This portfolio captures the narrative journey of a 10-year career in learning design. It begins by stepping out of the K-12 classroom into the landscape of higher education, first into the amorphous space of academic development, then later into the equally amorphous space of learning design. The path followed is sometimes central, sometimes faculty-based, sometimes academic, sometimes professional, sometimes outward-facing, sometimes inward, always evolving.

These projects tell a story of finding a space where high-quality learning meets innovation, of crafting a niche where dominant narratives and paradigms are questioned. There are stories of rogue pocket innovation, of emergent central strategy, of student learning and of professional development. Some projects have a theoretical base, some are purely practical and born out of experience. Most are pedagogical explorations but there are tangents into the structural, the strategic and the cultural.

They also tell a story of identity and institution, stagnation and growth. Work ebbs and flows, diverges and converges, as institutional climate changes. The path begins siloed and spirals out towards shared and distributed work, the questions of impact and purpose trailing. And then towards the end, towards the now, the path diverges to arrive in the liminal space where learning design begins to be redefined as strategic, transformational leadership.

There are several ways to explore this portfolio – simply scroll down to see the full set of artefacts in chronological order, or you can visit the explore page for curated views, or to find your own way with tags and categories.

The Blog Project

in which Blackboard is shunned in favour of a DIY open student-generated content ecosystem - a story of rogue design, good pedagogy, terrible sustainability and limited institutional impact.

The Moodle Dailies

in which simple Moodle tools are repurposed to build the greatest game nobody ever played. A cautionary tale of fit for purpose design, knowing your audience and seeing the forest for the innovation.

Englishmen in New York

in which one tries single-handedly to disrupt academic publishing, but as it turns out all the good intentions in the world won't turn a learning designer into a sysadmin.


in which a love for coffee breeds a new open, modular professional development design. A twin tale of learning that solving people's problems is not the same as meeting their needs, and that one university's Read more…

Quality Teaching @ UNE

in which more modular online professional development happens, this time with more people, more media and more Biggs. A tale of how a project can simultaneously suffer the same and different fates.

Maritime Archaeology Database

in which one circles back around to rogue student-generated Wordpress content, but this time, there are a lot of boats. A tale of taxonomies, tensions, and learning from the wrong mistakes

UNEBS Curriculum Renewal

in which one finds that no amount of lego will prevent culture eating your strategy for breakfast. A transformative first episode in large-scale strategic change.

Mind the Gap

in which a lot of words are written on the internet, with surprisingly few references to British transport infrastructure. A small story about the affordances of writing online and working out loud.

Shaping the university

in which one reflects on the landscape of learning design and our potential to shape the university rather than shape pedagogy. The evolution of learning design: shaping the university from the third space Introduction Learning Read more…

Human from Scratch

in which one takes a sharp turn to the left, into organisational culture, ritual design and learning to be human, from scratch. Human from Scratch is the final project in this portfolio, and represents the Read more…