CPD – the impact of Bring Our Own Device for Learning (BYOD4L)

[:en]In this blogpost, Senior Academic Developer Louise Rees reviews the impact that participating in this year’s recent BYOD4L ‘course’ had on her and how such engagement can be used in evidencing alignment against the UKPSF and an HEA Fellowship application.

Read more about the course and its impact through the following link to a published Pebble+ blogpost.


(Image downloaded from BYOD4L website)[:]

How can I improve my skills in digital learning?

Next month, Monday January 15 – Friday January 19 2018 sees the launch of the annual BYOD4L CPD activities aimed at enhancing your own skills in using digital media and devices to support your own learning and that of your students.

This is a great bitesize CPD opportunity, supporting more flexible professional learning in the modern workplace – a  clear message of SALT’s 2017 conference Keynote speaker Jane Hart.

In its 6th year of running, this online “course” will cover the 5Cs framework of

  • Connecting
  • Communicating
  • Curation
  • Collaboration and
  • Creating

(Explained on https://byod4learning.wordpress.com/topics/) with some extra Cs!  Check out their website for those extra Cs.

You don’t have to participate each day, but you can gain recognition of your efforts though Open Digital badges.

For more details about BYOD4L, see its webpage: https://byod4learning.wordpress.com/

You will need to have a Twitter account to participate in this CPD.

Follow @BYOD4L to keep up to date regarding the course and follow the hashtag #BYOD4L.

If you don’t already have  a Twitter account, perhaps make it a New Year’s Resolution to register and have a go at using Twitter for your professional development.  I was initially suspicious and a bit scared before I started my Twitter account, and now find it invaluable to keep up to date in my subject and also for professional development.

[:en]Learning through Games – reflections on the SALT Conference 2017[:]


Image: CC0 Public domain courtesy of https://pixabay.com/en/cube-colorful-transparent-mirroring-769344/

The SALT Conference 2017 was yesterday and we’re still on a high after the excellent range of posters, presentation and workshops.  We’re encouraging you whether you participated, presented or Chaired a session to reflect on the sessions you were at and identify how your practice might be changed?  What new learning did you gain? What will you do differently in the coming year?  What one thing will you have a go at? Will you tell us how you did, so we can build up our Case studies?

Here’s Louise Rees’ reflection (using the simple Add New>Reflection template in Pebblepad) on attending the two sessions by Helen Hodges (@hodges_hr, Abstract on using Kipling) and Pete King (@SU_MACS_MADATP, Playfulness Abstract) outlining how the learning environment has been adjusted to be more active and student engaging by involving ‘games’ and ‘playfulness’ .[:]

[:en]Mentor Standards for Teachers in England – links to the UKPSF[:]


The word mentor written on a chalkboard
Mentoring – providing a guiding hand

This is the second two-part blog-post about ‘mentoring’.  This second post stems from my engagement in and completion of an online mentoring course aimed at mentors of trainee teachers and newly qualified ones against the Mentor standards (downloadable from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-government-response-to-carter-review). I’ve thought about how these standards could apply to the UKPSF and Fellowship categories.


In December 2016, I caught a tweet from Sue Beckingham (@suebecks), advertising an online course that Sheffield Hallam University would be starting in January 2017 about supporting mentors. In delivering the course, the team were using Pebblepad as its platform and while the course was focused on mentors of teachers in the primary and secondary education sectors, I decided to give it a go! I wasn’t just interested in what issues these mentors would be facing and what I could learn to apply to the ‘mentors’ that SALT works with in advising HEA Fellowship applicants. I was also interested in how Pebblepad could be used in this way, the planning and delivery of an online course and how I might be able to use a similar method here at Swansea. A feel another reflective piece emerging here….

But let’s focus in this one. The mentoring course was delivered both synchronously if you were able to participate ‘live’ and also asynchronously over a five week period. Structured Workbooks in Pebblepad were developed by the course team, with text, readings, embedded videos/audio and tasks for reflection. There were weekly webinars, top tips, discussion points using ATLAS – the linked assessment space to Pebblepad – and optional tweetchats. You were encouraged to complete it in 5 weeks, but the recording of the webinars and Storifying of the Tweetchats enabled students to complete at a more convenient time to them and over a longer period. Audio files and videos were transcribed which was a great accessibility feature which Pebble Learning has addressed through its full html version (which we’ll be switching to at Swansea over the summer 2017). This seemed to be an approach that had been developed in previous years and used by a number of disciplines at SHU. (More details on the pedagogy on their blog)

The course content covered the currently optional mentor standards in England, guiding those mentoring student teachers and/or those gaining NQT.

Following an initial induction, the topics for the remaining 4 weeks were naturally framed around the mentoring standards:

Standard 1 – Personal qualities  – the vital importance of establishing trusting relationships, modelling high standards of practice, and empathising with the challenges a trainee teacher faces.

Standard 2 – Teaching  – Supporting trainee teachers to develop their teaching practice in order to set high expectations and to meet the needs of all pupils.

Standard 3 – Professionalism  – Inducting the trainee teacher into professional norms and values, helping them to understand the importance of the role and responsibilities of teachers in society.

Standard 4 – Self-development and working in partnership  – Continue to develop the new teacher’s own professional knowledge, skills and understanding and invest time in developing a good working relationship within relevant ITT partnerships.


Staff likely to be eligible for HEA Senior Fellowship recognition include those “able to provide evidence of a sustained record of effectiveness in relation to teaching and learning, incorporating for example, the organisation, leadership and/or management of specific aspects of teaching and learning provision”.  They may be “experienced subject mentors and staff who support those new to teaching;” (HEA Website)

I reflected on several topics that were relevant to the UKPSF and satisfying the relevant fellowship criterion.  I’ve summarised them in the table below.  But remember that being a mentor of teachers in the primary of secondary sector isn’t eligible as leading others for HEA Senior Fellowship.  But there are many principles that can be adapted to an HE context for those mentoring teachers or staff supporting learners.  Comments welcomed on my cross referencing!

(Please click image below to view my mapping)

Mentorstandards UKPSF Mapping


Participating in this online course

  • Enriched my subject knowledge in an area slightly tangential to what I’m involved in;  It challenged me to think about how these standards applied in the HE environment and so made me consider more carefully the language and terminology used in my exemplars so that they could be understood by a wider audience and the course team marking my submission.
  • Challenged me to consider what literature was relevant to staff considering further development as mentors;
  • Enabled me to recognise communalities between those mentoring staff new to teaching in HE and how leading in this area might provide some of the evidence necessary for demonstrating HEA Senior Fellowship attributes;
  • Made me realise that the CPD challenges remain the same for those in HE – finding appropriate time to do it and recognise there are informal and formal approaches to CPD.
  • In mentoring we can apply a ‘coaching approach’ with more direction in the initial phases of someone’s career – show them how to do it, then fostering independent learning/practice by deepening their awareness of relevant literature and alternate practices.Going along to a workshop or seminar.
  • Provided fantastic CPD opportunities with greater reading and information exchange via the webinars and Twitter and also
  • Enhanced my community of practice, both through these online approaches to supporting learning (becoming aware of the Staff Development Forum, but also in the use of the discussion board option in ATLAS – the Conversations.

From a delivery point of view:

  • enabled me to sympathise with the difficulties participating in what was a  5 week course – but in practice took me 10 weeks to complete
  • I recognised the issue regarding design of the online resource and its delivery and the value of the synchronous versus asynchronous engagement – the recorded webinars and storify option of the Tweetchats are great, but the buzz from the online participation is infectious and something difficult to convey in the storify ‘artefact’.


There remains lots to do as a result of this course:

  1. signposting to the relevant literature for our mentors.
  2. continuing to connect and promote coaching and mentoring
  3. still trying to find a convenient time to have that World Cafe style event that I mentioned in Mentoring blog Post #1 and/or promoting our network of mentors to get together, part of Mentor Standard 4: Self-development and working in partnership.
  4. Have I got the mapping of the Mentor standards to the UKPSF and Categories of Fellowship right?


Mentoring course at SHU: https://blogs.shu.ac.uk/mentorshooc/ or Twitter: @mentorshooc hashtag #mentorshooc

Mentor Standards in Initial Teacher Training https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/536891/Mentor_standards_report_Final.pdf

UKPSF: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/ukpsf

Coaching or mentoring in HE  (in particular if you are interest in gaining experience for eligibility for Senior Fellowship of the HEA)

Staff Development Forum https://sdf.ac.uk/ and its Friday lunchtime 12 – 1 p.m monthly Tweetchats on Coaching @SDFACUK[:]

Mentoring/Coaching for HEA Fellowship recognition – does it work?


Self-Mentoring Diagram
By UNCWSelfMentoring (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

This is a two-part blog-post about ‘mentoring’.  This initial post arises from me attending the session at the March 14 2017 HEA Beyond Fellowship Conference for programme managers of accredited programmes.  The second will be about how those experiences have been further informed by my completion of an online mentoring course aimed at mentors of trainee teachers and newly qualified ones against the Mentor standards (downloadable from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-government-response-to-carter-review).


How mentoring was established at Swansea

SALT launched its internal accredited HEA Fellowship route for experienced staff in July 2015 and had a small, yet committed number of individuals applying for the first deadline in October 2015.  We were advised to established mentors for these individuals which we quickly did for those that wanted them, allocating mentors on an individual basis.  We’d looked at different models across the sector in the short period between scheme launch in July 2015 and application deadline in October 2015.  Institutional approaches vary from “no mentor”, to “drop-in surgery type approach” (Imperial College – Huw Rees) to a structured programme of support (e.g. Alison Stewart at Nottingham Trent University).

We concluded with implementing a somewhat structured series of guidance for mentors to refer to based on NTU, and an allocation of mentors on an individual basis but as warned, with an increasing number applying to each of our 4 deadlines, this approach was not sustainable!  While it does give consistency for the staff member developing their application to have a mentor, if they take a long time to put their application together, it effectively ties up that mentor to that individual leaving them unable to mentor anyone else and possible burnout.  We commit to being flexible to the time available from our mentors and assessors, giving breaks each year. We also wanted to ensure more consistent support across mentors.

Continue reading “Mentoring/Coaching for HEA Fellowship recognition – does it work?”

Developing “Safe” Spaces to discuss Teaching

Image: CC0 Public Domain: https://pixabay.com/en/exchange-of-ideas-debate-discussion-222789/

I recently attended the second HEA “Beyond Fellowship” Conference (March 13 2017 at Aston University), an event primarily for those supporting accredited routes for gaining HEa Fellowship recognition. I’m going to share some of the topics and issues that arose from that event.


At the conference Keynote, Mandy Asghar, PFHEA at York St. John’s University shared some of the benefits of offering a dialogic route to seeking HEA Fellowship recognition (all categories).  Resources can be found on the York St John website. Mandy presented a substantial range of literature (V3) supporting the value of dialogue.  This was reiterated by rich comments from participants in the research that she and Ruth Pilkington, PFHEA (now an independent consultant) have been conducting.  Dialogue, as opposed to a written submission can greatly enrich and empower the person talking about their teaching and/or support for student learning (all aspects of the UK PSF intertwine), building their self-esteem that their contributions are valued.  However, dialogue needs to be carefully managed, ensuring trust and psychological safety for the individual ‘laying bare’ their practice, and feeling secure that making mistakes and taking risks is acceptable – its all about pushing the boundaries of enhancing practice and your own personal and professional development.  Dialogue is great to slow down, something that we often ironically in our busy lives don’t have time to do!

SALT’s remit is to enhance the value of teaching and promote a community of practice. We do that through a variety of seminars, Case Studies and supporting research. By doing so we aim to promote your CPD (A5 of the UK PSF) and also encourage your use of evidence-informed approaches to your practice (V3).

The value of being able to discuss openly about one’s practice has been greatly recognised through those on the PGCert. Here’s also what they do at Leeds. This also reminded me that the HEA website has blogs about Talking Teaching and why people have applied to get recognition of their practice. A quick Internet search on sharing about learning and teaching revealed this abstract for a Conference about sharing best practice. It recognises that we can be very different in how we access information – Twitter and Tweet Chats, face to face, watching videos, webinars, virtual meetings, reading, but I would argue that as social animals, we do all like to get to meet up eventually- the most effective part of conferences is often the networking and not necessarily the talks themselves (in the case of the HEA BF conference, the talks were however very good and so will be the sessions at this year’s SALT Conference!).

So, how can we develop a “safe space” in which you can come to share your ideas about teaching and supporting learning in a constructive way? Where, how in your busy schedule could we enable this? There’s Hoffi Coffi for Welsh learners. Can we have a “Talk Teaching” regular meeting on each campus? What could encourage you to come along? What can SALT do for you?

“If I build it, will he come?” Would they want to find out more on Pebble+?

Along with Kevin Costner in the film Field of Dreams, I wondered if I’d get anybody coming to the SALT Training room for last Tuesday’s practical session on creating webfolios, workspaces and tools to support reflection available in Pebble+.  We had a really interesting introduction to what Pebble+ could do to kick-start the month..I hoped so.

I’m glad to say that several did turn up, and others didn’t not because they weren’t interested, but there was a clash.  Phew! Beforehand, I asked what particular aspects of the Pebble+ features they were interested in. I’d not done any ‘live’ creation of blogposts, grouping them in the Collection feature and also generating all the features possible, so I made sure, like any good Blue Peter presenter, that I had one I’d prepared earlier to showcase.

The webfolio example drew on Jo Berry’s example, but this time the ‘project topic’ was on the range of ice cream families and establishments in South Wales, including how to add pictures and each student doing a blog on their reflections.  If blog posts are effectively tagged, you can use them not just a modular level (which would be specific to a module in Blackboard), but by theme or year, so that as a student they can reflect on your knowledge over time.  It also means, using the Collection feature, students can customise an electronic webfolio ‘CV’ according to the nature of the job they are applying for.

borton-300x249There are many preset Reflection templates in Pebble+ that students can use.  Templates vary in the depth of detail about the activity that they are reflecting on, so it depends on your personal preference on which to use. However, I also explored how you could establish a specific template which specific fields if you wanted students to submit a more structured reflection on their activities. Its also a useful tool for recording your own CPD.

Hopefully some might give it a go in their own teaching (or for themselves) in the coming year.  Do let us know how you get on: salt@swansea.ac.uk.

[:en]What Pebble+ can do to enhance student learning[:]

[:en]SALT’s IT Month kicked off with two contrasting uses of some of the features of Pebble+ to enhance student learning.  Pebble+ is available directly from the University’s home.swan.ac.uk portal for staff or is a tool inbuilt in Blackboard, the virtual learning environment.

Joanne Berry from Arts and Humanities showed how she addressed increased variety and authenticity in her assessment approach by getting students to work in groups and create webfolios showcasing their research on aspects of Pompeii as well as blogging about their reflection on the groupwork and task.

Image of man at computer with the words Web design behind it
Students thought webfolios meant creating websites and were scared at the thought of this.

Many students were scared at the thought of creating websites and a very small number dropped the module when it dawned on them the nature of the assessment.  However, some of the amazing outcomes of this approach is that many of the webfolios are to a very high standard with amazing creativity – some are worthy of actual publishing on the web to share with others.  (One of the advantages of using webfolios in Pebble+ is that such material can be created but not shared on the Internet unless agreed to by the student developing it).

The regularly submitted personal blogs as part of the webfolio enabled Jo to monitor how the groups  were functioning and to intervene.  In sharing some of the students’ comments, it revealed how many had grown in confidence (after initially being apprehensive) and also had developed great employability skills from this task.  The impact on student learning was amazing! Jo presented her findings (via recorded presentation at the recent PebbleBash conference.)

As a complete contrast in using the features of Pebble+, Steve Beale from English Language Training Services shared his growing pains of trialling what would be a suitable way of enabling their students to upload electronic versions of their marked mark, addressing a pressing space limitation issue within the department.  Steve shared some noteworthy tips on the differences between webfolios (more creativity and freedom) with the Workbook feature (more control and standardised responses) and how in particular he had to create additional guides and videos on using Pebble+ for those students who weren’t as computer literate as others.  Getting students used to this feature of uploading their work and progress grades was a first step.  The next step is to encourage the students to reflect on their progress and review their strengths and weaknesses.  Templates within Pebble+ will enable them to do this.

This was a great session to kick off IT month, with lots of questions and interest from those attending to have a go… would any turn up for the more practical session the next week on how to build the webfolio and use the reflective tools?  Find out in my next post.[:]

[:en]Next week – What will you come to as part of SALT IT Month activities?[:]

[:en]Next week find out about groupwork using WebPa and also Pebble+.

There are more lecture theatres equipped with the software to record your lectures. Found out how to do this on Wednesday. And if you’re wanting to introduce blended learning, come to the workshop with Paul Holland and Rhian Kerton on Friday September 16th.

On the remaining lunchtime session next week (Thursday Sep 15th), find out about what is in Campus Pack in Blackboard and how to use it to enhance student learning.

Advance registration is essential and spaces are limited. Please also bring your own device!

To register: Eventbrite

Follow this link for more information: SALT’s September IT Month

Swansea Academy of Learning and Teaching: https://salt.swan.ac.uk


What’s in a name?

 Are you bemused by acronyms and unknown software names? Wondering what on earth that list of sessions available as part of SALT IT month mean?sessiontitles

I’m not a learning technologist, and was initially bemused by the names that my colleagues seemed to be familiar with. Delicious, Diigo, Padlet, E-stream. What language were these people speaking? Klingon?
A similar thought crossed my mind in advertising SALT’s September IT month last week. I was planning on grouping the sessions by theme and communicating this to staff, but the SALT Lead in Engineering, Chris Jobling beat me to it! So all credit to Chris for the following excellent summary of how the IT tools can actually do to address teaching, learning and assessment pedagogical issues

During SALT’s September IT month, we have sessions on:

• Group Work supported by Pebble+ and Peer Assessed with WebPA
Developing Rubrics and Using Grademark for more efficient assessment and feedback.
• Lecture capture with eStream
Blended Learning and Making E-Lectures and also making your own videos with TedED or Powtoon.
• Using Twitter to get more students engaged and asking questions
• Developing your Blackboard Module, Doing More with Blackboard, Making Your Content Engaging
Curating educational resources, PADLET,
• Open Educational Resources with Xerte, Open Digital Badges
Personal productivity with OneNote
• Discuss with a new lecturer about his experiences in using technology this past year.

Will any of the above help you to improve your teaching? We hope so! Is there anything you need that isn’t covered? Let us know: salt@swansea.ac.uk.

Also, have a look at our website for userguides and the Help tab in Blackboard to answer key queries. There’ll be drop-ins at both campuses for your queries on using Blackboard starting in the next few weeks.