New student journal publishes high quality peer reviewed research

The University of Huddersfield has recently published the first issue of a new journal of Huddersfield student research. Fields is quite unique as a journal in that it gives students, both undergraduate and postgraduate taught, the chance to publish their work through a rigorous academic peer review process. As well as giving a platform to this excellent research, the process gives the students valuable experience of the publishing process – something which they can draw on if they choose to pursue a career in academia.

There was an official launch for the journal in the new Heritage Quay archive facilities, where Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Tim Thornton and Editor Professor Michael Clarke met with the student authors to celebrate the publication of their work. The student authors talked with passion about the research they had undertaken and published in Fields. The students all highlighted how they welcomed the opportunity to make their work available, gave thanks for the support they had received and saw the benefits in revisiting and updating research to develop it further.

“I was delighted to hear the students speak about their research with great passion and enthusiasm and see their excitement about their undergraduate work being made publicly available in Fields. It confirmed my view of the quality of work being done by our undergraduates and the potential to raise aspirations and profile through its publication in a properly refereed journal.”

Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning Professor Tim Thornton


Photo of Fields launch

(from left) Professor Michael Clarke, Reece Goscinski, Christine Armstrong, Rachel Miller, Laura Lockwood, Professor Tim Thornton

“At Huddersfield we believe strongly in inspiring our students to work to the very highest standards and to see the work they do, even as undergraduates, as having the potential for further impact in the wider world in terms of research and the discovery of new knowledge. Fields is designed to encourage students to aspire to such high standards, not simply to think of fulfilling coursework requirements when undertaking assignments but to consider the larger picture, and to be excited at the potential of academic exploration. It encourages students to see themselves as part of a simulating environment in which innovative academic investigation is undertaken. For students we hope that Fields will provide a challenging and stimulating goal, inspiring some to consider the possibility of continuing their academic work as research students.”

Professor Michael Clarke, Head of Research for Music, Humanities and Media, and Editor of Fields

“The experience of writing for the journal has certainly been a positive one. It has allowed me to develop publication skills, improve my academic work and take on board different perceptions and criticisms. The opportunity has also allowed me to revisit a piece of work that I am particularly proud of and present it to a wider audience.”

Reece Goscinski, student author, on Harold Wilson’s Pipe

Visit the Fields webpage for further details or contact

Posted in Learning experience, Research, student engagement, writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Take your lecturer for a coffee – developing conversations

Following the Educating Huddersfield event organised by the University of Huddersfield Students’ Union (SU), the Teaching and Learning Institute (TALI) in collaboration with the SU is offering students a voucher to ‘take a lecturer for a coffee’. The aim is to promote student and staff conversations about teaching and learning and is part of developing a partnership approach to the educational experience at Huddersfield.

The Teaching and Learning Institute has already contacted all students who attended the event to offer them an opportunity to explore in an informal way some aspects of teaching and learning. The vouchers are for £10 and can be used in most of the catering outlets on campus.

If you are a University of Huddersfield student and you are interested in this scheme, you can collect a voucher from Natalia Rosca or Karolis Pantelejevas (TALI Project Assistants) in the Central Service Building, level 10, room 06.

Please email them to set up a date/time to collect: Natalia Rosca and Karolis Pantelevejas 

Posted by Kathrine Jensen, Research assistant at TALI

Please follow our team on twitter @tali_hud

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The Challenges and Benefits of using Google Sites for e-portfolios

At the Technology Enhanced eLearning Education (TEEE) Festival (8th-12th September 2014), Cheryl Reynolds from the School of Education and Professional Development delivered the session ‘The challenges and benefits of using Google Sites for eportfolios’.

The session outlined how Google Sites was a way for students to write, organise and share their e-portfolios, instead of using the traditional way of printing out the portfolios. Students have the possibility to create something similar to a small website which they can structure and populate in the way they want. They can also write and post Blog or Vlog posts, as well as track their overall progression. Using Google sites has had excellent feedback from tutors and from students. They commented on how it has streamlined their submission and assessment practices, improved their level of engagement with the self-assessment process and allowed them to represent their learning in novel ways that are shareable with a wider audience.

Image Source: Natalia Rosca

Image Source: Natalia Rosca

Benefits to students:

  • Usability – excellent, user-friendly interface that produces slick results.
  • Privacy and Control – only student, teacher and course administrator will be able to see their e-portfolios and other people only if the students give permission to them.
  • Portability – you can connect to Google Sites wherever you are and via any smart device.
  • Digital literacy and multimedia usage skills.
  • A new and interesting approach to portfolios.
  • Easy to keep track of what you have done and comments from tutors.
  • The potential to share the eportfolio with peers, mentors, employers and prospective employers

Cheryl comments: Unlike other proprietary tools, Google Sites offers the trainee teachers a solution that they can deploy in their own teaching with their own students.  Just by signing up for a free Google mail account, they can create and share their own eportfolio template with students so that they in turn can develop digital literacy. Our provision, therefore, has a greater potential impact on our trainees’ students than eportfolio tools that are not available to them in this way, such as Campus Pack, SharePoint or PebblePad.

 Benefits to tutors:

  • Manageability – easily accessible, easy to control and everything is online in one place
  • Mobility – connect anywhere via any smart device
  • Flexibility – can mark from anywhere at any time on any device that has internet access
  • Digital literacy – develops expertise in the use of tools that map well to the Mozilla web literacy standards (, which represents the sorts of skills that people will need when working in an internet age.

Institutional benefits

  • Streamlined, paperless moderation and examination, with the ability to do this remotely.
  • Ensuring the institution is adapting to the needs of students and tutors in an internet age and not being left behind in this regard. This in turn is good for the quality of the provision and for the reputation of the institution.

Cheryl comments: Our ‘digital estate’ is as important to the future of the University as our physical estate. The environments we offer online need to be impressive. Google environments have the advantage of being slick and ubiquitous.

Challenges for students:

  • Logging in – as University of Huddersfield uses the Microsoft platform, students need to have different usernames and password rather than log in via the established student portal.
  • Digital Literacy – whilst many of our trainees are highly digitally literate, some have a lot to learn in this regards. Some students don’t currently have positive dispositions towards technologies and find the call to engage with technology challenging.

Challenges faced by tutors

  • Digital Literacy – as with trainees this varies widely and it is challenging to ensure that staff across large and dispersed provision are confident in the use of the eportfolio for personal development planning.
  • Time management – you can easily get ‘sucked into’ e-portfolios and spend a lot of time on them.
  • Transparency – everything that a tutor does, such as correcting a task, writing comments etc., is visible on the eportfolio with exact dates and times.
  • Security – see above

 Institutional challenges

  • Providing a cost effective and institutionally supported eportfolio system as part of the single sign in.

Institutions may want to sign up to the framework agreement negotiated by the Joint Academic Network (JANET). Colleges and universities in the UK, are eligible to sign up to Google Apps for Education using a contract approved by Janet as meeting UK legal requirements. This Cloud Services for Education Agreement give colleges and universities peace of mind in relation to security, resilience, legal and data compliance, cost and functionality.

See more on the JANET Google apps for education page

Posted by Karolis Pantelejevas and Natalia Rosca, Project Assistants on work placement with the Teaching and Learning Institute (TALI). Additional comments by Cheryl Reynolds.

Posted in Learning experience, Learning technology, Research, student engagement, Teaching | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Educating Huddersfield: teaching worth sharing

On 3rd December 2014, the Huddersfield Students’ Union (SU) organised an event to develop new ways of enhancing dialogue between students and staff and to promote a partnership approach to improve the educational experience. The event was opened by Michael McGougan (SU Vice President Education) and Professor Tim Thornton (Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning). There was a great line up of speakers and this post represents just a few of the highlights.

Student and staff working together

Ellie Russell, projects officer at The Student Engagement Partnership, spoke eloquently on the importance of students being part of creating excellent teaching and learning and institutions developing student engagement processes where the student voice is embedded and where students take an active part in their own learning.

Engaging large groups of students

Mark Mynett, a lecturer in music technology and winner of a Thank You Award for Inspirational Teaching, spoke about getting learners’ attention and keeping it. Mark outlined a number of approaches to achieving this:

  • Speak enthusiastically about your subject
  • Use stories (and real world examples) in order to engage students
  • Encourage questions and discussion throughout the lecture
  • Place listening at the foundation of your practice
  • Ask students to problem solve
  • Ask questions rather than provide answers/information
  • Be open to constructive criticism.

There was also a very moving speech from Musharaf Asghar who took part in Educating Yorkshire.

“Poetry is the voice at the back of the head”

The poet Lemn Sissay (MBE) closed the event with an engaging talk on the primacy of imagination arguing that something has to be imagined before it can happen thus making the act of imagination as real as the physical thing.

He reminded us all how important it is to be wrong, to keep learning, keep developing and move beyond the binary of right/wrong.

Posted by Kathrine Jensen and Jane Gaffikin (@tali_hud)

Posted in Learning design, Partnership, professional development, Research, student engagement, Teaching | 1 Comment

Student engagement: links and resources


I have been collating a few useful links and resources for a colleague asking me about student engagement, I thought I would also share them here. For the benefit of any reader, I should point out that there is no simple or agreed upon definition of ‘student engagement’ and that, for example, the concept has different roots in the UK to the US, which has an impact on how ‘student engagement’ is understood and what practices are included within the term.


Higher Education Academy ‘students as partners’ work

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) Student engagement

Examples and other resources

Posted by @kshjensen

Posted in pedagogy, student engagement, Teaching | Tagged | Leave a comment

Researching, Advancing and inspiring Student Engagement (RAISE) Conference 2014

I went to the Researching, Advancing and inspiring Student Engagement (RAISE) Conference in Manchester on 11-12 September. The theme was Student Engagement: Opportunities for all. The hashtag for the conference was #raise14  and I have used Storify to collate some of the tweets in my story of RAISE conference 2014

The organisers used the online tool padlet for delegates to share ideas and thoughts whilst they mingled, a very effective tool for this kind of collaboration. You can see the raise padlets with all the ideas/comments on:

Jean Mutton from the University of Derby made a really great point about the problems of jargon and all of us need to be aware that most students will not know what terms like ‘student engagement’ mean. This issue becomes even more important when thinking about how we evaluate student engagement schemes and activities.

Students mapping their HE experiences

I found the session by Dr Camille Kandiko Howson (King’s College London) very useful in terms of keeping a focus on the student perspective. Dr Kandiko Howson talked about ‘Students as stakeholders? Community, engagement and belonging’ and shared findings from the research commissioned by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) into student expectations and perceptions of higher education. When students were asked to draw maps of their student experience, the complexity of students’ lives really stood out.


Using Lego for reflection and sharing of experiences

I very much enjoyed the opportunity to get my hands on some Lego and learned about how it can be used for ‘playful’ evaluation. It was great that the presentation gave us the perspectives of a student, a member of staff (Haleh Moravej) and an academic developer (Chrissi Nerantzi). It is a powerful and fun tool.

The resilient learner Photo by @kshjensen CC BY

The resilient learner
Photo by @kshjensen

Students and staff as social media collaborators

It was great to learn about the student and staff at Salford University who are running a twitter account and hearing about how this experience had given both confidence in engaging with digital tools, being professional online and had contributed to breaking down hierarchies between staff and students. The twitter account is @nursingSUni and they also run a Salford University Nursing blog.

More about RAISE:

RAISE is a network of academics, practitioners, advisors and student representatives drawn from the Higher Education Sector who are working and/or interested in researching and promoting student engagement. The network creates opportunities to come together for beneficial scholarly discussion and creating collaborative projects, sharing good practice and lobbying for investment and better policies locally, sectorally and across our international community. Join the RAISE network

Posted by @kshjensen

Posted in Conference, Learning experience, Partnership, pedagogy, professional development, Research, student engagement | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Technology Enhanced eLearning Education (TEEE) Festival

This post is by Karolis Pantelejevas and Natalia Rosca who are two new Project Assistants on work placement with the Teaching and Learning Institute (TALI) team.

This week we attended the Technology Enhanced eLearning Education (TEEE) Festival held from 8th-12th September 2014.The general idea of the festival was to explore different learning technology tools and methods to enhance your teaching, in University of Huddersfield in particular.  The festival was divided into number of sessions every day during the week and gave colleagues the opportunity to find out and try different learning and technology tools and methods.

Here are our highlights from some of conference sessions we attended:

“Technology is not the answer until we understand the question.”

The keynote was delivered by Simon Thomson who is a national Teaching fellow and head of e-learning at Leeds Metropolitan University. One of the interesting points he made was that Universities in particular should let staff and students experiment with technology and not assume that people will understand how to use it straight away. In addition, he argued that Universities should buy technologies based on usability not necessary functionality. What is the use of a fancy named program if it takes people ages to understand how to use it?

Simon has developed the 4E framework which focuses on the benefits of using technology in learning & teaching. The 4 E’s are: Enable, Enhance, Enrich & Empower and these can be attributed to inquiring the use of eLearning in the following ways:

  • What can technology “enable” us to do?
  • How can technology “enhance” what we already do?
  • How can technology “enrich” our learning experiences?
  • How can technology “empower” learners & teachers?
Photo by Natalia Rosca

Photo by Natalia Rosca

In order to make us easier understand this framework Simon had introduced an activity. He asked us to produce a chatter box which was a helpful visual tool. We found it very interesting and useful, so that we would like to explore the functionality of 4E framework further in the future.

“Exploring Technology and Social Media.”

This session was led by Dr Sue Folley, who is Academic Development Advisor of Learning Technologies at the University of Huddersfield. Sue discussed some of the Social Media technologies that could be used in teaching as well.

In this session, we split into three big groups. We were given some cards with names of different social media tools written on them. We had to discuss them and create:

  • A pile of names that at least one person from the group could fully explain what it is about
  • A pile of names that we heard of but do not know much about
  • A pile with the names we never heard of

After this activity we went around and chose two technologies we knew about and explained them to everyone else and two we never heard about and others explained them to us.

It was interesting to realise how much social media platforms could be beneficial in teaching and learning and get familiar with programs we never heard about. The discussions were interesting and fun and everyone seemed excited to learn new things. Some of the interesting and new programs to us in particular were:

  • WordPress – an easy tool for creating your own blog
  • Yammer – a micro blogging site similar to FaceBook but addressing professional companies and environments, a way for colleagues to post and share whatever they want.
  • Pecha Kucha – a visual presentation style in which 20 images are shown with 20 seconds per image. Good for art, design, architecture students.
  • Camtasia – a professional screen recording and video editing program in which you can record your voice. Good for video feedbacks for students.
  • TED Talks – a massive conference for majority of different topics and now all of the past conference speeches and discussions are available online for free (
  • Tagxedo – a website in which you can make various word clouds with different styles and sizes.
  • – a mind mapping tool.
  • SlideRocket – an online presentation tool where you can create, develop, share and manage your presentations.

“iPad and other tablets Coffee Club”

The session was led by Olaojo Aiyegbayo, who is a Research Assistant at TALI. This session gave people the opportunity to share their experience of using the iPads or other tablets, and asking questions about any particular issues they have come across using technology.

Besides this Ola encourage colleagues to use some helpful applications:

  • BrowZineit delivers thousands of academic journals to your iPad
  • Ipadioit is an easy way to record phone calls
  • - it is an online learning company that helps anyone learn software, creative, and business skills to achieve personal and professional goals

This session was very productive as we learned a lot of new things we didn’t know before, and we’ll try to use them in future activities. We have also discussed some issues we came across using different applications on our devices. The conference received great feedback, and Ola is looking towards organising other iPad Coffee Club sessions in the future.

Posted in Learning technology, professional development, Web 2.0 | 1 Comment