22 June – Day of Memory and Grief

I’ve nearly finished reading Svetlana Alexievich – The Unwomanly Face of War.

It is harrowing, it also provides a window into grief, hatred, suffering told through many memories and the memories of those who can’t speak about them but they are still present.

“And so.. You never know your own heart. In winter some captive German soldiers were led past our unit. They walked along all frozen with torn blankets on their heads, holes burnt in their overcoats. It was so cold that birds dropped in flight. The birds froze. A soldier was marching in that column…A young boy…There were tears frozen on his face…And I was taking bread to the mess in a wheelbarrow. He couldn’t take his eyes off that wheelbarrow ; he didn’t see me only the wheelbarrow.

Bread…Bread.. I broke a piece of loaf and gave it to him. He took it…Took it and didn’t believe it…He didn’t believe it!

I was happy…I was happy that I wasn’t able to hate.

I was astonished at myself then” 1

1. Alexievich S (1985, 2017)p69, The Unwomanly Face of War, Penguin, available via http://www.worldcat.org/title/unwomanly-face-of-war/oclc/986744609

Updates – various

Piano teaching – good, now starting to read sheet music without lettering. I skipped over various notation so will find a practice quiz. Once they are happy with reading, will also work on fingering.

Taekwondo – practice fight day this Sunday, will probably be there and hopefully with a student I’ve teaching.

Russian – starting to see daylight with two of cases, pronunciation still dire but will focus more on once sentence structure more solidly engrained.

Now going at end of Aug / early Sept. Lovely Siberian eco project for part of it. My niece has asked me if I’m a near a bear, can I take photo. I asked if a closeup of its teeth before it bites my head off would be ok? Apparently yes because bear less likely to eat phone so she will still be able to see photo.

Also doing a bushcraft refresher – don’t want to be thinking – now how do I do this again when I’m on cooking duty and everyone tired and hungry. Have previously made fires on wet stones by a river in South Wales, so hopefully it will come back….in an age of firelighters….

Have been recommended a new spine exercise. Lie flat on back on floor with knees up and feet on floor. Turn palms up and lie for half an hour. Still continuing with yoga and structural practice.

Web, video conferencing with interactive screen software

After hearing about the Microsoft Surface interaction last week at the NHS-HE forum I decided to play around with one of our portable whiteboards which we use in the labs.We managed a successful test. This means that students can interact with someone or something remotely in another location in real time whilst using the whiteboard for image, drawing, text etc

We couldn’t display a a web conferencing call with video by overlaying one window on top of the other but we tiled it with the whiteboard and you can easily use Alt+Tab buttons to switch between if needed full screen on either. I used mobile phone to check that video call was good enough and provided you have wifi or data connection it was fine. You could use Zoom, Skype or any other web conferencing that has video.

Tile both windows side by side by hovering your mouse down the vertical side of the whiteboard software and e.g. the web conferencing software. Drag them so they both display side by side. The chat window is optional – if you need more space on the whiteboard press X next to Conversation to close it

screenshot of tiled interactive software and web conferencing software

Art Open Studios

The next two weekends are artists open studios where members of the public can wander into studios, see art, art in progress. Some artists do it to encourage people to join their classes or but art, others do for fun.

Carshalton – CAOS http://www.carshaltonartists.com

Richmond Art


Lavender update

Kids growing up fast.

Two random ones speeding into summer ahead of the rest.

Bees happy.

Close up of lavender and bee

young bushes

Universal healthcare – reading the small print

Baba presented at #KeepourNHSpublic AGM today with an informed international health policy overview.

A useful reminder that ‘universal health coverage’ is a term that’s useful in some ways but continues to be hijacked since the 1980s by those who want to profit from health rather than support publicly financed, accountable and publicly delivered healthcare.

So the small print is more explicit from the ideology of marketised healthcare including ballooning healthcare costs, regressive tax systems where the wealthy share less and less of the wealth with the less fortunate who may have unexpected and catastrophic health conditions.

Also small state governance, unregulated profiteering, lack of health equity in coverage i.e. everything about the US health system and why attempts to provide socialised, universal health care has failed:


Art Therapy end of year student exhibition

There was a mini internal end of year exhibition for students studying arts therapy on our campus yesterday. I know next to nothing about art therapy but doing some prep work with a colleague for a couple of projects at the mo

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Taekwondo update

I visited a club in South London tonight to resolve the insurance issue so that I can be more formal with the staff wellbeing programme.

So a positive step forward as my 8am staff session does not clash with his taekwondo students lives – the studentsare actually all higher dans than me anyway.

The instructor has excellent attitude and technique demonstration. The students are a mix of ITF and WTF.

The first student I spoke to was a Russian Nicola from Lithuania – she is only a white belt but is very flexible.

International Journal for Alternative Energy and Ecology – Russian and English


“The journal is intended for specialists in the area of physico-mathematical, engineering, and chemical sciences and is published twice a month. 4 new issues of the journal come out every two months.”

For example, searching under ‘renewable energy sources’ brings


For water sanitation:


I haven’t had time to check what is open access and what is not.

Roehampton, Kingston, Sheen loop via Richmond Park

If you want a peaceful stroll through Richmond Park on a sunny Sunday morning, don’t attempt to walk the Tamsin trail mid morning Roehampton gate – Kingston gate as I did. Have only cycled it before several years ago and it now appears to be the M1 for cyclists and runners.

Week days probably better…

You can cut to town centre via Kings & Acre roads from Kingston gate then 10 mins through towm centre to the Thames

Returning to the park, Kingston – meandering near Ham gate then past woods and Pen ponds was lovely – many paths and some peaceful surroundings.

Good excuse to learn irregular Russian nominative case nouns – берега, бечера, города, матери, метро…

Museum of Water and Steam

One day the water sanitation module will emerge but in the meantime some history collecting. It’s £12.50 adult entrance £16.50 for multiple entry over a year, but it’s steam engine heaven for those that like and lots to do.

Pipes made of wooden logs

Photos of laying pipes and London map

SEDA possible action plan

We had to write one for the portfolio, these are all going to be small projects if implemented.

Chatbots in education:
As an online learning specialist, I continue to investigate several aspects of blended learning. I am currently working with a researcher in Psychology to potentially pilot use of chatbot technologies and evaluate their effectiveness. Alongside this, we may be piloting within the Moodle support team, a Moodle chatbot that can answer student queries at the time and point of need which may help students around times when they need to study, but a traditional helpdesk may not available. We are analysing the queries from four years of call logs to build a conversation framework for a chatbot. [since writing this, they are developing a generic customer services bot for all of Roehampton support but we will monitor for usefulness]

Online Peer contributions and Online Assessment:
I will complete some additional research about student input into learning sessions outside of analytics, for example what students do if they feel that a lecturer is not making a topic clear enough or an assessment is not suitable enough. I will take this forward at both Life Sciences and Psychology Learning and Teaching Quality groups for further discussion.
We are currently reviewing in-class tests and exams using Moodle. We have discovered issues with provision of accessible formats and investigating options. We are in the process of setting up an accessibility and technologies working group within the university to address a number of issues and ensure that guidance is consistent. I attended an online assessment and digital exams conference and have written an online assessment project paper to initiate a project to investigate and develop online assessment and examinations including potential use of ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) and remote examinations particularly for partnerships students. I will obtain feedback about whether use of a downloadable rubric library will be helpful for academic staff.

Digital Literacy & Multimedia:
Technology literacy sometimes called digital and data literacy continue to present challenges for especially mature learners. I will input into development of a digital literacy induction package for new and existing students at the university. National changes to disabilities services provision are continuing to impact students at Roehampton but involvement of students in any new projects will help ensure that we are being inclusive by design rather than reactive to challenges as they emerge. I am on a number of accessibility forums and regularly review software. If time permits, I will co-produce learning design guidelines in addition to Moodle templates. Psychology will be expanding a workshop I ran for students on creating multimedia podcasts and I will design and deliver a series of workshops for all undergraduate first year students. Use of Mac computers and video editing will be included to assist with technology and media literacies development.

We have portable interactive smartboards to be used in the labs so I will investigate use of web / video conferencing using the smartboard this summer.

Learning Technologies research projects:
I will research examples of what has worked – particularly for life sciences and psychology and Glion as these are the main areas that I support but I will ask other departments including Media, Culture, Language and Social Sciences for any projects they have tried or challenges they have faced including EU funded projects. I have released a first draft of a learning technologies journal and articles directory with an accompanying flow chart process to help academic staff complete learning technologies projects and submit journal articles, in addition to their current research interests.