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Overdue takeaways from SEDA conference

Hmm well I’ve been promising myself that I would post a blog on the SEDA Conference on student engagementI attended in May but it is rather old now. Perhaps it is a good test of my memory to see what I can remember from the conference and what has impacted on my practice by posting this about 4 months later!

My top 10 takeaways:

1. Student engagement is more complex than we often think but there are many ways of being creative about working with students.  The presentation from Dan at Lincoln was inspiring about work shadowing and getting students on interview panels. These are areas we are following up. We have a new student engagement post too :)

2. Some students might not want to engage at all and we need to accept that. This did resonate with me as the assumption is that everyone will join in, we are bearing this in mind in relation to our student engagement activities.

3. Spending time out of the office is really important for my resilience. I don’t mean this in a negative way, but this was the first major conference I had been to since maternity leave and the big restructure and I had forgotten how refreshing it is to engage with colleagues from both my own and other institutions. I came back inspired and refreshed which was very much needed. Mental note to do more of this!

4. On that note as well going to a conference also reminds me of the value of what I am doing and how it is of interest to others and acts as a spur for me to publish, I have written a review piece and am pursuing some other ideas too.

5. “Impact is a cultural thing, it takes a long time, for example, five years, to assess the impact of activities/initiatives/cultural change” I can’t remember who said this but I liked it!

6. Reminded me that projects are not where the innovation or change is often at.  So much expectation is often placed on a project but incremental or embedded change can be more effective. The “coffee bar” conversations are often the approach to engaging staff with change.  A good excuse to drink more coffee! This was in Ranald MacDonald’s session.

7. Activities engaging students need to get beyond the “staff vs students” approach that often characterizes are interactions with students and can seem implicit in some of our policies or approaches.

8. Changing student engagement eg through consideration of NSS scores and so on needs to be holistic and more than just an action plan approach. This reinforces points above about engaging staff with change (Susan Mathieson’s session).

9. So much is talked about student engagement and partnership but we need to ensure we keep our mind on what we want to achieve, not just pay lip service to engagement with students but making it meaningful on both sides.

10. Train journeys are great for catching up on work!

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Reflections on our inspiration day

In November, Anise, Annemarie and myself took a day out to try the technique of walking and learning, as outlined in Anise’s previous post.  The day was a fantastic opportunity to gain some thinking time as well as trying out a technique that I had read about from elsewhere and I wanted to use in the Managing Change module. Read the rest of this entry »

Engaging students in educational development

At the 21st International Conference on Learning in New York in July 2014, Dr Pam Parker and myself ran a workshop on engaging students in educational development. Read the rest of this entry »

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Reflections on learning

I’m at the 21st International Conference on Learning in New York City.  This is very exciting as its my first international conference in a long time – since at least 2011.  Its great to get out and about again so that I can find out what is happening in the sector and get some good ideas from across the world.  I also love New York and have not been in the City without children for at least 8 years so this is exciting too :) Shame about a rather big storm coming in and the weather being better at home, but hey you can’t have everything. Read the rest of this entry »

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Improving student learning: it’s not about technology

Last week I was part of a panel presentation session at the HE Expo with Fiona Strawbridge, UCL and Phil Tubman, University of Lancaster. Our brief was to talk about how technology could be used to improve student learning.  Even though we hadn’t talked about it before, we all presented complementary viewpoints. Fiona talked about the creation of their e-learning strategy through student engagement with scenarios, Phil discussed how important opensource tools are for engaging students and I focused on three areas where technology could help us.  I did my presentation on prezi which is embedded below: Read the rest of this entry »

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Sustaining change is as easy as A, B, C

This post is a summary of the presentation I gave at BETT in January 2013 but liked so much (even though I say it myself!) that I have recycled it, or perhaps I should say, incorporated it into a few other presentations I have given as I like it as an easy way to outline some useful activities to embed change. Read the rest of this entry »

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We’re all going on a summer holiday

Sadly I’m not going on a summer holiday although I feel like I really need one but with a new house and 3 children not much chance of that.

But, that doesn’t mean that the holiday memories can’t be kept alive by remembering lovely holidays gone by and by combining this with a workshop on change management, that thing called “work” can all become a bit more fun. It’s a winner all round. :) Read the rest of this entry »

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Back to life, back to …


Its been a rather long time since I’ve blogged and I’ve missed it.

I was asked to write an “inaugural” welcome back post so here it is (this post was previously published on the LDC Educational Vignettes blog). The title was going to say “back to life, back to reality” but then work can sometimes seem like an alternate “reality” ;) What with the rather bizarre weather sometimes I feel like I’m entering Narnia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Messy change

Published this on our Educational Vignettes blog so thought I would add it here….

Bit of self promotion, so excuse me for that, but I thought people might be interested in this piece by Patsy Cullen on HEA/LFHE Changing the Learning Landscape workshop that I contributed to a few weeks ago. The workshop is looking a digital literacy and change and features a series of keynotes and interactive presentations. It will be run again next week in London. My workshop is about theories of change, dealing with unexpected circumstances and avoiding change fatigue. All in just over an hour! So my approach is to use a lot of stickers and some coloured card. As well as describing the whole thing as akin to going on a holiday.  Was fun to do and maybe I should do something at City along the same lines. Must blog about it!

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