Journaling / Writing Aspirations …

I must try and get into the habit of writing regularly and I am thinking that journaling might be the way to go …

Photo by Alina Vilchenko on

There are two main reasons for this: a) as a PhD candidate it is really kind of a good idea to practice ! Clearly my blog is a different sort of writing but I figured any attempt at regular writing just might help and b) I don’t think I am particularly good at being reflective and by writing a regular journal might help with that and of course it will probably be good for me in other ways ( eg mental health and well being etc )

I really like the idea of journaling … I used to keep a journal as a kid back in the prehistoric days before t’internet, computers and my probably poor attempts at adulting … but that was really only for me and only me – so I guess that would be more of a personal diary ? Is there a difference ? I’m not sure. I looked it up in Miriam-Webster dictionary but I’m still none the wiser ? Answers on a postcard would be most appreciated ..

In the last week or so I have come across a few different sources of inspiration that have really struck a chord with me. I so wish I could have the sticking power to actually do one of these things. I’m not sure which one I will adopt or even if I might try a different approach but either way I thought I would share in case they are helpful for others and also by way of saying thank you to all these lovely people for sharing their stuff ..

Inspiration 1 : Natalie Sheridan’s Blog, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and #SoTLwalk

I’ve recently connected with Nathalie in relation to our shared love of Flipgrid. We are still trying to have a hangout so we can come up with a cunning plan. However, we have actually been connected for a while now and are currently trying to work out exactly from where! We are like minded souls … it could be #LTHEchat perhaps ?

Anyhow, when I was wandering around Nathalie’s most excellent blog I came across loads of really helpful stuff including her contributions to #SoTLwalk, the brain child of Dr Natasha Taylor – Check out

I loved reading this post from Nathalie where she highlights her enthuasism for the #SoTLwalk initative

I have fallen in love with the SoTL walk. It is a great way to engage in reflective practice and with colleagues across the world. This month’s topic was more challenging than I thought. Once I began writing it grew vines and tentacles all over the place. So instead of sharing directly on the padlet, I am trying to disentangle here first. My walk began in our garden and looped around an overgrown path along the canal (because on this side there are barely any people). So nature gave me quite a bit to reflect on.

Nathalie Sheridan

This blog post explains how the #SoTLwalk went virtual during lockdown and Nathasha gives a brilliant overview of the initiative in this video. Seemingly it combines walking with scholarly activity.

This is something that is now in it’s 5th month and I have missed it all ! I am really very sad about this as it is such a brilliant idea. Participating in this would mean that I could a) give my regular writing a kick start and b) actually get me out of the house which would be an excellent plan as if I don’t do something soon the good old ‘Covid Lockdown ‘ weight gain will mean that I will be the size of a house if I am not careful …

This weeks theme is ‘‘When life gives you lemons…’. I don’t think I will get to actually think about that by tomorrow but I look forward to seeing what the theme is next time !

Dr Natasha Taylor explains the #SoTLWalk Initative

Inspiration 2 : Doug Belshaw’s Blog and #100daystooffload

I’m always inspired and completely in awe of how Doug manages to be so productive in all that he does … clearly not an easy feat … I have learnt so much over the years from him (kind of where my love of Open Digital Badges comes from) .. his blog is an absolute treasure chest of hints and tips .. what is so lovely is that he so open and genuine and gives such an insight into how he does stuff

Doug has been doing a series where he has been writing regularly with the aim of doing 100 posts in a year.

This is a link to Doug’s first post in the series where he explains how he was inspired to take part in this initiative started by Kev Quirk

I came across someone using the #100DaysToOffload hashtag on Mastodon. Curious to find out more, I clicked the links on a few updates that contained the hashtag, and eventually discovered this blog post from Kev Quirk:

What if we had a hashtag that encourages both existing and new bloggers to start writing? The posts don’t need to be long-form, technical masterpieces that should earn you a masters in English. But instead, just a simple and fun way to get people writing and sharing their thoughts. You never know, the whole might be cathartic too.

There’s now a site complete with some guidelines:

Doug Belshaw 2020 / Kev Quirk2020

This is a link to the latest of Doug’s posts in this series – I just love how he signs this one off …

Living a good life is not a theoretical exercise : I have spent much of my adult life studying Philosophy, either formally at university or informally through reading and discussing. But living a good life is not a theoretical exercise, and that is why my Mastodon bio simply quotes Epictetus in saying:

Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.

Doug Belshaw 2020

… anyone who knows Doug would find it diffcult to comprehend that he needs any encouragement to write regularly ( as he recogises himself in the first post) as he is just so productive it is unbelievable … although it is so good to see that he knows he needs to take time out and slow down at times … this gives me hope .. even if I could have a little bit of Doug’s magic productivity dust I would be happy .. )

Inspiration 3 : Ken Bauer’s Blog

Screen shot of Ken’s Main Page

I found links to Ken’s blog on Mastodon . I’m already connected with Ken and have been for a number of years now through things like Virtually Connecting, but for some reason I had missed his blog series on his experiences during lockdown. Ken uses a set of questions as prompts for reflecting and this approach looks really good. I wonder if this might be something that I could do ? Maybe ?

The questions Ken answers in each post are :-

The core questions:

  1. What did you do today? 
  2. What did you enjoy? 
  3. What did you find difficult? 
  4. What has changed? 

And then, there are some more ‘stretch’ questions:

  1. What are you grateful for? 
  2. Which changes do you want to keep? 
  3. What are you scared of? 
  4. What has stayed the same?
  5. When did you last laugh

Ken mentions that he in turn was inspired by a post by Ben Werdmüller titled “Recording life on the ground“ which I think is where the questions came from.

This is a link to Ken’s first post

Entry 000 :
Yes, I left three digits there so this will roll over after 999 more entries. Let’s hope it doesn’t reach that number.

Ken Bauer 2020

and the most recent one where Bailey gets a shout out

Reading: Entry 103 for Saturday July 25, 2020
When did you last laugh? Our dog Bailey is good to keep us in a good mood, smiling and laughing. We are sure glad that she arrived on our doorstep almost three years ago.

Ken Bauer 2020

I also have to include this one as it has a piccie of Bailey who is like the cutest doggo ever ..

A Dog’s Life : Entry 009 for April 23, 2020
What has stayed the same? Our dog Bailey is very happy about this entire situation. She gets today’s title and picture because we all need more pet photos to keep our spirits up.

Ken Bauer 2020

Journaling during Covid-19 – Entry 009

Photo by Ken Bauer ( I think ! )

As far as I can tell Ken has mostly been blogging daily , even if there are one of two days when he doesn’t quite manage to blog a reflection in the series, it is still so impressive and VERY inspiring ..

So, all in all I think all these approaches are just brilliant and they have all in some way inspired me to write this so that is at least a start isn’t it !

However, there is a teeny part of me that is wondering if this isn’t another attempt at procrastination and some sort of weird attempt to avoid writing my research proposal and perhaps making that public ? Do I feel brave enough yet … hmm that is a question for another day …

all the best

Deb’s Bitmoji is probably having more success in writing …

#OpenbadgesHE Conference

2016-02-24_1000_Open_Badges_in_HE_ConferenceOk so it has taken me a little while to finish my blog post on this …. (From Last Month ! ) I’m still in awe of all these brilliant people out there that are sooo organised that they manage to get their blog posts up really quickly  ….

Anyhow, I had the best time ever helping to organise the first Open Digital Badges in HE Conference on the 8th March 2016 at the University of Southampton !

Warm and Fuzzy Feelings

Along with Fiona Harvey, Teresa Mackinnon, Patrina Law, Jane Roberts , Anne Hole and myself , we formed a committee with a mission to host an Open Digital Badges conference !  I had the absolute pleasure to attend the pre conference dinner the night before where I got to meet some amazing people … lovely food … great company … what an awesome start to the Conference !

It all started with a very quick conversation during ALT-C in September 2015, when we thought it sounded like a good idea to set a conference up to showcase what was happening with Open Digital Badges  ! ( It was a very good idea as it turned out, and we soon hatched a cunning plan which was made all the more easier by having the very able assistance of the amazing Katie Eason at Southampton University and some superb chairing by the lovely Sadly I seem to have managed to mistype the hashtag in my scrambled  hasty effort to tweet her photo … so here it is below !

This really fab compilation of video interviews from the day by the lovely Stephan captures what I thought was the warm fuzzy feeling of the day …

 Keynotes and Conference Happenings …

We were so lucky to have two brilliant key note speakers in Doug Belshaw and Carla Carsilli.  Doug opened the day with his talk ‘Open Digital Badges: Disruptive, Desirable and Democratic‘.

Doug has written about his experience of the day in his blog and even proudly displays his participant badge! I spent most of Doug’s talk trying to periscope it and realising that I really should have thought more about how I was going to do that ! Still some people appeared to have watched it and persevered through my occasional phone dropping … at least it was live streamed ..phew …

Open Badges for HE - Participant

Doug’s presentation contained several illustrations by the fabulous Bryan Mathers (Visual Thinkery) – I love Bryan’s work –  see one of Bryan’s fab drawings below.

There were so many great presentations that it is difficult to pick favourites although some of the key highlights of the day for me include the lovely Serge Ravet‘s presentation Beyond Micro-Credentials: Micro-Credentials! and Rosin Cassidy  from York St John . Check out Rosin’s Powerpoint outlining great stuff they have been doing there. I also enjoyed hearing all about Anne Hole‘s experience at Sussex  and using badges for CPD , which was particularly inspiring for me,  as I hope to do the same sort of thing at Swansea ! ( See below )

The brilliant Martin Hawksey also sprinkled several bits of magic Hawksey dust everywhere with his presentation about and the badges issued with the ALT OcTEL course . We were also delighted to have one of his ‘wibbly wobbly timey wimey’  diagrams showing the social media twitter engagement during the conference…


I was also delighted to catch the presentation by the Digital Me folks as we hope to use their Open Badge Academy to issue badges in the Swansea  pilot that I refer to below.

Sadly however ( due to my attempts at timekeeping and at one point, some chairing duties in the other room  ) I missed the presentation from the Southampton student i-Champs  ( which I hear was amazing ) and  my lovely committee colleagues Patrina Law and Teresa Mackinnon but I hear that their presentations were fabulous too

Finally Carla Cassili closed the day with‘ Badges + microcredentials + nanodegrees, oh my!’ 


All slides from the day are available here and both of the Keynote Sessions were live streamed and recordings are also available here.


Badges, Badges Everywhere …

CC-BY-ND @bryanMmathers
CC-BY-ND @bryanMmathers

We developed four open digital badges overall ,participant, presenter, media champion and an organiser badge…..  the clever design was all sorted by Patrina and her team at the OU but you just know that I was going to get pink in there somewhere, so Yes I take full responsibility for the pinkness of the organiser badge)  …you can see these in all their glory on my backpack here.

We even had fancy metal ones as modeled below !

Open Digital Badges Pilot at Swansea

I was also fortunate enough to be able to present my digital poster outlining the Pilot Open Digital Badges project that I am implementing at Swansea University.

All the digital poster sessions can be seen here


Teresa Mackinnon has put together a fab storify here


Open Digital Badges

Open Badges Slide Share by Doug Belshaw

Early You Tube Video by Doug Belshaw

A short story about badges by @varelidi