Category Archives: Practice in Higher Education

Event: Student Engagement, Flexible Learning and Attendance

Student Engagement, Flexible Learning and Attendance

Date: 8 Mar 2013

Start Time: 10:00 am

Location/venue: Room 8K14 (Boardroom) Jordanstown Campus University of Ulster

This event is being hosted as part of the Higher Education Academy’s Workshop and Seminar Series 2012/2013
The use of information and communication technologies is increasingly adapted to support flexible learning in Higher Education institutions. The adaptation of more sophisticated technologies offers a broad range of facilities for communication and resource sharing, thereby creating a flexible learning environment that facilitates and even encourages students not to physically attend classes. However this emerging trend seems to contradict class attendance requirements within Universities, inevitably leading to a dilemma between amending traditional regulations and creating new policies for the higher education institutions.

This workshop will bring together educators, researchers and practitioners from the academic society to present the latest advances on technology enhanced learning and new methodologies of measuring student engagement in a technology enhanced learning environment.

It provides participants with a forum to discuss the impact of new technologies on flexible learning and debate the major issues arising from linking flexible learning with class attendance and attainments.
The workshop will contribute to understanding the impact of flexible leaning on attendance and attainments and provide quantitative evidence for determining regulation amendment and development of new policies in addition to addressing practical challenges in the wider deployment of new technology to support flexible learning.

There is no charge to attend the seminar, but a place must be reserved.

To Register please email

30 places available on first-come, first-served basis.

Full details on the HEA Website. The text above is taken directly from the website linked above.

Provision programme is available here.


Changing the Learning Landscape – The Use of Social Media in Science & Technology Teaching and Learning

cll-web-bannerChanging the Learning Landscape – The Use of Social Media in Science & Technology Teaching and Learning.
Date: 13 Mar 2013
Start Time: 09:30 am
Location/venue: The Royal Society of Chemistry Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, , W1J 0BA

Changing the Learning Landscape (CLL) involves a series of activities to enable those involved in higher education to embed learning technologies in their learning and teaching practice.

One strand of activity involves discipline-focused workshops aimed at lecturers, module leaders and programme leads who are either new to, or have some knowledge of, learning technologies and would like to find out more.

‘The Use of Social Media in Science & Technology’ workshop offers an opportunity for those involved in teaching, or directly managing degree programmes, to find out more about the role social media can play in enhancing the student and tutor experience. Through a series of presentations, activities and discussions, led by academics from the science and technology disciplines, participants will be introduced to new social media approaches and see discipline-focused exemplars of social media applied in practice.

Topics will cover:

  • an introduction to teaching with social media;
  • encouraging student social networking in laboratory practical sessions;
  • enhancing fieldwork learning through social media technologies;
  • social media and lecture capture;
  • accessibility aspects of social media;
  • student perspectives on the use of social media in science and technology teaching and learning.
  • These topics will be delivered by practitioners from the science and technology disciplines.

    There is no charge for the workshop but places are limited and you are advised to apply early using the booking form.

    Please note that a similar workshop ‘The Use of Social Media in Engineering & Mathematics’ will be held on 22 May 2013 at a venue in Manchester. Details of, and registration for, this workshop will follow in due course.
    For general enquiries about this workshop please email Alex Fenlon;

    More details are available from this website.

    HEA STEM Biosciences Forum

    On 11th and 12th Spetember 2012 I was at the HEA STEM Biosciences Forum at the University of Leicester. This event was modelled on the highly successful HEA UK Centre for Bioscience Representatives Forum which took place on a yearly basis before the demise of the Centre. As expected the event attracted colleagues from a number of bioscience departments throughout the UK. Alan Cann from Leicester has provided an excellent overview of the meeting on the @leBioscience site. Once again the event provided opportunities for discussion on topics relevant to teaching in HE and it was great to hear examples of practice from colleagues working at the chalk face.

    HEA Annual Conference 2012 – Archive of Tweets & Top Tweeters!


    I attended the HEA Annual Conference from 3rd – 4th July 2012, presenting a poster on MP3 audio feedback to students.  I enjoyed a number of sessions and also participated via Twitter using the conference hashtag #HEAConf12.

    Using Martin Hawksey’s excellent twitter archive tool I include here a link to all of the tweets posted using the conference hashtag.  Click the image above to go there, or this link!

    The tool also provides some nice summary data such as the top tweeters.  List below. Hope you find this useful.

    JaneChandler 109 Number of links 367
    HEA_SocSci 84 Number of RTs 476
    DebbieHolley1 50 Number of Tweets 1520
    HEAPsychology 49 Unique tweets 1520
    sgwarnog 44 First Tweet in Archive 03/07/2012 09:47:03
    WarwickLanguage 41 Last Tweet in Archive 05/07/2012 08:02:44
    HEASTEM 39
    UoEChangeAgents 37
    HEA_Sociology 35
    ESTSASS 35
    Tim10101 34
    lisparcell 33
    HEA_Events 32
    larshyland 27
    goze01 22
    saltechdis 21
    policyreviewtv 21
    rmforsyth 21
    benscoble 19
    RebeccaGalley 19
    JohnnySRich 18
    PatParslow 18
    sarahjaneflynn 17
    tbirdcymru 17
    jennyshaw 17
    ProcessArtsUAL 16
    GdnHigherEd 16
    ModasarRasul 15
    mannymadriaga 15
    alejandroa 13
    renireni 12
    SuzanneFergus 12
    jdew2 11
    martinedmondson 11
    chrissinerantzi 11
    nopiedra 11
    HelenBarefoot 10
    UOW_LTDU 10
    PlanetChemistry 10
    johncusworth 9
    m_bro 9
    SueLee99 8
    UNITEGroup 8
    andrewmid 8
    christa_line 8
    GENIE_Tweets 7
    edwardgamble 7
    philwane 7
    GemmaLace 7
    ae_romero 7
    DoggyDoig 6
    IETatOU 6
    ceredig 6
    terrymc 6
    laizydaizy 6
    theresaduffy 6
    laperryman 5
    ArunMarsh 5
    UoBCED 5
    AlexM11 5
    marianneshepp 5
    DrSarahAtkinson 5
    JISCAdvance 5
    julieh8 5
    fiona_handley 5
    HEA_Law 5
    JimtB42 5
    leemcrofts 5
    SCOREProject 5
    ProfDcotton 4
    suewatling 4
    jopeat 4
    Seda_UK_ 4
    zenscara 4
    fredgarnett 4
    pgcap 4
    suebecks 3
    hea_AH 3
    jgro_the 3
    chriscane 3
    JISCNexus 3
    drnickmorris 3
    SussexTLDU 3
    joanieg1205 3
    DrLancaster 3
    epictalk 3
    Phil_Baty 3
    sensor63 3
    LT13uk 3
    GoMoLearning 3
    stickerboy 3
    TraceydeBeer 3
    Sally5454 3
    levylass 3
    CarolFerries 2
    ArtsEdTech 2
    ani2tall 2
    DIALProject 2
    GrahamScott14 2
    sarajanebath 2
    AMLTaylor66 2
    gillferrell 2
    sashwatson 2
    daveowhite 2
    antoesp 2
    LornaMCampbell 2
    dkernohan 2
    impact_oer 2
    tjcoughlan 2
    HEAcademy 2
    northumbrialaw 2
    hopkinsdavid 2
    Gradcore 2
    LindaKKaye 2
    chapmanpaul 2
    JISC_Techdis 2
    Stijn_Van_Laer 2
    MerynMcLaren 2
    juliadesigns 2
    ffynnonweb 2
    teachinggrid 2
    christinepd 2
    EpicKirby89 2
    slewth 2
    HEA_BusinessEdu 2
    UL_BERG 2
    LT_tech_HE 2
    jim_gatehouse 2
    ukcge 2
    glhunt31 1
    Stuart_Hepburn 1
    wcarey 1
    StacyGray45 1
    impeus 1
    rjsharpe 1
    topofthefield 1
    ArtieVN 1
    asmithorguk 1
    HederaUK 1
    hetha2009 1
    carlvincent 1
    cbthomson 1
    netskills 1
    iggiles 1
    r_rwilliams53 1
    NikNikNikki 1
    LFHEMarketing 1
    CareersUWS 1
    ual_pace 1
    PhilPocknee 1
    fazer_rider 1
    HEACeliaB 1
    nogbad 1
    OUstudents 1
    Skillcentre41 1
    redsontour 1
    OpenUniversity 1
    MaggieWG 1
    HEA_Scotland 1
    LibraryLizC 1
    obsuGM 1
    GMurphy12 1
    Usherwood 1
    paulafeery 1
    kshjensen 1
    speccollbrad 1
    ramnaslady 1
    nvticheler 1
    AlexW_NESET 1
    nosnilwar 1
    jatenas 1
    Scotsjourney 1
    drdjwalker 1
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    catherinecronin 1
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    susiestraw 1
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    PMMarshall 1
    paul_r_kleiman 1
    JasonJISCLegal 1
    laughatlife2012 1
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    paul_Iresh 1
    Sarah_Cunnane 1
    nicklebygirl 1
    THEworldunirank 1
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    BorderlessEdu 1
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    TeachingConsult 1
    MahmoonaShah 1
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    Helen_Kurai 1
    teensexplained 1
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    morungos 1
    DraycottMC 1
    dranners 1
    effdebate 1
    qui_oui 1
    SarahMooreTL 1
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    grainnehamilton 1
    drbexl 1
    matthyde 1
    DrRichJohnston 1
    spencro 1
    timeshighered 1
    elle_c_emm 1
    Aqua_Rach 1
    bobharrisonset 1
    ImperialGradSch 1
    universityboy 1
    cherylclemons 1
    skemp_esd 1
    MeghanBeler 1
    AllyCampbell88 1
    philosopher1978 1
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    NUS_Liam 1
    mscator 1
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    sophie2ze 1
    sheilmcn 1
    pstann 1
    JG_THE 1
    E4FE 1
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    HEArtsEducation 1

    Texting Times

    The Market Square in Antwerp, Belgium

    First, Glasgow Caledonian University….
    I seem to have been talking about SMS texting a bit over the last while. Last week I was invited by Kevan Gartland to Glasgow Caledonian University to participate in an event on Feedback Enhancement in the Biological Sciences. This was one in a series of seminars on this subject organised by Glasgow Caledonian University in association with the Higher Education Academy. I outlined our use of text messaging (as described previously) especially in assisting with peer marking and rapid communication of results following a written class test for around 100+ students.

    Also presenting at the event was Jamie McDermott from GCU who was demonstrating his use of especially in an inter-professional context in a session with some 500 students. This has proved most successful in engaging students in this large lecture context with many asking questions by text message were they would normally have been reluctant to pose a question verbally during the session.

    ….next, Antwerp in Belgium…
    Then this week I was off to Antwerp in Belgium for the 2012 BlackBoard Teaching and Learning Conference. This time I was invited by Travis Sowders of BlackBoard Connect to be involved in a panel discussion on the use of SMS text messaging in the classroom. Travis chaired the session and there were contributions by Jo Spiller from University of Edinburgh and myself on our three uses of texting at Ulster; communication, feedback and voting.

    **Update on Friday 1st June 2012. Slides from our session at Antwerp are now embedded below:**

    **Update on Tuesday 19th March 2013. Interview regarding the use of text messaging in the School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster as recorded in Antwerp for BlackBoardTV is now embedded below:**

    …. in other parts of the conference…
    For me one of the highlights of the conference was the keynote address by Kayvon Beykpour, general manager of Blackboard Mobile. He described the work that had been done to introduce push notifications in BlackBoard meaning that students can receive up-to-date information straight to their handheld device. This was well received by conference delegates. However, it was the second part of his presentation that appealed to me most where he described the new developments in mobile-enabled class tests / examinations. Tests set up in the mobile environment can be made available to users of an array of mobile devices, but they can still be accessed in the traditional way via a computer connected to the VLE. This new feature opens the possibility of running multiple choice and short answer tests for large groups of students, each accessing the test from the familiar platform of their preferred mobile device.

    I was also most impressed with a demo of Kaltura video sharing software for Blackboard. This facilitates a You Tube type environment where video may be shared in a number of different ways to different user groups. For me this represents an opportunity to consider upgrading the platform for our YouTestTube video sharing project adding mobile functionality and making the site much more accessible.

    There were a number of Tweeters at the event and the tweets from the #BbTLC2012 hashtag have been archived at the following address:

    Not surprisingly, WiFi access throughout the conference venues was excellent and worked flawlessly. Antwerp is also a charming city to visit.

    Image Credit.

    Distinguished Teaching Fellowship

    Celebrating with sons Matthew and Joel

    In 2007 I was delighted to receive a Distinguished Teaching Fellowship (Team Award) from the University of Ulster. The award was mainly for our support of year one students taking introductory chemistry. This year I was the recipient of a Distinguished Teaching Fellowship (Individual Award) from Ulster. Further details are here.

    HUCBMS Conference

    Last Friday I took part in the Heads of University Centres of Biomedical Science (HUCBMS) Conference 2011 held at the Coleraine campus of the University of Ulster. I was presenting on Using Mobile Technologies and Video Sharing to Engage Students in the final session on Innovation in Teaching and Learning. This turned out to be a very interactive session and I am grateful to the delegates for the many questions and comments received during and after the presentation.

    My slides from the event are provided here as a PDF.

    Image credit.