ABC Design at @LSBU

This is blog post I should have published ages ago…I intended to up date it but never got round to it,  so it’s a bit underdeveloped. Myself and Isobel Bowditch ran an ABC Design workshop for all staff in the School of Law and Social Science here at lSBU. Originally developed at UCL they have provided  a variety of great resources (with a Creative Commons licence).


Session outline

On your table you should l find a set of resources:
blue and red pen, module info and graph sheet, learning activity cards, storyboard sheet, dots/stars , blue tack and action plan

1. Module info and graphs sheet activity (15 mins)
Describe your module: tweet size description of your module
Module shape (Learning types activities graph): distribution of learning types.
Blend: (blended graph)

2. Storyboard part 1 (20 mins)
Storyboard – learning types sequences and activities
existing module design
Add/change any learning types to what you want

3. Storyboard part 2 (20 mins)
Digital: Flip activity cards over and suggest digital alternatives to ‘traditional’ methods.
Assessment: identify formative and summative activities using stars/dots
Finalise: stick all elements down with blue tack.

4. Break/ Circulate (10 mins)
Have a look at other storyboards.
How different are they from yours?
Are there any ideas you’d like to adopt?

5. Module info and graph sheet (15mins)
Review original graph– what has changed? Why?

6. Action plan (20mins)
what next for team?

Evaluation of ABC Design Workshop – 20.6.18

At the end of the workshop we asked participants to answer 4 questions about the session. We had 30 completed evaluation sheets. I have selected some of the comments and provided a brief summary of the responses for each question.

Q1. Which aspects of the workshop did you find particularly useful?

‘Opportunity to reflect and share’, ‘Stimulated discussion with colleagues on all modules’, ‘Opportunity to reflect on module delivery and share experiences’, ‘I found the cards very helpful and offered lots of interesting new suggestions for how I can deliver modules I the future’, ‘Time to plan with colleagues’., ‘A chance to talk about teaching with our colleagues’.

Summary: Overall what everyone appreciated was an opportunity to reflect on the modules that they teach on. They felt that the ABC Design tasks gave them the time and space to talk about the planning of their modules and their students learning activities.

Q2. Where there any aspects of the workshop that you did not find helpful or that we should change?

‘It was not very advanced and some academics are already doing these’, ‘Found it a bit long and low level’, ‘More specific focus on the needs of experienced teachers (Perhaps a bit low level for some staff?), ‘The structure/model did not work for us. The artificial divide into 6 ‘learning activities’ did not help us’., ‘It assumed that we were not already doing blended learning. No reflection on problems using DEL – not all DEL is good.’

Summary: Some of participants thought the session was not ‘advanced’ enough and that there should have been more discussion about the critical aspects of using DEL.

Q3. Is there anything we could include in a future workshop that was not covered in the session?

‘Pedagogy of blended learning – research to support this approach?’, ‘More on specific digital technology methods’ , ‘What and how can technology achieve desired outcomes’, ‘More innovative techniques’, ‘Needed to know how you put the techniques into moodle. How you actually use these techniques in practice’, ‘Input from student voice would enrich a future session’, ‘Digital tools that students actually might use’, ‘More examples of successful digital resources’, ‘Universal design for learning’.

Summary: The overwhelming response to this question was that lecturers wanted more input on how to use the different types of learning technologies that are available to them.

Q4. Do you have any recommendations for other Academic Development Workshops that would be helpful to you and your colleagues?

‘Programme development model’, ‘Assessment and feedback’ , ‘Need to see some student feedback on these techniques to see what they actually feel is useful rather than us just assuming all digital learning is good and useful’, ‘Perspectives on the student experience’, ‘The main focus for LSBU needs to be how to get students to engage with considerably more academic literature in the modules in general and in their assignments in particular – virtually everything needs to be geared towards that as at present that is a pressing issue’, ‘Making Moodle work better for us’, ‘More practiced engagement with teaching tools’, ‘Moodle quizzes, Nearpod, Padlet etc’, ‘More attendance to tackling attendance and, above all, engagement where there are large numbers’.

Summary: It’s hard to summarise this section as there were so many different responses. But one theme that emerged again was an interest in the digital tools that could help lecturers in their teaching and learning activities.



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Update: Many thanks for your donations £368 raised (plus £67 gift aid) !




I’m walking at Shine Night Walk in the fight to beat ovarian cancer in memory of Abby Kerr.

Ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in UK women, with more than 130 women every week told that they have the disease. It is often not diagnosed until it has spread, making it harder to treat. Help Cancer Research UK find new ways to detect ovarian cancer earlier and find better treatments.

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Many thanks


Some reflections on Digital Perceptions

Lawrie Phipps and Donna Lanclos have developed a new digital tool so that people can reflect on their digital identity. Here are some of my initial thoughts about it.

What is the Digital Perceptions tool?

Lawrie outlines how the tool is based on The Johari Window in a recent blog post :

“What is the tool for? The tool is for reflecting on your digital identity, or how you are perceived by others online. It is not a diagnostic tool! It will not tell you what to fix. However, it might help you in planning how you to develop your identity in the future.”

The Digital Perceptions tool is now live and open to anyone to use. The first task is to select 5 or 6 words that describe your own digital identity. These words/phrases are then put into the Johari Window labeled ‘Facade’, although this window is kept private. Next you then send the link to the Johari Window that you have created, to 4 or 5 people you know. They in turn select the words or phrases that best suits your digital identity. Words that match your own appear in the ‘Arena’ window, those that don’t match yours appear in the ‘Blind Spot’ window.

Here is my digital identity, as mapped out using the Digital Perceptions tool:

Digital window

How useful was it for me?

I think so. All the words I selected were also chosen by my ‘reviewers’; collaborates, authentic online, shares ideas, digitally fluent, creative, engages. So I guess its good to know that my perception of myself is matched by others. They in turn, added another 10 words or phrases – again I would agree that I do all of these too, at some point online. So in total it pretty much confirms what I think anyway.

One area that is omitted is the word ‘political’, which is included in the ‘Unknown’ window above. I was a little surprised by this as I thought I did Tweet quite a lot of political stuff. However, I also know it can be a contentious area so maybe I’m a bit more cautious than I thought I was regarding my political exchanges. Is this something I want to change? Probably yes!

How useful is it?

Firstly, it gives us feedback on our digital identity. We don’t get this is normal life, we use various digital tools but at no point do we actually get any feedback on the type of persona we are creating. We think we know what our image is but how true is it? And the crucial point is, if we don’t get feedback there is no reason to change. Once we get that feedback we can decide on the things that are agreeable/disagreeable and do we want to change them?

Secondly, using this tool gets us away from using frameworks or models that interpret our behaviour as simple binary opposites. Models such as, the Prensky’s digital natives/immigrants or the more recent Visitors/residents framework set out to give us  a better understanding of our digital presence but often ends up oversimplifying or even encouraging us to adopt an ‘ideal’ type of digital behaviour. The major advantage of the Digital Perception tool is that it is not prescriptive, it really is aiming to be a reflective tool that is trying to capture some of the complex and non-linear ways that we interact in the online environment. Once the Johari Window has been completed it really opens up the possibility to enable the participant to reflect on their own identity and how and if they want to do anything about it.


Using the Digital Perceptions tool does require an element of safety and trust and I suppose my question is can we do this online? Are those reviewing likely to pick some of the words that might have some negative conigtations like ‘argumenative’ or ‘judgemental’. Maybe yes, as its anonymous but i’m not so sure.

I think the tool probably works best for those with the established digital identity and maybe not so well for the new starters. Its probably hard for those to complete who are new or not working much in digital environments. So maybe its not aimed at them, but maybe with some new words or phrases it could incorporate them too.


Apologies if I missed these somewhere but I went into using the DP tool without much thought and might have missed some of the information that was provided.

  1. More guidance on selecting who you send the window to. I think the instructions asks you to send the link to 4 or 5 people that you know. Crucially these people will shape the whole exercise. The people I sent them to were people I knew and had established face2face relationships with…maybe it would have been more useful to send the link to people I hadn’t met in person and knew just in an online capacity?
  2. Why am I doing this? Again, probably because I didn’t give it much thought I sent the link to my reviewers without much of an explanation. Maybe there could be sentance or two that summarises the tool, so that it could be copied and  sent on to the ‘reviewers’  when they aske to complete it?.
  3. Space for open feedback. I havent fully thought this through but maybe it would be useful for those giving the feedback to choose their own wording (in addition to the words/phrases supplied). Although I can see this will be more difficult to code in the tool.
  4. Maybe some guidance is needed to interpret the results. This could take the form of some open-ended questions, such as, what did your reviewers agree with? Did the reviewers suggests new traits you had not thought about? etc

Anyway its a great new tool and I would definitely recommend it anyone to try it out. I certainly learnt a thing or two and can see the potential of getting others to use it too. Check it out!



Social Media in HE – update on the book



CoverYay! Finally sent off the book to the publishers!!!

It’d been a long process to get to the final stage. Last November I sent out a Tweet for contributers who would like to write a short chapter on a book entitled ‘Social Media in HE’. Initially I had 28 respondants. As the deadlines came for the abstracts, then the first draft in February and the final draft in May I finished with 20 completed chapters. This was a whole new experience for me and at times I felt like a teacher chasing up the class for their homework! But I have enjoyed the process and it does feel good to end up with a final manscript in my hand.

All together there are now 22 different chapters(including the Introduction), covering a wide variety of different topics. I’ve grouped them together into six different themes; professional practice, teaching and learning, leadership, building networks, innovation and the personal journey (as you can see from the contents page below).


There is still a while to go before we see the finished book. I’ve sent the book to Open Book Publishers who will now peer review the book and make decision about whether they want to print it or not. Also, I guess they might want further revisions or changes. They will take up to three months to review the book so I should know by November what decisions they have arrived at.

I have have chosen Open Book Publishers because of its commitment to making their books freely availble online:


Open Book Publishers, is a signatory of the Budapest Open Access Initiative (on this initiative and its aftermaths see Jean­-Claude Guédon’s Open Access: Toward the Internet of the Mind), participant in the OpenEdition project, and founding member of the Pure Open Access Alliance.

*Podcast* Exploring the use of social media in the higher education classroom with Alex Avramenko

DELcast #18 Interview with Alex Avramenko ‘Exploring the use of social media in the higher education classroom’:

Dr Alex Avramenko – Lecturer

Abertay University –  Dundee Business School.


‘As an academic, I reflect on the latest challenges through learning as Dundee Business School expands the paradigm of today’s business education and persistently advances contemporary management theory.

My current research revolves around value creation in organisations, with an emphasis on the enterprise renewal. It draws on such themes as employee engagement, authentic leadership, sustainability and corporate entrepreneurship’.




*Podcast* Joint reflection on Twitter, phenomenography and learning friendships…


Interview with Margy MacMillan and Chrissi Nerantzi ‘Joint reflection on Twitter, phenomenography and learning friendships…’:

Margy MacMillan has worked in information literacy(IL) at Mount Royal University for over 20 years. She has developed program-integrated IL for science and communications programs, as well as a variety of courses and workshops in Arts and Humanities. She has conducted long-term research on the acquisition of IL skills and knowledge through students‘ undergraduate degrees. Her current research and teaching focus is on connecting students to the scholarly conversations in their disciplines through academic texts.

Chrissi is a experienced academic developer and loves helping others develop and grow. “My approach is playful and experimental and I specialise in creative, innovative learning, teaching and assessment and am an open practitioner and researcher”.



*Podcast* Creating a sense of belonging and connectedness for the student arrival experience.


Interview with Rachel Challen about ‘Creating a sense of belonging and connectedness for the student arrival experience in a School of Arts and Humanities’:

Rachel is Head of the Learning and Teaching Support Unit, School of Arts and Humanities, Nottingham Trent University




*Podcast* Student engagement in the Digital University


Interview with Lesley Gourlay about here recent book (with Martin Oliver) ‘Student Engagement in the Digital University’:

“Student Engagement in the Digital University challenges mainstream conceptions and assumptions about students’ engagement with digital resources in Higher Education. While engagement in online learning environments is often reduced to sets of transferable skills or typological categories, the authors propose that these experiences must be understood as embodied, socially situated, and taking place in complex networks of human and nonhuman actors. Using empirical data from a JISC-funded project on digital literacies, this book performs a sociomaterial analysis of student–technology interactions, complicating the optimistic and utopian narratives surrounding technology and education today and positing far-reaching implications for research, policy and practice”.

*Podcast* interview with Jane Norris about the etiquette of the Anthropocene, ‘design para-fiction’ and ‘optimism as resistance’ !



Dr Jane Norris has a cross disciplinary background in Speculative Design, Critical Writing and Digital Media. Before joining Richmond University, she structured and led a BA Hons in 3D Design Craft for ten years, teaching material engagement and design theory. She has recently undertaken post-doctoral research in the Critical Writing department at the RCA. She gained her PhD: Viatopias – exploring the digital language of urban travel spaces. at Chelsea College of Art. UAL.


My current research focuses on writing a book Making Polychronic Objects – de-colonializing our relationship with materials. This research investigates the impact of digital theories of time, aerial viewpoints, crumpled time, object emergence and de-colonial making on our material use. My writing explores outside-enlightenment approaches to materiality in design, through tactics such as design fiction short stories, para-fictional public projects and sonic design fiction workshops. I develop ideas through near future fiction, magazine articles, academic papers in journals, and by contributing essays to books.

*Podcast* interview with Serena Gossain about using Social Media with creative students

Associate Lecturer, BA Advertsing. London College of Communication

University of the Arts London, LCC

Associate lecturer on the BA Advertising Programme, delivering lectures on advertising, digital, typography, layout, branding and design techniques for BA first and second years. Main objectives are to nurture talent on how to create compelling, visual ads across multiple media and to help students develop their professional skills and creativity. Also to help students prepare advertising entries into industry award competition submissions such as One Show and D&AD.