Use this section to navigate my portfolio for CMALT

This sub-section of my website is specifically focused on CMALT certification. In it, I will discuss Operational Issues; Teaching, Learning and Assessment Processes; a View of the Wider Context; Communication; my Specialism; and Future Plans as required by the guidelines.

1. Operational Issues

Demonstrating the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning.

4. Communication

Demonstrating knowledge and skills in communication through working with others.

2. Teaching, Learning and Assessment Processes

Demonstrating understanding of and engagement with teaching, learning and assessment processes.

5. Specialism

Demonstrating evidence of independent practice in one or more specialist options: VLE adminstration & maintenance; producing learning materials/ content/ courseware/ supporting and tutoring learners/ research.

3. The Wider Context

Demonstrating awareness of and engagement with wider issues that informs practice.

6. Future Plans

Planning my future professional development: HE Fellowship training, PhD.


This portfolio has been provided for individual professional development use.

I declare that, to the best of my knowledge, the statements and evidence included in this submission accurately describe my practice and are drawn from my own work, with the input and support of others duly and clearly recognised.

Signed: Michael Johnston

Date: 24/09/2019

Contextual Statement

My background, skills and experience, including current or recent activities or roles relevant to this application for CMALT

I am a fully qualified teacher, with experience in sales and web design. I have a total of 7 years teaching experience across Primary, Post-Primary, Special Needs and Further/Higher Education sectors.

I currently work for the Northern Regional College as a Computing Lecturer. I am also course director for the Foundation Degree in Computing Programme. As part of my role as lecturer and course director, I am responsible for creating learning content for students to access through the college digital learning platform and through blended learning. I have taught a range of subjects at this level, including: Introduction to Programming, Computer Technologies, Information Systems, Databases in the Foundation Degree programme. As part of my responsibility as course co-ordinator, I am currently preparing the course revalidation document, which will see the course re-approved by Ulster University in Northern Ireland.

In previous teaching roles I have been responsible for the administration, development and training in the use of the virtual learning environment and how to implement blended learning across the Apprentice NI programme.

I am a certified Microsoft Innovative Educator and pedagogically, see the use of technology as the means to initiate and enable positive change in student learning.

Why I want to complete the CMALT accreditation

I want to complete CMALT accreditation because:

  • I see it as an effective means to further enhance my professional development;
  • It is an internationally recognised certification which is highly regarded in the field of learning technology and design;
  • I have 7 years of experience in teaching, my BEd Hons in Education and MSc in E-Learning are directly related, and I believe CMALT to be a refreshing of skills learned and a positive means to critically reflect on my current practice to improve my standard of teaching;
  • I want to enhance my own skill-set as a learning designer;
  • I want to help develop the Northern Regional College’s standing as an educational institution at the forefront of learning technology in online education, as at the time of writing (September 2018), the NRC had only one CMALT holder and none among the academic teaching staff;
  • I find sustained, critical reflection to be crucial for effective professional development, and the high level of reflection needed in order to assemble a CMALT portfolio can only benefit me in my career;
  • I take my own continuing professional development (CPD) seriously, currently being a prolific user of in my own organisation and wanting to develop my own understanding of pedagogy and learning technology.

How this relates to your future career aspirations

I see this training as part of an overall goal. After completing CMALT training, I want to complete the HE Academy Fellowship training due to my HE commitments. I believe this will help develop my skills as a lecturer in Higher Education.

After this, I want to pursue a PhD in an educational and/or computer science related area of study.


BEd Hons Education (2005)

MSc E-Learning (2007)

HNC Level 4 Interactive Media (2013)

PG Dipl. Applied Behaviour Analysis (2016)

After Initial Teacher Training, I studied my Masters in E-Learning at Queens University Belfast from 2005-2007. At this point, as a newly qualified teacher in Northern Ireland, which was experiencing a vast surplus of teachers at the time, I knew I had to keep studying to set myself apart from everyone else in the job market.

I knew that IT would have a hugely important role to play in all aspects of life, and so I set about studying how this area could impact on student learning and how online materials could be used to aid student learning. In 2005, we used Moodle 1.5, which is eons away from the latest version (at time of writing) 3.5.2, but the concepts of blended learning have developed and matured. It has been interesting to see how these concepts have been implemented and embedded into education.

In 2005-07, I could only act on the feeling that online learning would be important, and it would be vitally important for me to know how to make best use of this in the classroom. The topic of blended learning was discussed but it seemed like a picture of the wild west in which people learned when it suited them, not as a more structured concept that has evolved today, even though perceptions of the Wild West live on among some.

My study in Interactive Media came at a time when I had moved away from teaching to pursue a career in industry. It was here that I developed my creative skills and eventually started my own web design business. In this stage of my career I learned the value of User Interface Design and how it would later relate back to education.

In 2014 I returned to work in education, in a FE training college. Here I taught ICT and after 1 year here, in an in-house promotion, I moved to teach a higher level of ICT in the Apprentice NI programme, once again working with business leaders and delivering training in IT. From here I progressed to the Northern Regional College (August 2017) , where I was employed as a Lecturer in Computing. I was enrolled to teach on the Foundation Degree in Computing programme, but due to other staff movements, I was appointed as Course Director for the Foundation Degree within three months of starting in this role.

From January 2018 I have co-ordinated this programme which has also included the planned Revalidation of the course with Ulster University. Through this, I have been involved in the planning of new curricula and how technology will be used to deliver this. In September 2018, we embarked upon a trial of using Slack to improve communication between staff and students, but also to use as an informal learning platform in which staff can aid students learning through Q & A and for signposting towards online publications which may help students develop further in their knowledge and understanding of a particular area in computing.

In the current academic year (19/20) as we college we have moved from our virtual learning platform of Moodle to Canvas. This has given a unique opportunity to refresh our online learning content and is now an ongoing matter for our module lecturers.

We also use BaseCamp for the project management of implementing the new course content and online material. We are also preparing to use GitHub with students in the 20/21 academic year.

Professional Development


CPD Topic Provider Date Completed
Organisational Learning and Development: Organisational Learning and Development 20/11/2018
Artificial Intelligence Foundations: Thinking machines 04/11/2018
15th Annual Conference for HE Staff at Partner Institution Ulster University 12/10/2018
IT Security Foundations: Core Concepts 03/09/2018
Rubric Training – Webinar NRC – Internal 22/06/2018
Cybersecurity Foundations 19/06/2018
Agile Instructional Design 13/06/2018
Teaching Techniques: Writing Effective Learning Objectives 13/06/2018
Introduction to Screencasting 12/06/2018
GDPR Compliance in Northern Ireland – Workplace Fundamentals NRC – Internal 24/05/2018
HE Exam Board Training – Refresher NRC – Internal 11/05/2018
Instructional Design Essentials: Working with SMEs 09/05/2018
Measuring Learning Effectiveness 09/05/2018
Instructional Design Essentials: Adult Learners 08/05/2018
Instructional Design Essentials: Creating Video Training 08/05/2018
Instructional Design Essentials: Models of ID 04/05/2018
Instructional Design: Needs Analysis 04/05/2018
The Neuroscience of Learning 04/05/2018
Instructional Design Essentials: Storyboarding 18/04/2018
Google Developer Challenge Scholarship Udacity 25/02/2018
Foundation Degree Business and Digital Technology Workshop NRC – Internal 13/02/2018
Move Forward with the Digital Learning: Extended Course NRC – Internal 12/02/2018
Teaching & Learning Strategies NRC – Internal 12/02/2018
Digital Learning: Extended Course Course NRC – Internal 01/01/2018



CPD Topic Provider Date Completed
Course Coordinator Training NRC – Internal 16/11/2017
Turnitin Feedback Studio NRC – Internal 23/10/2017
Digital Learning Foundation Course NRC – Internal 01/09/2017
Display Screen Equipment NRC – Internal 29/08/2017
Equality & Diversity NRC – Internal 29/08/2017
Fire Safety Awareness NRC – Internal 29/08/2017
Students and You! Duties and Responsibilities NRC – Internal 29/08/2017
Workplace Housekeeping NRC – Internal 29/08/2017
MIE: Online and Blended Learning Microsoft Education 03/07/2017
MIE: Helping Teachers Who Work with Students Who Miss School Microsoft Education 03/07/2017
MIE: Increasing Instructional Time, Decreasing Administrative Tasks Microsoft Education 03/07/2017
MIE: Staff Collaboration Using Groups in Office 365 Microsoft Education 03/07/2017
MIE: Meeting the Diverse Needs of Learners Microsoft Education 03/07/2017
MIE: Beyond the Paper-Based Classroom Microsoft Education 07/03/2017
MIE: Microsoft in the Classroom Microsoft Education 07/03/2017
MIE: Microsoft in the Classroom – Final Assessment Microsoft Education 07/03/2017
MIE: Microsoft in the Classroom – Final Assessment Microsoft Education 07/03/2017
MIE: Create your professional profile on the Microsoft Educator Community Microsoft Education 07/03/2017
MIE: Step up to computer science Microsoft Education 07/03/2017
MIE: Step up to computer science Microsoft Education 07/03/2017
MIE: MIE Trainer – the changing education paradigm Microsoft Education 12/03/2017
MIE: 21st Century Learning Design Microsoft Education 12/09/2017
MIE: 21st Century Learning Design: Course 8 – Embedding 21CLD in Practice Microsoft Education 12/09/2017
MIE: 21st Century Learning Design: Course 7 – Use of ICT for Teaching Microsoft Education 12/09/2017
MIE: 21st Century Learning Design: Course 6 – Real-World Problem-Solving and Innovation Microsoft Education 12/09/2017
MIE: 21st Century Learning Design: Course 5 – Self-Regulation Microsoft Education 12/09/2017
MIE: 21st Century Learning Design: Course 4 – Knowledge Construction Microsoft Education 12/09/2017
MIE: 21st Century Learning Design: Course 3 – Skilled Communication Microsoft Education 12/09/2017
MIE: 21st Century Learning Design: Course 3 – Collaboration Microsoft Education 12/09/2017
MIE: Digital Literacy Curriculum Microsoft Education 09/09/2017
MIE: MIE Trainer: Professional Development Best Practice Microsoft Education 08/09/2017
MIE: MIE Trainer: Full Day Product Training Microsoft Education 08/09/2017
MIE: MIE Trainer: Next Generation Assessment Microsoft Education 08/09/2017
MIE: 6 Experience Bing for Education Microsoft Education 08/09/2017
MIE: Trainer Academy Microsoft Education 02/09/2017
MIE: Microsoft in the Classroom Microsoft Education 02/09/2017
MIE: Introduction to Microsoft in the Classroom Learning Path Microsoft Education 02/09/2017

Future Plans

With regards to my future plans, I have decided that while I have developed into a mature and competent teacher, there are areas that I want to improve in. To that end, I intend to complete the HE Academy Fellowship training. This will aid my development as a HE lecturer and develop my teaching skills in this area, due to the difference in nature of this area of education.

Due to my role as course co-ordinator, I also recognise that I need to develop management skills. To that end, I am planning to complete a qualification in leadership and management. I have identified the ILM Level 5 course as one that will be of best benefit in this area.

After these, I intend to commence study at PhD level. It is an aspiration of mine and I have had conversations with different people in my life who understand my career goals and how this would be of benefit to me. As yet, I am undecided about the specific nature of study, but would at present, anticipate a choice between computer science, education, technology enhanced learning, or a combination of the three.

 Signed:  Michael Johnston  Date: 24/09/2019