Digital playground

Linked Event: Introduction to development with ASP.NET MVC

📥  Linked Event, Students' Union

Employability skills training: Introduction to development with ASP.NET MVC

Date: Friday 20 November 2015
Time: 13:15 - 14:05

Sign up to the event

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This session run by David Ringsell covers the basics of web development in Microsoft’s MVC which is widely used for industrial strength applications. MVC applications offer a clean separation of concerns between the business-logic, web pages and the controller. Microsoft ASP.NET MVC offers Web developers all the benefits of MVC allied with all the power of the .NET platform.

David Ringsell is the Founder of TalkIT, which provides customised training courses plus e-learning. David is also an experienced trainer and consultant providing a wide range of support in Visual Studio and SQL Server. An MSPD (web) & MCSD.


LITEbox supports Academic Reps


📥  Event Review, Students' Union

This year's Academic Reps conference, run by the Students' Union on 31 October 2015, saw Dr Jessica Francombe-Webb and Sarah Turpin, Project Co-leaders for the Alumni funded LITEbox initiative, leading their first session on digital technologies.

Joined by a group of 20 Academic Reps, Jess opened the session by inviting the students to reflect on their use of digital technologies, both in their everyday lives, and in support of their learning and teaching since taking up their studies at the University.

Academic reps during the LITEbox session

Academic reps during the LITEbox session

Working in two groups, the students identified a wide and diverse range of technologies including tablets, smartphones, social media.

Commenting on the feedback from students, Dr Francombe-Webb said:

"The response and levels of engagement that students have with digital technologies in all aspects of their lives reinforces the view that as a learning institution we need to increase our understanding of how we can use this vast array of powerful tools available to us to find new ways to enrich the student experience; not to just aid deeper learning but to ensure that we equip our students with broader skills transferable to the workplace."

Providing students with an overview of the LITEbox initiative, which aims to provide opportunities for students and staff to learn, share and develop their knowledge and skills in using new and existing technologies, Sarah Turpin made particular mention of the LITEbox designated group working space, 8 West 1.28. Located in the lower floor of the 8 West building, this room is equipped with six work zones, each with docking stations, headphone sockets and digital screens enabling students to work on projects and other group work. The students attending expressed particular interest in this type of independent learning space and were pleased to learn that they are able to book the six work zones separately through the Timetabling office.

Jess then provided students with a brief overview of multimedia messaging walls such as Linoit and Padlet. She described some of the benefits of these tools both in and outside the classroom such as enabling students to comment and ask questions anonymously, give feedback and share ideas with each other. Working on ten mini iPads, which are part of the Department for Health's Connected Learning Lab, the students enjoyed a hands-on session by practising posting comments and questions. Some of the group discussion included how applications such as these might usefully help the students in their Academic Rep roles to communicate with their peers and gather views and opinions. Sarah also mentioned Trello, another freely available electronic board enabling students to organise and manage their own work, plan and undertake projects and share progress updates and ideas with other students.

Students were encouraged to engage with LITEbox events and feed back to the LITEbox team their ideas on digital technologies.

Further information about LITEbox at or email:


November's LITEbox events

📥  LITEbox Development, LITEbox Event

Following the success of the technology panel debate and Carole Mundell's Lessons from the Universe, we would like to highlight four upcoming events for all staff to attend. Our events range from tips on creating a successful blog, to delivering your lectures with an exciting flipped teaching approach.

If you would like more information, or to attend any of these events please email

Using online multimedia message walls to encourage participation

Wednesday 11 November 2015. 1.15pm - ​2.05pm. CB 5.13

An interactive workshop convened by Dr Jessica Francombe-Webb will seek to explore 1) whether online multimedia message walls can address any of the perceived shortcomings of forums, and 2) how multimedia message walls offer alternative ways of collating students' thoughts, ideas and questions to stimulate learning and feedback.

Facilitating virtual group work, online student presentations and remote delivery of lectures using web-conferencing

Thursday 12 November 2015. 12.30pm - 2.00pm. 8W 1.28

This is an LTEO organised event, please email Dan White to book a place
This seminar will focus on web-conferencing to provide innovative methods of engaging with students. Many teaching and learning activities can be moved to an online environment, through the use of web-conferencing tools, offering significant benefits to both staff and students.

Blogging is for pros

Tuesday 17 November 2015. 6.15pm - 7.45pm. CB 5.13

In this session by Ross Ferguson, the different uses of blogging in a corporate context will be explored and some best practice tips for blogging success will be shared using real-world examples of what works. Subjects will include content design, editing, engaging with audiences, and evaluation.

A flipped teaching toolkit for a quantitative module

Wednesday 18th November 2015. 12.45pm - 1.45pm. CB 5.13

If you are thinking about flipped teaching, adding interactivity to your class, or self-paced instruction through virtual learning environments, this session will be of interest to you. Dr Aydin Nassehi will showcase some of the innovative e-learning technologies​ which he very successfully uses to enhance his teaching practice and increase student engagement.

event schedule


Lessons from the Universe

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📥  Event Review

On 23rd October Professor Carole Mundell shared her Lessons from the Universe to a wide audience of academic staff, support staff, researchers and students. One reflection of the session was:

This was a truly inspirational talk which made me think about how familiar technology could be used to do real research

Please use the comments section below to discuss your thoughts on revolutionary research and it's link to teaching and engagement. You can also watch a recording of the talk below.


Professor Carole Mundell introducing her talk

The event started with a brief overview of astrophysics, including the fact that it is possible to tell things such as the the ages of galaxies by their colours. The goal driven problems which Astrophysicists are trying to solve are both exciting and extreme, where records are continually broken in all aspects, including largest magnetic field, most distant object, and the list continues. Due to these extremes being measured, there is a continual drive for technology to be developed at such a fast pace there are noticeable developments every year.

Carole then described how telescopes around the world are now being used in arrays. These arrays can provide data which would only otherwise be possible to obtain by manufacturing an impossibly large telescopes. The next topic was gamma ray bursts - extremely high energy bursts which were detected for the first time 50 years ago by accident, and can occur in a timespan of milliseconds. In order to monitor these in the current day we need real time observation, creating vast amounts of data. This data can be automatically probed and observed in order to find a tiny unique bit of data amongst data collected from the whole universe. In order to develop these technologies a cross disciplinary set of skills is required, particularly engineers who can design and build these technologies.

Before the final remarks on the next decade and beyond, and how Astrophysics links to all other aspects of our lives, Carole joked that we could use Mantis shrimp with telescopes to observe the cosmos with. These shrimp have 12-colour imaging which is better than both the 3-colour imaging which humans have, and also better than the technology we currently have. Our goal is to use biomimicry to create new technology which can surpass current technologies.

In order to inspire a new generation of Astrophysicists, it is vital to work with current students and engage them in solving real life problems and revolutionary research. Not only does citizen science assist scientific research developments, but by including people of all ages - including school based programmes - everyone can share excitement of taking ownership of new data.

One student who attended the event confirmed this by saying:

The more students who turn up to inspiring talks on state of the art developments, the more likely someone will be motivated, and ultimately these motivations will cause the future developments and technologies we see in the world.


Please have a look at more of our upcoming events list, including using multimedia message walls to collate students' thoughts, and technologies to help with flipped teaching.

Watch a video of the Carole Mundell's Lessons from the Universe below:


Technology Panel Debate

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📥  Event Review

The first LITEbox event of the new semester kicked off on 15 October with Professor Peter Lambert, the University's recently appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching), chairing a debate on the uses of new and existing technologies to a packed lecture theatre. A full recording of the session is available at the bottom of the page.

After a brief introduction from the Chair, each of the five panel members also gave a short introduction about themselves before moving on to the three main topics. The panel comprised:

  • Dr John Troyer, Lecturer, Department for Policy & Social Sciences
  • Dr Emma Rich, Reader, Department for Health, LITEbox Project Co-leader
  • Professor Nick Kinnie, Associate Dean (Undergraduate Taught Students), School of Management
  • Dr Kyriaki Anagnostopoulou, Head of e-Learning, Learning & Teaching Enhancement Office
  • Dr Julie Letchford, Senior Teaching Fellow, Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology

Commenting on the event, Professor Lambert said:

"I very much enjoyed chairing such a well-attended and dynamic event, particularly with such a mixed audience of both academic and Professional Services staff from across the University. I am delighted that LITEbox, as an institution-wide initiative, is beginning to create a community of practice within which staff can share, learn and develop their experiences of new and existing technologies. This early discussion has provided some useful pointers for the development of the Education Strategy for 2016 and beyond."

Panel members during the debate

Panel members during the debate


Student Trainers using LITEbox space


📥  Students' Union

Student Trainers from the Students' Union (SU) Skills Training have recently taken the opportunity to make use of 8 West 1.28, one of the designated LITEbox spaces to promote their sessions to the wider student community. In preparation for using the LITEbox space for their first Skills Training session on 'Managing your Online Profile' on Thursday 5 November 2015, the Student Trainers used the space to record some promotional videos.

As well as recording their videos, the Student Trainers were also shown the room and how to make the most of the available technology for their upcoming sessions by members of the University's Audio Visual Unit.

Ian Robinson, Chief Executive, Students' Union said:

"I am delighted that our Student Trainers are engaging with LITEbox spaces and finding ways of introducing and using the technologies available to them. The SU is actively involved in the LITEbox initiative with both SU staff and student representatives on the project team. Through the introduction of these facilities, our Trainers will be able to run sessions in more interesting and engaging ways as well as to consider how to equip the student community with increased IT skills for their future lives and employability."

Students are encouraged to check the Skills Training workshops and events to find topics of interests and sign up for the 'Managing your online profile' event before spaces fill up.

8 West 1.28 comprises six workstation which enable six people to sit around a table and connect their personal devices to a large screen which can be seen by everyone. There is also a separate workstation for the lecturer or trainer to use. Students are increasingly booking individual workstations in this LITEbox space enabling them to work on projects and group work on shared tasks such as proof reading group reports, inputting data into Excel spreadsheets and sharing ideas.

Students can book workstations via workstation bookings and selecting ****[Workstation] for 8W 1.28.


Carlos De Malachias, a Student Trainer, recording a video in 8 West 1.28.


LITEbox Event: Using online multimedia message walls to encourage participation

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📥  LITEbox Event

This event has now ended, please view a write up with a comparison and instructions on embedding these walls into Moodle

Online forums offer a way of enhancing student engagement by exchanging ideas and questions. Yet, the problems associated with encouraging and supporting student participation remain. This interactive LITEbox workshop seeks to explore:

  1. Whether new, freely available online multimedia message walls such as Linoit and Padlet address any of the perceived short comings of forums
  2. How new, freely available online multimedia message walls such as Linoit and Padlet can offer alternative ways of collating students' thoughts, ideas and questions to stimulate learning and feedback.

Before the workshop we invite you to watch this short video of staff reflecting on their utilisation of Linoit and Padlet and share your experiences, insights, concerns or queries on our specially designed multimedia walls where we will discuss the key issues as part of the workshop on the boards:

We will also use the workshop to develop a community of practice whereby participants share their ideas and work together to design learning activities that embed online multimedia message walls in order to overcome identified pedagogic problems and/or ensure students' learning needs are met.

Dr Jessica Francombe-Webb will convene this workshop. Jess is a Lecturer in sport and physical culture whose research draws from the discipline of feminist physical cultural studies, to explore the contested politics of the (in)active body in relation to health, body size, appearance, gender, social class, race, (dis)ability across the lifespan. She is keen to explore and innovate with new and existing technologies in her teaching, even if they aren't a guaranteed success.

LinoIt board being used for this session

LinoIt board being used for this session


e-Learning Seminars


📥  Linked Event

In conjunction with the e-Learning team, Learning & Teaching Enhancement Office (LTEO), we are pleased to announce four new events in our LITEbox spaces.

This series will include workshops and seminars across a variety of disciplines, from enhancing Moodle courses and inspiring innovation to digital assessment tools and techniques. Harnessing the expertise and specialisms within the institution, workshops will be facilitated by the e-Learning team whilst also drawing on the skills and expertise of academics and practitioners at the forefront of e-Learning technology.

Below are descriptions or each event, also available from e-Learning.

For more information or to reserve a space, please email Dan White, e-Learning Administrator.


Linked Event: Improve your presentation skills


📥  Linked Event, Students' Union

Employability skills training: Improve your presentation skills (Students' Union)

Date: Thursday 26 November 2015
Time: 18:15 - 19:45
Venue: 8W 1.28

Sign up to the event

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Have you ever experienced an engaging presentation which left a lasting memory? Did you wonder if you could do the same in front of an audience? Being able to deliver an effective presentation is a valued skill in the workplace and can really boost your confidence. Come along to this session, delivered by our Student Trainers, to gain practical skills on designing effective PowerPoint slides and crafting your presentation. You will then be given the opportunity to put this knowledge into practice.

Previous participants have said:

  • "I will use my new skills in my next presentation; using customised visual aids"
  • "Really useful for my future presentations and assessment centres"

If you would like to improve your blogging skills, come out our next event, linked event with the Students' Union on 17 November 2015.