PebblePad case studies

On this page we will showcase the wide variety of ways PebblePad is being used at Leeds for teaching, learning and development. The themes we will look at are: teaching and learning, supervision, research and scholarship, career development and student support. 

New ways of using PebblePad are constantly being developed by colleagues so keep an eye on this page as we will update you with the latest examples.  

Case studies:

Case Study One: Creating a teaching module in PebblePad and including interactive resources – my Language and Gender module for undergraduate students Levels 2 and 3

By Ruth Payne, Associate Professor in Student Education, School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, Faculty or Arts, Humanities and Societies  

What was the need, problem or challenge?

I wanted to make my module materials more visually appealing and to start to introduce interactive components that students can engage with while they are preparing for teaching sessions. My plan is to introduce these things piece by piece, and to evaluate how happily students engage with the content. 

What was the solution provided by PebblePad?

I created all teaching materials in PebblePad and added a link to the platform in Minerva. I created a new area of interactivity in the seminar teaching, where students were asked to contribute at least one question ahead of each seminar group – this then became the basis of the initial discussions when we met.  

The idea was to encourage students to reflect on the texts they were reading and to help stimulate engagement. There was greater uptake at the start of the module, but this was not surprising; I will develop this aspect of the module more next year and encourage greater reflection by asking specific questions that students are asked to respond to before the live sessions. 

The module itself looks much better in PebblePad and is easy to navigate. The use of relevant images has made it much more visually appealing, and I have embedded links to music clips I want the students to listen to. 

I plan to develop formative assessment tasks in PebblePad over the next few months and to develop the new ‘Timeline’ task to encourage group work. 

The seminar information included guide questions and a space for student to submit their own question before the seminar session. I embedded video clips for students to view and provided a separate page where they could also upload their own visual material. 

A page in PebblePad used as part of a teaching module for UG students

An introduction of seminar information and provided interactive elements for question submissions.

A brief summary

This work shows one way to enhance the appearance of module materials and to introduce new interactive components that support student reflection and engagement with module materials. 

Student feedback

“I found PebblePad really easy to use! It was visually appealing and quite easy to work out – I did particularly like the seminar question bar, I think it added to the interactive quality of our seminars and allowed us to clear up any confusions we may have had.”

More information about this case study:

Case Study Two: Working with PebblePad in the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology programme

 By Clare Dowzer, Learning Technologist, Research Coordinator, Leeds Institute of Health Sciences 

 What was the need, problem or challenge?

This case study summarises how PebblePad is being used to support the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Programme at the University of Leeds. Clare Dowzer, Lead for Learning Technologies for the programme, was already using PebblePad with several workbooks for her students on placement in 21/22. This had effectively transformed the programme from paper-led Clinical Placements to an online approach allowing the Clinical Tutors and Clinical Supervisors to use ATLAS, the PebblePad assessment platform to sign off the students’ work. 

A screenshot from PebblePad of a Placement Handbook with a banner showing a building and sky and a page of text underneath introducing the handbook. There are section tabs along the top of the screen.

What was the solution provided by PebblePad?

Once the Placement paperwork was successfully up and running, Clare decided to create open online access to various programme manuals. In Clare’s words: 

“It started with our placement handbook which is a very lengthy manual used by our clinical supervisors (working in the NHS), Clinical Tutors and our doctoral trainees. It was a lengthy word document and because it was so long and had very many headings and subheadings, PebblePad seemed the obvious choice to transfer it to because of the clear structure of the tabs and drop-down menus. 

We have moved our thesis manual over to PebblePad and I’ve just completed a Systematic Case Study Manual and Service Evaluation Project Manual. These not only help our students and staff but NHS colleagues when navigating extensive manuals.” 

A screenshot of PebblePad of a thesis manual. There are section tabs along the top, followed by a banner image with the title and then a section of text underneath.

A brief summary

This work shows one way to enhance the appearance of module materials and to introduce new interactive components that support student reflection and engagement with module materials. 

Student Feedback

Feedback has been very positive, and it is much easier to navigate to a specific section of the document without having to scroll through a lengthy Microsoft Word file. 

 More information 

For more information on how Clare developed this approach in PebblePad, you can contact her directly on or join the PebblePad Community of Practice to ask a PebblePad question. 

Case Study Three: Using PebblePad in a co-created student research project  

 By Rachael O’Connor, Lecturer, Director of Student Support and Academic Personal Tutor Lead, School of Law, Faculty of Social Sciences 

What was the need, problem or challenge?

I needed a space in which a student research team of 15 individuals could report their research and findings to me throughout a 10-week project but also a space where they could reflect individually on their own experiences of being part of a research team. All of the students in the team self-identified as under-represented for a range of different reasons so their experience was just as important as the research itself. 14 students completed the project (and the workbook). 

What was the solution provided by PebblePad?

The PebblePad workbook we designed was an accessible and engaging space, divided up over the research period, in which students could introduce and represent themselves, as well as each week having space to report their findings to me as members of the research team and also go through a reflective cycle to think about what they were learning and developing as they went in order not only to contribute to this research project but to also improve their own future opportunities. The workbook was also used for the team to set pledges/goals at the outset of the project and then, at the end, to reflect on the research period holistically and think about what they had come up with, as well as what they had learned and achieved. 

A screenshot of a workbook in PebblePad. There are section tabs along the top and underneath there is a banner with an image of books stacked on top of each other. Below the banner is some welcome text.

Some of the students found the workload in relation to the workbook quite heavy. I broke the 15 students down into 5 sub-teams of 3 students per team. In hindsight, it may have been preferable and easier for them to have a workbook between the sub-team so that every individual didn’t have to report the findings each week. However, I still think there was value in each individual completing a reflection each week about their experiences, rather than doing so as a sub-team as this may have inhibited the authenticity of responses. 

Some students initially struggled to navigate the workbook because they had never used PebblePad before, indicating the importance of training (and not assuming that students are using PebblePad for APT in their School as uptake is currently mixed across campus). It was also clear students would benefit from some training/practice in terms of self-reflection – the questions within the workbook weren’t enough for them to always understand how to reflect well. 

 11 out of the 14 students liked the self-reflection within their workbook because it provided a platform for them to share their thoughts, and it was a good opportunity to gain experience writing in a different style than they typically get the opportunity to on their degree programmes i.e. a reflective and more personal style, bringing out their voices. However, most of the students felt the questions became too repetitive as the weeks went on and maybe felt they didn’t have as much to reflect on in some weeks as in others. This was a common reflection across the students and a lesson learned in terms of not trying to pack too much content into workbooks and making sure there is space for ‘free thought’ rather than always having to answer specific questions.   

 Having the opportunity to discuss the content of their PebblePad workbooks in meetings/chats was also important to the team. 

Screenshot from a PebblePad workbook. A tab labelled your reflections is selected at the top, and underneath there is a banner image showing people on laptops, each in a bubble, connected by lines to a laptop in the middle. Under the banner is some text summarising team meetings.

A brief summary

Rachael developed a PebblePad workbook which was used over a period of 10 weeks with a student research team of 15 students to record their research findings each week and to reflect on their experiences of being part of a student research team and co-creating research together/with Rachael. The workbook was therefore used partly as a research reporting tool and partly as a reflective diary as a safe and authentic space for student researchers to consider their experiences. 

Student feedback

  • Student one: “I didn’t realise how so many people would agree that there’s an inconsistency between APT [academic personal tutoring] practices not only between schools but also within schools and so I feel like having that reflection on PebblePad really felt like that was an opportunity for me to share it.” 
  •  Student two: “Having that opportunity to … reflect on things … was just a really helpful chance to learn more about other people’s feelings of underrepresentation” 
  • Student three: “[the project] was helping me time manage a bit better … using the PebblePad and creating that and getting ideas and thinking about the different subheadings like key findings, reflections … gave me that idea of putting everything in its place and trying to formulate something. So, it was helping condense my ideas, as I do tend to go off-topic … when I’m trying to think of how I’m going to structure … that’s often a problem for me. So I think it gave me that base and then exploring each avenue one at a time without getting overloaded …I think that gave me that idea of structuring my ideas better and time management really helped as well.” 
  • Student four: “I liked using Pebble Pad because I’d never used it before” 
  • Student five: “I liked filling in the … key findings and you know what, what we did in terms of meeting and stuff, but I think the self-reflection, I just found difficult.” 
  • Student six: “It was really helpful to discuss that with Rachael in terms of what we put in our PebblePad. But also it was just nice to like keep seeing each other like every so often, and I really like that we kept meeting up.” 
  • Student seven: “I enjoyed PebblePad”