Reflections on organising the #LTHEchat

Tree_LTHEchatKathrine Jensen:

I was really pleased when Dr Chrissi Nerantzi asked me to be one of the organisers for the #LTHEchat for the period Jan-April 2018. Previously, I have been a participant in the chat and found the experience both useful, fun and energising as the community of people involved are really enthusiastic. So, organising the chat was a great way for me to offer something in return. It was great to work with Kiu Sum, my co-organiser, as we quickly saw eye to eye on dividing up the work and Kiu was always there to respond when I needed an update. Kiu also offered a really valuable student perspective and ideas about how to involve more students, which really added to the chats we organised.

A few chats in, it became apparent that the tool the community had been using to collate the chats (Storify) was closing so one of the LTHEchat community, Chris Jobling, suggested trying out Wakelet and they tested out the functionality. After that, Kiu and I set up a LTHE Wakelet account and tried our hand at using this tool; just one of the ways that participating means learning something new.

For me, some of the benefits of the LTHEchats, are the challenges to my thinking that they offer as well as that satisfying recognition that others are thinking the same way or are dealing with similar things. And I can only say that I was mightily impressed by the activity of the LTHE people every Wednesday and continue to be so.

Kiu Sum:

Being involved in student engagement in learning and teaching alongside my undergraduate study was something I never thought of doing when I first became a university student. Stumbling across #LTHEchat was too something that was “not planned” and it was only in 2017 when I “officially” start engaging with the week chat. Student engagement and pedagogy in higher education has become one of my interests (alongside what I do by day!) and is something that seems I cannot not let go. When the call for a new organising team for January to April 2018 was open, I saw the opportunity to take up a new challenge and expressed my interest. I was pleased when I got invited by Dr Chrissi Nerantzi to join Kathrine as one of the #LTHEchat organisers – was not expecting it to happen so soon!

A few months went by very fast and what an experience it was. For the first time, the teamwork was completely done online via the use of technologies – highlighting the importance that we can use digital technologies effectively! Whilst it was daunting initially, the support I had from Kathrine and Chrissi was incredible and we quickly gelled as a team despite only using online communication tools.

During the short 4 months, I was also given the opportunity to host my (first ever!) tweetchat! It was an exciting opportunity (and challenge!) and somewhat scratched my head a lot, not knowing how the chat itself would go coming from a student. So I decided to “flip the learning” and hosting it from a student’s perspective. With the chat falling on Valentine’s Day, “my date” for the evening was “Love Higher Education? Must be love, love, love…” (#LTHEchat 104*), with #LoveHE also. It made sense that it was related to love! With the continuous support from Kathrine and Chrissi, I thoroughly enjoyed hosting the chat and am pleased to see there were many fruitful discussions from the #LTHEchat community.

Participating in #LTHEchat has opened my mind to learning and teaching outside my experiences. Most important of all is having the opportunity to engage with other members of staff and students who I may have never thought of engaging with. One important lesson I have learnt using Twitter and joining in tweetchats, such as #LTHEchat has developed my confidence and communication skills. While it may seem so “unimpactful or “meaningless” at first participating as a student, reflecting my time spent on Wednesday evenings has made it more meaningful (1 hour does go by very fast!). It feels like a good CPD session to learn, to share practices and developing my ‘graduate attributes’. But most important of all is building professional relationships, getting to know other things outside your own academic discipline and having further opportunities to co-create potential new projects. Trust me, it does break down the ice of knowing how to start a conversation as a student when you finally (or trying to) get to meet those behind their twitter handles at events and conferences! Thank you to the #LTHEchat community for the opportunity and definitely got no regrets on stumbling onto #LTHEchat a while back.

*Summary of chat:


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#LTHEChat 110 with Nicole Brown @ncjbrown and Jennifer Leigh @drschniff “Ableism in academia – where are chronically ill, disabled and neurodiverse staff and students?”

The next #LTHEChat in Wednesday 18th April 8-9PM (GMT) will be based on questions from Nicole Brown @ncjbrown and Jennifer Leigh @drschniff “Ableism in academia – where are chronically ill, disabled and neurodiverse staff and students?”

In recent months there has been a shift towards more awareness of precarious working conditions, gender issues and racial injustice within society as a whole, and within academia, in particular. And while these developments are fantastic to observe, there remain many instances where the needs of students and staff are marginalised or forgotten, especially where the needs may not necessarily be visible but related to chronic illnesses, invisible disabilities and neurodiversity.

Over the last few months, articles and position papers in Disability and Society, the Times Higher Education and The Guardian have highlighted how within academia certain ways of working and learning are expected and that disabilities, neurodiversity and chronic illnesses are often not catered for.

In this tweetchat, we would like to explore our internalised expectations of workings in academia, consider how ableism (discrimination in favour of able-bodied/minded) intersects with gender, race, class, age and sexuality, and discuss what needs to be done to allow for a more diverse and inclusive environment for all.

Nicole Brown @ncjbrown

Nicole is a Lecturer in Education and Academic Head of Learning and Teaching in the Department of Culture, Communication and Media at UCL Institute of Education. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her research interests lie with advancing learning and teaching and ways of improving knowledge generation, mainly through creative methods. Underpinned by her interpretation of human communication relying on the metaphorical understanding of the world, her PhD research on academic identity uses participatory approaches and creative methods to data collection and analysis to capture what is otherwise difficult to express.

Jennifer Leigh @drschniff

Jennifer is a Lecturer in Higher Education and Academic Practice at the Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Kent. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her research stems from a background in movement, and focuses on embodiment, reflexivity, identity and creative research methods. Her doctoral work was a phenomenological study of how children perceived, reflected on and expressed their embodiment through movement. She won the Society for Research into Higher Education’s prize for Newer Researchers in 2016.

The Wakelet for this weeks chat can be found here.

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#LTHEchat 109 “Team Based Learning” with Beck McCarter @beckmccarter and Simon Tweddle @simontweddell

The next #LTHEchat will take place on Wednesday 11th April 8-9pm (BST). This week’s topic is Team Based Learning (TBL) and will be led by Beck McCarter and Simon Tweddle.

Dr Simon TweddleDr Simon Tweddell is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Bradford. He was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2015 and was part of the team awarded a Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence by the Higher Educational Academy in 2017 for transitioning a large, established undergraduate Masters in Pharmacy programme from one that uses a traditional didactic approach to one delivered predominantly by Team-Based Learning (TBL). He serves as the only European member on the Global Board of the Team-Based Learning Collaborative and chairs the European Board of the Team-Based Learning Community.

Beck McCarterBeck McCarter is an Educational Developer, an accredited Trainer-Consultant in Team-Based Learning (TBL), a CATE Award winning team member and a sidekick extraordinaire. Passionate about improving both the staff and student experience, she is a #teambasedlearning #tbl evangelist.



Introduction to team based learning

We wouldn’t be doing you justice if we didn’t practice what we preach so in true TBL style, we’re flipping this week’s #LTHEchat. Your pre-work is to watch this short 5min video on some of the reasons we choose to teach using TBL. There may well be a test…


What IS Team Based Learning? – TBL in 60 seconds

Planning to participate in the #LTHEchat tonight but no idea what TBL actually is? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back! Here’s a very quick introduction to some of the key points…


The Wakelet story for this tweetchat is available HERE

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#LTHEchat 108: “Involving the public in the design and delivery of higher education” with Luisa Wakeling (@luisa_wakeling) & Ellen Tullo

The next #LTHEChat Wednesday 21st March 8-9PM (GMT) will be based on questions from Luisa Wakeling and Ellen Tullo on the topic of “Involving the public in the design and delivery of higher education”.


From left, Ellen Tullo, Laura Greaves and Luisa Wakeling

Ellen is a Lecturer in Ageing Education, Luisa is a Lecturer in Cell Biology and together, with Laura Greaves a research fellow from the Centre for Ageing and Vitality, they run a multidisciplinary, higher education module, Newcastle University Ageing Generations Education (NUAGE) aimed at undergraduate students from any academic background.

Student interns and older people collaborate with Ellen, Laura and Luisa to design, deliver and evaluate this module, which has now run annually since 2013. The collaboration, aiming to challenge the association of ageing with frailty and focus learning on healthy ageing, involves a team of older members of the public recruited through the user group VOICE. This multigenerational collaboration ensures learning is grounded in the realities of ageing in the community rather than solely reflecting academic research priorities.

The older public volunteers initiated the formation of a steering group (EXBEX- ‘expert by experience’) collaborating with student interns and teaching staff, guiding the development and delivery of the module. They also critically evaluate the NUAGE curriculum, obtaining a holistic and dynamic view of ageing.

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#LTHEchat 107 Partnership with students in curriculum design with Dr Abbi Flint (@DrAFlint) and Wendy Garner (@FacultyHub).

20171128_121847.jpgThe joint #LTHE Chat with @RAISEnetwork Partnership Special Interest Group on Wednesday 14th March 2018 (8-9pm) will focus on ‘partnership with students in curriculum design’ and will be facilitated on the day by Dr Abbi Flint (@DrAFlint) and Wendy Garner (@FacultyHub).

“Students are commonly engaged in course evaluations and in departmental staff–student committees, but it is rarer for institutions to go beyond the student voice and engage students as partners in designing the curriculum and giving pedagogic advice and consultancy.” (Healey, Flint and Harrington, 2014: 48)

Following the rise in tuition fees in 2012, there has been a significant drive by government, related agencies and by the National Union of Students, for Higher Education (HE) providers to enable, support and demonstrate student engagement at all levels of the institution. One of the key aims of this is to promote the active engagement of students in constructing their own learning, rather than as passive recipients of knowledge and understandings.

A review of the literature (Trowler, 2010) commissioned by the Higher Education Academy (HEA), concluded that most empirically based research into student engagement in HE originated from North America and Australasia. The review also suggested there is a lack of shared understanding of what these concepts mean and how they might be operationalised in practice. Since then, there has been considerable growth in scholarship around student engagement and partnership in all aspects of learning and teaching in the UK, supported by the publication of frameworks and principles to guide practice and policy (e.g. HEA, 2016; TSEP, 2015; sparqs, 2011) and through networks like RAISE (Researching, Advancing and Inspiring Student Engagement).

One aspect of many of these frameworks is working with students as partners within the context of curriculum design, with scholarly development of this area by colleagues such as Alison Cook-Sather in the USA and Catherine Bovill in the UK. This is an example of student engagement which can directly impact student learning and is supported by learning theory such as constructivism. However, it also prompts us to unpick our assumptions around what we understand by ‘curriculum’ and how power and control play out in the different roles staff and students undertake in curriculum design and development processes. In light of these uncertainties and potential tensions, there is much to explore and share, particularly within the context of HE in the United Kingdom.

We encourage you to join us to explore some of these issues collaboratively, and to share your practice and ideas around student and staff partnership in curriculum design.

You can find out more about the RAISE Network, and the Partnership SIG, here:

HEA (2016) Framework for student engagement through partnership. York, Higher Education Academy.

Healey, M., Flint, A. & Harrington, K. (2014) Engagement through Partnership: students as partners in learning and teaching in Higher Education. York, Higher Education Academy.

sparqs (2012) Student engagement framework for Scotland.

Trowler, V. (2010) Student engagement literature review. York: Higher Education Academy.

TSEP (2015) TSEP’s 10 principles of student engagement. TSEP:


Dr Abbi Flint is an independent educational developer and researcher with a longstanding research and practice interest in student engagement and partnership. She is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Visiting Research Fellow in Student Engagement at Birmingham City University. Abbi is particularly interested in how concepts of student engagement and partnership play out in practice, and how developing joint learning communities of students and staff can strengthen and sustain partnerships.

Wendy Garner is a qualified teacher and has been a Senior Lecturer for over twenty years. She is currently in post as Senior University Teaching Fellow at the University of Chester. Wendy is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her current areas of interest and research comprise student engagement, working with students as partners and the analysis of new provision within the context of the history of Higher Education in the United Kingdom.

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#LTHEchat 106 BME Attainement with Liz Austen @lizaustenbooth

The next #LTHEChat Wednesday 7th March  8-9PM (GMT) will be based on questions from Liz Austen on “Can we talk about Whiteness?”

Liz-A-1Liz Austen is a Senior Lecturer in Research, Evaluation and Student Engagement at Sheffield Hallam University.

Her current interests centre on the diversity of student experiences within higher education. This includes evaluating pedagogic interventions for improving student engagement, exploring explanations for differential student outcomes and investigating the complexities of teaching excellence. She is interested in the scope and range of institutional research using the student voice, and particularly the use of digital storytelling.  Liz is now using her significant teaching experience and research background in areas of social justice to lead funded research and present her work both locally and nationally.



Twitter: @lizaustenbooth

Blog posts:

Can we talk about Whiteness?

I am not an expert in critical race theory – I’m just putting that out there – but recently I have begun to explore notions of privilege within Higher Education.  You don’t have to be an expert to realise that inequity is pervasive, you just need to start looking, really looking.  And once you’ve seen it, don’t ignore it (or rationalise it as ‘unconscious’).  Talk about it.

And here lies a problem – admittedly, conversations about privilege, and in particular White privilege, are difficult.

A team of researchers recently reflected on the challenges and barriers that they faced when trying to implement changes to the curriculum which had been shown to address differential student outcomes.  They concluded that they had misjudged the ‘readiness’ of the institution to talk or action change and the impact of a ‘Critical Whiteness’ lens on explanations for differential student outcomes. Then they began start conversations: Have you had your Whiteness pointed out today? (If applicable); Why don’t White students mix in?; Why don’t White students work harder?

You can listen to our story here.

And then I hope we can talk about it.

We are working with colleagues from across the sector to develop a Critical Whiteness Toolkit. If you are interested in this development please do get in touch.

Take a look at a TAGS map of the tweet chat that Dr Scott Turner kindly created

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#LTHEchat 105 Alternatives to the VLE for teaching and learning by Pat Lockley @pgogy and Natalie Lafferty


The #LTHE Chat on Wednesday 21st February 2018 is a joint suggestion from Pat Lockley and Natalie Lafferty and will be facilitated on the day by Pat (@pgogy).

While 25% of new websites registered in the USA use WordPress , its uptake at universities isn’t anywhere near as high. Yet WordPress, used almost always as a synonym for blogging, does offer the academy, and academics in general, a route into new, unexplored online territories. For starters, we see mention of WordPress to run MOOCs and for Digital Humanities projects and in the wider world, open access publishing. These innovative uses of WordPress continue to this day.  As WordPress remains ever-present across the web and its use in academia grows, how do we create a community or a culture around this software which is so flexible? With WordPress being so flexible, how would anyone know where to start?

Many links provide the basis for funded projects and personal websites, however self-hosted sites don’t have to WordPress in the URL, and so remain discoverable to those largely in the know.  Consequently best practice, or even guidance on WordPress is hard to find, especially when compared to the abundance of support and information for services such as twitter. Whereas in the modern age we expect everything internet to go viral, does WordPress still travel by word of mouth? What unlocked potential is there for WordPress in higher education?

To start to bridge these gaps and help foster an educationally focussed WordPress community of practice Natalie Lafferty and Pat Lockley are working to develop PressEDPressED is a twitter conference on the use of WordPress in teaching, learning and research being held on 29th March. Over two years ago, a plan for a WordPress conference was mooted (and whilst many WordCamps exist) nothing with an “educational” focus existed (wpcampus now runs as well). To overcome issues with funding, finding a venue and a time to suit an ever-busy academy, PressED is holding the conference on twitter (very much borrowing this idea from the Public Archaeology Twitter Conference whose website is, you’ve guessed it, is on WordPress.Com)

You may have seen WordPress dot com links over twitter bios and personal profiles, you may have seen or heard of “Domain of one’s own” amongst many of the WordPress projects currently running in the academy.

Join us to discuss how learning happens outside the Virtual Learning Environment and Learning Management System.

Thanks to Chris Jobling you can access the tweets in the form of a Wakelet for #LTHEchat 105

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#LTHEChat 104: Love Higher Education? “Must be love, love, love…” with Kiu Sum @KiuSum

The next #LTHEChat Wednesday 14th February 8-9pm (GMT) will be a student-led discussion by Kiu Sum (@KiuSum), on “Love Higher Education? “Must be love, love, love…” Coinciding with Valentine’s Day, go and spread your #LoveHE to your colleagues and students, and join in the hour-long chat!

Kiu is currently a Research Postgraduate on a MRes Course at Imperial College London, previously graduated from BSc (Hons) Human Nutrition from University of Westminster. It was whilst studying at Westminster; Kiu found her passion in student engagement work and the opportunities to collaborate with members of staff on varies research projects. Where possible, Kiu is actively involved in learning and teaching projects. ‘Students As Co-Creators’ projects enabled her to discover the importance of pedagogy research, focusing on student experiences and engagement including the use of mobile learning devices, digital resources, and feedback in learning and teaching. She has also written a Student Voice article (in press) outlining her ‘Students As Co-Creators’ project experiences for the upcoming issue in the Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal.

The overall aim of this #LTHEChat session will explore the above title. All students and staff are welcome to participate to engage with the conversations using prompt questions. As is Valentine’s Day, there will be a twist… #LoveHE

Format of the session:

Q1, Q2, Q3 and etc will be asked as normal with participants using A1, A2 and etc…

If at any point #LTHEChat participants would like to direct specific questions to students, please use #AskTheStudent in tweet as well.

Your Pre Valentine’s Day Gift

6 different ‘sub’ areas will be explored. Just to give you a bit of a “pre-date present” on what is to come:

  1. Fact or fancy?
  2. Love of learning…
  3. Love/ Hate Partnership.
  4. Love or loathe.
  5. Passionate and enthusiastic
  6. Old and or new.


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#LTHEchat 103 Enhancing the supervision experience of undergraduate students on major project/dissertation modules with Adam Longcroft and Simon-Pratt-Adams

Adam 30 Aug Piccie (1)

Adam Longcroft

The #LTHE Chat on Wednesday 7th February 2018 will be jointly led by @adamL50 and @simonprattadams from Anglia Learning and Teaching (@AngliaLTA) at Anglia Ruskin University (@AngliaRuskin). Adam and Simon have been leading the development and delivery of an educational development programme for academic staff who supervise undergraduate major projects, so their chosen topic for our chat is: “Enhancing the supervision experience of undergraduate students on major project/dissertation modules”. The questions will explore this topic and we hope you will be able to join in the fun. Simon and Adam are keen not only to see academic staff responding to their questions, but students too – who will probably have some valuable ideas to share based on their own experiences. Colleagues interested in the topic may be interested to read a blog by Adam on the same theme on the SEDA website.

Enhancing the supervision experience of undergraduate students on major project/dissertation modules

At this time of year many university academics will be conducting supervisions with undergraduate students who are undertaking major projects or dissertations of various kinds.  In a sense, the previous two years of study (or in some cases three) have led up to this moment – the major project or dissertation component requires undergraduate students need to marshal their accumulated learning, knowledge and skills and apply them within a single, extended piece of work. In some cases the project or dissertation may occupy a single term or semester, but often spans the entire final year of degree study.

For many undergraduate students this is the element they have been looking forward to most; for others it may be the bit of the course they have been dreading. For both, completing a project or dissertation is likely to pose a considerable challenge. Supervisors need to support students so that they can overcome these challenges. But how?

In this LTHE Chat session, we would like to encourage colleagues to reflect on what they think their primary role is as a supervisor, how they help students to understand the value of undertaking a project, how they clarify mutual responsibilities, how they maximise the usefulness of supervision sessions (either face-to-face or at a distance), and what ‘personal qualities’ or ‘skills’ they think are most important as a supervisor. Finally, we’d like to look to the future and prompt reflection amongst colleagues on how we can use projects & dissertations to drive the development of key graduate skills.

Like other forms of teaching, research suggests that the effectiveness of supervision is a key factor in student success. How we supervise our undergraduate students is therefore very important.  Our role as a supervisors is likely to be a vital element in the complex and often bumpy road to a project’s completion, but how do we promote effective learning and progress? It has been argued that supervision requires academics not only to adopt different pedagogical techniques (i.e. a different approach to teaching) but also to induct students into a new way of learning. This poses challenges for both parties. So what works? Simon and Adam want to know how YOU approach the supervision process, and how you support your students to transition into a different kind of learner – and ideally one who is increasingly able to demonstrate autonomy and independence.

What is clear when one talks to academics is that there is no single or agreed view on the key role or purpose of the supervisor. One often finds little consensus on the purpose of a project or dissertation. Views on both are often subject to difference driven by personal experiences, institutional contexts, and by disciplinary/subject traditions. Process often varies too.

Supervision is often characterised as a two-way dialogue founded upon a series of exploratory discussions between student and supervisor, but this one-to-one model is often complemented by small group and online supervisions conducted at a distance. Much teaching is focused on ‘delivery’ of content, but the supervision process is rather different. The pedagogies required are often those of ‘facilitation’ instead. Some have described the role as that of ‘guide’ rather than the ‘master’. But this means, surely, that a different set of personal qualities and/or skills are required since the academic is no longer required to act as ‘sage on the stage’ but, rather, as ‘academic mentor’ or ‘critical friend’? But what qualities or skills are most important in a great supervisor? Are those we value as academics the same as those our students value? Hearing the views of students will be very enlightening!

Previous discussions with colleagues suggests that supervision not only requires a different set of qualities and skills, but the development, also, of a different kind of relationship. But just as with other kinds of teaching, it is important to clarify the rules of this relationship – by, for example, clarifying mutual responsibilities and obligations. But how can this is achieved most quickly and effectively? How do you clarify the rules that govern the student/supervisor relationship?

Moreover, what kind of relationship are we aiming to build? Is the ‘ideal’ a more equal relationship where each party simply has a different role in joint process of discovery – a bit like the driver and navigator on a rally stage? Or something different? And just how important is subject-specific knowledge? Is this the key to successful supervision, or are the more ‘generic’ skills of an experienced supervision of greater importance in ensuring successful outcomes for project students?

Finally, how do you impress upon students the value they will gain from undertaking a project or dissertation? One colleague described projects as ‘a multi-faceted, complex problem-solving exercise’ – the kind of language which many would recognise from the kind of dialogue that one encounters in job interviews. But what other capacities or skills do your students develop? And how can we ensure that we maximise the development of the kinds of distinctly human capacities that are less likely to be made redundant in 10-20 years by computers or other forms of artificial intelligence? Adam and Simon would like to invite you all to comment on how YOU work with your students to develop the Top 10 graduate skills for 2020 identified by the World Economic Forum in 2016:

Top 10 WEF Skills for 2020:

  • Complex problem solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • People management
  • Coordinating with others
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Decision-making
  • Service orientation
  • Negotiation
  • Cognitive flexibility


World Economic Forum (WEF), The 10 Skills you need to thrive in the fourth industrial revolution (19 January 2016). See:

Healey et al, (2013) Developing & Enhancing Final Year Undergraduate Projects and Dissertation, Higher Education Academy. See:

The storify from the chat will be added here #LTHEchat103

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Joint #HEAchat and #LTHEchat 31st Jan

The theme is all about exploring creativity in STEM and Kay Hack is facilitating.  Read more about the theme on the HEA website

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