Current Projects

The Assignment Project

Over a number of years, the University of Plymouth’s Learning Development team (formerly Learning Skills), working in conjunction with academic staff across the institution, has found that the most pressing need for students’ academic skills development is in the area of writing. Students who seek to develop their writing skills have frequently commented that they are unsure about what, for example, an essay is – and that it would be very helpful to have more detailed guidelines, and to see extracts from the kinds of writing that they themselves are expected to produce. Hence the initiation of the Assignment Project.

Since 2002, we have been engaged in collecting and analysing essays and other forms of written work, accompanied by teacher’s comments and explanatory material. We are now building a searchable library of extracts from students’ writing which has been judged successful in a range of disciplines. The extracts will be accompanied by links to other materials and suggestions about how they might be used in class, or as a self-access resource. This will take the form of a website for use by students and staff, aiming to build awareness of what makes for good communication in academic writing. For more information about the project, please contact us on 01752 232276 or email: [email protected]

Evaluating a Reflective Student Workbook for Professional Development

This project concerns the evaluation of a ‘reflective workbook’ used by students and tutors as part of a Diploma in Social Work, taught at the University of Plymouth in partnership with Devon County and Plymouth City councils. The report describes how evaluation of the project was set up in a consultative manner, enabling project stakeholders to generate the criteria by which the success of the work would be judged. In this respect, the report will be of interest to those wishing to set up evaluative processes or seeking to compare approaches to project evaluation.

The Pedagogic Research and Development Database

This database incorporates the findings of a recent survey of research into learning and teaching in higher education at the University of Plymouth. The aim of the project was to compile a comprehensive summary of research and development work, both current and completed, that University of Plymouth staff are involved in. The database can now be accessed via If you have been, or are currently engaged in research of this kind and would like your work to be included, please contact Debby Cotton or telephone 01752 23 2346 (Tuesdays and Wednesdays).

The SHELL Project (South West Hosts Enhancing Lifelong Learning)

The SHELL Project is a JISC funded project designed to develop links between emerging Managed and Virtual Learning Environments in the HE and FE sector. The University of Plymouth is working in partnership with Cornwall College, Exeter College, North Devon College, and Somerset College of Arts and Technology. This three year project was formally launched in April 2002.

The JEWELS Project operated between April 1998 and July 2002. JEWELS II aimed to:

  1. To increase significantly the numbers of programme areas offering accredited independent work experience and the number of students taking advantage of these opportunities.
  2. To extend the proven JEWELS model of learning from experience to new contexts and audiences
  3. To increase the number of work and work experience opportunities available for students

The project’s achievements are outlined in its final bulletin, and the insert to the bulletin, providing more specific information about the project at the University of Plymouth.

A range of materials are available for practitioners from the JEWELS web-site. These include materials for accredited independent work experience modules, for student placements and for the Foundation Degree work placement module.