#LTHEchat 260: Wellbeing, academic kindness, and social cure: paying it forward, led by Professor Julie Hulme @JulieH_Psyc

Image by Gordon Johnson on Pixabay

Academia has been (justifiably) subject to much criticism when it comes to staff wellbeing; high workloads, precarious contracts, individualism, discrimination, and bullying are just a few of the many problems (Morrish, 2019; Morrish & Priaulx, 2020). For doctoral students, depression and anxiety have been argued to be ‘the norm’ in the UK (Woolston, 2021). What can we do to transform the higher education sector, and how can we do it without burning ourselves out further?

In my experience of university employment, I’ve encountered serious toxicity, but also extreme generosity. My academic success is a direct consequence of support and academic kindness from my colleagues and my community. Indeed, some of my own research points to academic kindness as a key predictor of wellbeing in higher education (Holliman et al., 2019).

Within every university, there are people who make a difference. Sometimes we are fortunate enough to find networks beyond our own institution which introduce us to supportive individuals and communities. #LTHEchat is a prime example; my own Professors in Preparation community is another; and I have encountered many like-minded souls across the university learning and teaching community, including through the Association of National Teaching Fellows. Sometimes, we have to look beyond our immediate surroundings to find our “tribe”. In psychology, there is a growing body of research that shows that connecting with people who share our identity can act as a ‘social cure’ for poor wellbeing and mental ill health (e.g. Wakefield et al., 2022). Who is your community?

What can we do to be ‘that’ person, the one who makes a difference? Firstly, I believe we need to look after own health and wellbeing, managing our boundaries (including our workloads), and connecting with those who support us. If we’re psychologically well, we are in a better place to support others.

However, it’s not a case of simply ‘paying back’ what we receive from others. You may have seen US movie, Pay It Forward. The idea is that for every favour we receive, we do a new favour for three different people. These good deeds ‘snowball’ and spread beyond our own spheres of influence.

I suggest that a ‘pay it forward’ approach is one way to create a culture of academic kindness. I’ve found lots of ways to put it into practice. Having been supported by a peer mentor to apply for Readership, I worked with like-minded colleague Debbie Lock and others to create Professors in Preparation, so that others can receive similar mentoring. When being asked to undertake high-profile work for which I don’t have time (managing my workload!), I recommend junior colleagues who have appropriate expertise, to raise them up. I’ve lost count of the favours I’ve received, so I look for as many opportunities as I can find to ‘pay it forward’. I hope that in doing so, I’m helping to change academia for the better, culturally, and at sector level.

What opportunities do you have to ‘pay it forward’?


Holliman, A., Hulme, J.A., & Wilson-Smith, K. (2019). Transition and adaptability in educational and organisational contexts. Psychology Teaching Review, 25 (1), 4-11.

Hulme, J.A. & Lock, D. (2020). Professors in Preparation: Supporting 21st century professorial leaders. SRHEblog.com. Available at: https://srheblog.com/2020/04/02/professors-in-preparation-supporting-21st-century-professorial-leaders/.

Morrish, L. (2019). Pressure vessels: The epidemic of poor mental health among higher education staff. HEPi Occasional Paper 20. Available at: https://www.hepi.ac.uk/2019/05/23/new-report-shows-big-increase-in-demand-for-mental-health-support-among-higher-education-staff/.

Morrish, L. & Priaulx (2020). Pressure vessels II: An update on mental health among higher education staff in the UK. HEPi Policy Note 2023. Available at: https://www.hepi.ac.uk/2020/04/30/pressure-vessels-ii-an-update-on-mental-health-among-higher-education-staff-in-the-uk/.

Wakefield, J.R.H., Kellezi, B., Stevenson, C., et al. (2022). Social prescribing as ‘social cure’: A longitudinal study of the health benefits of social connectedness within a social prescribing pathway. Journal of Health Psychology, 27 (2), 386-396. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1359105320944991.

Woolston, C. (2021). Depression and anxiety ‘the norm’ for UK PhD students. Nature Career News. doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-021-03761-3.


Julie Hulme is a Professor of Psychology Education in the School of Social Sciences at Nottingham Trent University. She is a National Teaching Fellow, and a Principal Fellow of the HEA. A Chartered Psychologist, Julie applies psychological theories and research methods to developing inclusive teaching and learning in higher education, and is particularly proud of her work with disabled student researchers to improve accessibility, inclusion, and belonging through transformation of university policy and practice. In 2018, Julie co-founded the Professors in Preparation network, providing a community of learning for teaching- and practice-focused academics to support each other in career development and progression. She actively champions the scholarship of teaching and learning and those who undertake it across the sector, and has worked with several universities to develop cultures, communities, and promotions criteria that reward both scholarship and citizenship. Julie sees herself as a “positive disruptor”, challenging the status quo and promoting kindness among staff and students in higher education. You can follow Julie on Twitter @JulieH_Psyc, and read more about her work at her blog, https://higherpsyched.home.blog/.

LINK to the wakelet


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#LTHEchat 259: ChatGPT and academic integrity Led by @profdcotton Dr Peter Cotton and @reubenshipway

ChatGPT and similar large language models (LLMs) have taken the academic world by storm, and across the globe, there are similar slightly panicked meetings going on about what this means for the future of assessment in higher education. Conflicting views abound as to the benefits and challenges of ChatGPT and the new era of artificial intelligence, with several commentators arguing that the ‘moral panic’ is overblown and many making a compelling case for teaching students how to use LLMs as part of developing employability skills. But how do we get students to learn if they can ask a chatbot for the answers to many of our traditional assessment questions? Is it plagiarism, or academic misconduct if students use ChatGPT to help with their assessments? Can we ‘design out’ ChatGPT (creating assessments designed to reduce the likelihood of it being used) in the same ways that we try to design out plagiarism? Will authentic assessments help – or can ChatGPT do these too? Do we even need students to have knowledge of their discipline – or is this now a redundant issue, confined to earlier generations where every fact was not at our fingertips? Or are there actually wider issues of student (dis)engagement that ChatGPT is bringing into sharp relief? The answers, as ever, are not black and white. 

As early adopters of ChatGPT, we experimented with various uses of the tool, including getting it to write session plans, institutional policies, and job descriptions. At the time ChatGPT was released, Reuben & Pete were marking essays written by first-year Marine Biology students.  Although they didn’t detect any examples of academic dishonesty, they were nonetheless quite shocked by how well ChatGPT could structure and write one of these essays. Admittedly, its first attempts were often quite superficial, but iterating this with revised prompts and asking it to incorporate material copied from a key paper, often resulted in something fairly robust and likely to escape detection without forensic examination. This led us to thinking more about ChatGPT and academic integrity, resulting in the paper entitled ‘Chatting and Cheating. Ensuring academic integrity in the era of ChatGPT which we uploaded on a pre-print site on January 11th. Reuben also gave a talk about ChatGPT at the UCL Global Business School for Health, which you can view here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngMqAtcPaj4&list=PL0BPVluk7u3dkLbyhFSKbA4iv1N7SdmQ3&index=2&ab_channel=UCLGlobalBusinessSchoolforHealth 

Join us in the #LTHEchat to share your experiences and ideas about the risks of ChatGPT as well as to consider how we can make use of such tools in an inclusive and pedagogically sound way.

Guest biography

Professor Debby Cotton (@profdcotton) is the Director of Academic Practice at Plymouth Marjon University. She is a Principal Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy (PFHEA) and a National Teaching Fellow and has published over 70 articles on higher education teaching and learning, mostly without the assistance of ChatGPT. You can find out more about her research here: https://www.marjon.ac.uk/about-marjon/staff-list-and-profiles/cotton-debby.html    

Dr Peter Cotton is an Associate Professor in the School of Biological and Marine Sciences at the University of Plymouth. Although primarily an ecologist, he has published several pedagogic papers (all with the assistance of Prof D. Cotton) and is a Senior Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). You can find out more about him here: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/staff/peter-cotton

Profile picture of Professor Debby Cotton & Dr Peter Cotton
Profile picture of Professor Debby Cotton & Dr Peter Cotton

ChatGPT prompt > In the style of the previous short bios, write a similar blurb for Reuben Shipway (@reubenshipway), who is a lecturer in marine biology at the University of Plymouth:

Dr Reuben Shipway (@reubenshipway) is a Lecturer in Marine Biology at the University of Plymouth. He is a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and has published a number of papers on topics such as coastal ecosystems and the impacts of climate change. He is a passionate advocate for the conservation of our oceans and marine wildlife and is committed to teaching and inspiring the next generation of marine biologists.*

*This was generated by ChatGPT and almost none of it is accurate. If you want to know more about Reuben, check out the following: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/staff/reuben-shipway @reubenshipway

Profile picture of Dr Reuben Shipway
Profile picture of Dr Reuben Shipway
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#LTHE chat 258 Work/practice based learning and the role of simulation/ immersive learning. Discussion led by @DebbieRoberts6

Nurising simulation

Simulation has become increasingly common as an approach to teaching and learning; particularly in the vocational or practice based disciplines. Indeed for some vocational professions, engaging in simulation can be used instead of practice in real world environments; however whether this simulated experience can ever truly replace practice experience remains unclear. Generally, simulation for learning tends to take place away from work based or practice areas; rather it takes place in specifically designed laboratories or skills room facilities, or simulation suites, facilitated by teachers that are situated largely within the university setting. This Tweet chat seeks to explore whether simulation is taking place in the workplace, and if so, what form is that simulation taking and what is the impact of this on learning? And, perhaps more importantly, what preparation do individuals require to facilitate such learning in the workplace? Finally the Tweet chat is looking for examples of collaboration between higher education and workplaces where simulation is being used to good effect; or could be used even more.

Please join us for this conversation to share your examples of simulation in the workplace and to discuss the impact of simulation on practice.

Presenter Prf Debbie Roberts

Professor Debbie Roberts has expertise in nurse education, with over 30 years’ experience as a Registered Nurse, and 20 years as a nurse academic, working for universities in both Wales and England.  Debbie is a Principal Fellow of the HEA/Advance HE, her areas of teaching and research expertise includes practice learning, immersive learning, simulation and workforce development. She has a particular interest in linking research, teaching and innovation; ensuring that evidence-based teaching is used within nurse education and embedding relevant research into the curriculum.  Debbie supports PhD students and has examined several PhD candidates. Widely published in the field of nurse education, Prof Roberts has contributed to textbooks, used internationally as core texts in nurse education programmes. She also has published over 30 peer-reviewed papers for international journals with her work often cited by others, indicating the impact of her ideas on teaching and learning internationally.   Prof Roberts has established a wide range of national and international links through her work as an external examiner and in 2019, she was nominated as one of the top 100 women in Wales in the inaugural Welsh Women’s Awards, which celebrate those women who continue to thrive and excel at the forefront of their professions and make meaningful contributions to the country. 

Link to the #LTHE chat Wednesday 8th March

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#LTHEchat 257: Student led use of social media for professional networking and more in a higher education setting. Led by @neilwithnell and @karolinaviolet

Selection of social media logos and mobile phones

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The use of social media by higher education students has been found to improve communication resulting in increased involvement and engagement (Lacka et al., 2021). Some of the reasons for students engaging in social media are; social interaction and integration (Neier & Zayer, 2015), future career building and professional networking (Josefsson et al., 2016) and reducing loneliness when on an international placement (Sleeman et al., 2020). Although studies have shown a positive attitude towards the use of social media in higher education (Romero-Hall, 2017; Cooke, 2017), there have also been apprehensions against its implementation and mainstream use. Lacka et al (2021) discuss how social media was not created in an educational context and that its suitability raises ethical concerns including social exclusion and digital division.

Other concerns regarding social media use by higher education students are also surrounding distraction from educational work ‘blurring’ the distinction between personal and academic online spaces (Sleeman et al., 2020). However, it has been argued that social media is an effective tool for developing network connections, finding placement opportunities, and improving employability skills (Lacka et al., 2021; Romero-Hall, 2017). Questions are also raised around the ‘professional presence’ on social media, and which platforms can be kept strictly professional (Josefsson et al., 2016).

Many institutions and professional bodies have released guidelines on social media use for anyone who is affiliated with their name, including universities. These social media guidelines typically include themes such as information governance, online behaviours and risk mitigation (Lees, 2018). These sets of rules and recommendations are to protect the account holder, as well as the affiliated institution and must be abided by to ensure a safe and civil online presence. It is interesting how opinions on social media use differs, depending on perspective and perceived purpose, as well as how organisations have had to adapt their policies to include social media usage and ensuring individuals maintain a good digital footprint.

From personal experience, social media has been very beneficial and looking forward to discussing, debating and learning about your views and experiences! Join us on Wednesday 1st March between 20:00-21:00 for the next #LTHEchat.


Cooke, S. (2017). Social teaching: Student perspectives on the inclusion of social media in higher education. Education and Information Technologies, 22, 255-269. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-015-9444-y

Josefsson, P., Hrastinski, S., Pargman, D. & Pargman, T. C. (2016). The student, the private and the professional role: Students’ social media use. Education and Information Technologies, 21, 1583-1594. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-015-9403-7

Lacka, E., Wong, T. C. & Haddoud, M. Y. (2021). Can digital technologies improve students’ efficiency? Exploring the role of Virtual Learning Environment and Social Media use in Higher Education. Computers and Education, 163, Article 104099. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2020.104099

Lees, R. (2018). Social media policies in UK Higher Education Institutions – An overview. [conference paper]. International Conference on Social Computing and Social Media, Copenhagen, Denmark. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-91521-0_34

Neier, S. & Zayer, L. T. (2015). Students’ perceptions and experiences of Social Media in Higher Education. Journal of Marketing Education, 37(3), 133-143. https://doi.org/10.1177/0273475315583748

Romero-Hall, E. (2017). Posting, sharing, networking and connecting: Use of social media content by graduate students. TechTrends, 61, 580-588. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-017-0173-5

Sleeman, J., Lang, C. & Dakich, E. (2020). Social media, learning and connections for international students: The disconnect between what students use and the tools learning management systems offer. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 36(4), 44-56. https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.4384


Karolina Staniecka is a final year Student Nurse at the University of Salford with interests in digital skills and social media for students in Higher Education. @karolinaviolet

Neil Withnell is Associate Dean academic Student Experience at the University of Salford with a passion for digital education and social media. @neilwithnell

Wakelet from the chat is here:


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#LTHEchat 256: LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Higher Education. Led by @j_glazzard

Rainbow colour flag

Attempts to queer the higher education curriculum have not been universal, and literature suggests that courses continue to be strongly heterosexual (Formby, 2015). Although some universities celebrate annual events such as Pride and include a commitment to LGBTQ+ equality in their policies, there is evidence in the literature that the higher education curriculum does not seriously address issues or concerns around LGBTQ+ equality. Students continue to be presented with the achievements of the ‘same old straight, white men’, and the curriculum is ‘pale, male and stale’ (student participants in Formby, 2015, p. 32). For example, evidence suggests that LGBTQ+ content is invisible in some health courses (Formby, 2015), thus presenting students with only a partial perspective of their disciplines. This is surprising given the association between mental health and LGBTQ+ (Bradlow et al., 2017). 

Aldridge and Somerville (2014) found that nearly a quarter of LGBTQ+ students thought they would face discrimination from other students. Research has also found that fears relating to prejudice and discrimination negatively impacted levels of ‘outness’ in universities (Formby, 2012; 2013; 2015). This suggests that even where bullying, prejudice and discrimination are not experienced directly, fears around these can negatively impact on LGBTQ+ students’ experiences of higher education. Thus, campus climate can be influenced by overt or covert factors.  Keenan (2014) found that despite institutional commitments to equality and diversity, the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ students suggest that these policies are often not borne out in practice. Thus, university spaces, once described as ‘threateningly straight’ (Epstein et al., 2003, p. 138), are places where varying levels of ‘outness’ or self-censorship (Formby, 2012; 2013) may exist.

Further consideration is needed to address ways higher education institutions can address LGBTQ+ inclusion. Central to advancing social justice for queer students is the need for a university-wide approach which positions students as active agents of change. Consideration will need to be given to the higher education curriculum, staff training, marketing and recruitment.

Jonathan Glazzard, Edge Hill University


Aldridge, D., & Somerville, C. (2014) Your services your say: LGBT people’s experiences of public services in Scotland, Edinburgh: Stonewall Scotland. 

Bradlow, J., Bartram, F., Guasp, A., and Jadva, V. (2017), School Report: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bi and trans young people in Britain’s schools in 2017, London: Stonewall. 

Epstein, D., O’Flynn, S. & Telford, D. (2003), Silenced sexualities in schools and universities, Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books. 

Formby, E. (2012), Solidarity but not similarity? LGBT communities in the twenty-first century, Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University 

Formby, E. (2013), Understanding and responding to homophobia and bullying: Contrasting staff and young people’s views within community settings in England, Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 10, (4), 302-16. 

Formby, E. (2015), # FreshersToFinals From freshers’ week to finals: Understanding LGBT+ perspectives on, and experiences of, higher education, Sheffield Hallam University.

Keenan, M. (2014) Coming out and fitting in: A qualitative exploration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer students’ university experiences, Nottingham: Nottingham Trent University.   

Link to the Tweet chat with Prof Jonathon Glazzard

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#LTHEchat 255: Potential of Podcasting Practice as a Learning Space in Higher Education. Led by @santanuvasant

Image with text "Podcast on air"
Image with text “Podcast on air”

For this week’s #LTHEChat 255, we will be exploring the potential of podcasting practice as a learning space in higher education. 

It was during a LTHEChat tweetchat session in January 2020 that I had the idea for a Higher Education podcast that would be a learning space to speak on topical subjects and build a shared understanding of Higher Education. I had not had any experience of podcast production before. Then the pandemic hit, which was an opportunity to build on this idea. Together with Brian Hipkin and Dr Emily McIntosh, we came up with format ideas and a name, TalkingHE. In December 2020, TalkingHE was launched. Why not take a listen to the over 25 episodes that have been recorded via: https://anchor.fm/talkingHE or wherever you get your podcasts. You can read more about my experience of setting up a Podcast during a pandemic via my case study article in the University of the Arts London’s Spark Journal (Vasant, 2022).

There is great potential for educators to use more audio in their teaching and for students to use more audio in their learning in my disciplines and that through audio, there is a connection and focus and a shared sense of learning space. Before writing, knowledge was often handed down through generations by spoken words. It is also an effective way to teach many subjects (On Tam, C, 2012).  With the advent of cheap audio recording via computers, the pandemic and the use of platforms such as Zoom or Teams, anyone can now record audio and with some simple editing create and host a podcast. 

The opportunities for inviting and recording episodes from experts in your field, for bite-size content of knowledge or feedback and so on are endless, as well as the use of podcasting as a tool for assessments where you want students to synthesise and present a large amount of information in a short time frame. 

Educators from across the sector are seeing the use of podcasting and the use of sound only as more accessible way to teach their disciplines, for students to learn when and wherever they may be and assess through this medium. Now more than ever we need to be creative in the way we use technology and the potential of podcasting as a practice is significant. 

I invite you to share your experiences of listening to podcasting, of producing podcasts and exploring the potential of podcasting practice as a learning space in Higher Education!  


On Tam, C. (2012) ‘The effectiveness of educational podcasts for teaching music and visual arts in higher education’, Research in Learning Technology, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v20i0.14919

University College London(no date)(a) Getting started with podcasting at UCL. Available at: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/staff/communications-digital-and-marketing/digital/getting-started-podcasting-ucl (Accessed: 1st February 2023). 

University College London(no date)(b) Podcasts & Audio Content. Available at: https://wiki.ucl.ac.uk/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=137158565. (Accessed: 1st February 2023). 

Vasant, S (2022). Talking higher education: starting a podcast during the pandemic. UAL Spark Journal. Available at: https://sparkjournal.arts.ac.uk/index.php/spark/article/view/170  (Accessed: 1st February 2023). 

Guest biography

Santanu Vasant is an Educational Developer (Reward and Recognition) at the University of the Arts London. He has a BSc (Hons) in Multimedia Technology and Design, a PGCE in Secondary ICT from Brunel University London and a Masters in Education from UCL. He is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Santanu has over 18 years of experience in Higher Education in a variety of Academic Development roles and as a secondary school teacher of ICT. His research interest is in the field of designing physical and virtual learning spaces. He has written book chapters on the use of

  • PebblePad e-Portfolios for Business Education in Pebblegogy (2011)
  • Bring Your Own Device – policy and practice in higher education in Smart Learning (2015)
  • Academics’ Understanding of Learning Spaces: Attitudes, Practices and Outcomes Explored through the Use of Social Media in Social Media in Higher Education: Case Studies, Reflections and Analysis (2019) and Would I lie to you? Checking knowledge in pre-reading, listening or watching tasks in 100 Ideas for Active Learning (2022j).

Since December 2020, Santanu is the creator and host of the TalkingHE podcast series and the related Twitter channel @TalkingHEPod. He is an editor of the Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA) Educational Developments Magazine and a reviewer for the Association for Learning Technology’s Journal Research in Learning Technology. You can reach out to him on Twitter @santanuvasant and check out his website http://www.santanuvasant.com.

Profile picture of Santanu Vasant
Profile picture of Santanu Vasant
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#LTHEchat 254: Hybrid working: new frontiers in professional practice. Led by @MarenDeepwell

Image of a team leader doing a team review with his team virtually.
Image of a team leader doing a team review with his team virtually. (Source: iStock)

For #LTHEChat 254 we are going to shift our focus from learning to work. We will explore ways in which learning and teaching practices can inspire a more sustainable and equitable hybrid workplace.

Digital technologies enable remote and hybrid working in new and more connected ways, but it is by no means a new practice. Many industries have depended on home working over the centuries. In the UK we are at the beginning of a new era of widespread homeworking, prompting urgent questions about the rights of hybrid workers, working conditions, and how new working practices may increase inequality. Some workers may now have more flexibility working from home, but the pressures of competing demands such as caring for children or other family members whilst earning an income remain constant. Other issues such as the increasing digital surveillance of employees and privacy concerns around hybrid working practices further highlight the need for a careful and considered approach to setting out policies for the future of working remotely.  

One indicator of the changes in how we work is new laws and policies that seek to formally express how the relationship between employers and their digitally connected and increasingly distributed workforce is changing.  For example, in the UK we have not yet seen an introduction of a code that would give employees a legal right to disconnect, whilst other countries, including France (2016), Italy (2017), Spain (2018), and Portugal (2021) have introduced such policies over the past five years and others including Ireland are working towards doing so. 

We invite you to share your experiences of hybrid working and critically reflect on some of the downsides alongside the positives. What do we gain when we move beyond simply translating office-based practices and envisage a truly hybrid way of working? How can we help create welcoming and warm hybrid places to work that help sustain well-being and work/life balance? How can we empower ourselves and others in making hybrid working an equitable and engaging reality that benefits the organisation and the individual alike? 

We are at a watershed moment for remote working in the sense that we have an opportunity to set out a vision for what is ahead that is informed by lessons from the past, as well as, the shift in perspective that the pandemic has brought about. 

In 2017, I set out to find creative and fun ways to work and build meaningful relationships in the virtual workplace. The resulting Open Access book, Leading Virtual Teams, brings together case studies and practical advice to build on. This LTHEchat #254 offers an opportunity for a conversation about current practices and how things are changing. 

Join us to share your own inspiration, questions, and prompts for reflection. From recruitment and induction to establishing effective and sustainable ways of working in the hybrid workplace we will explore the highs and lows of what it means to work in hybrid organisations in the long term. 

Guest biography

Dr Maren Deepwell @MarenDeepwell is the CEO of the Association for Learning Technology and a professional coach, working with organisations and emerging leaders in education and the not-for-profit sector. 

Profile picture of Dr Maren Deepwell
Profile picture of Dr Maren Deepwell

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#LTHEchat 253: Sustainable lifestyle and wellness in higher education. Led by @halehmoravej @SalsMiyan & @abeckyi

People doing gardening in an allotment
Multiracial group of young men and young women gather as volunteers to plant vegetables in community garden with mature woman project manager advice and teamwork

Balanced nutrition, wellness, and sustainability awareness are important for staff in higher education for similar reasons as they are for students. 

A healthy and well-nourished staff is more likely to perform better, which can benefit the institution. Providing staff with access to healthy food options and nutritional information can help to improve their mental and physical well-being. 

As sustainability awareness is an increasingly important issue, it is important for higher education institutions to lead by example and demonstrate their commitment to environmental stewardship. By promoting sustainable practices among staff, such as reducing energy consumption, and waste and switching to plant-based food options, institutions can set an example for their students and the wider community.

Staff who are aware of the importance of mental and physical health, nutrition and sustainability can act as role models for students and other staff members, leading to a more sustainable and healthier community in the higher education.

Overall, promoting wellness, balanced nutrition, and sustainability awareness among staff can help to create a more positive and productive work environment, and can contribute to the overall success of the educational institutions. 

Since 2011 globally recognised Advance HE CATE winners of 2020 MetMUnch team have brought Nutritional Science out of the lecture theatre and to the public. MetMUnch lead the way in innovative, exciting, and engaging nutrition events by combining the incredible facilities at Manchester Metropolitan University with the keen creative minds of our students and graduates. 

We’ve opened an Apple Store to promote rare, unappreciated, and locally sourced apples. We’ve created an entire pop-up kitchen from recyclable cardboard in a shopping centre. We’ve published recipe books for students, designed augmented reality clothing that triggers recipe videos on mobile devices and so much more. 

MetMUnch are available as creative consultants, project managers, idea generators and event planners. 

We can create and run tailored pop-ups, presentations and performances. If you would like to work with MetMUnch, please visit and contact us on:  www.metmunch.com


Salma Miyan

Rebecca Butler: a third year Nutritional Sciences student passionate about public health and sustainability 

Haleh Moravej – @halehmoravej – is a multi-award-winning senior lecturer in Nutritional Sciences at Manchester Metropolitan University and a creative social entrepreneur. Haleh is the recipient of the Advance HE National Teaching Fellowship (2018) and Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (2020) for the MetMUnch social enterprise project. Haleh has received an Honorary Fellowship from the British Science Association (2021) for outstanding contribution to public engagement and communication on climate science and sustainability and for challenging the stereotype of what a scientist should look like, furthering the inclusion and diversity of science in society.

Wakelet from this week’s chat:


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#LTHEchat 252: Digitally accessible learning and resource design: How can we prevent this from being another unrealised new year’s resolution? Led by @mart_compton & @shaps_b

Image of red dots on a black screen. Image from public domain (pixabay)
Image from pixabay, public domain

In LTHEChat #250 @xlearn encouraged us to think about our personal perspectives and approaches to digital accessibility, and this week’s chat can be seen very much as a continuation of that. In our respective roles in academic development (Martin) and student wellbeing support (Shapna) we have both been long-time advocates of effective digital accessibility practices, always trying to model equitable, accessible practices in our own resource design and teaching materials. Whilst legislation (Equality Act, 2010 and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1, 2018) offer imperatives and drivers that have focussed the attention of senior education leaders and led to policy creation, we have always personally favoured focussing where possible on values and ethics: We should do this not only because it is a legal duty but because it is the right thing to do.

In our respective roles, we rarely encounter resistance to effective digital accessibility practices in principle, but we are often confronted with resistance on practical or resourcing grounds. How then to turn positive values into a new year’s resolution that can normalise effective digitally accessible practices? How much is it about growing knowledge of what ‘digital accessibility’ means in practical terms? How much is it about turning good intentions and growing knowledge into routine practice?

At both our institutions, we are working to build on practices such as the adoption of Blackboard Ally, institutional and departmental auditing (for example, via AbilityNet), generic and discipline-targeted workshops and ‘campaigns’ targeted at raising awareness and skills in specific areas (e.g. Writing alternative text or captioning media content). Like many across the sector, we emphasise the importance of embedding equitable and inclusive practices at the design stage. Rather than thinking digital accessibility is something that needs adding when students with defined learning needs or a specific disability are identified, we are encouraging colleagues to draw on universal design principles and assume digital accessibility is a norm that will have potential benefits to all.  In addition, at UCL (working in concert with the Head of Digital Accessibility @Access_Watson, Ben Watson), to help facilitate this approach, we are developing a tool that will challenge colleagues to consider their values, knowledge and behaviours in terms of a broad commitment to digital accessibility and according to 12 indicative practices. The idea is that colleagues answer a series of questions that suggest where they are currently, pushing them toward targeted and personalised developmental resources. Although still very much in development, colleagues may wish to see the (evolving) engagement model and answer the anonymous ‘behaviours’ questions.

So, please join us to share your own digital accessibility resolutions; let us know what you think the major barriers will be as we look ahead to 2023 and, above all, share your ideas, plans and tried and tested techniques to help you and your colleagues keep to those resolutions.

Guest biographies

Martin Compton is an Associate Professor at the Arena Centre for Research-Based Education at University College London. For the last 20 years or so, he has worked primarily in teacher and academic development, including 5 years running an online PGCert HE.

Shapna Compton is an Assistant Head of the Student Wellbeing Service at the University of Greenwich. She has worked in education for over twenty years, specialising in specific learning difficulties, disabilities and equity of access.

Wakelet: https://wakelet.com/wake/vmFUGJX9brDsFJj14Tw8I

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#LTHEchat 251: Working in the third space to support learning and teaching. Led by @dixxyd and @emilythemac 8pm UK.

Image by LaSu1923 from Pixabay

What is the ‘third space’?

Third space is a term used in a HE context primarily to describe activity taking place between academic and professional settings (Whitchurch, 2008 and 2013) – in contemporary HE more and more roles have been and are being developed that are based in this third space (e.g. retention support officers, widening participation and access staff, employability roles, learning developers, educational developers, learning technologists etc), but many academics (e.g discipline specific lecturers) and professional staff (e.g counsellors, librarians, disability advisors) also do key work in this third space to support student learning, and enhance teaching practice. 

Within HE settings and in media discussion about HE there is sometimes a tension between academic and professional settings, which can lead to limitations on effective working across silos. If we want to enhance teaching and support learning and student experiences more effectively, we would argue that we need to value the third spaces we engage in. So for example projects to support retention or employability are likely to take place in this third space drawing on professional staff, academic staff, students and others to develop enhanced practices and approaches – these developments can only really be effective if third space activity is valued and recognised.

Using the term ‘integrated practice’

Earlier this year we published an edited collection exploring third space working (McIntosh and Nutt, 2022a), drawing on the accounts and experiences of a range of staff working in HE talking about their work in third spaces. In exploring the many ways in which staff and students are working together ‘in-between’ academic and professional settings we have argued for the term ‘integrated practice’ as a useful way of defining what we are doing and why it is important that we work together across the conventional line markers in HE.
Our own particular perspective on third space working and integrated practice is that networking, and working together is key to success (McIntosh and Nutt, 2002b). We would argue that building relationships with others across silo boundaries enables us to enhance student learning experiences.

This is the final LTHEChat before Christmas, so we encourage you to come join us in working and thinking together, in sharing experiences and learning and in the spirit of Christmas, perhaps to wear your Christmas hats and jumpers (even if we cant see them!) and nibble on a mince pie while we consider the possibilities of third space working together.


McIntosh, E. and Nutt, D. (2022a) (editors) The Impact of the Integrated Practitioner in Higher Education: studies in the third space London: Routledge.

McIntosh, E. and Nutt, D. (2022b). The Impact of the Integrated Practitioner: Perspectives on Integrated Practice to Enhance Student Success. Student Success13(2), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.5204/ssj.2430

Whitchurch, C. (2008) Shifting Identities and Blurring Boundaries: The emergence of third space professionals in UK higher education, Higher Education Quarterly 62 (4) 377-396

Whitchurch, C. (2012) Reconstructing Identities in Higher Education: The Rise of Third Space Professionals (London, Routledge).

Guest biographies

Dr Emily McIntosh has held a variety of senior management roles in learning, teaching and the student experience in several UK universities. She is joining the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) as Director of Student Success in January 2023. Her expertise includes institutional leadership for learning, teaching and student success, including student transition, technology enhanced learning (TEL), academic practice, equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), academic advising, and student engagement. Emily is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA, 2017) and a National Teaching Fellow (NTF, 2021). She was a founding Board member and Trustee of UK Advising and Tutoring (UKAT) from 2016-2021 is Academic Board Member of the NACADA Center for Research at Kansas State University, United States. She is also an Independent Member of the Board of Corporation for the Trafford College Group. Emily has always had a keen interest in all things student success and has published monographs, chapters and articles on a wide variety of topics from academic advising, personal tutoring and peer learning to integrated practice. She is on twitter: @emilythemac.

Dr Diane Nutt (PFHEA) is an Independent HE Consultant based in York, UK. Diane established the European First Year Experience Network and Annual Conference Series in 2006. She was chair of the network and organising committee until 2021. She is also on the International Advisory Board for the USA National Resource Center for First Year Experience and Students in Transition. She has been a bookseller, a Sociology lecturer, an educational developer and head of a student retention team. In 2015 she set up as an independent HE consultant, often describing herself as having two heads: one focused on student first year experiences and transitions; the other directing her passion for career development for staff working in higher education in a variety of roles spanning academic, professional and third space settings. On twitter @dixxyd (and now also on mastodon @dixxyd@ohai.social)

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