Education Research Learning & Teaching

1 Introduction to your research project

Hello from me!

Summary of project ideas

1) Literature and data analytical review of the link between gut dysfunction and manifestation of neurodegenerative disorders. Emerging clinical and laboratory research suggests that for example gut inflammation (cytokines, oxidate stress factors) drive degeneration and accelerate disease progression.
Devos D et al (2013). Colonic inflammation in Parkinson’s disease. Neurobiol Dis (50), 42-48. Available:

2) “Mini”-systematic review and meta analysis of a subject of your choice. Learn more about evidence-based medicine. E.g. is vitamin C really helpful in colds (you will be surprised). Can artichoke leaves reduce cholesterol levels (maybe!). Do antioxidants really do anything clinically? (Hmmm).
Bjelakovic  G et al (2012). Antioxidant supplements for prevention of mortality in healthy participants and patients with various diseases. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews  2012 (3). Available:

3) If you are considering teaching as a career you will probably wish to consider a more relevant and education-based project. This will give you an opportunity to develop qualitative and quantitative research skills (hugely useful in every walk of life actually). I’d be happy to discuss and tailor something to your interests.

4) Physiology-laboratory projects – depending on numbers and the availability of the room. This would be of interest to me – looking at the effects of music on physiological parameters, exercise performance and perceptions of exercise.
Jarraya M et al (2012). The effects of music on high-intensity short-term exercise in well trained athletes. Asian J Sports Med 3(4): 233–238. Available:

OR – consider validating or using some of the medical APPS on the iPAD. There is a great one that measures snoring and is used to diagnose sleep apnoea.

5) Your own choice! You may have done a placement and have data already. GREAT

What to do next?

Book an appointment to come and see me! Use the Engage in Research website to understand how to get started and read all about the research process (which is the same regardless of what type of project you are doing. A literature review is not a cop out – it is a serious piece of work with strict methodologies and ways of analysing data too 🙂 )
As the video says, try and think of an idea and come up with a RESEARCH QUESTION as the first step.
Learning & Teaching Open Education Study skills

Heaps of free student study skills resources!


I was just pulling some resources together for project students to help them get started, and when I searched the web I found this fantastic webpage by Viv Sieber at the University of Surrey. It knocked me dead when I first saw it a few years back at a conference, and it has just knocked me dead again.

Link to Study Skills OER University of Surrey OPEN student skills portal built by Viv Sieber. (CLICK on the image to go and use! Or here is the URL )

This is a prime example of why universities and colleges SHOULD be using open educational resources (OER) – that is, openly licensed learning materials created by experts that we can all share. Imagine, there are over 100 universities in the UK, and each one this time of year, will be brushing up their learning materials to provide THE SAME introductory information to their new students, and in my case THE SAME “getting started with research” – type information for their project students. That has to be a waste of time and somebody’s money!

About the portal

As you click through the various areas you’ll be connected through to a number of UK universities or a number of open education collaborations that have arisen over the years. This means:

1) The materials (pictures, photographs, animations, video) will all have been copyright checked and openly licensed for your use.

2) All the materials are developed by experts within the UK higher education setting so will be of top quality and you can confidently use it. Remember students, if you ARE just finding information on the internet, you need to appraise the source to ensure it is good quality.

3) As a member of staff (academic, librarian, student support officer), this resource will save you time in preparing identical materials, or at least provide you with an open license so you may be able to repurpose some of it. Do look for the terms of the Creative Commons licenses being used.

But will it be relevant to me, at my university?

On the whole YES! Whenever I use this resource I struggle to find something that I think won’t work for my students. For example, definitions of academic offences and use of referencing systems will be identical between universities, although the REGULATIONS behind them might be different. The IT skills resources all seem to be for the most up-to-date software versions. Things like CV tips and interview skills are all pretty generic.

A big round of applause for the  University of Surrey for compiling and sharing this excellent resource.


DS106 More dancing, this time in my most favourite movie ever.

More animated giffery

And why not. A dull Sunday evening and not much happing in the world. It seemed like a good time for some Jungle Book! Feel free to sing along.

[Method. Once again, thanks to John J for the audio coding available on his blog. Clip grabbed by MPEG Streamclip. Did seem to loose a bit of quality. Then just generally buggered around in Fireworks 🙂 ]






DS106 Dancing Jim Assignment

Dancing Jim All Over the World Assignment

Like the elusive Pimpernell, dancing Jim may crop up anywhere at any time thanks to J Johnston’s assignment. Due to popular demand from #byzantiumbooks, there was only one thing to possibly do with the static Tabloid cover.

The only way this could be better is if Jim was dancing on the cover photo! Great job!









So here you are. [Method – template of Jim downloaded from 106, Fireworks file created and saved as an animated gif first (I keep forgetting that), and the Tabloid cover copied across 10 frames to match Jim’s grooving. Publish. Have lols].



Animated gif of Stan’s Shimmy with Sound

DS106 YEY Thanks John Johnson!

Following on from my previous post about the Newport Jazz Festival (on right now in Newport US, and I’m NOT there, and that just isn’t fair), I decided to celebrate with a delightful shimmy by Stan Getz at the start of his “The Dolphin” recording. Of course I cheated by creating a Flash animation with sound.

But now, there is a new improved version with stain removers. Thanks to the genius of John’s coding, eejots like me can now animate gifs to sound!! This way, the music only plays when you CLICK ON THE IMAGE. (Check out John’s blog for the coding).

[Method – MPEG streamclip to produce PNG files. Open files in Fireworks. Add 24 STATES to image 1 (and then copy forward and backward sequence into the empty states). Choose a frame rate for a most delicious shimmy. Select LOOP. Export Wizard for ANIMATED GIF and nearly 1 MG of loveliness].