Mentimeter: Empowering presenters and students in online teaching

We have recently seen the number of users of Mentimeter breach the 1,000 mark. That the numbers of colleagues (and students) creating presentations is still increasing is testament, we believe, to the flexibility of Mentimeter as a tool to support engagement and indeed empowerment even where teaching has been increasingly… Continue reading

‘Move fast and break things’ – Breakouts before breakout rooms: a wish list and lessons learned

I decided to experiment with breakout rooms in Teams some weeks ago, in mid-October 2020.  It was clear that large group tutorials would not be the right forum for the activity we planned – short, individual presentations.  The official Teams release of breakout rooms was not available yet, so we… Continue reading

The time has come to make your breakout: opportunities and pitfalls when using breakouts in live online sessions

“When explanations make no senseWhen every answer’s wrongYou’re fighting with lost confidenceAll expectations goneThe time has come to make or breakMove on, don’t hesitateBreakout” (Swing out Sister, 1986) The lyricists behind ‘Breakout’ were prescient, as a ‘need’ for breakout spaces within platforms used for online teaching can sometimes be seen… Continue reading

Engaging students online – how to support student participation before and during Microsoft Teams sessions

As Care Leaver Co-ordinator for UK Student Recruitment, I had my first experience of leading Microsoft (MS) Teams sessions over the summer; ‘Preparation for University’ webinars for external offer holders. Using MS Teams with these participants has prompted me to reflect on how I can support engagement, through my actions… Continue reading

Will Covid-19 finally catalyse the way we exploit digital options in assessment and feedback?

The typical child will learn to listen first, then talk, then read, then write. In life, most of us tend to use these abilities proportionately in roughly the same order: listen most, speak next most, read next most frequently and write the least. Yet in educational assessment and feedback, and… Continue reading

Avoiding being the sage on the screen – Facilitating online sessions

In 1993 Alison King suggested we move our teaching away from ‘sage on the stage’ to a role of ‘guide on the side’ but what does this mean in the blended learning context? In my role, I am focused on supporting colleagues in preparing their teaching for 2020/21 and many… Continue reading

Letting students’ voices be heard: building effective learning relationships and increasing outcomes on the 2-year accelerated BA (Hons) in Primary Education

Two-year degrees, often referred to as ‘accelerated degrees’, are intensive degree programmes that offer increased flexibility in Higher Education (HE) with the traditional three years of study condensed into a two-year period. Accelerated degrees are becoming a more appealing option for many students seeking HE study (Baty, 2017; Cabral and… Continue reading

Mentimeter: our student response system, available to all students and staff

Mentimeter is a university-wide tool that enables electronic voting, contributions, discussion prompts and questioning in and outside of taught sessions.  To sign in or sign up, go to: “It radically improves the connection between lecturer and audience, and makes the process of teaching feel more collaborative.”Dr Oliver Robinson, Programme Leader, BSc… Continue reading

Open Lecture on Digital Capabilities

In last week’s Open Lecture, I had the opportunity to welcome a former colleague and friend from Plymouth University, who has been a pioneer in te field of learning technologies for over 20 years.  Steve Wheeler talked about ‘Literacies and competencies for learning in the digital age’. In his thought-provoking talk, Steve… Continue reading