LTHEchat 266: Sketchnoting in education with Suzanne Faulkner @SFaulknerPandO

Sketchnoting – Ideas, not art!

In this upcoming #LTHEchat, we will explore sketchnoting. This may also be referred to as visual note taking or graphic recording. Whatever term you chose to use, it is frequently described as a non-linear visual representation of ideas and concepts using a mixture of text, visuals, shapes, and arrows (Rohde, 2013). Mike Rohde coined the term sketchnoting around 2007 after becoming frustrated by the arduous task of note taking.

Contrary to many people’s beliefs, you do not have to be ‘good’ at drawing to produce a sketchnote. When you stop to consider that the aim of sketchnoting is to convey ‘ideas, not art’ (Rohde, 2013) this can help to relieve some of the pressure you may feel committing pen to paper! If you can draw lines, arrows, squares, triangles and circles you have the basic skill set required for sketchnoting. This point is nicely illustrated in figure 1 below where the images of the house, laptop and alarm clock have all been constructed using simple shapes.

Figure 1 Sketches of a house, laptop and alarm clock using a combination of simple shapes.

Why sketchnote?

Sketchnoting is reported to improve recall and promotes active learning through a process of dual coding, as outlined by Paivio (1986). Dual coding is when words and images are combined effectively to facilitate learning, with an additive effect. That is, when information is conveyed verbally and visually students are more likely to be able to retain and recall that information more effectively. Using both modes, verbal and visual, helps to create a visual map in your mind. To enable this, visual images should be simple and clear with little background information.

The six benefits of dual coding to students’ learning, outlined by Clark and Lyons (2004) are:

  1. Direct attention.
  2. Trigger prior knowledge.
  3. Manage cognitive load.
  4. Build schema.
  5. Transfer to working memory.
  6. Motivate.

Sketchnotes can be created in real-time, during lectures (to produce more useful, interesting notes), in a conference setting, or to capture important points in meetings. Tidy et al (2022) explored the use of sketchnoting as a revision aid in higher education and reported a marked increase in the lower grade boundaries of those students who participated in the sketchnote exercise.

The sketchnote illustrated in figure 2 below was created in real time capturing information in relation to the elements identified as those that make a good thesis research proposal. Sketchnotes created in real time requires the person sketching to actively listen to the auditory information, to synthesise the information identifying the key points and then capture those visually, to listen, think and draw. This requires high levels of concentration as such, results in active engagement with the lecture content. Like any practical skill, this becomes easier with practice.

With experience, those who sketchnote frequently soon build up a visual library in their head of icons, shapes, images, and arrows which helps to speed up the sketchnoting process.

Sketchnotes can be undertaken digitally, using a tablet and pen, or by analogue means with pen and paper.

Figure 2 Sketchnote of a presentation in relation to ‘what makes a good thesis research proposal’.

In the upcoming #LTHEchat, the aim is to explore the use of sketchnoting in education and to provide you with the option to practice and develop some basic skills, should you want to participate.

You do not need any fancy equipment to participate. Paper, some pens and a phone to capture and share your images/sketchnotes is recommended.


Clark, R. and Lyons, C. (2010) Graphics for Learning. 2nd edn. Wiley. Available at: (Accessed: 14 October 2022).

Paivio, A. (1986) Mental Representations: A Dual Coding Approach. New York: Oxford University Press Inc.

Rohde, M.(2013). The Sketchnote Handbook. Peachpit Press.

Tidy, H., Burnham,R., Elkington, S. (2022) Using Sketchnoting as a revision aid with forensics students. Science & Justice. 62, pp. 822-826.


Suzanne Faulkner is teaching fellow in Prosthetics and Orthotics, within the department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, she has been nominated for several teaching excellence awards and was recently awarded SFHEA.

With 16 years teaching experience at the National Centre for Prosthetics and Orthotics, Suzanne is passionate about enhancing the student experience by focusing on improving student engagement. With an increasing international cohort of students, she has employed various techniques to enhance communication and engagement with all students. These include using Snapchat as a tutorial tool, utilising social media in learning and teaching and playful learning. Suzanne is a facilitator qualified in the Lego Serious Play (LSP) methodology; she is currently undertaking an EdD where she is exploring the use of LSP to enhance participation of students with English as a second language in group work activities. During her taught EdD elements Suzanne has been using sketchnotes to document her learning. Suzanne participates regulatory in the #LTHEchats, loves anything and everything to do with the amazing #SocMedHE community, . . . . and probably uses Bitmoji’s too much! She can be found on Twitter as @SFaulknerPandO  

Twitter: @SFaulknerPandO LinkedIn:

Posted in announcement | Leave a comment

#LTHEChat 265: ‘Professionals Teaching Professionals’ with Dr Claire Stocks @DrClaireStocks Dr Peter Alston @DrPeteAlston Professor Dawne Irving-Bell @belld17

image of professionals teaching professionals

Professionals Teaching Professionals

In this #LTHEchat, we want to explore the ways in which previous (or, indeed, concurrent) professional experience impacts on learning, teaching and/or scholarship in Higher Education. Whether that experience is as a barrister, fashion designer, police officer or purveyor of antiques and curiosities(!), professionals moving into HE have a huge amount to offer to the student learning experience, academic culture and the scholarship of teaching and learning.   

Our interest is partly based on the fact that we all currently work together in an institution that is wholly focused on ‘professionals teaching professionals’. But our collective experience in public universities also tells us that the relationship between HE and the professions has become increasingly intimate as higher education institutions seek to improve employability outcomes, increase ‘educational gain’ by aligning academic qualifications with professional recognition and qualifications, deliver effective apprenticeship and/or degree programmes, and prepare professionals of the future. 

In response to aligning academic qualifications with professional recognition and preparation, many universities employ ‘dual professionals’ (also called practitioner-academics, pracademics, and a range of other terms – see “What’s in a name? The rise of the practitioner academic and time to reconsider standardised induction support” for more on this). Nevertheless, our understanding of the range of potential benefits that these professionals bring to HE, and the challenges that they face as they move into academia from other contexts remains relatively limited, despite the argument that “career academics and pracademics need to perceive each other as equals to fully benefit from their shared skills, experience and knowledge pools” (Willis 2016, cited by Dickinson et al., 2020). Much of the literature on dual professionals has tended to focus on the experience of staff within specific professional fields such as policing (Willis, 2016), nursing and healthcare (Duffy, 2013 and Boyd and Smith 2016), accountancy (Lindsay, 2020) or management (Simendinger, 2000), although more recent work also starts to explore the range of potential benefits that dual professionals think they bring to their academic roles (Dickinson, 2020).

In our #LTHEChat we aim to build on Dickinson’s work and invite participants to consider how previous professional experience can be harnessed to positively impact HE contexts. We hope that the chat will give participants an opportunity to reflect on their own journey into and through HE, and a chance to consider how experience in other professional contexts can/should impact on learning, teaching, and scholarship. 

Following the chat, if you want to connect with a network of colleagues who are interested in supporting professionals who move in to HE, join the Supporting Professionals in(to)HE Network (SPiHE) by contacting Claire on Twitter (@DrClaireStocks) or at

References and recommended reading

Boyd, P. & C. Smith (2016) “The contemporary academic: orientation towards research work and researcher identity of higher education lecturers in the health professions”, Studies in Higher Education, 41:4, 678-695.

Dickinson, J., A. Fowler and T. Griffiths (2020) “Pracademics? Exploring transitions and professional identities in higher education” Available from Sheffield Hallam University Research Archive (SHURA) at: (Accessed 12th May 2022)

Duffy, R. (2013) “Nurse to educator? Academic roles and the formation of personal academic identities” Nurse Education Today, 33:6, 620-4.

Kitchener, M. (2021) “What’s in a name? The rise of the practitioner academic and time to reconsider standardised induction support” BERA Blog.  (Accessed 12th May 2022)

Lindsay, H. (2020) “From fledgling to fledged: how accountants in academia develop their research capabilities”, Accounting Education, 29:4, 409-430.

Simendinger, E., Puia, G.M., Kraft, K. and Jasperson, M. (2000), “The career transition from practitioner to academic”, Career Development International, 5:2, 106-111.

Willis, James J. (2016) “The Romance of Police Pracademics”. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice 10:3, 315-321


Dr. Claire Stocks is an Associate Professor of Educational Practice at BPP University. 

Claire’s background is in English and American Literature, and she has been an academic developer since finishing her PhD in 2005. She has presented and published work on American Literature and in relation to academic development, and she has worked in a range of universities including research-intensives, teaching-focused and currently in a private provider. She is particularly interested in how to support novice academics to become successful HE professionals, and in the pedagogy of professional Higher Education. She leads BPP University’s Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching, and the Headway CPD scheme. 

Claire has been a Senior Fellow of the HEA since 2016, and has recently convened a network for colleagues who are interested in supporting professionals who move into Higher Education.

Twitter: @DrClaireStocks LinkedIn:

Pucture of Dr Claire Stocks

Dr. Peter Alston is an Associate Professor of Educational Practice and the Interim Dean of Education Services at BPP University. 

Peter has a background in information systems and web development/programming, and a PhD in eResearch & Technology Enhanced Learning. Previously, he was Director of Learning Solutions at Laureate Online Education with responsibility for cultivating relationships with partner institutions, and providing strategic vision and oversight for the design and development of academic programs. Prior to joining Laureate, Pete was a Lecturer (Learning Technology) in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Liverpool where he worked on the development of new ways of using learning technologies, social media and other web-based technologies within education. He also held a Senior Lecturer position in the Department of Computing at Edge Hill University, contributing to the teaching and project supervision on the Web Systems Development pathway, and serving as a Senior SOLSTICE Fellow, leading the development and impact of technology enhanced learning across the University.

Twitter: @DrPeteAlston LinkedIn:

Picture of Dr. Peter Alston

Dawne Irving-Bell, PhD, is a Professor of Learning and Teaching at BPP University. 

Dawne established The National Teaching Repository, a platform where colleagues can share interventions that lead to real improvements in teaching and learning in a way that secures recognition for their practice, making it citable, sharable, and discoverable. 

Dawne enjoys lecturing on visual thinking and advocates for technology and design education, for which she received a National Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to re-shaping Teacher Education. 

Dawne is a National Teaching Fellow (NTF), Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA) and proud recipient of a Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE).

Twitter: @belld17 LinkedIn:

Picture of Professor Dawne Irving-Bell

The Wakelet is available here:

Posted in announcement | Leave a comment

#LTHEChat 264: Confident Assessment with Rachel Forsyth @rmforsyth

A lightbulb radiating sympols of education instead of light. The variety of symbols represent different disciplines such as microscopes for biology as well as more general icons such as a graduation cap.
Image by Harush Sharma on Pixabay

Assessment of student learning is a key aspect of all forms of education that lead to a qualification or other recognition of achievement. It can be a complex and fraught topic, associated with anxiety and pressure for both teachers and students. Boud (1995) considers the ways in which assessment is used as a control mechanism in assessment; while he focuses on the control of student behaviours, it also has a powerful effect on teachers. The current marketing and assessment boycott in the UK, and universities’ responses to it, expose the challenges of managing fairness, reliability and validity and maintaining expertise and confidence in the assessment process.  

For the individual involved with assessment, confident assessment starts with understanding enough about assessment processes to know that it is impossible to be 100% sure, or confident, about any part of them. This sounds counterintuitive, but fully understanding your own limits can be strangely liberating. A confident assessor understands that there is no perfect way to assess: there should be a good way for the context at hand, which is worth finding, but there is no magic formula.  

You don’t have to be actually managing the assessment to contribute to it: successful assessment needs the contribution of many university colleagues, as well as students’ active participation. The Assessment Lifecycle (adapted from Forsyth et al, 2015) shows the different stages of an assessment, and it requires many colleagues in departments and professional services to contribute for everything to work. 

An 8 stage cycle, titled the Assessment Lifecycle.  
Stage 1: Specifying  
Stage 2: Setting  
Stage 3: Supporting  
Stage 4: Submitting  
Stage 5: Marking and production of feedback  
Stage 6 Recording grades  
Stage 7 Returning marks and feedback  
Stage 8: Reflecting
8-Stage Assessment Lifecycle (Adapted from Forsyth et al, 2015)

And yet traditionally, it is often considered as a solitary pursuit both for students and for their tutors. Students are mostly set individual assignments by which teachers judge their personal performance; talking to peers about these assignments is a sensible thing to do, in terms of personal and professional development, but there may be hint of collusion if this discussion becomes public. In some cases, there may be a competitive edge to the assessment which precludes sharing ideas with others. Or perhaps the assessment is being completed at the last minute, under pressure, and the student feels alone in this challenge.  

Once students have done their part and completed their assigned work, marking (grading) of assignments is largely done by individual tutors working alone. There are exceptions, such as when marking event-based activities such as presentations, performances, or exhibitions, but reviewing students’ work may be seen as something one locks oneself away to complete. It may also be presented by tutors as a difficult and unpleasant chore to be completed before other, more engaging, activities may ensue. This image of assessment as a practice which is carried out behind closed doors and endured by all parties is at odds with modern ideas of inclusive curriculum design, digital collaboration, transparency, authenticity, and professional practice.  

In this chat, we will try to gently explore some apparently fixed ideas about assessment and what it might take to aspire to feeling confident and creative enough to break out of some of the fixed ideas about assessment. A good place to start is to think about purpose: why is this assignment being set? This will help you to decide what elements of the assignment are most important, how to manage grading, and how to ensure that feedback is fit for purpose. Of course, any assignment may have multiple purposes, and some may be unintended: it is a good idea to think about which ones you value. Here are some possible purposes; maybe you can think of more: 

1. To judge current competence2. To judge current knowledge3. To judge capacity for future learning
4. To encourage focus on particular aspects of the curriculum5. To reward the meeting of teacher expectations6. To accredit a minimum level of professional competence
7. To differentiate performance among students8. To validate the effectiveness of teaching9. To permit progression on to the next level of study
10. To permit award of a final qualification11. To demonstrate maintenance of academic standards12. To identify areas for individual future development
13. To recognise an ability to follow instructions14. To recognise the ability to perform under pressure15. To confirm that intended learning outcomes have been achieved
16. To build student confidence17. To reduce the number of students on the course18. To judge teacher competence in preparing students for assessment
Table 1: multiple purposes of assessment (from Forsyth, 2022)

References and recommended reading

Boud, D. (1995). Assessment and Learning: contradictory or complementary? In P. Knight (Ed.), Assessment for Learning in Higher Education (pp. 35–48). Kogan Page. available at  

Campbell, P. I. (2022). ‘Pray(ing) the person marking your work isn’t racist’: racialised inequities in HE assessment practice. Teaching in Higher Education, 1-15.  

Forsyth, R., Cullen, R., Ringan, N., & Stubbs, M. (2015). Supporting the development of assessment literacy of staff through institutional process change. London Review of Education, 13(34-41). 

Forsyth, R. (2022). Confident Assessment in Higher Education. SAGE. (Sorry – terrible self-promotion. For a discount: Go to the publisher’s site, add your book(s) to shopping basket, wnter discount code: UK23AUTHOR at checkout) 

Nieminen, J. H. (2022). Assessment for Inclusion: rethinking inclusive assessment in higher education. Teaching in Higher Education, 1-19. 

O’Donovan, B. M., den Outer, B., Price, M., & Lloyd, A. (2021). What makes good feedback good? Studies in Higher Education, 46(2), 318-329.   

Race, P. (2019). The lecturer’s toolkit: a practical guide to assessment, learning and teaching (5th ed.). Routledge.  

Simper, N., Mårtensson, K., Berry, A., & Maynard, N. (2021). Assessment cultures in higher education: reducing barriers and enabling change. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 1-14.   

Tai, J., Ajjawi, R., & Umarova, A. (2021). How do students experience inclusive assessment? A critical review of contemporary literature. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 1-18. 


Rachel Forsyth is an educational developer who works at Lund University in Sweden as a project manager, reviewing the pedagogic aspects of digital education development and the University’s framework for appointments and promotions of academic staff. Her recent book, Confident Assessment in Higher Education, is intended as a practical, theory-informed resource for anyone in the higher education sector. She is a Principal Fellow of the HEA and has taught on postgraduate programmes for teaching in higher education for twenty years, including leading a specialist module on assessment. She is a member of the Degree Standards Project team which has explored sector-owned processes for professional development of external examiners in the UK since 2017. As Editor-in-Chief of the Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal since 2017, she is an active member of the Researching, Advancing, Inspiring Student Engagement (RAISE) network.

Missed the chat?

No problem, here’s a curated collection of the tweets so you can review and participate at a time that suits you.

Posted in announcement | Leave a comment

#LTHEChat 263 Escape Rooms for Challenge-based learning led by Clare Thomson @slowtech2000, Deb Baff @debbaff, Coral Condeco-Dunachie @CDunachie and Rosemarie McIlwhan @RMc_LT

A mug with the text 'escape the ordinary' with an arrow pointing right underneath. The mug is situated on the edge of a table with water in the background which reflects trees.
Escape the ordinary

Escaping the ordinary; Escape Rooms for Challenge-based Learning 

Popular television shows in the UK in the 1980s and 1990s, such as The Adventure Game and The Crystal Maze, saw participants locked in futuristic locations where they were required to solve different puzzles to win prizes. Globally, this concept of a physical escape room began to emerge as entertainment in many other forms during the early 2000s, stemming from the USA and Japan (Nicholson, 2015). The overall premise is that a team of players work cooperatively to find the solutions to different puzzles to solve a code or find a key to ultimately escape the room within a specific time frame.

In recent years educators have employed escape rooms physically on campus, and online with the additional benefits of flexibility and scale as well as providing the option of being available to students synchronously or asynchronously (Fotaris and Mastoras, 2019; Lathwesen and Belova, 2021; Makri, Vlachopoulos and Martina, 2021; Taraldsen et al., 2022). These include discipline specific escape rooms as well as interdisciplinary projects, addressing wider academic skills such as digital/information literacies, through to staff development and conference activities.

Regardless of the situation, the collaborative nature of escape can encourage teamwork, critical thinking, problem-solving, communication skills and more in a fun environment. However, as with other game-based activities careful thought has to be given to the design and implementation of the room. For example, the level of challenge needs to be carefully balanced, to avoid being overly easy or frustratingly difficult to maintain engagement and interest throughout.

This chat is a precursor to an event hosted by the Learning and Teaching Academy, Heriot-Watt University, on Friday, 9th June 2023 – Escape Rooms in Education: Showcase and Celebration. This lead-up discussion is a chance for the #LTHEchat community to share their practice with and explore the use of escape rooms in learning and teaching.

Fotaris, P. and Mastoras, T. (2019) ‘Escape Rooms for Learning: A Systematic Review’, in Proceedings of the 12th European Conference on Game Based Learning. 2th European Conference on Game Based Learning, ACPI, p. 30. Available at:

Lathwesen, C. and Belova, N. (2021) ‘Escape Rooms in STEM Teaching and Learning—Prospective Field or Declining Trend? A Literature Review’, Education Sciences, 11(6), p. 308. Available at:

Makri, A., Vlachopoulos, D. and Martina, R.A. (2021) ‘Digital Escape Rooms as Innovative Pedagogical Tools in Education: A Systematic Literature Review’, Sustainability, 13(8), p. 4587. Available at:

Nicholson, S. (2015) Peeking behind the locked door: A survey of escape room facilities. White Paper. Available at: (Accessed: 4 May 2023).

Taraldsen, L.H. et al. (2022) ‘A review on use of escape rooms in education – touching the void’, Education Inquiry, 13(2), pp. 169–184. Available at:

Guest Bios

Clare Thomson, a white woman with blond hair and waering glasses is facing forward and smiling
Clare Thomson

Clare Thomson is an Assistant Professor of Digital Pedagogies & Course Design at Heriot-Watt University. Clare has worked in higher education for over sixteen years and within the field of education technology for over twenty years. She a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh researching reflective practice in medical education. Her interests focus on reflection, inclusion, digital accessibility, creativity and care. Clare is co-chair of the Association of Learning Technology (ALT) Northern Ireland members group, a Senior Fellow of AdvanceHE (SFHEA), Certified Member of ALT (CMALT) and AdvanceHE Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) 2022

Deb Baff, a white woman with blond hair has her head tilted slightly to one side and is smiling at the camera.
Deb Baff

Debbie Baff is a Subject Specialist (Leadership and Culture) focusing on the Digital Leaders Programme at Jisc and has over 25 years experience of working in Higher Education & the voluntary sector. An Open Educational Practitioner and PhD Student in E Research and TEL. Her research interests are in online social support and the impact on wellbeing for educators. She is co-chair of the Open Education Special Interest  Group and contributes to several committees and groups at the Association for Learning Technology. An open digital badge enthusiast and keen sketchnoter, Debbie has a creative approach to learning, teaching and building communities both online and in person. Debbie is a Fellow of Advance HE (FHEA) and a Certified Online Learning Facilitator (COLF) and a member of the Research in Learning Technology and the Journal of Social Media for Learning Editorial Board.

Coral, a white woman with long dark hair is wearing a white top with black spots and is smiling at the camera.
Coral Condeco-Dunachie

Coral is a Learning Technologist and Design Specialist who has worked in higher education for ten years, specialising in supporting organisations to develop their Technology Enhanced Learning practices. She recently completed her Masters in Online and Distance Education, with a focus on accessibility and use of AI technologies. Her expertise includes instructional design and the integration of technology to enhance the learning experience.   

Rosemarie, a white woman with long brown hair smiles at the camera.
Rosemarie McIlwhan

Rosemarie McIlwhan is an Associate Professor of Digital Pedagogies and Practices, at Heriot-Watt University. She leads on digital pedagogy across the global university and is also the Programme Director of the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning. Rosemarie has an inter-disciplinary background encompassing law, education and development management. She has been teaching and researching in higher education for over 20 years, with a particular focus on equity, open and digital education and widening participation. Rosemarie is a member of the Research in Learning Technology Journal Editorial Board, co-host of the FutureTeacher webinar series and a Senior Fellow of AdvanceHE (SFHEA). 

Missed the chat?

No problem, here’s a curated collection of the tweets so you can review and participate at a time that suits you.

Posted in announcement | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

#LTHEchat 262 Phenomenon-Based Learning led by Dr Kate Cuthbert @cuthbert_kate, Sue Lee @SueLee99 and Emily Chapman-Waterhouse @cwaterhouse_e

Graphic of a human head with phenomena like stars and rainbows jumbled together and bursting out.

How do we harness the phenomenal?

We are working on a project exploring the possibilities of using Phenomenon-based learning in higher education (PHBL). In PHBL, learning is provoked and guided by given events or occurrence. The selected phenomenon is a constant for the students as they progress through a cyclical enquiry process of engage, explore, expand and execute. The phenomenon plants itself within all learning activities providing a place and justification for discipline knowledge.

As a team we have experienced many a furrowed brow trying to conceptualise this approach to learning, how it might be differentiated with other more well-known approaches and what it might look like to different students and different educators. How might it positively disrupt module constraints? How could it be effectively employed to offer impactful interdisciplinary learning? What is the place of content/ knowledge? Is it best for a student to engage with content and theory before, during or after the applied context? So, it isn’t without irony when we say that our PHBL project has mirrored inquiry-based learning by producing more questions than answers! But what we have been struck with is how PHBL has triggered students to appreciate and apply their discipline knowledge to real world issues. 

During 6 workshops students from a variety of discipline backgrounds, different stages in their study and at 2 contrasting universities gave us their take on PHBL. As part of the testing of PHBL, our students interacted with phenomenon such as AI in Healthcare, Food Sustainability and High-Speed Rail developments. All of these phenomenon were introduced with a “What if” proposition….

  • What if your next GP appointment was led by a robot? 
  • What if all food consumed had to be produced within a 500-mile radius?
  • What if a community had to be relocated as part of the HS2 development?

You can imagine that a multidisciplinary group engaged with these phenomena in very diverse ways. The students generated their own lines of enquiry which represented their course experience and learning needs. Importantly though these lines of enquiry built up into a meta exploration of a phenomenon, where discipline boundaries were challenged, and discipline knowledge was contextualised. 

We are looking forward to hearing from the LTHEchat community about their experiences of using phenomena to trigger learning experiences.

Guest bios

A portrait photograph of Dr Kate Cuthbert

Dr Kate Cuthbert – Pedagogic Projects Development Manager in the Staffordshire Centre for Learning and Pedagogic Practice

A portrait photo of Sue Lee.

Sue Lee – Senior Research Fellow in the Staffordshire Centre for Learning and Pedagogic Practice

A photo of Emily Chapman-Waterhouse

Emily Chapman Waterhouse – Associate Head of Department (Veterinary Nursing) Harper Adams

Missed the chat? No worries, here is a link to the wakelet for #LTHEChat 262

Posted in announcement | Leave a comment

#LTHEchat 261 Active Learning, led by Mary Jacob @MaryJacobTEL1 and Dr Wendy Garnham @DrWGarnham

The logo consists of a roundel of four figures representing people waving, in different colours. Underneath is written 'Active Learning Network;.
Active learning Network Logo

For anyone involved in teaching and learning in Higher Education, you won’t fail to have witnessed the proliferation of research advocating the value of “active learning”. Not only has it been held responsible for eliminating gender achievement gaps in some subjects (e.g. Theobald et al., 2020) and helping students to feel more engaged with their studies (Chiu and Cheng, 2017) but it has also been considered instrumental in reducing mental health issues associated with university level study such as anxiety (Adkins-Jablonsky et al., 2021) as well as reducing stress around assessments (e.g. Khan and Madden, 2018).

Wendy’s personal journey with active learning

One of the positive consequences of this focus on active learning has been the increasing development and availability of new tools to aid learning. The Global Festival of Active Learning for example, is due to have its 3rd annual run later this month with an international collection of contributions showcasing active learning methodology. I won’t hesitate to say that I am always keen to explore new methods and ideas to engage my learners. 

However, given the expansion of this field, it is thought-provoking to see that we still lack a clear definition of what active learning actually is. Is it synonymous with playfulness? When we try to identify what active learning might look like in practice, it becomes even more challenging. In many cases, we completely overlook the important question of whether there is a synergy between our assumptions about active learning and the experience of our students.  Our questions on #LTHEchat this week will explore some of these issues, stemming from a recent SEDA Focus book exploring the theoretical aspects of this pedagogical approach (Garnham and Gowers, 2023). 

Mary’s personal journey with active learning

I’ve long been an advocate, but have noticed that different people often have very different conceptions of what active learning actually is. I have been inspired by the Active Learning Network. When the pandemic began, I wanted to support our teaching staff in using active learning online, so I designed a training session drawing upon seminal work such as Bonwell & Eison (1991), Michelline Chi’s ICAP model (2009), and the online student engagement framework (Redmond, et al, 2018). In considering such sources, my own conception of active learning came into clear focus as Active Cognitive Tasks (ACTs). This became the basis for my contribution to the SEDA Focus book. Here is an outline of what I mean by ACTs:

A list of active cognitive tasks is divided in to three sections of Active, Cognitive and Task. Under 'Active': Active, not passive; Students own the learning process; Mutual trust and student agency. Under 'Cognitive': not just doing but thinking; Construct mental schemas by reinforcing connections; Meaningful long-term memory; 'Effortful learning' (Brown et al, 2014) or 'Desirable difficulty' (Bjork, 1994). Under 'Task': Carry out a task; Not just absorb information or perform an operation by rote; not the content but what they do with it that matters
Summary of active cognitive tasks


Adkins-Jablonsky, S. J., Shaffer, J. F., Morris, J. J., England, B., & Raut, S. (2021). A tale of two institutions: analyzing the impact of gamified student response systems on student anxiety in two different introductory biology courses. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 20(2), ar19.

Bonwell, C. C., & Eison, J. A. (1991). Active learning: Creating excitement in the classroom. Washington, DC: School of Education and Human Development, George Washington University

Bjork, R. A. (1994). ‘Memory and metamemory considerations in the training of human beings,’ Metacognition: Knowing about knowing, edited by Janet Metcalfe and Arthur Shimamura, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 185–205.

Brown, P. C., Roediger, H. L., and McDaniel, M. A. (2014). Make it stick: the science of successful learning, Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  

Chi, M. T. H. (2009). Active-Constructive-Interactive: A Conceptual Framework for Differentiating Learning Activities. Topics in Cognitive Science, 1, 1, 73-105. 

Chiu, P. H. P., & Cheng, S. H. (2017). Effects of active learning classrooms on student learning: a two-year empirical investigation on student perceptions and academic performance. Higher Education Research & Development, 36(2), 269-279.

Garnham, W. A., & Gowers, I. R. (Eds.). (2023). Active Learning in Higher Education: Theoretical Considerations and Perspectives. Taylor & Francis.

Khan, A., & Madden, J. (2018). Active learning: a new assessment model that boost confidence and learning while reducing test anxiety. International Journal of Modern Education and Computer Science, 10(12), 1.

Redmond, P., Heffernan, A., Abawi, L., Brown, A., & Henderson, R. (2018). An Online Engagement Framework for Higher Education. Online Learning, 22(1), 183–204.  

Theobald, E. J., Hill, M. J., Tran, E., Agrawal, S., Arroyo, E. N., Behling, S., … & Freeman, S. (2020). Active learning narrows achievement gaps for underrepresented students in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and math. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(12), 6476-6483.


A photograph of Wendy, a white woman with fair hair smiling at the camera.
Dr Wendy Garnham

Wendy Garnham is a Reader in Psychology at University of Sussex. She is a National Teaching Fellow and co-founder of the Active Learning Network. Wendy is a Fellow of SEDA and co-hosts both a Community of Practice for both Transitions and more recently, Outdoor Learning. Wendy is currently Acting Head and Director of Student Experience for the Central Foundation Year programmes at Sussex.

Mary Jacob, white woman with bright blue hair and wearing glasses faces the camera and has a beaming smile.
Mary Jacob

Mary Jacob is a Lecturer of Learning and Teaching at Aberystwyth University. She is based in the Learning & Teaching Enhancement Unit where she runs the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education (PGCTHE) scheme. She holds SFHEA and CMALT, and is a member of the Active Learning Network. Mary contributes to the broader community of practice through curating the Weekly Resource Roundup, presenting webinars at events such as the #DigiEduWebinars series, and participating on Twitter as @MaryJacobTEL1

Missed the chat? No problem! Here’s a link to the Wakelet of curated tweets for you to catch up with the chat.

Posted in announcement | Leave a comment

#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. Available at:

Morrish, L. (2019). Pressure vessels: The epidemic of poor mental health among higher education staff. HEPi Occasional Paper 20. Available at:

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:

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.

Woolston, C. (2021). Depression and anxiety ‘the norm’ for UK PhD students. Nature Career News. doi:


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,

LINK to the wakelet

Posted in announcement | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

#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: 

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:    

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:

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: @reubenshipway

Profile picture of Dr Reuben Shipway
Profile picture of Dr Reuben Shipway
Posted in announcement | Tagged | Leave a comment

#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

Posted in announcement | Leave a comment

#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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Romero-Hall, E. (2017). Posting, sharing, networking and connecting: Use of social media content by graduate students. TechTrends, 61, 580-588.

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.


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:

Posted in announcement | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment