The call for NTF applications is now open!

Dear colleagues,

hea_sia_jpg_fit_to_width_inlineWe would like to inform you that the Higher Education Academy has made an announcement that the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTF) and the Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) will be offered again this year. The official call for the NTF opened on the 12th of February and the deadline for institutional submission is the 30th of April. The CATE call will open on the 5th of March with further information released then.

CELT has created a special section for colleagues and teams to submit their expressions of interest via a webform to be considered for a National Teaching Fellowship (NTF) or Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) application.

Expression of interest for an NTF application

Expression of interest for CATE application

On the NTF page, you will find the HEA NTF guidelines under Applying for Fellowship

 National Teaching Fellowship support event

This will take place on the  the 8th of March at 11am at Manchester Metropolitan University. Colleagues from Manchester Met and from across the region are very welcome to join this.

Please register at

Further support events have been scheduled across the UK. Please follow the tweet below.


Colleagues from CELT will then be in touch and support individuals and teams before a decision at institutional level is made, about which applications will be submitted to the Higher Education Academy.

The institution is entitled to put forward three NTF applications and one CATE application.

Please share this message with colleagues and teams who deserve to be recognised for their excellence in teaching nationally.


CELT colleague’s thesis now live in full and open to read ;)

Chrissi completed her PhD studies in October 2017 and is sharing in this post some details about this phenomenographic study together with the link to the full thesis as it is now available online for all to read. This study is based on research linked to her practice in CELT. If you read her work, please feel free to get in touch with her directly if there is anything you would like to discuss.

thesis (2)

Over the last 4.5 years I have been working on an exciting phenomenographic study through which I explored the collaborative open learning experience of learners participating in open cross-institutional academic development courses. This study brought new insights relating among others to the power of cross-boundary professional communities and the opportunities these bring for academics and other professionals who teach or support learning in higher education when learning collaboratively in the open.

The following is an commentary by Prof. Linda Drew about my study included in her pre-viva report shared with me on the 8th of September 2017, the day of my viva:

“The candidate has made an original and satisfactory contribution to the field of study. I enjoyed reading it. The candidate’s obvious enthusiasm for the topic area – and her commitment to collaborative open learning – is clear, leaving me in no doubt that this is an independent, authoritative and substantial piece of work.

The conceptual framework is clearly explained and the candidate’s personal standpoint in relation to the study is outlined in considerable depth. The choice of methodology seemed appropriate and linked well to the conceptual framework that had been established. The choice of methodology and research methods were well articulated and well defended. Limitations were acknowledged appropriately.

The work reads well overall, and is extremely systematic. The candidate is well able to explain and critique her field of research. The thesis presents a sustained argument throughout, which is well-developed in a persuasive way.

The study takes a novel, arguably radical, stance in relation to the field of academic development. I consider this to be a particular strength of the thesis. It’s novelty lies in the ways in which it evidences and illuminates participants’ experiences of ‘alternative’ continuing professional development opportunities for academics.”

My thesis has in the last few days been made available in full through the Edinburgh Napier University repository. To access it click on the link below.

Nerantzi, C. (2017) Towards a framework for cross-boundary collaborative open learning for cross-institutional academic development. PhD thesis, Edinburgh: Edinburgh Napier University, available at 

Thank you everybody who helped me get there! See who they are in the thesis. A big thank you also to my examiners Prof. Linda Drew and Prof. Kay Sambell. I will never forget viva day and what a valuable experience this was 😉

This phenomenographic study, explores the collaborative open learning experience of academic staff and open learners in cross-institutional academic development settings, and adds to what is known in these settings. It provides new insights for academic developers and course designers about the benefits of crossing boundaries (i.e. open learning) in an academic development context and proposes an alternative model to traditional academic Continuing Professional Development (CPD). It engages academic staff in experiencing novel approaches to learning and teaching and developing as practitioners through engagement in academic CPD that stretches beyond institutional boundaries, characterised by diversity and based on collaboration and openness. Data collection was conducted using a collective case study approach to gain insights into the collective lived collaborative open learning experience in two authentic cross-institutional academic development settings with collaborative learning features designed in. At least one of the institutions involved in each course was based in the United Kingdom. Twenty two individual phenomenographic interviews were conducted and coded. The findings illustrate that collaborative open learning was experienced as two dynamic immersive and selective patterns. Boundary crossing as captured in  the categories of description and their qualitatively different variations, shaped that experience and related to modes of participation; time, place and space; culture and language as well as diverse professional contexts. Facilitator support and the elasticity of the design also positively shaped this experience. The community aspect influenced study participants’ experience at individual and course level and illuminated new opportunities for academic development practice based on cross-boundary community-led approaches. The findings synthesised in the phenomenographic  outcome space, depicting the logical relationships of the eleven categories of description in this study, organised in structural factors, illustrate how these contributed and shaped the lived experience, together with a critical discussion of these with the literature, aided the creation of the openly licensed cross-boundary collaborative open learning framework for cross-institutional academic development, the final output of this study. A design tool developed from the results is included  that aims to inform academic developers and other course designers who may be considering and planning to model and implement such approaches in their own practice.

Keywords: Academic development, collaborative open learning, boundary crossing, cross-institutional professional development, open education, social media, framework for cross-boundary collaborative open learning

Inside Government event 18 1 18

Chrissi was recently invited to present at the Inside Government Event Embracing Technology Enhanced Learning in Higher Education that took place on the 18th of January 2018 in London and shared some of her first reflections below:

I am now on my way back to the North. The train has just left London and I am taking a few moments to reflect on the day. I was invited to share my work at the Embracing Technology Enhanced Learning in Higher Education event (I would have linked to the programme page but this has now disappeared…) today organised by Inside Government. I was invited thanks to being awarded Learning Technologist of the Year 2017 by the Association for Learning Technology, which is a very special award for me.

The event was a valuable opportunity to share some of the work we are doing within the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at Manchester Metropolitan University in collaboration with many colleagues from other institutions and organisations in the open through informal collaboration but also with colleagues across my own institution and their students. I found the event particularly useful to find out about practices and pedagogical and technological dilemmas in other institutions and organisations.

What I did notice is that there was a common theme that emerged during the day and this was that technology is about the people. First, I think it was articulated by Sheila MacNeill, Chair of ALT. Sheila also noted that the technology becomes the facilitator to build community. This would make a wonderful title for an article I thought… during a break Sheila co-ordinated a periscope clip to connect with the BYOD4L event that was offered and enabled some of us to share our thoughts around collaborating and building communities. Thank you Sheila.


Sheila in action with Peter, Stathis, Maren, Nick and Peter

I tried to remember if in my contribution I mentioned specific technologies… my focus was on the people and what we can achieve together enabled by technologies 😉

Going back to the start of the day now… George Evangelinos opened the day with a provocation that we just keep using digital technologies to do traditional tasks and not utilising them to engage in new and exciting ways with these that have the potential to transform the way we learn, teach, work and live. I was looking forward to finding out about different realities. Sarah Davies Head of Higher Education and Student Experience at Jisc shared some very interesting data from the Student Digital Experience Tracker survey. The findings show that students really value the convenience and flexibility digital technologies bring for them and that students are now using their own devices for learning. However, still mainly for accessing resources on the go, much less for interactivity and interaction with others. Sarah highlighted that the findings show that students seem to be using their devices very little for learning with others. Later Sarah made a further important observation which was linked to the research findings that reach the light of dissemination. What can we do to also share findings that are perhaps not success stories? Thinking about this would have provided me with opportunities to share even my work differently and note some of the challenges and failures that however are leading to new explorations. But also are there methodologies that are perhaps more open and more inclusive than others? I instantly thought of phenomenography where all data is used and the categories of description and the qualitatively different variations all emerge through the full data set. Something to think about a bit more…

Getting dizzy on this train… so will have to continue this later…

Mmm, I thought, perhaps my work around collaborative learning could help? What role can staff development play and what type of staff development would be appropriate? Research including my own, suggests that immersive experiences can be so powerful for academics. Being a student, a learner helps them see and experience the world from the other side, through the eyes of their own students.

I loved the beard story, yes beard story, told by Peter Bryant about how theLSE is now moving passionately and in mass? Away from the written essays and exams and introduce more diverse assessment practices that focus on learning through making and actually assessment through making or making as assessment? Making might be a strategy commonly used in Art and Design for example but perhaps much less in social sciences. What is the potential for all of us? What I took from Dr Kay Hack from the HEA is that we need to learn to let go of control and that imposed innovation (if there is such a thing…) won’t work (very well). Who wants to be told what to do? Enabling and empowering individuals to make choices and be flexible might be a useful way forward for people powered innovation. It was lovely to meet Dr Maren Deepwell, Chief Executive of ALT, thank you for saying “yes” to a recent suggestion to collaborate (more about this soon), also  Nick (I can’t remember his surname) who I first met at another conference and does interesting research in open education (I must find his surname and check if he is a member of GO-GN!), Dr Stathis Konstantinidis from the University of Nottingham who shared an impressive array of award winning open initiatives he and his team have developed and Annabeth Robinson from the University of Salford who shared her work around virtual landscape games. I am so happy that she joined us the day after for our #creativeHE meetup and I am very much looking forward to finding out more about her exciting work.


Stathis in action sharing team achievements

It was also wonderful that Peter Shukie joined us as his work around community open online learning is important and relevant to my work and what the day was about. We are looking forward to your TLC webinar and a future tweetchat. Further colleagues from the University of Wolverhampton, the University of Lincoln and the University of Brighton shared their innovative work in the area of digital learning and teaching. Unfortunately, there was not enough time to speak with everybody on the day.

Thank you everybody for such a rich experience.


ps. Maren’s related post

pps. Sheila’s related post

ppps. Sheila and I were looking forward to seeing Government/political representatives at the event… we couldn’t spot anybody.

pppps. My presentation is below

#creativeHE is back 22-26 January! All welcome! Please share

GooglePlusLogoA warm invitation to join #creativeHE for 5 days this January! Open to all colleagues and students in HE and the wider public

We can never have enough creativity! We actually need more! Creativity will help us get through the bad times and create good times!

Participate this January from the 22nd to the 26th and explore together fresh, alternative and novel ways to transform learning, teaching and assessment into creative and diverse practice. Let’s make it a bit or a lot more stimulating! We can all do this! Just imagine how our ideas can grow and evolve when we share them and learn together!

#creativeHE is open and free to all. Jump into the Google plus community at and/or participate via our hashtag on Twitter. Most of the stuff is asynchronous so there is no excuse not to engage.

This time round Sandra Sinfield of London Metropolitan University, Chrissi Nerantzi of Manchester Metropolitan University and Prof Norman Jackson of Creative Academic are your facilitators and we are sure mentors will emerge from the community.

The plan for Monday until Friday, 22-26 Jan is:
Day 1 Creative induction, introductions: belonging
Day 2 Spicing up learning in the classroom (campus-based, blended and fully online)
Day 3 Extending creative learning outside the classroom
Day 4 Assessment and feedback that works (better)
Day 5 Reflecting on the week and moving forward.

We are of course, as always, very open to your suggestions as well and you will have the opportunity during the 5 days to really engage in what matters to you most.

Check out the Google+ community from Friday 19th January for suggestions on how to get involved and we will make further announcements via Twitter using #creativeHE.

Get Reflective
Why not use a portfolio to capture your learning during the week? You might like to create a beautiful physical journal or sketchbook – or utilise online posts, using Padlet, Pinterest, VoiceThread, WordPress – and share your reflective sketches, drawings or online posts back with us through the #creativeHE G+ community and/or Twitter using the community hashtag #creativeHE.

Each #creativeHE is freshly put together! So if you have been with us before, join us again and share your ideas, practices and dilemmas. Bring your wild imagination along! Surprise us and surprise others. Let’s make magic happen in our classroom!

See you very soon 😉

Sandra, Chrissi and Norman

Pain, gain – mission


The debate around measuring learning gain is gathering momentum internationally, and in the UK context is connected to the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework that is applied to higher education institutions to identify them as either bronze, silver or gold providers.  In this special issue of Higher Education Pedagogies, Gossman, Powell and Neame (CELT academics), argue that before we start to apply complicated measurements of learning gain,  we first need to identify the educational purpose of a particular institution as it is this that should determine the nature of the learning to be measured.

Pain, gain – mission

Abstract “We present a short conceptual framework as an opinion piece for considering learning gain based on Biesta’s three domains of educational purpose: qualification, socialisation and subjectification. We invite readers to reflect on the perspectives given in relation to different institutions mission statements around teaching and learning, and consider if the focus on developing methods for measuring learning gain is premature, given the lack of consensus regarding the nature of the learning to be measured.”

If you would like to read this article. Please click on this link




Join Dr Cristina Costa @cristinacost this week to discuss digital education #LTHEchat

The next #LTHEChat Wednesday 13th December 8-9PM (GMT) will be based on questions from Cristina Costa on “Digital education: participation as learning” Cristina Costa is a Lecturer in Digital Education and Scholarship in the School of Education, Strathclyde University. Her research focuses on the intersection of education and the participatory web through a sociological lens, especially […]

via #LTHEchat no 99 – “Digital education: participation as learning” with Cristina Costa @cristinacost — #LTHEchat

Making sense of biophilia in enterprise: A real life story of sustainability.

29th November 2017: a joint CELT SEEG event

Sharon Jackson shared stories of her journey from senior executive in the global electronics industry to researcher, teacher and motivational speaker on sustainability issues.

Dismayed at the detrimental environmental impacts of her own and other industries, Sharon established the European Sustainability Academy in Crete. Here, in an off-grid, environmentally low impact building, ESA offers opportunities for academics, business leaders and others to engage constructively with the challenges of sustainability.

 Sharon admitted that addressing sustainability agendas has been thoroughly depressing at times. The environment we work in is frequently not conducive to wellness, and it helps explain the disconnect between the intention to do good in the world and our ability to actually achieve it.  The answer to that challenge includes two important elements: first, the need to identify ‘anchors’ – ideas for change that persist outside and beyond the discussion about change, and which allow us to make sense of the change process in the long run; and second, a community which shares the same understanding and commitment to achieving sustainability.