Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Catch of the Day: Wrasse poster wins a prize at ALDinHE Conference Southampton!

Very chuffed to have won a poster prize (at the ALDinHE Conference) promoting the new Wrasse website. It took a fair amount of time to design and create. All the design work was done in PowerPoint 2010.

What is Wrasse? Well, it stands for: Writing for Assignments E-Library. Its purpose is to help students understand what good academic writing is within the context of their discipline. This resource is on-line, so there are no barriers to learning internationally!

Wrasse has seen various forms of development since 2002, so the concepts have been well established. The interface has recently been improved but lacked a new hosting space. Since I took on support of Wrasse in November 2014 (kindly offered by John Hilsdon & Joe Allison),there has been a considerable amount of time, conversations and meeting to finalise the hosting.  This included the website developers (Yello Studio, Exeter) and systems experts here at Plymouth. Having Wrasse finally up and running, and winning a poster prize  has been a wonderful surprise.

We are currently looking to build the essay and report database so students have a much larger resource in which to benefit. I will add that this is not just a resource for Plymouth University but also for anyone wishing to support academic writing. Wrasse also features on the LearnHigher resources website. If you are interested in what we do in Learning Development at Plymouth University, or just interested in discussing Wrasse, please visit our external site.

Friday, 5 December 2014


Its only been a few months since I jointed Learning Development at Plymouth University (as a Learning Development Advisor). I help run tutorials and workshops on academic literacy, also within the imaginative space 'The Writing Cafe' offering informal tutorials for passing students. A Plymouth University 2nd year photography student chose the Writing Café for her project creating a story about the individuals who worked in and used the space. Each person was photographed in a way that the student thought represented them well and combined with a piece of writing.  I thought I would go out of my usual comfort zone and write a poem. Inspired by the Cafe and others in my team...  This is the outcome:

Comfort in spaces

Talk or write, write or talk,
There is solace in the pen, there is comfort in paper;
Home is in a page, a book, a novel,

Shadows and light, Plato’s cave,
Images of knowledge, the minds you touch,
Help another, lighten the load,
Find a space, escape a hold,
Clarity of vision, wisdom with love,
Peace within silence, the final abode...

Jason, 5th Dec 2014

Monday, 22 September 2014

Library and IT essentials (for student Induction)

I've been working with my colleague Julie Moody who is an Information Specialist (Health, Education and Languages) to help create induction materials for students requiring guidance on Library and IT services at their disposal. This is a follow on project similar to the work for the 'Paper: Enhancing student induction to Library and IT services in Higher Education' which I'm happy to report is being used this year to good effect.
I've just finished a banner which will be used on-line to promote this resource during welcome week, shown to the left.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Workshop introductions

Working with my colleague Rob Stillwell (Senior Learning Technologist), we have produced a series of introductory videos for ASTI (Academic Support Technology and Innovation) workshops that have been developed by the team.  These are very short around ~1 minute just to give a taster of what can be expected. These now appear, embedded within the workshop pages, as an example please feel free to visit the More with Moodle workshop page.  This workshop provides advance pedagogic benefits of using Moodle. The video also appears on internal Moodle course pages related to those workshops.

These were filmed using DSLRs, external sound recorder and LED lighting.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Moodle Stories - How I went from sceptic to enthusiast

I've been working on the following video with my colleagues to capture views of others using Moodle as a teaching and learning platform. I've been eagerly waiting for the release of the official ASTI news letter before publishing this to my own blog. The ASTI newsletter articles, current and past are available here for those who are interested.

In the above video Gary Strong (Lecturer in Paramedic Practice) provides some very frank commentary on his experience of using Moodle and shares some of his pedagogical approaches.
Further detail on this video available via the ASTI website: which also provides some chapter jumping options.

This interview was created using two cameras and editing performed in Premiere Pro CS5.5.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

DigiThings video interview

Flea Palmer (Learning Technologist) recently interviewed Dr Emily Beaumont (Lecturer in Entrepreneurship) regarding the new DigiThings online course for academics. Here is the the video I helped put together, capturing Dr Beaumont's experiences. It also gives insights into how this course also benefited her students.

This video with an evaluation can also be found on the ASTI website or visiting the DigiThings blog.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Paper: Enhancing student induction to Library and IT services in Higher Education

Collaborative development,
dissemination and student interaction
I have had the pleasure of working on an exciting project with colleagues within ASTI (Academic Support Technology and Innovation), which resulted in a journal publication.

Part of this project was devising a means of making induction more exciting for the participants. One approach used to increase student involvement was to create a game within the induction presentation inside PowerPoint, so initial contact would be much more exciting for attendees. This was based on the BBC show 'Pointless', although in this case, very much angled to University services and support specific questions (Special thank you to the BBC for giving the University permission to adapt their game show idea in this project). Thanks also extends to the ASTI team collaborators involved in the development work for this project.  The digram to the left gives a visual description of how this works.

The co-written paper with my colleague Julie Moody (Information Specialist -Health, Education and Languages) is available from the journal of Innovative Practice in Higher Education, which also details this process and looks at feedback from the students:

MOODY, J. & TRUSCOTT, J. 2014. Enhancing student induction to library and IT services in higher education. Innovative Practice in Higher Education, 2.

UPDATE: similar processes are now being implemented in 5 external institutions.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Teaching Fellowship: 'Getting Podcasting Right for Students and their Learning'

Podcasting for learning
Very pleased to have been awarded a University Teaching Fellowship (Plymouth University), with colleagues from the Faculty of Science and Environment: Dr Martin Lavelle; Dr Carrie Headlam; Dr Paul Hewson and Prof David McMullan. Congratulations to you all! I look forward to working with you more closely in this very exciting fellowship.

The work will involve research and development in the use of podcasting for students in the School of Computing and Mathematics, looking specifically at what really works well for our students. We also welcome our critical friend Dr Karen Gresty (Associate Dean for the Faculty).  Implementing use of the new DLE (Digital Learning Environment) at Plymouth with Moodle as the central modular learning platform.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Two new modules for the Hydrographic Academy

Sneaky snapshot of interface
I've been working hard on the design and development of another user interface for the Hydrographic Academic with Plymouth University.  This design has additional interactive usability enhancements, making it easier for students to find all the learning materials and support their needs. As in previous interfaces, I have incorporated HTML5 video integration and now includes some CSS3, JQuery and Javascript menu navigation to help thing look more interesting.  I've been asked not to give away too much as the Academy likes to surprise their students. This time round the Academy has produced 2 new modules based around this design, which incorporates a plethora of digital learning materials from both dedicated Academy and invited lecturers.  Details are available on the HA website.  I hope the students enjoy the next round of learning!

Monday, 13 January 2014


A multi-collaborative digital skills development programme started this week (created at Plymouth University). It is aimed at those involved in teaching wishing to learn about new and different digital tools first hand.  Further details can be found on the DigiThings blog, which is worth a look.

For this course I had the pleasure of compiling together ~30sec talking heads introduction videos from each of the team members involved, within their respective areas.  The above Prezi features all the videos. Many thanks to all and also to Flea Palmer, Edd Bolton and Ed Bremner for the video brainstorming and Prezi development.

Those interested in the video equipment - I used a Canon 650D and edited the content within Premiere Pro CS5.5 (also for titling).  Screen capture was performed by the respective team members (using applications such as Adobe Captivate, ScreenFlow and Camtasia).