Saturday 20 October 2018

Guides to using barcode scanners in the Writing Cafe (Via S4 student system)

Created some new guides to using scanners in the Writing Cafe, so the Writing Mentors would know how to keep them charged, general care and how to use them appropriately. It is also helping us to understand how the cafe was being used by our students. We have been finding over the years that students are quite happy to produce their campus cards for scanning, especially if it helps us prove how popular the Writing cafe is as a resource for our students writing development!

Wednesday 17 October 2018

S3 to S4 Salesforce - Upgrading to a new system for Writing Cafe-Tutorials-Workshops tracking

Had a very productive meeting today with Rupert Frankum (from TIS) today to discuss the possibility of taking our data collection from S3 into S4 in order to establish use of the Writing Cafe (and tutorials/workshops) in Learning Development. (In an earlier post, I mentioned about reducing administration for collecting date regarding Writing Cafe visits) S3 has worked really well, however, S4 has the opportunities to give a really excellent overview of student progression and use of facilities. Rupert showed me the ability to create bespoke dashboards that would allow all the data to be incorporated in S4, so there is no need to transfer anything out. This really could bring us closer to Big Data, in understanding where we can support students in the future.

Wednesday 15 November 2017

The Plymouth Student Scientist (e-Journal)

Really please to have accepted to be Editor for The Plymouth Student Scientist (e-journal). The journal has reach 10 years of successful publications! This was originally set up by Dr Karen Gresty (Associate Dean for the Faculty of Science and Engineering) and co-run with Andrew Edwards-Jones. The journal provides an opportunity to allow final year STEM undergraduates the opportunity to publish their research.

Looking forward to taking on the reigns! 

This journal currently uses the Open Journal System software. However, to reduce hosting costs I am considering an integration into the University's own systems, as this is currently hosted externally.

Thursday 4 August 2016

S3 Student System and Writing Cafe attendance monitoring

Had some great conversations with Dr Paul Dowland (creator of the S3 system we use at Plymouth for student module/programme and teaching logging). I wanted to see how I could utilise barcode scanning of campus cards as a means to monitor access to the Writing Cafe and also potentially use it for Learning Development Tutorials and teaching sessions.  The use of the barcode scanners mean that no student data is collected, other than number and date. Keeping things quick easy safe and secure.  This will help Learning Development to establish how much the Cafe and related learning devleopment tutorials are impacting on student learning in the long run, as well as widening participation. This should also completely cut back on administration and improve working efficiencies -  Exciting times!

Sunday 11 October 2015

Co-Chair for LearnHigher

I am thrilled to announce that I have now taken on the position of Co-Chair for LearnHigher with Amanda Pocklington (University of Exeter). Really excellent working group and a lot of exciting ideas to implement. LearnHigher is part of the Association of Learning Development in Higher Education (ALDinHE). To quote from the site

'Learnhigher is a network for promoting and facilitating the development and dissemination of high quality, peer-reviewed resources for learning development in the higher education sector. [Their] aim [is] to support the development of such resources as well as conduct and disseminate research into the use and effectiveness of learning development strategies and materials.'

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 joined 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 (Canon), seperate (Zoom mic), and editing (by me) performed in Premiere Pro CS5.5.