A Summer Special #LTHEchat led by Sarah Honeychurch @NomadWarMachine on ‘Lurkers’ – Wednesday 25th July 8pm

Sarah HoneychurchWhat is lurking? Do you lurk? If so: when do you lurk, and what reasons do you have for doing so? Is lurking a legitimate strategy to cope with the abundance of content and conversations in the modern world, or are lurkers free loaders who watch others working and steal the results for themselves? Should we be calling out lurkers and lurking, or appreciating that there are times when such behaviour is perfectly acceptable at times.

What do you think about the work “lurking”? Is it an overused word with negative connotations, or should we be reclaiming the word for use in our modern world? If the former, which word or phrase would you replace it with, and why? My preferred phrase, which I give reasons for choosing in a recent article co-written with colleagues, is “legitimate peripheral participation” – but that’s a tongue twister, and I do find myself reverting back to using “lurking” as shorthand.

This Summer Special Twitter #LTHEChat is on Wednesday 25th July at 20:00 – 21:00 BST and invites participants to reflect on six questions about lurkers and lurking, and to consider how we might design our online and blended learning activities in the light of our answers to these questions.


Sarah Honeychurch @NomadWarMachine is a Fellow in the Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow, where she is investigating ways of making learning, teaching and assessment less stressful and more meaningful for staff and students. She is currently also writing-up a PhD in Education which considers the effects of online peer interaction on learning, and this has led to her interest in lurkers in online communities. Sarah is also an editor for the open, online, peer-reviewed journal Hybrid Pedagogy, and blogs at http://www.nomadwarmachine.co.uk/

Link to the Wakelet: http://wke.lt/w/s/OBzh6

Side notes:
A tweet a couple of days ago from Dr Hala Mansour @HalaMansour “Press like if you miss #LTHEchat” received 24 likes within minutes. This seemed an opportune time to put a challenge out to the @LTHEchat community to see if someone wanted to lead a Summer Special chat before the end of July. Unsurprisingly the challenge was met by a valued member of the #LTHEchat community and we are very excited to have Sarah Honeychurch to lead a chat on a theme that is very topical.

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Enjoy the summer break! Look forward to more co-learning come September #LTHEchat

summer fruit

Dear #LTHEchat friends

It’s hard to believe another academic year has come to a close. Over 2017/18 we have had a rich collection of #LTHEchats and thank all of our guests who have led on a wonderful collections of topics and provided thought provoking questions to stimulate discussions. These have all been saved as blog posts along with a link to a curation of tweets (using Storify and later Wakelet)

Behind the scenes we have a rolling Organising Team who make these chats happen. The team liaises with the Guest, gathers information for the blog post and questions for the chat. On the night they ensure the questions are posted and engage with the community and the Guest. Post chat they now use Wakelet to curate the tweets shared and save this as a story. These wonderful people are all volunteers and members of the ever growing #LTHEchat community. Thank you to the wonderful outgoing team who are:

  • Hala Mansour @HalaMansour
  • Laura Burden @lburdenmedia
  • Suzanne Faulkner @SFaulknerPandO

We would like to thank the #LTHEchat community, all our guests and collaborators, the #HEAchat and the RAISE network and wish you a relaxing summer wherever you are, whatever you do and hope to see you again in September.

Watch this space as we will be shortly sharing who the incoming Organising Team are!

Hope you have have a relaxing and fruitful summer.

The LTHEchat team

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A joint #LTHEchat #HEAchat tonight is about ‘Which form of communication works best? with @kiusum

A joint #LTHEchat #HEAchat tonight from 8-9pm BST is about ‘Which form of communication works best?’ with @kiusum

Communication is an important skill – whether communicating with students and or staff, sometimes information may be misinterpreted. With our monthly with , we will be exploring the types of communication that works best in higher education. So join in and share your good and bad experiences in improving our communication skill!

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 outlining her ‘Students As Co-Creators’ project experiences for the upcoming issue in the Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal.

Here is the Wakelet for this chat: https://wakelet.com/wake/6d821cfa-6b11-475f-84bd-e4295b3cc5c1

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#LTHEchat 118 is about ‘Course design, teaching practice and the learner experience’ with Professor Alejandro (Ale) Armellini, Dean of Learning and Teaching, University of Northampton, @alejandroa

Our #LTHEchat in 20th June 2018 with Professor Alejandro (Ale) Armellini, Dean of Learning and Teaching, University of Northampton@alejandroa will be about ‘Course design, teaching practice and the learner experience’. Please join us 8-9pm BST.

Much effort, creativity, resource and research has gone into devising transferable processes to enable course teams to design for effective learning in HE. CAIeRO has been Northampton’s approach for the past 10 years. The Why CAIeRO research report, released in May 2018, captures some of the key findings from the perspective of participants. The process itself is an adaptation of Gilly Salmon’s Carpe Diem model. Other approaches include UCL’s ABC learning design workshop and Oxford Brookes’ Intensives. A strapline we often use in association with CAIeRO is design for engagement, deliver for participation.

What these learning design processes have in common is an explicit intention to enable staff, in collaboration with students and other stakeholders, to design student-centred, participative, engaging and inclusive modules and programmes for different modes of study. Our Learning Design team has produced a number of very useful blog posts about the process and its practicalities. At Northampton, CAIeRO has been a key tool that has enabled us to redesign our modules to Active Blended Learning (ABL). At the time of writing this, 97% of our modules follow the principles of ABL.

The question that arises is this: does the team-based (re-)design exercise predicated by these approaches translate into student-centred, collaborative teaching practice? Academic teams may have completed thorough and arguably successful design or redesign processes, but when it comes to “making it count” for the student, teaching practices may not always reflect the core principles agreed during the design phase. In other words, in Northampton’s case, despite the team’s best efforts during a CAIeRO workshop, some colleagues may not capitalise on the benefits of this design in terms of their teaching practice, rendering that effort of limited value for the students.

Our Twitter #LTHEChat on Wednesday 20th June at 20:00 hs BST will invite participants to reflect on six key questions focusing on the interface between course design and teaching practice, how to address the gaps between the two and what getting this right would mean for students and staff.

Prof Alejandro (Ale) Armellini

Dean of Learning and Teaching
University of Northampton


Here is the Wakelet for this chat: https://wakelet.com/wake/ac146a4a-62a3-46ec-8116-5bf4391def21

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#LTHEchat 117 is about ‘Using Games for Learning’ with Matthew Crossley @mattycrossley

The next #LTHEchat on Wednesday 13th June 8-9pm (BST) will be hosted by Matthew Crossley @mattycrossley on ‘Using Games for Learning’.

I think it is fair to say that in 2018 there is significant competition for the attention of our learners. With entertainment on tap and a raft of complex life pressures HE learners constantly juggle, it is fair to say that vying for attention can be tricky, at best. The twinned problem of tackling learner engagement, and challenge of developing activities that are enlightening and entertaining is complex, and curious, and attitudes towards both are beautifully diverse.

There’s an argument that we can engage learners by entering the complex space of fun. Designing learning activities using practice from the entertainment industry – games, for example – helps us to ensure that we have sessions which learners want to participate in. Why not go a step further? Why not use games as objects, tools, or vehicles for education?

Introducing games for education is not new. We have been using analogue (or tabletop) and digital games to engage learners for decades. I remember in primary school, learning about wildlife (at least, I think that was the message) using a wonderful game about badgers – I’ve never managed to find out what it’s called, so if you know, please tell me.

However, the recent rise in the popularity of analogue games, and popular digital games producing education-specific variants (such as Minecraft: Educational Edition, Assassin’s Creed: Discovery Tour and Cities: Skylines), suggests that with some careful decision making and practice, we can usher in a golden age of using games for learning.

So, what are the next steps? First, we need to pick through our attitudes towards the use of games in learning. We need to analyse the concept with the appropriate lenses. Of course, we can’t (and perhaps shouldn’t?) adopt games for learning everywhere, because then we run the risk of losing the magic, and we need a variety of different activities and learning types to keep our learners engaged and enthused.

However, there’s scope for us to make more use of games in educational spaces. But we also need to consider the risks, and challenges:

  • Games are usually (though not always) competitive, and we need to consider carefully the role competition plays in education (particularly, where it may introduce/exacerbate gender differences – e.g. Niederle, 2010)
  • There’s a difficulty in balancing education versus entertainment – and I say this with a game designer/developer hat on (and an educator hat perched neatly on top, like a delicious hat burger). It is often the case that the desire to share an educational message competes with the entertainment aspect, though the same can be said moving in the other direction. We, as facilitators, need to ensure that the learning is taking place instead of relying on games to do it for us.
  • Should education be fun? Do we need to add extrinsic motivation when our learners should be intrinsically motivated? We face complex challenges that are not new. Timetabled sessions suffer from non-attendance, though the reasons are complex and multi-faceted.

I hope you’d agree, that the use of games in learning provides a potentially very powerful tool to increase learner engagement. While there are some deadly traps, the more we practice, and the more we share our practice, the better we will get at avoiding those pitfalls. This is, after all, the very way we master playing games, is it not?

Matthew Crossley @mattycrossley is a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he is Course Leader for Games Design and Development, and Assistant Programme Leader for the Computing and Digital Technology Network. He primarily teaches aspects of game design relating to player motivation and engagement, and game balancing, but also teaches game development, and has research interests in modelling and simulation, particularly of behaviours, and nature-inspired computing and its myriad applications to games design and development.

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#LTHEchat 116: Beyond advocacy for change – developing critical & open approaches in Learning Technology with Maren Deepwell @marendeepwell and Martin Hawksey @mhawksey

The next #LTHEchat on Wednesday 6th June 8-9pm (BST) will be hosted by Maren Deepwell @marendeepwell and Martin Hawksey @mhawksey on developing critical approaches in Learning Technology.

With the 25th Annual Conference of ALT, the Association for Learning Technology, just around the corner, we have been looking forward as well as back over how things have changed (revisit some of the developments with Prof Martin Weller, President of ALT, in his ongoing blog series “25 years of EdTech”).

We define Learning Technology as the broad range of communication, information and related technologies that can be used to support learning, teaching and assessment. ALT’s membership is made up of people who are actively involved in understanding, managing, researching, supporting or enabling learning with the use of Learning Technology. Using technology for learning, teaching and assessment hasn’t been a ‘new’ thing for a long time. But one thing that remains constant is the pace with which innovation moves forward, learner expectations develop and our constant need to evolve our pedagogical approaches. This creates demands/pressures and staff development needs for academics to develop competencies with digital pedagogies/approaches.

Regardless of where we are, or indeed where our institution is, in spreading or scaling up use of technology, we now have research, case studies and practice to move beyond advocacy, beyond enthusiasm for shiny gadgets or dashboards to developing a more critical, nuanced relationship to Learning Technology and to share our work in order to build a stronger, more diverse and robust discourse.

hTIIXeJq_400x400Maren Deepwell @marendeepwell is chief executive of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) and leads its work on professional recognition and development. Martin Hawksey @mhawksey leads on innovation, community engagement and technology for ALT.



ALT represents individual and organisational Members from all sectors and parts of the UK. Our Membership includes practitioners, researchers and policy makers with an interest in Learning Technology. Our community grows more diverse as Learning Technology has become recognised as a fundamental part of learning, teaching and assessment. ALT aims to increase the impact of Learning Technology for the wider community, strengthen recognition and representation for the Membership at a national level and lead professionalisation for individual Learning Technology professionals in a broad range of roles.

As the senior staff team of ALT Maren & Martin work with Trustee and Members on a diverse range of projects including ALT’s conferences, annual survey, national policy development and professional development. Sharing their approach to open leadership is a monthly blog series on running a virtual organisation and both actively disseminate their independent professional via their personal sites https://mashe.hawksey.info/ and http://marendeepwell.com/

Here is the Wakelet for this chat: https://wakelet.com/wake/fad6939c-74ee-4adc-bf72-2f3c031bfc8f

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#LTHEchat 114 will focus on Innovative Education in the Age of GDPR. The chat will be hosted by Lisa Harris @lisaharris

The next #LTHEchat on Wednesday the 23rd of May 8-9pm (GMT) will be based on questions from Lisa Harris @lisaharris about Innovative Education in the Age of GDPR.

GDPR legislation that’s about to be introduced presents many challenges to innovators in higher education. In particular, the value that educational applications of social media may be threatened by concerns over the sharing of personal data with third parties.

We will debate the issue and share examples of best practice in order to help to ensure that current challenges are channelled into positive outcomes for students in their preparation for lifelong learning in a digital workplace.

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Lisa Harris @lisaharris is Director of Digital Learning at the University of Exeter Business School. Previsourlt she was a Director of the Web Science Institute and the Web Science Centre for Doctoral Training at the University of Southampton. She enjoys inspiring innovative projects in partnership with students that result in new educational programmes, multi-disciplinary communities of practice and industry partnerships. Lisa is a contributor to: Innovation in HE a blog for teaching and learning innovators.

Lisa has recently achieved Higher Education Academy Principal Fellowship (PFHEA).

Here’s the Wakelet for this weeks chat: https://wakelet.com/wake/5b802436-4d97-4aab-ad70-837ffb7b6bc6


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#LTHEchat 113 is about Hidden figures – using evidence to understand our students. The chat will be hosted by @ThemesTweets #Themeschat


#LTHEchat #Themeschat

Wednesday 16 May 2018 from 8pm to 9pm

Hidden figures – using evidence to understand our students chat will be hosted by @ThemesTweets

We are part of the revolution – the data revolution.

In recent times there has been an exponential increase in the availability and visibility of data and evidence: Longitudinal Education Outcomes, Teaching Excellence Framework, widening access, UCAS and all with much greater granularity. Universities are investing in new data systems that are transforming their ability to generate data internally about student performance, including learning analytics.

The data revolution is here, touching everyone in the sector from students to academics.

Student demographics, retention and attainment is one of the three main sector level strands for the current Enhancement Theme –  Evidence for Enhancement. This strand of work is helping Scottish institutions focus and explore part of the current data landscape.

The composition of the student population varies between Scottish higher education institutions reflecting each institution’s priorities and strategic aims. This Theme strand provides institutions with the opportunity to work on common ambitions, for example supporting Scottish government initiatives such as enhancing retention, and allows scope to pursue work specific to a range of student characteristics / demographics. These characteristics include widening participation, direct entrants, care experienced, mature learners, students with a disability, and black/minority ethnic students.

Institutions’ approaches to the sector strand are varied and interesting, focusing on key aspects of the student journey: retention and progression, attainment and employability. The projects and topics being explored include: attendance monitoring; learning analytics; apprenticeship delivery models; digital technologies; and learning career progression.

Ultimately, this sector strand work will help build an enhanced understanding of the student population and differing students’ needs, so that support and interventions are targeted effectively.

This sector strand inter-relates with other levels of Theme activity including the optimising existing evidence sector level strand and collaborative cluster work, the latter including learning analytics, employability and evidence for the creative industry.

These topics will be debated at the UK’s largest Learning and Teaching Conference – 15th Enhancement event on 7 June 2018 and during the next #LTHEchat on Wednesday 16 May 2018 from 8pm to 9pm (GMT) in collaboration with @ThemesTweets.

Dr Clare Parks

Dr Clare Parks is a Quality and Enhancement Specialist at QAA Scotland. Her responsibilities include supporting the Scottish Enhancement Themes and the Enhancement of higher education in Scotland. Clare is currently supporting the new Evidence for Enhancement: Improving the Student Experience Enhancement Theme. One of her key interests is in the use of qualitative data analysis to support enhancement work.

Prior to joining QAA Scotland, Clare was an Academic Quality Officer at The Robert Gordon University. This wide-ranging role covered key areas of quality activity including; annual monitoring, institution-led subject review, student appeals and complaints, course approval, academic collaboration. Clare also has experience of Enhancement-Led Institutional Review, supporting her previous institution in this activity and serving as an ELIR coordinating reviewer.

Here’s the Wakelet for this chat: https://wakelet.com/wake/c7f5e45f-005e-4417-95f5-2316bf7bc95c




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#LTHEChat 112 with Dr Martin Rich @MartinRich106 about Pace in Learning and Teaching

The next #LTHEchat on Wednesday 9th May 8-9 PM (GMT) will be based on questions from Dr Martin Rich @MartinRich106 about Pace in Learning and Teaching.

For many of undergraduate students who I teach, their first big challenge, having started their course in September, comes when the clocks go back in the UK towards the end of October.   Not only is this when the initial novelty of studying has worn off, coursework deadlines start to loom, and their first exam period in January is close enough to cause some anxiety, but it’s getting cold and dark as well.  And in a London winter it’s not even cold in an interesting or attractive way: lots of trudging through drizzle but no skiing.

This observation set me thinking about how we manage the pace and timing of learning in higher education, and particularly how this fits in with various stages of the academic year.  It’s an integral part of what we do whenever we design and deliver our courses, yet I have found little written about it in the pedagogic literature.  We make decisions about assessment in particular which have a considerable impact on the timing of students’ work as a whole.  And we grapple with competing pressures about that timing, for example if we are to include formative assessment we need to ensure that students have time to act on it, but we also want to set it once they have learned enough to have some learning which we can assess.  Even if we get the timing right in teaching one subject, it can be difficult to coordinate different parts of a big and complex course.  That’s especially true if we offer students a lot of options with different modes of delivery and assessment – something that our students frequently tell us in the National Student Survey and elsewhere that they value, but which adds to the challenge of managing students’ workloads.

Sometimes the impact of a particular event, whether it’s a great party for freshers or a tough statistics test, can make a difference to students’ motivation and energy levels and it would be good if we could take this effect into account more effectively.  If, as in the courses where I teach, there is a significant amount of group work we need to build in time for these groups to form, storm, and norm and to consider when best to set group tasks.  If we teach students particular skills and knowledge that they can expect to use later in their course, we need to recognise that they might forget it if they don’t use it: I’ve encountered students who struggle with writing an extended essay for a final year undergraduate project because they learned to write essays in their first year but haven’t done any since.

And all this is before even considering the requirements of part-time students, who are balancing competing pressures from study and work and for whom there is a whole further set of issues around pace and timing.

Martin Rich @MartinRich106 is a Senior Lecturer, and  Course Director for the BSc in Business Management, at Cass Business School, which is part of City, University of London.  His work centres around how Management education can evolve to a changing and uncertain environment, and how different generations of students use technology within their studies.  He is interested in the connection between formal and non-formal learning particularly within the context of students attending degree courses where the principal channel for instruction remains face-to-face.  He has published about pedagogy in Higher Education and is a regular participant at conferences relating to this area.

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#LTHEchat 111 with Vivien Rolfe @VivienRolfe and Beck Pitt @BeckPitt on the topic of ‘open’ textbooks.

The next #LTHEchat on Wednesday the 2nd of May 8-9 PM (GMT) will be based on questions from Vivien Rolfe and Beck Pitt on the topic of open textbooks.

So what are open textbooks? The Wikepedia definition is: ” a textbook licensed under an open copyright license, and made available online to be freely used by students, teachers and members of the public. Many open textbooks are distributed in either print, e-book, or audio formats that may be downloaded or purchased at little or no cost.”

Open textbooks

Both Vivien and Beck work within a team on the Open Textbook project, where the aim of the project is to explore:

What is the viability of introducing open textbooks in UK higher education through the testing of two proposed models: OpenStax and OpenTextbook Network approaches?

The project hopes to achieve:

  • Adoption of open textbooks in a UK context
  • Guidelines for open textbook adoption
  • A set of open  textbooks adapted to the UK context and peer reviewed
  • A UK open textbook champion network
  • Evaluation reports of open textbook adoption
  • Research publications

Find out more about the open textbook project on Twitter @UKOpenTextbooks or  Open Textbook project

In this tweetchat, we would like to explore your students current use of and expenditure on textbooks on your course.  We will also discuss the barriers and facilitators to embracing open textbooks in the UK setting.

The #UKOpenTextbooks project team:



Vivien Rolfe 

Vivien is open education practitioner and has co-created a wealth of science and health open educational resources, working with academic staff, students and hospital collaborators.

viv2017b1 (1)Projects include the Virtual Analytical Laboratory (VAL). Sickle Cell Open (SCOOTER) project and Biology Courses project which shared resources for midwifery, forensic science and a wide range of subject areas. Her research interests are on student and staff benefits of open educational resources and practice, and the social and ethical impact of open initiatives, and in addition to many publications and conference presentations, she is a keen blogger at vivrolfe.com.

Follow on Twitter: @VivienRolfe

Beck Pitt 

Beck is a Research Associate at the Institute of Educational Technology (IET) at The Open University (UK). Beck joined IET in June 2011 having previously worked at the UK Data Archive, University of Essex, supporting the European Commission funded CESSDA-PPP project for its duration.Beck (2)

Upon joining IET Beck worked as project and research support on the Gates funded Bridge to Success project, which collaborated with community colleges in the Maryland area to remix existing OU whole course OER for use as bridging content for students beginning their college studies. Beck also supported the JISC/HEFCE Rapid Innovations Track OER project prior to joining the OER Research Hub in January 2013.

Beck was responsible for a range of collaborative activity during the OER Research Hub Phase I including research with open textbook providers OpenStax CNX, Siyavula and the BC Campus Open Textbook project. She also carried out follow-up research on the Bridge to Success project and worked with P2PU/Creative Commons and the Co-PILOT project. Beck also led the development and delivery of the OER Research Hub’s P2PU course Open Research, which was awarded a RCUK/Open University Engaging Research award in February 2015. Following two successful iterations in 2014 and 2015 Beck led the course’s redevelopment into an open textbook on Pressbooks. Beck led the research strand of the Opening Educational Practices in Scotland project and was lead author of Becoming an Open Educator, which was awarded an Honorable Mention in the MOOC/OCW/Course category of the OE Consortium’s OE Awards for Excellence 2017.  Beck has a Phd in Philosophy and is also a committee member and social media lead for the UK Sartre Society, aspiring lindy hopper and novice sketch-noter.

Follow on Twitter: @BeckPitt 

Here’s the Wakelet for #LTHEchat 111 with Vivien Rolfe @VivienRolfe and Beck Pitt @Beck Pitt on the topic of ‘open’ textbooks http://wke.lt/w/s/YFyxE

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