Tag Archives: HE

Haikus for learning⤴


ALN logo

Over the last month I’ve been participating in the Active Learning Network (ALN) CPD Series. This has consisted in a set of webinars with each one facilitated by a different members of the ALN CPD organising team, and three presenters each week giving a version of the activity from their book chapter in the 100 Ideas for Active Learning book. This has been a fantastic series, and I’ve come away from each of them with lots of ideas. The one that particularly made my heart sing was the session by Jessica Hancock called Haikus for Learning. Although I would not describe myself as a poet, I do participate in the DS106 Daily Create each day, where a not uncommon task is to write a poetic response, and a form I am often drawn to is the haiku – both for its simplicity and elegance, so I was intrigued to see how Jessica was using it in the context of student assessment.

Jessica asked each of us to write a haiku on the subject of assessment. She introduced the activity by giving a clear description of what a haiku was, including links to resources to help us to count how many syllables our writing had and lots of examples. Participants commented afterwards that they had appreciated this detailed guidance and this is definitely something that I will use when I run a similar activity. She then directed us to a Padlet to add our own haiku – and even suggested a first line to help those needing inspiration. Here’s one of mine:

Now write a haiku

you will be assessed on this

Please make each word count

I can see lots of potential for using haikus in HE. As I don’t currently teach or assess groups of students, I have been thinking about how to modify this activity into my practice. Here’s a couple of ways I can think of using it:

  • Structured writing sessions – ask each participant to write a haiku at the beginning of the session to describe how they are feeling about getting started, or what they are finding difficult. Ask them to write another one at the end to describe how the session helped (or didn’t help).
  • Evaluation of CPD sessions – ask each participant to write a haiku to say what they are taking away from the session, whether positive or negative.
  • I’m also pondering how to use these as a method of data collection for research/scholarship projects …

You can see Jessica’s session, and all of the others, in this playlist and below.

National Unicorn Day⤴


Today is National Unicorn Day. Yes, really. Some of you might know that the unicorn’s Scotland’s national animal. And in these dark, uncertain days, I think we need a miracle to see us out of Brexit, out of te UK, out of austerity.

Here’s our national animal standing proud on the steps of our Uni chapel.
Happy Unicorn day, all




Close up, blurry image of a pink flower

Random moments of misconnection:

George, a Chinese UG, tells me how hard it is to study independently when there is so much he does not understand in lectures. He struggles to understand aurally and finds it hard to use lecture notes to find out what he missed because he … does not know what he missed. We talk about strategies, I suggest some support networks. I tell him not to struggle alone.

Later that day some of us struggle in an LTHEChat as the terminology used by the question setter is obscure. I laugh with my network. It does not matter to me that I am not understanding as nothing hangs on it. Still, I feel frustrated that an opportunity for a conversation was lost.

Unboundeq runs scavenger hunts. These are FUN! We share blurry, close up pics of everyday objects with each other and try to guess what they are. It’s hard. I realise how difficult it is to anticipate what others will and will not find obvious.

We also talk about ALT-text, and realise how hard it is to add this in a way that makes visual activities inclusive. I don’t feel I have an answer to that.

There’s a lot to process here.