Website update – new section

This website has long focussed on learning technologies, however I wanted to expand the website to include my other passion – sustainability.

I will be adding more blog posts and links to sustainability articles etc in the coming months.

In the meantime, please read the new page and my updated about pages.



Minerva Portal and VLE – Downtime

Minerva News

Minerva, the new Portal and VLE is planned to go live on Thursday 27th July 2017.

We will need to make the VLE unavailable briefly:

Thursday 27th July, from 9am-11am

Staff:  Formative/summative assessment or electronic assignment hand-ins will not be possible during this time period.

Students: Plan for the VLE downtime by retrieving material you know you will need.

Please do blog, repost and publicise this message widely, using the permalink to this post:

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Accessibility revisited

I have previously worked as an Assistive Technology trainer in HE and Learning Technology technician in FE, both roles that had accessibility as a high priority.accessibility-assistive_listening

Since working as an Instructional Designer for an online university this has no longer been at the forefront of my day to day tasks. That is until now.

We have a deaf student who has highlighted the fact that the lecturecasts (presentations) we produce in Articulate Storyline are not accessible to those with a hearing impediment. This has caused us to re-evaluate the way we work with our SMEs and the methods we use to produce content.

Previously our SMEs would provide us with a basic PowerPoint presentation and accompanying audio which I would then build together within Storyline.  However, the closest option to a transcript would be using the ‘notes’ function and hope that the SME had included a script in their PowerPoint. This is a very clunky option and so I need to change my ways. From now on, I will be creating the animated content separately so that this can be uploaded to YouTube and closed captions can be automatically generated (and consequently edited.) This can then be embedded into the storyline package to allow us to intersperse animated video with interactive elements such as tabs and quizzes.

This exercise has been an important one in making sure that our materials are accessible by all of our students and a challenge for me to work in new ways.

Further thoughts on Articulate 360

I’ve now had a play around with a few of the new 360 apps and wanted to share my thoughts here…

Rise is a lovely simple course builder, which reminds me a little of Google Classroom. This would be a great way for teachers to give homework in the flipped learning model. However it is a little too simple for what I do.

There were a few changes to the Storyline menu, but the two main things I could see were the addition of many more characters and also a nice ‘dial’ feature which works in a similar way to the sliders. Sadly my longed-for table function was not there 😦




Articulate 360

Articulate have been teasing something new for a while now and have just realised their newsupscription package including all of their products. This is very much in the vein of Microsoft 365 or Adobe CC, which is no bad thing.

I am particularly excited by the Review option as this is currently a challenge in my work place, sharing presentations with colleagues for feedback/collaboration. The inclusion of a content library is a bonus too.

What I don’t understand is why they bother with Presenter and Quizmaker when Storyline does both of these tasks. Maybe someone can explain that to me…

I’m yet to try out the newest version of storyline, but will report back once I’ve had a play with it. What I really want in that is a table creation function but doubt that will exist!


Those are the new letters after my name as I have just been awarded Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

I’m feeling proud of my achievement but have had to explain what it is to most of my colleagues. Officially, it is in recognition of attainment against the UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and learning support in higher education. However this doesn’t mean much to most people either.

To me, achieving Associate Fellowship status shows that I can critically reflect on my work and am aware of  teaching & learning  theory and best practice. Recognition like this shows to the world that the e-learning materials that I create are pedagogically sound and not just thrown together!

Pokemon Go!



I don’t usually bother with games on my phone but since the release of Pokemon Go last month I have become addicted, as has a huge proportion of the nation. Why is this?

It is an excellent example of Augmented Reality and geo-location based game play. There is always something new to look for and regular updates stop users from tiring with the current format.

The success of this game really shows how imagination and creativity can capture the spirit of young and old alike. As an e-learning designer, I hope to use this example of how gamification can be used to engage students and could be recreated in many educational situations. I’m hoping to get a bit of spare time between work projects to explore this idea further and show how gamification can be effective even at a high level of study.

Image of the day

In my job I am always searching for interesting, copyright free pictures to make my presentations more visual.  It’s bizarre what things come up when doing a “labelled for reuse” google image search!

Amongst the strange things I have found today when researching for a health course was multiple pictures of Vladimir Putin under the search term “Pathogens” and also this creepy angel…


I shall endeavour to post more of my unusual findings so I can compile a top 10 at the end of the year!