Monthly Archives: June 2014

Being in Bremen!


I have spent the last four days at the EU LearningLayers, hosted by Bau ABC, a technical training college specialising I the building trades. A very different model to the UK, in that the training is completely embedded within the workplace, and funded by large employers paying a ‘training levy’. In the first year apprentices ‘live’ in at the colleges for 12 weeks, then 6 weeks in year 2 and then specialist weeks in year 3.

For advanced training

For advanced training

Thanks to Melanie Campbell for an amazing tour. We also had a BBQ and watched the German football match with the apprentices – a fun evening for all!

Pekka Kamarainen, an wonderful EU colleague and linguist in 17 languages! Explains here what the aims of the Bremen meeting are:usingheavyequipment

http://www.pontydysgu.org/2014/06/learning-layers-goes-to-bau-abc-rostrup-part-4-how-are-we-trying-to-develop-our-work-further/

and post meeting has written an overview of the day 2 learning café conversations here:

http://www.pontydysgu.org/2014/06/what-has-learning-layers-experienced-in-bau-abc-part-2-workshops-to-create-medium-term-roadmaps-in-topic-tables

I really enjoyed facilitating the workshop about new partners and scaling, with @grahamattwell; the consortium are starting to gear up for the middle-to-long-term, and the tools are being embedded in very different ways and contexts.

myworkshop4The Help-Seeking tool project I am working on has its third co-design workshop in September, looking forward to keeping up with this tool, even when I get back to the ‘day job’. Scaling of technology is really complex, and the Layers project is starting to unpack some of the key issues.  I am working with colleagues to produce a ‘Diffusion of Innovation’ internal report , and this will feed into our ALT-C conference talk : “Bridging the ‘missing middle’: a design based approach to scaling” ALT information available www.alt.ac.uk. In the meantime I need to prepare my return to my ‘day’ job…


Delighted to be awarded a National Teaching Fellowship! In this post I share a few of my favourite things…

My all time favourite is the Learn Higher Groupwork resource, I was privileged to pilot the initial episodes with my students, who would refuse to leave the class until all the advice video clips provided with for evaluation has been shown:).

The Writing Essays at University book written for students by students to facilitate their writing is always great.. And I return to versions of a ‘how write a lit review’ writing workshop with my students most years – and my slides are on slideshare where they have been viewed over 1000 times – please do reuse with your own students…

Sandra Sinfield and colleagues at Londonmet have a brilliant student study hub online: http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/epacks/studyhub/ And the ALDinHE website has lots more resources for staff and students: www.aldinhe.ac.uk always something to delight, inspire and share…

A most joyous experience was working with Justin Lance, where his Events Management Masters students arranged an ‘air guitar’ set of workshops for my first year students, and they made the most wonderful  video to promote the event. There are other videos of the students ‘in action’ on you tube (search LMBS and air guitar)

And following the creative theme through, Pauline Ridley , an inspirational learning developer, lecturer and writer has resources here http://about.brighton.ac.uk/visuallearning/ – especially the ‘draw to learn’ free booklets. Pauline’s encouragement led to my own ‘creativity’ workshops for my research methods students.

The RLO-CETL saw the development of lots of learning objects, which  can also be repurposed and reused by using free glomakersoftware. My favourite couple of artefacts are the probability car crash exercise and the calculation genre of rock star death – why so gruesome? Co- designed with our students….

a project with staff and the women’s library came up with rather more refined artefacts – Josephine  Butler and the marketing the feminine form – designed to get our fashion students to observe fashion more closely through the ages….leading to a paper about reuse and repurposing.

My recent industry collaboration saw me reunited with colleagues Chris O Reilly who did the film, editing, photography and designed the flash games for my Health and Safety warehouse, and Alan Hudson, the famous ‘Pel Juran’ in second life, who developed the in world interactive version of the site – and was a great sport by stepping up to be our hapless ‘ warehouse operative’ as he was filmed went about the Clipper Logistics warehouse. Aided and abetted, by Lenny Breheney the Group Health and Safety Maintenance Manager, who helped us create all kinds of hazards that are NEVER part of his everyday warehouse operations! Link to the research report, and the 2D and 3 D versions can accessed from the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport website.

Category: ALTC

NTFS Thank Yous


I am very excited to be the recipient of a National Teaching Fellowship – the award is, of course, dedicated to my students, as without their enthusiasm, encouragement and honest feedback, the classroom would be a duller place! Anglia Learning & Teaching http://www.lta.anglia.ac.uk/ worked really hard to support me through our internal University Teaching Fellow award scheme, and then through to the NFTS.

Much of my innovation has been supported by learning technologists – the great unsung heroes of HE – until ALT came along with their Learning Technologist of the year award! Richard Haynes, Caroline Dobson-Davies, Chris O’Reilly, Matt Lingard, Mark Miller, Mimi Weiss, Amanda Kennard-Wilson,Celine Llewellyn-Jones, Andy Stenhouse, Helen Webster and Martin Agombar – thank you.

The link to my short biography on the HEA website is available here

http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/contacts/detail/ntfs/2014/Holley_debbie.

Significant influences on my teaching have been the Centres of Excellence in Teaching in Learning (CETLs www.cetl.ac.uk); I was privileged to work closely with three of them.

With the Reusable  Learning Object CETL, led by Profs Tom Boyle and John Cook the curriculum for over 1000 students was transformed with embedding these resources across the whole of the first year ‘study skills’ module. A rich legacy of resources, designed for students by students, especially Daniel, Nadeje and Jessie can be accessed here – www.rlo-cetl.ac.uk. Sincere thanks goes to Andy Mitchell, student, steering group member and critic – more critical than I would sometimes like over the years ! but always with the student experience at the heart of his insightful comments.

the Write Now CETL, with inspiring work from Kathy Harrington and Peter O’Neill have a wonderful set of resources including the great student book, by students for students all about writing – access from www.writenow.ac.uk

The  Learn Higher CETL – I think has had the biggest impact on my ongoing teaching – after the CETL funding, the University Learning Developers  set up the Association of Learning Developers in Higher Education (www.aldinhe.ac.uk) – their annual conference is a joy to attend, with  co-operation and collaboration always at the heart of their practice.

Finally, thank you to my wonderful friends, colleagues, co- authors and all round fantastic people Sandra Sinfield and Tom Burns – writer of the wonderful ‘Essentials Study Skills and bringing the great student study hub’ to students http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/epacks/studyhub/

and Steve Wilson, (now retired) Head of the Professional Development unit at Londonmet and then Anglia Ruskin Universities – and never gave up encouraging me to apply for this most prestigious of teaching awards.

Category: ALTC