Hacking Assignment Practice: Finding Creativity and Power in the Fissures and Cracks of Learning and Teaching

A teaching and learning conversation with:


Sandra Sinfield
London Metropolitan University

When: Tuesday 26th April 12:00-13:30 UK Time (90 minutes)

About this conversation:

Discourses of Assessment can be complex and contradictory with many voices calling for a de-stabilisation of the essay as the sine qua non of academic achievement (Crème 2003):

Moral panics about plagiarism have suggested we design plagiarism out of assessment with more creative challenges than the traditional essay (Viz. http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/TLTC/connorj/plagiarism/Staff/ ); somehow the essay remains.

Tackling disability suggests making ‘reasonable adjustment’ for students with SpLD – and that all students be given the choice of undertaking the alternative assessments thus developed (Ingle 2013a, Ingle 2013b). And still the major adjustment is not to re-design the assessments – but to allow more time in which to complete or submit the traditional written assignments.

The push for TEL (Technology Enhanced Learning), e-learning and/or blended learning implies that this new multi-modal age will usher in more multi-modal assignments that will match the essay in challenge and complexity (Abegglen, Burns & Sinfield 2014; Burns, Sinfield and Holley 2009, 2012); but the technology typically introduces the online submission of the written assignment.

No matter from where the push for alternative assessments emerges, we seem to end up with the same old written assessments.

When asked to populate a 30-week first year module written with Higher Education Orientation (HEO) in mind, without getting caught in the navel gazing trap that language interrogation can lead to (Hayes 2004), we wanted to go deeper – below the contours and fissures (Deleuze and Guattari 1987/2005) of ‘typical’ HEO practice and rhetoric. We wanted to introduce emancipatory education that also acted as a lens with which to critique stultifying academic practices (Sentito 2013). Moreover, we wanted flexibility in the assessments such that students could choose from a range of activities and mini-projects in ways that lit fires in their hearts and minds and allowed them space and time to follow their passions.

This is Learning Development that definitely goes beyond ‘fixing’ broken or deficit students – and instead looks at new ways to help students find their voice and power so that they ‘get’ the multi-faceted range of active processes involved in successful studying and learning.

We would like to discuss how we ‘hacked’ our traditional assessments to provide fissures and cracks (Deleuze and Guattari 1987/2005) in which to promote student engagement, choice and passion based learning.

In the discussion we would like to consider how learning developers, educational technologists and discipline staff can work together to develop and scaffold alternative assessment practices.

References, links and further reading:

Abegglen, Burns & Sinfield (2014) ‘Disrupting learning landscapes: Mentoring, engaging, becoming’in Investigations in University Teaching and Learning Vol 9, Spring 2014 pp15-21

Burns, Sinfield & Holley (2012) ‘The Shipwrecked Shore – and other metaphors: what we can learn from occupation of – and representations in – virtual worlds’ In Investigations in University Teaching and Learning Vol8 summer 2012 pp119-126

Crème P (2003) ‘Why can’t we allow students to be more creative?’ in Teaching in Higher Education Vol. 8, No 2 2003 pp 273-277

Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F., 1987/2005. A thousand plateaus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota Press

Hayes (2004) in Satterthwaite, Atkinson and Gale (Eds) Discourse, Power, Resistance: Challenging the Rhetoric of Contemporary Education Stoke on Trent; Trentham Books

Ingle J (2013a) ‘Writing as exclusionary practice’ in DISCOURSE, POWER AND RESISTANCE: DISCOURSES OF INCLUSION AND EXCLUSION 2013

Ingle J (2013b) Blog post for DISCOURSE, POWER AND RESISTANCE: DISCOURSES OF INCLUSION AND EXCLUSION (http://www.thinkingwriting.qmul.ac.uk/node/131 accessed 01.12.14)
Last Refuge blog (2013): http://lastrefugelmu.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/discourse-power-and-resistance-2013.html

Noble, C (2014) Week 12 blog: https://becomingeducational.wordpress.com/2015/01/02/week-twelve-learning-log/

Preventing Plagiarism (2008) Staff website: http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/TLTC/connorj/plagiarism/Staff/

Sentito (2013) Leader of the Symposium Strand: ‘Stimulating or stultifying? Education as if learning matters’ in DISCOURSE, POWER AND RESISTANCE: DISCOURSES OF INCLUSION AND EXCLUSION 2013

Sinfield, Burns & Holley (2009) ‘a Journey into Silence’ in Social Responsibility Journal Vol 5 No 4 2009 pp566-574

Joining the conversation:

Simply follow this link http://mmu.adobeconnect.com/tlc/ and enter as a guest by typing your name, institution and country into the name field and clicking on the “Join Meeting” button.

Whether or not you have previously participated in a webinar or online activity using Adobe Connect we advise that you make sure that you do some checking and preparation in advance. Check your set-up and connection here.

You may also find our Adobe Connect Webinar Participant Guide useful to print out in advance of the session.We really hope that you will be able to join for what should be a lively and highly interactive TLC.

Reflections on a “dual audience” webinar

Once again I have been reflecting on the format of our most recent TLC.

This months TLC was led by Doris Dippold from the University of Surrey on Teaching linguistically and diverse cultural groups.  What was different about this TLC was that it had two quite distinct audiences.  Not only was the TLC delivered online via Adobe Connect to an online audience but it was also delivered from a seminar room at the University of Surrey to a live audience of approximately 25 students.

The Set-Up

Technically there was a little bit of advanced preparation involved to set things up (thanks Ceri) which we worked out the day before the webinar. Rather that Doris sitting at a desk in front of her computer webcam, we wanted to see here in action in front of the live audience.  To achieve this a networked laptop running Adobe Connect was set up in the seminar room.  A good quality, echo cancelling room microphone was attached to the laptop and positioned at the front of the seminar room where Doris was speaking.  So that the the live audience could hear the audio from Adobe Connect, external speakers were also required (hence the need for the echo cancelling mic).  The webcam on the laptop was simply pointed at Doris so that the online audience could see her as shown in Figure 1.

Connect Set UpThe laptop screen was projected onto a data projection screen at the front of the seminar room enabling the audience there to see Doris’s slides as well as the chat box text stream in Adobe Connect.  We had a minor issue with the external speakers before the webinar started but other than this the technology held up really well.  The audio quality was very good while Doris was speaking and the video, although a little grainy and dark was good enough for the online audience.  Several of the online participants struggled to hear questions posed by members of the live audience – we will come back to this issue later in the post.

Delivering the webinar

As has become normal practice for our TLC webinars, while Doris focused on presenting and facilitating the TLC a second person (in this case Simon Lygo-Baker) monitored and responded to activity from the online audience in the chat room – now a tried and tested technique. I think it is fair to say that this was particularly important for this webinar format. Doris’s attention was primarily on the live class in front of her and it would not have been possible to monitor the chat pod in Adobe connect at the same time.  Simon did a sterling job of identifying comments and questions and drawing Doris’s attention to them at appropriate points.  Although the audio quality when Doris was speaking was good it was difficult to hear questions and comments made by members of the seminar room audience.  Simon came to the rescue by reiterating questions to the Connect audience via the chat pod.  Generally, this worked well although there was a slight delay in the typing which meant that Doris was sometime responding to questions before that online audience had not quite finished reading.  Two possible solutions occur to me in relation to this. Firstly, presenters could make sure that they reiterate questions before answering them, as is often done at large conferences where presenters are using microphones but the audience aren’t.  Secondly, with an addition bit of technical know how roving/wireless microphones could be used for the audience questions.

Part way through the session Doris introduced a group discussion task for the seminar audience.  Online participants we asked to make their contributions individually via the chat pod.  As the group activity got underway, the sounds of animated and enthusiastic discussion could be heard by the Adobe Connect participants.  As the meeting host I thought this might be a little bit distracting so I temporarily muted the audio from the seminar room.  The response from some of the Adobe Connect participants via the chat pod was really interesting as the following (partially anonymised) extract hopefully shows.

Participant 1: sound has gone?

Participant 2: cant hear anything

Simon Lygo-Baker: Just turned the sound off while group chatting

Participant 3: Yes. My sound gone too

Audio is then turned back on

Simon Lygo-Baker: Should be back now

Participant : Its back!

Rod Cullen: We muted temporarily while the group work was going on at Surrey

Participant 1: shame. the sound of group chatter was most reassuring 😀

Rod Cullen: @Participant 1 – ah OK – will leave it on next time 🙂

Participant 1: Yes Please. The chaotic buzz of the room was not only life affirming but also useful to know the sound hasn’t cr**ped out again 🙂

It very much seemed that some of online participants wanted to feel connected to the face-to-face activity, even though they were not directly involved, and the sound of the group chatter helped in this respect.  I didn’t expect that level of attachment.

Overall, another successful TLC but this time bringing together a face-to-face seminar and an online audience.

Materials from Doris Dippold’s TLC

Many thanks to Doris for such an interesting and thought provoking TLC yesterday on Teaching linguistically and diverse cultural groups.  This topic really generated a lot of interest and I received several requests for access to the recording of the webinar both before and after the event from as far afield as the USA and Australia.  Doris has kindly shared her presentation slides and provided links to additional resources including the details of her book which she mentioned during the session.  We had lots of interesting contributions during the session via the chat pod, including useful links so I have included a transcript below.

Teaching linguistically and diverse cultural groups – Webinar recording

Presentation PowerPoint Slides

Chat Pod Transcript

This the book that Doris has written on the subject: Classroom Interaction: The Internationalised Anglophone University

Further information about Doris can be found at the following links:

Doris Dippold Biography

Doris Dippold Publications

Teaching linguistically and diverse cultural groups

A teaching and learning conversation with:

Dr Doris DippoldUniversity of Surrey

When: Tuesday 22nd March 12:30-13:30 (60 minutes)

About this conversation:

Internationalisation is now a reality in higher education institutions across the world. University strategies  tend to carry large banners advertising internationalisation as a strategic goal and a desirable ability, whilst their marketing often focuses on an institution’s ability to turn students into global graduates.

This  Teaching and Learning Conversation focuses on the issues university tutors and lecturers encounter when teaching linguistically and culturally diverse groups. Rather than focusing on cultural difference, it will discuss the linguistic issues participants encounter when using English as an educational lingua franca, and how to address these.

It will also provide a space to discuss the role of the ‘home’ student, who tends to be neglected in the discussion on internationalisation in higher education.

We hope that you can join us,
The TLC team

Suggested Links:

Doris Dippold Biography

Doris Dippold Publications

Joining the conversation:

Simply follow this link http://mmu.adobeconnect.com/tlc/ and enter as a guest by typing your name, institution and country into the name field and clicking on the “Join Meeting” button.

Whether or not you have previously participated in a webinar or online activity using Adobe Connect we advise that you make sure that you do some checking and preparation in advance. Check your set-up and connection here.

You may also find our Adobe Connect Webinar Participant Guide useful to print out in advance of the session.We really hope that you will be able to join for what should be a lively and highly interactive TLC.

Reflections on an internationally presented TLC

Adopting a transformative curriculum approach to teaching in a global higher education context: perspectives from a South African Institution – presenter by Dr. Rita Kizito
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa

I have been a little bit slow to share my reflections on our most recent TLC but I have finally managed to get some thoughts together.  As usual my reflections are not out the topic of the TLC, but on the webinar format itself.  I have, however, shared slides and transcripts for the chat pod as requested at the end of the post.

The main aim of Teaching and Learning Conversations webinars has always been to bring together like minded colleagues from far and wide to share and discuss experiences of teaching and learning.  We have sought to have as wide an engagement as possible but I think it is fair to say that TLCs normally have a UK Higher Education focus and have engaged a primarily UK audience from HE institutions old and new from across the whole of the U.K.  That said it is not uncommon for TLCs to drawn interest from farther afield and increasingly participants join in with TLCs, in real time, from many countries including USA and Canada, Russia, India and even as far away as Australia.  It may also worth pointing it that we have a “strong international” contingent within the TLC organising group.

Despite the increasing robustness of web conferencing tools like Adobe Connect and the prevalence in many countries of broadband internet connections remote participation in webinar events is not without its technical challenges.  The fact is that the more physically distributed a webinar audience is the more technical “stuff” there is in-between to potentially cause a problem.

In part, such challenges are mitigated by the design of the TLC webinar formats.  For example, we tend to invite participant questions and comments to be expressed via the chat tool while audio and video contributions from participants are managed using the raise hands tool so that we have one contribution at a time.  Not only does this provide order and structure to question and answer activities but it also minimises pressure on available bandwidth which is probably the major cause of audio and video problems.

This webinar was something of a first for TLCs in that our presenter, Dr Rita Kizito, was actually in South Africa at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.  I will be honest and admit that I was slightly nervous.  If we encounter technical problems with participants audio we can easily fall back onto the chat tool for them to make comments and/or put questions to the presenter/facilitator.  Not so with a presenter, and encountering technical problems with the presenters audio would probably end the session prematurely.  In preparation, the day before the TLC, Rita and I logged into the webinar room to test things out and after a few minutes we had everything working as we wanted.

One the day, the TLC itself went without a hitch.  Rita presented expertly on the topic and engaged participants in two activities using the chat room to share experiences of developing a transformative curriculum. A full recording of the session is available at:

Rita has also kindly shared her slides from the TLC:
Rita Kizito: Adopting a transformative curriculum: Slides

During the activities colleagues shared their ideas and experiences and also links to useful resources and further reading.  A copy of the text transcript from the chat pod including the links to these resources has also been made available:
Transcrip of chat pod including posted links

I think we can say that our first internationally presented TLC was a great success and we look forward to including more international topics and presenters in future TLCs.  As I have said in previous posts I believe that good planning, preparation and taking the time to test things in advance is key to successful webinars.

Adopting a transformative curriculum approach to teaching in a global higher education context: perspectives from a South African Institution

A teaching and learning conversation with:

Rita_KDr. Rita Kizito
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa

When: Tuesday 23rd February 12:30-13:30 GMT (60 minutes)

About this conversation:

One of the main purposes of TLC programme is to bring colleagues together to share and discuss interesting and challenging experiences and to learn from one another.  We therefore delighted that our next TLC will be lead by Dr. Rita Kizito directly from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa.

Rita has provided the following overview of what promises to be a fascinating insight into challenges facing staff and students alike in South African universities.

“Since 1994, South African Universities have been grappling with issues of transformation at strategic and operational levels. This is primarily because the social, political and economic inequalities still persist at all levels of society, including higher education, even after 20 years of democracy. Despite engagements at different levels including the setting of policies, committees and plans to address transformation, there is still no real broad consensus around what curriculum transformation really means and what is at the nexus of the curriculum transformation agenda. The South African literature in this area signals two main approaches to curriculum reform. The first one is a representivity approach with a focus on which group (racial, gender, class) is succeeding and likely to succeed in higher education. The second approach is ideological and considers distribution of economic and political power within the higher education system. Both these approaches have a direct influence on what is taught and how it is taught. This webinar is an invitation to a discussion around the conceptualisation of a project which is exploring academic and student perceptions of curriculum and teaching transformation at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University , South Africa. Both representivity and ideology need to be confronted if meaningful transformation is to occur. At the heart of the discussion is a need to develop curricula responsive and relevant to the conditions in which both staff and students find themselves. The primary challenge is in how to adopt a transformative but integrated, coherent approach to teaching in higher education while responding to local and global demands.”

We hope that you can join us,
The TLC team

Suggested Links:

Badat, S. (2010). The challenges of transformation in higher education and training institutions in South Africa. Development Bank of Southern Africa. Available at :

Soudien, C. (2010). Transformation in higher education: A briefing paper. DBSA. Available at:

The Transformation of  South African Higher Education. 2nd National Higher Education Summit, 15-17 October 2015. Available at:

Joining the conversation:

Simply follow this link http://mmu.adobeconnect.com/tlc/ and enter as a guest by typing your name, institution and country into the name field and clicking on the “Join Meeting” button.

Whether or not you have previously participated in a webinar or online activity using Adobe Connect we advise that you make sure that you do some checking and preparation in advance. Check your set-up and connection here.

You may also find our Adobe Connect Webinar Participant Guide useful to print out in advance of the session.We really hope that you will be able to join for what should be a lively and highly interactive TLC.

Reflections on delivery of “Evolving approaches to the HEA’s UK PSF”

These personal reflections are about the practical aspects of running a multi-presenter webinar.

This TLC webinar was designed as a combination of three 15 minute presentations followed by an expert panel discussion where the panel was made up of the experts who made the presentations.  See here for the full session plan. and here for a recording of the full webinar.

Technically and logistically this was one of the most challenging TLCs we have organised. The presenters were from three different institutions using very different set-ups as follows.

Institution Set-up
Chrissi Nerantzi TLC Facilitator MMU Facilitated the event from a podcasting room on campus at MMU.  Used a PC via wifi connection and a USB headset with microphone and earphones.
Kath Botham (Presenter)


MMU Presented individually from the same podcasting room as Chrissi on campus at MMU.  Used a different PC via wifi connection and a USB headset with microphone and earphones.
Paddy Turner and Juliet Hinrichsen
Sheffield Hallam University Presented jointly from the same location in a meeting room on campus at Sheffield Hallam.  Used a networked PC.  Shared a desk top (directional) microphone, Logitech external webcam and external speakers from the PC.
Ale Armellini and Shirley Bennett (Presenters)



University of Northampton Presented jointing but from different physical locations.

Ale was at the British library using a laptop on a wireless internet connection.  Used a jack plug headset but was unable to use audio (due to the working environment) so listened in via his headset and contributed via text in the chat pod.

Shirley presented from an office at Northampton using a Macbook over a wireless internet connection. Initially set-up using a USB headset with microphone and speakers (borrowed from Ale)

I think it is fair to say that we experienced some challenges with the audio quality during the webinar.  Some speakers were relatively loud while others were very quiet and we took some time getting audio to work at all in one case meaning that we needed to shuffle the order of the presentations.  The range of different set-ups contributed to the challenge of getting the audio levels right.  It was a bit stressful behind the scenes, but everyone rose to the challenge and we got things working in the end.

Despite the technical issues with the audio the format, the session seemed to be well received by participants and I have had several tweets and emails from participants thanking the presenters for a very informative and interesting TLC.  Personally, I think the range ideas and experiences that we heard about from the different contributors made up for the technical issues.

I was particularly pleased at how well the use of aPresent_Poll free text poll worked to solicit questions during the individual presentations (click on thumb nail for a full view of the presentation layout).


Panel_PollsFrom my point of view this worked  especially well when all three polls were brought together on a single layout for the panel discussions (click on thumbnail for a full view). Unfortunately, we had to adapt the running order of Shirley’s presentation until after questions had been put to Kath and Juliet and Paddy while we sorted out the audio problems. However, I thought that Chrissi very skillfully managed this and the approach worked well to pull key questions together for  the panel discussion. I would be interested to hear a participants view of this so please share your thoughts via the page comments.

Overall, this proved to be both a technically challenging webinar and a very rich sharing of experiences and expertise that brought multiple voices together in a very short time. Hopefully, the difficulties experienced will help us refine our approach in the future. For example we’ll do our best to find time to have a dry run with all of the presenters and facilitators at the same time as I think this would have probably enabled us to iron out some of the audio issues in advance.

Follow-up on “Evolving approaches to the HEA’s UK PSF”

I have had several emails asking for copies of slides and access to a copy of the chat pod text from our TLC on Evolving approaches to the HEA’s UK PSF.  The presenters have kindly agreed to these being shared (please acknowledge accordingly).

Presenter Slides

University of Northampton: Shirley Bennett and Ale Armellini

Manchester Metropolitan University: Kath Botham

Sheffield Hallam: Paddy Turner and Juliet Hinrichsen

Chat pod transcript

Evolving approaches to the HEA – Chat Transcript

Evolving approaches to the HEA’s UK Professional Standards Framework

A teaching and learning conversation with:


Shirley Bennett

University of Northampton

Ale Armellini

Prof. Ale Armellini

University of Northampton


Kath Botham

Manchetser Metropolitan University


Paddy Turner

Sheffield Hallam University

Juliet Hinrichsen

Juliet Hinrichsen

Sheffield Hallam University

When: Tuesday 26th January 12:00-13:30 (90 minutes)

About this conversation:

Our first Teaching and Learning Conversation explores “Evolving approaches to the HEA’s UK Professional Standards Framework” . A panel of colleagues from three institutions, University of Northampton (Shirley Bennett and Ale Armellini), Manchester Metropolitan University (Kath Botham) and Sheffield Hallam (Paddy Turner and Juliet Hinrichsen) will share their approaches and experiences of implementing their own schemes to enable staff to receive accreditation of their professional practice. Short presentations will be followed by a panel discussion enabling participants to comment and put question to our panel presenters.

Overviews of each institutional scheme can be found at the following links:

This TLC will also provide participants with an opportunity to discuss the implications of recent changes at the HEA for the UK professional standards framework.

We hope you can join us for this TLC.

The TLC team

Joining the conversation:

Simply follow this link http://mmu.adobeconnect.com/tlc/ and enter as a guest by typing your name, institution and country into the name field and clicking on the “Join Meeting” button.

Whether or not you have previously participated in a webinar or online activity using Adobe Connect we advise that you make sure that you do some checking and preparation in advance. Check your set-up and connection here.

You may also find our Adobe Connect Webinar Participant Guide useful to print out in advance of the session.We really hope that you will be able to join for what should be a lively and highly interactive TLC.

Reflections on the Big Fat Higher Education Quiz of the Year.

The plan for the ‘Big Fat Higher Education Quiz of the Year’ varied from previous TLC webinars in that the primary purpose of the conversation was not to share experiences from a specific collaborator, but instead to experiment with the webinar environment and promote reflection sharing from participants through discursive and collaborative activities. The plan was ambitious and set out to push the limits of the webinar environment but we considered it achievable provided there were no major technical hitches.

Unfortunately on the day of the event the JANET network ground to a halt as it fell victim to sustained distributed denial of service attacks, causing major connection issues for internet users across the UK academic network. The result of this was that relative to recent TLC webinars participation was low, with those connecting either doing so from home (a luxury not afforded by many during the examination period), from outside of the UK (a luxury at best aspirational by those in the UK during a stormy December) or those latching on to the free Wi-Fi of the Lebanese café adjacent to their office (a tasty luxury not know by me, but I plan to rectify this next time near Manchester Oxford Rd). In spite of the network issues and the low numbers able to participate, the webinar continued with a total of 10 participants (including presenters) taking part and we ran a reduced but enjoyable version of the planned session.

The webinar had three main focuses; reflection, experimentation, and fun.

Reflection in the Webinar

A series of five reflective conversations were planned in advance of the session, four between Calum and guest contributors from the TLC community and one between Rod and Calum regarding the recent and upcoming TLC webinars. Three of the reflective discussions were able to take place. These were short and semi structured, but were an excellent stimulus for discussion around the topic within the chat box and between the presenters. Even with limited participants, a review of the chat box after the session showed some great discussion linking with the topic, with additional resources being shared and the comment being made by participants. This was exactly what the activity set out to do, and it was pleasing to see participants engage across the various subjects being discussed.

Experimentation in the Webinar

The experimentation within the webinar related to two activities involving third party web tools; Kahoot and Padlet. We had a number of concerns prior to the webinar regarding use of 3rd party tools as part of a webinar, which the following reflections are structured around.

Would the technology hold up?

The Padlet activity was not of concern technically as it did not require the webinar to run synchronously. Kahoot however needed to stream through the webinar for participants to view the questions at the same time as viewing the response buttons. While a small scale test of streaming 3rd party web tools had been successfully, attempts in recent years to perform similar mergers of online technologies had been heavy on bandwidth and processing power resulting in a lot of lag for participants and software crashing. However, the benefits discussed prior to the session around making use of more sophisticated participant response and collaboration tools as part of a webinar made revisiting the potential of this appealing. The Kahoot quiz involving 9 people ran smoothly, with even those experiencing network issue able to participate when connected to the internet. Initial concerns did not become issues and the discussion and feedback after the activity suggested a positive, easy experience for participants with this being something that they would be keen to explore again in the TLCs as well as in their own webinars.

Would the format be too complicated?

Previous TLC webinars have been structured around delivery and activity contained within the webinar environment. The BFHEQotY set out to bring more sophisticated 3rd party tools into the webinar environment, and to make use of asynchronous tools in parallel with the webinar during the session. This would allow us to enrich the participant experience and allow collaboration and discussion to extend beyond the allotted time period. While the Padlet session did not run as planned due to the decision to simplify the session in light of technical issues, the Kahoot session did run. Some participants had used Kahoot in a face to face environment previously, some had not heard of the technology previously and therefore had no experience. With a short explanation and some technical support from Rod (who masterfully moderated the session as ever) all participants managed to join in the quiz with ease. Even one participant who joined the webinar mid quiz managed to join in by following some retrospecive text instructions via the chat box. While we had been concerned the complexity of a 3rd party tool being used through the webinar environment (we suggested three possible options in our joining instructions) may have confused participants it appeared this was not the case and the quiz worked well with feedback being that the activity was simply and fun.

Would the activities stimulate reflection?

Upon reflection, the quiz (although fun) was not structured in a format which allowed reflection as much reflection as we would have liked. Initial session plans for the webinar have divided the quiz (with 12 questions, 1 relating to each month) into four ‘seasons’ with 3 questions each. However, due to the above concerns regarding the technology and complexity of the format this was simplified into a single quiz. Twelve questions proved to be a long quiz, and resulted in time not being allowed between questions for discussion. After the event we agreed that for future versions of the same activity it would (now that we are more comfortable with the technology) be highly beneficial to break up the quiz and place more focus on discussion between the questions.

Having Fun in the Webinar

While the wider technical circumstances around the Big Fat Higher Education Quiz of the Year were a bit disappointing as we were unable to share the session with a wider audience, those that did attend made the session what it was meant to be, which was a fun but thoughtful conversation around the year past. Reflections from Simon and Nav were very well revived with some great feedback, and the quiz itself made for an excellent proof of concept for using 3rd party tools such as Kahoot within a webinar environment. This was fun to present and I hope it was fun for all who took part. It has certainly answered a number of technical questions for us as well as opening up the door for becoming more creative with engaging participants in fun and creative ways through webinars.