• Framing questions and seeking answers: a spotlight on the PebblePad Research Community

    by Sarah Chesney

 

Framing questions and seeking answers: a spotlight on the PebblePad Research Community

~ Higher Education Research ~

AUGUST 26th 2020· by Sarah Chesney

insert new block here
insert new block here
insert new block here
 

On any given day, we're posed a range of questions by curious PebblePad and non-PebblePad users alike about the ways our expert and enthusiastic community is using PebblePad to support common teaching, learning and assessment ambitions. In addition to helping us understand how to keep building a better PebblePad, these questions reinforce a clear need for us to support the networking and sharing of practice between customers and across the wider higher education community. Indeed, we had almost 200 respondents from universities across the globe to our Global Ambitions in Higher Education Survey earlier this year, the results of which will be shared in our forthcoming publication – which as we speak is having the finishing touches applied.   

insert new block here
 

Encouraging discussion and shared learning among our customers and providing opportunities for networking is something we at PebblePad are proud of and work hard to support - through global initiatives such as PebbleBash (sadly postponed this year) and the published case studies, and our Community site as well as more localised Special Interest Groups.

insert new block here
 

A recently formed group is the international PebblePad Research Community – a group that aims to support customers in writing and publishing about the work they are doing with PebblePad. The Research Community is borne out of a recognition that while there is plenty of innovative and effective use of PebblePad, we’re certain more research about use of the platform could be published. Often opportunities are missed for customers to share lessons learnt around implementing or using PebblePad and we were looking for ways to address this challenge. While chatting to Dr Duncan Cross from the University of Bolton, he and I felt that PebblePad could run a series of workshops designed to address this. Our immediate aims were to book an expert facilitator to set us on our research journey and plan a networking event. We envisaged the networking would help people find co-authors and critical friends.

insert new block here
insert new block here
 
 
 

The PebblePad Research Community is an international community whose aim is to facilitate and support networking and collaboration amongst academics and other PebblePad users with an interest in researching the use of PebblePad as a Learning Journey Platform. We will support each other at a local, national and international level to capture the contexts of our experiences in using PebblePad, and in presenting our research and scholarship globally.

The PebblePad Research Community Mission Statement

 
 
insert new block here
 

Expert guidance and support

In March this year our plans had to change (I'm sure you know the feeling), and instead of a face-to-face event we ran a series of online workshops in June and July. We were lucky to book experts willing to run online workshops for us and their style and approach not only helped us gain knowledge about the research and publishing process, but also encouraged discussion and the first tentative networking steps.

insert new block here
insert new block here
 

Dr Liz Austen, Head of Evaluation and Research at Sheffield Hallam University, started our series with a webinar around the tricky issue of applying for ethics, ‘Ethical practice vs ethical approval’.  The guidance around retrospectively applying for approval was useful for those of us who only latterly realise we have successfully redesigned learning and assessment and now would like to share that experience in a rigorous and well-researched manner.

insert new block here
 

Next, in what was beginning to feel like a summer school, was a three-day series of workshops from Sally Brown, Emerita professor at Leeds Beckett University, who led us through the process of writing for publication.  This included sound advice on increasing the chances of being accepted for publication in a peer reviewed journal and an overview of how to get a book proposal accepted by a publisher.  At the end of the series it felt like we had given our professional development a good dose of TLC.

insert new block here
 

Importantly, the group is run by and for the community, so it was fitting that the series had a networking webinar led by Duncan and Sue Beckingham, both of whom have been key leaders in setting up this community.  Among the issues addressed in this webinar included a number of suggestions for digital tools that will help with research and collaboration with other authors.

insert new block here
 
 
 

At the end of the workshop series it felt like we had given our professional development a good dose of TLC.

 

 
 
insert new block here
 

Looking ahead to September, we’re lucky to have PebblePad colleague Dr Jenny Masters lead us in a workshop that will help attendees to develop a research question, define a suitable methodology and build research instruments for data collection and analysis. You can register for the webinar using the button below this blog post.

insert new block here
 

We know that it may take a few years to see the fruits of this series of online workshops mature, but we feel it’s worth the investment. Through running workshops like this, we find that we learn alongside our customers, giving us the expertise to support those who are considering writing up and publishing their experiences, and we feel it’s important to give something back to customers who are seeking ways to evaluate their own practice and the PebblePad platform in a rigorous manner.

insert new block here
 

Join the Research Community

All of the PebblePad research community webinars were recorded and are available to you if you join the Teams site. To ask to join, please email researchcommunity@pebblepad.co.uk

And if you’d like to attend our forthcoming webinar, Researching and Reporting on PebblePad Implementation, you can register by using the link below.

Register now Hubspot CTA
ins
ert new block here
 

Author

Sarah has worked in educational and staff development for 13 years; first as a senior lecturer in e-learning at the University of Cumbria, and since then as both a consultant and associate lecturer. Sarah is a keen advocate for using eportfolios for staff development and professional recognition and has written several articles on this topic. The good news for Sarah (and for PebblePad customers) is that she now gets to spend even more of her time innovating in the eportfolio space in her role as an Implementation Specialist. 

 

Comments



 

Share