Showing posts from April, 2013

opinion: Academic social networking tools

Researchgate Researchgate:

Thisis a social networking site for researchers to share papers, and probably it most interesting feature though is to ask and answer questions. It is free; you get a profile page; place for posting your papers, datasets, etc. 

My favourite feature is you can add questions to your papers. What I mean by that is you can post discussion questions about your paper, people often respond to them - for one question so far there have been over 65 replies/answers (admittedly some other questions have had no replies).

 There is a scoring system that is a little difficult to work out, but it is early days for this site, based on factors including: impact factor, your interactions and other users interactions with your papers.
You can track how many papers have been downloaded and your top three downloads in the last week.

How many people have viewed you profile in the last week?
In some respects, whilst it is free, why wouldn't you put some of your p…

Evaluating impact in the REF

Taken from:,81708,en.html
"An evaluation of the rewards and challenges for institutions in preparing submissions detailing the impact of their research for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) is due to start shortly.
HEFCE has commissioned consultants, RAND Europe to undertake the comprehensive evaluation, which will look at the benefit and burden associated with impact submission preparation, recommend possible refinements of the process for future exercises, and identify good practice across the sector.
The evaluation will look at rewards and challenges relating to impact submissions among different types of higher education institution, and across the range of disciplines covered by the REF, by working with a sample group of around 18 institutions. Initial work will begin in May, and the main phase of work with institutions will start in December 2013.
This evaluation represents the first of a two-stage process to evaluate…

Conference Report - HEA STEM: Annual Learning and Teaching Conference 2013

HEA STEM: Annual Learning and Teaching Conference 2013: Where practice and pedagogy meetDate: 17 Apr 2013 - 18 Apr 2013Location/venue: University of BirminghamKeynotes speeches Martyn Poliakoff - Martyn is a Research Professor in Chemistry at the University of Nottingham. The keynote revolved around te experiences of producing several hundred youtube video on chemistry. Carl Gombrich  Programme Director, Arts and Sciences (BASc) since September 2010 discussed the experiences and challenges of running of an interdisciplinary arts and science course.

Sessions 10 parallel sessions covering discipline specific areas (such as biological sciences, chemistry, computing, engineering, mathematics,physics, psychology) as well more teaching and learning related (such as students as partners, problem-solving, contract cheating, employability). See for more details.

Poster Sessions 32 posters covering similar sub…

The University of Northampton opens a new state-of-the-art thermo-fluids laboratory

Taken from:

The School of Science & Technology is delighted to announce the opening of a new state-of-the-art thermo-fluid laboratory, at a cost of nearly a quarter of a million pounds. Equipped with a range of specialist and modern equipment and experiments to allow students to explore thermodynamics, fluid flow, sustainable engineering and alternative energy, the new laboratory adds to an expanding resource facility in engineering at the University. Dr Jonathan Adams, Head of Department, said: “The new laboratory adds vital practical resources to enable students studying our HNC, HND and BSc Engineering courses and our recently validated BEng/MEng in Electromechanical Engineering to explore and reinforce practically the engineering principles which are learnt theoretically in class.”  Professor Kamal Bechkoum, Executive Dean of the School of Science a…

Novel Teaching: University to create MMOG with students

Taken from:

BSc Computer Games Development lead by Martyn Simmons is the focus of an article by the Magazine EDGE about plans to develop a massively multiplayer game ( MMOG) with the students. The MMOG is just one of the aspects considered, a game involving Stoke Bruene Canal is discussed as is the Games courses multidisciplinary nature.

BSc  Computer Games Development
HND Computer Games Development

Also mentioned in the article is NVision and the advantages of having on-site immersive environment equipment.

For more details see:  University of Northampton to create MMOG with students
The article can be found at:

Return to South End

Taken from:

During National Science and Engineering Week 2013, as part of the activities provided by the University of Northampton, the Junkbots project returned as part of programme of activities to South End Primary School, Rushden, northamptonshire, UK. 

National Science and Engineering Week is annual event celebrating science and engineering activities (

Last year during the same week Junkbots also formed part of the activities (see

This time we worked with two classes - a year 2 and a year 5 class; building the drawing junkbot. Examples of previous drawing junkbots are shown above. Approximately 50 children took part across the two 45 minute activities.

Essentially a drawing junkbot is based around a drinks can that:
- draw patterns without anyone touching it;
-carried the battery pack…

HEA partnership awards 2013

Taken from:

Partnership Awards Powerful partnerships: enhancing the student experienceThis year’s Higher Education Academy (HEA) annual conference, Powerful partnerships: defining the learning experience, is examining how partnerships within higher education affect the student experience and educational outcomes. Partnerships may arise in many forms and might include interactions between students, employers, teaching staff, research staff, and wider organisations. To recognise and celebrate partnerships with students, the HEA is launching two awards which will be presented at the Annual Conference, 4 July 2013. HEA student and staff partnership awardHow do local partnerships between staff and students impact the student experience?The HEA invites joint submissions from staff and students who have worked together to effect change and enhance the student experience. This could be through a formal research or enhancement project…