Senior CMALT

Contextual Statement

After graduating with a BSc(hons) in Pharmacology I did not want a career as a bench scientist, so after a few gaining experience in purchasing within the private sector I returned to university and completed a MSc in Computer Based Learning. Here I knew I had found my place in the world, combining technology and education. From there I gained experience in teaching and developing multimedia in both the secondary school sector and private companies. My higher education career began in an academic development unit as an ICT Development Officer and seventeen years later I am now an academic in an academic development unit at a different university in a different country. Coming full circle both in terms of geography and department.

When I wrote my CMALT portfolio, I was an elearning specialist within medical education. There my role, was that of a developer and due to the complexity of needs I created a bespoke VLE for the medical school and had little experience of mainstream EdTech platforms over the period of a decade. During that time I graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a distinction in Digital Education Postgraduate Diploma. Undertaking this course revitalised my excitement for technology within education and literally changed the direction of my career. I also achieved my AdvanceHE Senior Fellowship as well as the first (and to my knowledge the only) edtech professional to be awarded an individual internal teaching award.

In 2019 I moved to a central EdTech department at Ulster University, in the role of Digital Education and Enhancement Consultant. This afforded me the opportunity to experience of mainstream EdTech such as Blackboard Learn, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Panopto, Turnitin Qwickly attendance reporting and Studiosity. This coincided with starting a PhD in Reflective Practice in Medical Education at the University of Edinburgh to further develop my research skills.

I was awarded a place on the 2019/2020 Advance HE Aurora Leadership Programme which provided me with the tools and mentorship to hone my networking skills and continue to champion collaborative activities and the professionalism of learning technologists. During the three years at Ulster I led award applications which resulted in an internal collaboration award, a Student Union special recognition award and an AdvanceHE CATE Award 2022 (Collaboration Award in Teaching Excellence).

In 2022 I changed direction and took on a new role at Heriot-Watt University as an academic, Assistant Professor (Digital Pedagogies and Curriculum Design) in the Learning and Teaching Academy.

Before starting on the main areas of the portfolio I thought it would be appropriate to pick up from the end of my existing portfolio – Future Plans and review these:

My plans six years ago were:

  • Professional Accreditation: I wanted gain Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy once I had completed my CMALT. Not only did I successfully gain Fellowship but I went on a year later to gain Senior Fellowship.
  • Continuing Professional Development: I had just enrolled on the MSc Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh and had the ambition to continue to PhD but not knowing how to fit it into my life. After I graduated with a Diploma in Digital Education (with distinction) I did achieve my ambition and am now in the fifth year of my part time PhD with the same department in Edinburgh.
  • Team Interaction: I wanted to get involved with the newly formed ALT NI regional group. Since then I became co-chair of the group and have led three annual events and co-led a local CMALT Support Programme.

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