Your V&A Design Museum in Dundee

The V&A Design Museum has an extensive range of activities and events aimed at educators in all sectors from HE and FE to pre-school, so check out their website

It may be that you want to organise a group visit with your students, for example to the current exhibition  Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt which is amazing, eye-opening and immersive for everyone, even for those of us who don’t play them. The Scottish Design Collection is a permanent exhibition, free to enter and very inspiring.

The V&A Education staff are very helpful and I would encourage you to contact them via the website.  The Schools programme is also aimed at young people, community groups and college students.  You may want to find out about CLPL/CPD opportunities for yourself or for your staff team so check out what is on offer by following links to the Schools programme on the website.

Cheers, Lucy

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next steps for TQFE

You may have noticed several recent emails about the summer graduation.  The TQFE graduation ceremony is in November and you will receive an email about it later in the summer, so keep checking your University of Dundee emails during August.

The next step for TQFE is that the exam board meets in June and by the end of June there will be a task for you to do in eVision via the University website.  Then it is a question of waiting for that email to arrive about graduation.

The TQFE tutor team really values your feedback so, if you haven’t already done so please  complete our online survey by clicking this link: Module 2 survey

Cheers, Lucy


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Manners Really Do Make the Man – or Woman

Growing up, “manners maketh the man” was an oft used phrase repeated by my father. It seemed like a strange Victorian legacy to me at the time but now I know that it really is true. Good manners really do count! Not only do they shape us as individuals, but courteous, polite interactions with our colleagues have an immense impact upon the wellbeing and job satisfaction of others.

In Cynthia Clark’s article (Clarke, 2008), she demonstrates a number of outcomes arising from a department whose ethos is one of care and mutual respect between colleagues. Although the context is nursing, I am confident that the same general principles apply within education settings. Clark’s paper is probably stronger in showing the reduction of negative traits associated with “incivility” but she provides evidence for “civility” in terms of improved attendance, reduced stress, less suspicion, greater likelihood of professional and student honesty and greater retention within the profession. The potential for departmental, college or school improvement is immense, because all people (and specifically in our case, those with a caring role) thrive when they experience a level of respect and value from others.

In her paper, Clark talks about creating a culture of greater civility and a refusal to take part in intolerance, rudeness or incivility. She discusses a workplace where apologies for improper behaviour or words are commonplace and where each person sets a standard that others wish to follow. At an individual level, we can each make a great difference; implementing this through policy at an organisational level may be a bit more difficult and time consuming. It does however strike me as low cost opportunity to do what is right for others and also for ourselves.

A friend of mine worked as a builder. He explained a rather unpleasant job of standing up to his chest in a blocked sewer. Of course, I was dumbfounded to think that anyone could do this. When I asked him why he did it, he simply replied, “It’s all about the banter amongst your workmates. It makes it worth it.”

Next time we are about to release a cutting word, why not pause and begin the dance of civility with students and colleagues.


Clark, C. (2008). The Dance of Incivility in Nursing Education as Described by Nursing Faculty and Students. Advances in Nursing Science, 31(4), pp.E37-E54.

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LearnFest19 conference: event postponed

LearnFest has been postponed, with no date yet agreed.  We will post details as soon as we have them.

If you have a query or would like more information on LearnFest19 please get in touch with


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Jisc competition might be of interest to you and/or your students…

We have received the following message from Jisc:

Please encourage your students to join us for this exciting opportunity.

As part of our Jisc edtech launchpad programme we are looking for student teams from universities and colleges across the UK to join us in our summer 2019 hackathon.  

We are looking for some creative students to spend two days at the Change Agents’ Network (CAN) Conference 2019 in Milton Keynes on 29-30 May 2019. We will provide food, travel and accommodation for successful applicants. 

There’s up to £1,000 in prizes up for grabs.

Teams can choose to work on any of the following themes:

  • Student wellbeing – technology to improve students’ wellbeing and boost achievement
  • Shaping the curriculum – how do we make the curriculum more exciting and give students the education that they want and need?
  • AI or intelligent assistants to support learning – can we get smarter about student learning?
  • Intelligent campus – help us make the campus more responsive and welcoming

The aim of the hackathon is for student teams to design, develop and build “something” that would benefit students.

See blog post from one of our last hackathon winning team Nathaniel Reed from Hull University if you want to be inspired.

Apply here before 26th April.

if you have any queries about this event please contact Paul Bailey (


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Creativity, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

There is a vast amount of literature which highlights the importance for us as educators to help develop creative individuals. Robinson (2011) discusses creativity being beneficial to the individual as they grow up into an ever-changing world, but also discussed creativity being vital for society and the economy. Craft (2005) supports this view, believing creative thinkers are the ‘key to the future’.

Take a look at the World Economic Forum’s Top 10 Essential skills for 2020.

Consider the careers and vocations your students will be embarking on and how relevant and important these skills will be. How do you develop these skills with your learners?

Have a look at Redmond’s Creativity Wheel (2004).

Creativity Wheel

The varying spokes of this wheel help us to consider the types of questions and activities we plan for our learners. It can encourage us to explore different aspects of creative thinking. How might you use this in your setting?

Don’t forget to get out and enjoy some of this nice spring weather.

Best wishes,

Eilidh Slattery


Craft, A. (2005). Creativity in schools. London: Routledge.

Redmond 2004, cited by P. Moorhouse. Undated. Irresistible Learning – Creativity wheel at [accessed 12 Mar. 2019].

Robinson, K. (2011). Out of our minds. Chichester: Capstone.

World Economic Forum. (2016). The 10 skills you need to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Mar. 2019].

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Autism Awareness

I’m a regular user of Twitter.  There’s some discussion over having one account for everything or having two accounts, one for social and one for professional purposes.  I’m in the latter category, my argument being that people that know me professionally don’t want to know what my cat has been up to or what I’ve been doing at parkrun this week.  (If you want to follow my professional account I am @LorraineSdashS)

A main topic on Twitter this week is Autism Awareness with this being Autism Awareness Week (#AutismAwarenessWeek).  Through this I have come across some valuable resources which have led to a better understanding of autism.

There are a number of resources from the National Autistic Society available at

As well as the resources available from associations there are a couple of autistic people that I follow for their postings on the topic, being @MxOolong and @scrappapertiger.  @MxOolong recently posted the link to this useful TES article .

I also like this poster from the University of Leeds showing the positive features of autism.



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The assignments are in… and the marking has commenced!

The TQFE tutor team members are all currently busy marking the assignments which were submitted on 25 March.  Well done getting your assignment in on time: we know how busy you are.   

As you may have noticed, we have a three week marking turnaround for the Module 2 summative assignment, so your feedback will be available via Submit>Module 2 Summative Assignment Deadline 25.03.19 – from midday on Monday 15 April.

Already we’ve read some really interesting submissions: it’s great to hear about all the excellent practice going on and the lengths you go to, to support the success of your learners. Bravo!


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What’s backstage?

As lecturers, trainers and assessors ‘on stage’ in front of and with our learners, it is often hard to think of all that is back stage. Sometimes, we don’t even have enough time to attend making better use of your time courses or think about what fuels and feeds our practices, professionalism or the institutional context.

However, the FE sector has an important back stage with many key areas. They can appear as a matrix with thematic titles, such as:

Learning & teaching My Learning Leadership Professional Qualifications Research & Innovation
Collaborative working


Employability and sustainability


Coaching Professional recognition and development Scholarship


Sharing good practice Health & Well-being Mentoring Industry updates Supporting Innovation
Team teaching


Cross-college groups CMI qualifications CPD calendars EU and localised projects


Or, through curriculum and management structures to support induction, annual reviews, probation, etc. CDN also encourages development including their road-shows and calendar of CPD. The TQFE programme uses thought provoking questions, probing and comparison questions, and being a member of an online community to create space for exploration, debate or asking questions in splendid isolation. Our hope, is to illuminate that which is often not seen – professional development and aspirations – the interface between front and back stage.

Good luck with the rest of your studies and happy reflecting.


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Weighing the Pig

I was once privileged to work with a leading authority on assessment. During the time she was my line manager, she was always passionate about effective assessment that would lead to improvements in the lives of all learners. I never forgot her analogy that linked assessment to the curly tailed mammal, “If you want to see if a pig is gaining weight, you don’t weigh it all the time.” In her own inimitable way, she was promoting the notion of reasonable time periods between the recording of assessment information, precisely for the reason that learning is not as linear as we would like.

Working with students, we inevitably note the ups and downs, the forwards and backs and the periods of stuck, followed by the “Aha – I’ve got it now” experiences. Over-recording of assessment will masque the true pattern of student learning and potentially (but) subliminally lay down the suggestion that a grasp of learning cannot allow for doubts or uncertainties before learners move to the next platform of understanding from which they all tentatively step out on the next phase of exploration.

Of course, I need to be careful here and define what effective assessment may involve. Much has been written about this and so I have provided a few relevant links below. I will purposely set aside summative assessment and focus on formative. It must surely be (as the name suggests) a forming of a picture of a student’s learning. In essence, this is simple but in practice, it is hugely complex. In order to form and accurate picture, a skilled teacher will work alongside students, creating a picture of student attitudes, health, external factors,  finances, fatigue, prior learning and current progress. An effective teacher or lecturer is aware of the additional features that shape the learning journey. Furthermore, a good practitioner will deftly and rapidly synthesise all of the factors and seek to adjust and maximise the learning opportunities for each and every learner, albeit at different times and in a myriad of ways. Perhaps formative assessment is not quite as easy as it looks!

Finally, assessment should not be “done” to learners but they should be respected participants in the process. Ultimately, formative assessment ought to be useful in guiding students towards improvements and lecturers and teachers towards changes that will better meet the student needs. It is a fluid process of dialogue, reflection and adjustment leading to learning gains. It needs to be useful or else it becomes a meaningless exercise that will drain both student and lecturer. When students are equal contributors to knowledge about what is to be learned and how this can be achieved, then learning becomes empowering and actions emerge from choice rather than limitation.

(The articles below can all be accessed from the University of Dundee library.)

Assessment for learning? Thinking outside the (black) box

E Hargreaves

ISSN: 0305-764X , 1469-3577

Cambridge journal of education. , 2005, Vol.35(2), p.213-224

Redefining assessment? The first ten years of assessment in education

Broadfoot, Patricia ; Black, Paul

Taylor and Francis Ltd

Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 01 March 2004, Vol.11(1), p.7-26

Learning in a comfort zone: cultural and social capital inside an outcome-based assessment regime.

K Ecclestone

ISSN: 0969-594X , 1465-329X

Assessment in education : principles, policy & practice. , 2004, Vol.11(1), p.29-47

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