spent some time planning for my teaching on Monday. I am working on the Introduction to Studying in Higher Education module ( ISHE) and I am team teaching with a tutor research skills with students on first year Health Studies.


15th was a day off for me (I’m now part-time) . I spent the previous day working with a group of new lecturers to support their teaching – discussion included ways to encourage students to work with difficult texts. One of the lecturers had just tried out textmapping for the first time and was really pleased with the results.

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