Report on Third Webinar with ANTF “Tips for a successful application”

Many thanks to the panel: top left, Dan Amin, AdvanceHE;  Debbie Holley (NTF and facilitator) middle row Andrew Middleton (NTF) and Caroline Coles (NTF and Chair ANTF), lower picture Karen Hustler, Academic Development Officer, AdvanceHE. Thanks to Leonie Brown (not pictured) for the technical support.

Our final event in the series supporting aspiring National Teaching Fellows had a festive feel as the panel got in the December mood. Focusing on polishing final applications, and thinking about those all important institutional statements, the role of the Institutional contact; and of course more about how our panel NTFs ‘got theirs’ which have formed a part of this years’ online roadshows.

Andrew Middleton, Deputy Head of Anglia Learning and Teaching has developed an NTF ‘pipeline’ at Anglia Ruskin University, and as well as sharing his personal journey, he reflected on how some potential NTFs had to be ‘tapped on the shoulder’ as they really had no idea how fabulous their teaching was! In terms of   writing up of the three criteria, he recommends identifying your narrative; the use of plain English, and considering the evidence to be included in terms or reach, value and impact.

Caroline Coles is the Chair of the Association of National Teaching Fellows, and spoke about her journey from international retail, into law and then academic, and how to frame transferable skill sets in terms of a compelling NTF narrative. Caroline led the panel discussions about how to create opportunities to share and develop impact.

Karen Hustler and Dan Amin led the section on the actual judging process, and ran through how scoring works, the role of reviewers, and how important it was to submit all of the documentation required. Karen outlined ways in which AdvanceHe can support all of us on our journeys, and highlighted the current call for case studies, papers and presentations for different events:

Current calls:

Our recording of the webinar: Passcode: ut8&rN9W

@advanceHE @NTF_tweet @colesntf @andrewmid @debbieholley1

The ANTF committee and Advance HE colleagues wish all potential applicants every success, a peaceful Christmas, and a Happy 2021

Debbie Holley: Events co-ordinator and ANTF/AdvanceHE Roadshow facilitator.  

In Conversation: a Digifest 2021 panel

Today’s blog has been written by Prof Debbie Holley, a member of the steering group of Jisc’s Digifest event, which is taking place 8-11 March 2021.

Picture of Zoom meeting, showing the panel members at the Digifest event - three women and a man
Panel: Jess Moore, Senior Media and Content Editor, Jisc) (host) top left; Debbie Holley, Professor of Learning Innovation, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Bournemouth University (top right); Cameron Mirza Chief of Party for USAID Pre-Service Teacher Education in Jordan) (bottom left); and Dr Sarah Jones, Deputy Dean in the faculty of Computing, Engineering and Media, De Montfort University

Digifest 2021 theme of ‘culture and resilience’.

What do we usually do on Friday mornings during the pandemic? Routine work, think about the weekend, look at the weather forecast? This morning was rather different…I was invited to take part in a panel scoping out the DIGIFEST 2021 topics. I met the wonderful and inspiring Cameron, who is running the Jordanian pre-service teacher training service, as he joined us from Jordan, and Sarah, the awesome virtual reality educator from De Montfort University. Hosted by Jess Moore, the JISC senior digital content editor we were asked to discuss key questions around the Digifest ‘culture and resilience’ theme.

We started reflecting on the student experience, and all agreed that many colleagues had approached the whole of the ‘move online’ as a second best offering for students. There were lots of great examples where innovation moved ‘beyond’ the screen, embracing student as co-creators of content, of simulation and student centred, personalised best practice. Cameron shared insights from his project in Jordan, where committed teachers across the country were developing amazing resources, in cases for mixed ability pupil groups, with very limited digital infrastructure.  Sarah talked about being compassionate, to each other and to our students, in a time of so much multi-tasking in the home, and we thought the WonkHE piece on how universities can’t fix everything (and that is OK) really hit the right tone at this point as staff and students all become exhausted by constant ‘Zoom’ ing.

The conversation moved to challenges in supporting student and staff mental health and wellbeing; and initiative like the Students Minds Mental Health Charter and the Suicide Reporting Toolkit for educators were seen as major ways forward. Digital wellbeing is really important, (see and we felt that this was not adequately reflected in current strategy). online had a dark underside, which unfold in a myriad of ways: trolling and online-bullying; increased peer pressure for an instagram ‘perfect’ life and body image; and access and isolation (read more on The best way of promoting health in HE? blogpost). Loneliness is a key factor for students, as the recent paper by Bu, Steptoe and Bancroft explains, putting young people at risk.

And for the future? We all wanted the leap forward in digital education in its fullest, with simulations, virtual opportunities and authentic learning opportunities for all to move forward, but with access and equal provision for all to continue, and not, once the crisis had past, to slip back in ‘same old’ – we think our students deserve the best of all Higher Education has to offer.  We concluding thinking about ‘Universities of the Future and Education 4.0’ and what that may offer in terms of internationalisation, mobility and knowledge transfer, in physical space and time for many, but from their own homes for others.

I look forward to joining in with JISC Digifest 8-11 March 2021

Debbie Holley (National Teaching Fellow 2014 and ANTF Committee Events Co-ordinator)


Cameron Mirza (@cmirza1) Cameron is Chief of Party for IREX for USAID Pre-Service Teacher Education in Jordan.   

Dr Sarah Jones: (@virtualsj) The Deputy Dean in the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Media at De Montfort University. Her  practice and research sits within emerging technologies and the development of immersive experiential films.

Debbie Holley: (@debbieholley1) Professor of Learning Innovation in the faculty of Health and Social Sciences, and expert in blending learning, student centred learning and informal learning.

Our host was Jess Moore (@Jisc) Senior Digital and Content Editor

Debbie Holley, Cameron Mirza and Sarah Jones are members of the steering group supporting Jisc’s four-day digital event, Digifest 2021. Registrations are now open at

Resources information:

Education Report:

University of the Future Bringing Education 4.0 to life

The future of college

NUS Student Covid-19 Survey

National Union of Students, (2020). Coronavirus and Students Survey. April 2020.


JISC (November 2020) Learning and teaching reimagined: a new dawn for higher education?

Biggins, D & Holley, D: The use and value of TEL toolkits: designing for learning in a time of complexity (guest blog to for ALTs Summer Summit)


Bu, F., Steptoe, A. and Fancourt, D., 2020. Who is lonely in lockdown? Cross-cohort analyses of predictors of loneliness before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. medRxiv.

The best way of promoting health in HE?

The Student Minds Mental Health Charter

Self-compassion in the face of adversity in higher education, from the new VC at the University of Leeds

Suicide Reporting Toolkit for Journalists and Journalism Educators (has whole sector value) :

International resources from IREX

Online guide for facilitators

Guide to organizational performance improvement

Call for Papers for Diversity and Inclusivity in Enterprise Education (EVOLVE) Conference Deadline: November 29

NTF Samia Kamal at Oxford Brookes University is organising an online conference on this topic welcoming all contributions under the themes: ● Enterprise and entrepreneurship effectiveness: development of a better mindset. ● Democratising enterprise and entrepreneurship education ● Challenges and opportunities of inclusive enterprise and entrepreneurship education. ● Inclusive curriculum design for enterprise and entrepreneurship education in HE.

Submission via a Google Docs forms–shEllE8JDfFDnPhV16rR5sIcFsEGgeXiG-Pqvgjdw/viewform

Full details in the Events folder of the Blog