E-learning Network meetings this year have grown into lively, well-attended, network-led events and it is fantastic to have so many staff at Liverpool who want to share the excellent things they are doing with technologies for learning and teaching. Please do get in touch with Debbie Prescott, head of the eLearning Unit, if you’d like to get involved and present. This May’s network meeting featured items on:
- The institution as e-book publisher.
- Technologies for Architecture studio teaching.
- Pearson’s Learning Catalytics, MyLab & Mastering.
There’s a quick overview of these below but if you would like any more detail about any of these presentations then please do get in touch.
The institution as e-book publisher
Anthony Cond (Liverpool University Press) and Andrew Barker (Library – Head of Academic Liaison, Special Collections & Archives) kicked off the meeting to discuss a fascinating collaborative project involving their areas and the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Funded as a part of JISC’s three year programme looking at the viability of institutions becoming e-book publishers, the University of Liverpool will be developing two e-textbooks using different publishing/content creation applications (Biblioboard and Xerte) and for use with modules being run at the University. Students will get access to these e-textbooks as a matter of course and they will be freely available to anyone else, published under Creative Commons licenses and as print on demand resources as well. There was a lot of discussion in the room around reading preferences (print versus electronic), how a sustainable model for this kind of provision could be achieved, and how students will react to these kinds of resources. You can read more about this project and the two e-textbooks to be developed here and here for details of the JISC callout.
Technologies for Architecture studio teaching
Mike Knight from the School of Architecture took us through some of the brilliant things they have been doing building on their work in using wikis and remote design reviews for studio teaching, to now refiguring they way they run tutorials and give feedback in design reviews using iPads and examining how remote tutorials might be run for XJTLU and our London campus with Skype, high-quality webcams and podcasting and whiteboard software.
Key considerations for tutorials were communicating effectively with students and providing timely and quality feedback. The traditional paper and pen tutorial can mean there is only a transient record of the tutorial. The School used the free iPad sketching app Penultimate to record the sketching ‘conversation’ between tutor and students. Replicating and recording the tutorial conversation digitally means more effective records are kept and this record can be used interchangeably with the work being done elsewhere in wikis where students develop their design work.
For design review feedback the School is trialling an online version of their feedback form which the tutors use with their iPads. Immediate benefits have been in the timeliness of the feedback and in administrative savings organising the feedback forms. The next stage of this work will be to look at rolling it out to other year groups.
Mike also walked us through the remote tutorial set-up he has been trialling. Podcasting software (XSplit) enabled them to deploy multiple high-quality webcams along with whiteboard software for sketching interactions on drawing tablets and finally utilising Skype Pro. This has been pretty successful for a low-cost solution, with the tech not generally getting in the way of the tutorial (time differences and the Skype/network blips being the main problems). The team are also looking for an iPad app which would could be used in place of the drawing tablet.
Pearson’s Learning Catalytics, MyLab & Mastering at Liverpool
Our last session was led by Jo Corwood (Pearson) and it was a pertinent contrast to hear from a representative of one of the major academic publishers and how they are approaching the digital age. Jo outlined some of the work going on to make the MyLab and Mastering products from Pearson that are already being extensively utilised at Liverpool a more seamless experience for students. Jo also touched on a new classroom polling system Learning Catalytics that was developed at Harvard and which Pearson have now taken up with the Learning Catalytics development team to develop the product commercially. Below are a couple of films (one of an hour and the other of just one minute!) which gives an overview and an insight into what this particular polling system can do. One to keep an eye on.
One hour presentation from Eric Mazur on Learning Catalytics
Short promotional video (1 minute!) from Pearson on Learning Catalytics
Previous network meetings have included sessions on MOOCs at Liverpool, the Kritikos discipline-specific web search facility, the new Liverpool TEL strategy, blogging in the library, VITAL upgrades overviews, demonstrations and discussion of new applications from CSD – including the in-development lecture capture system and of other new institutional systems, such as Adobe Connect and Reading Lists @ Liverpool. Network meetings are also a superb opportunity to meet colleagues with a shared interest in learning technologies. The lunch isn’t too bad either!