PebblePad partnership announced

We have partnered with PebbleLearning to deliver an institutional system – PebblePad – to be launched in September.

PebblePad aims to help students record and reflect on various areas of their development

A student works on their laptop in a quiet corner of the Laidlaw Library. August 2020

PebblePad is a portfolio and personal learning platform, designed to help students in recording – and reflecting on – their academic, personal and professional development.

It will enable them to engage with tools and activities provided by their school, as well as build academic and social communities.

The platform is designed to be flexible, with potential applications ranging from community development and research projects to professional development, study abroad placements, work placements and beyond.

It will be integrated with key University systems, and will be available directly to all students and staff via Minerva.

PebblePad will also be used for online assessments and examinations during the 2020-21 academic year, providing a viable alternative to closed-book physical examinations.

An overview of the PebblePad system can be viewed online, while training and support will be made available for staff and students during the coming months.

Professor Neil Morris, Dean of Digital Education, said: “PebblePad is a very welcome addition to our digital education ecosystem and will fulfil a wide range of needs from staff and students in the student education space.

“I am looking forward to seeing it in use right across the University to support enhancement of our students’ education and experience.”

Professor Simon Lightfoot, Pro-Dean for Student Education and lead for Student Experience, added: “PebblePad will be an excellent solution as a system to support and enhance academic personal tutoring, and will help us to maintain LeedsforLife as a sector-leading student support initiative.”

Looking to the future

This partnership forms part of a major investment in digital education systems ahead of the 2020-21 academic year. 

It is the culmination of two years of collaboration between the Digital Education Service, Student Education Service, Library and the IT Service – as well as input from staff in a number of schools and faculties across the University. 

PebblePad is already in use by a number of schools at Leeds to help support specific accredited programmes of study, including degree apprenticeships.

This wider rollout of PebblePad is seen as playing a crucial role in facing the challenges posed by covid-19 in that it can be used by schools for the Welcome-Induction-Transition programme in September 2020 and beyond.

As part of the plans for its future application, PebblePad will eventually become the system used for personal tutoring, replacing the existing system used by LeedsforLife in phases.

A pilot of PebblePad for academic personal tutoring will take place in semester one, and is expected to be in use across the University for this purpose for the 2021-22 session.

Digital development

PebblePad is the latest valuable addition to the collection of digital education tools and systems available to colleagues to support teaching and learning activities, including Padlet, Top Hat, Gradescope, Collaborate Ultra, Blackboard Ally, Minerva, Turnitin, Mediasite, Office 365 and LinkedIn Learning.

We also recently relaunched the Digital Practice Website to make it easier to navigate, with new content added to help academic and support staff find the resources, assistance and advice they need.

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