Birthday, minimum VLE standards, lecture capture, metaphors and MOOCs: report from the ALT conference 2013

ALT (Association of Learning Technology) is 20 years old, so this year’s conference (ALTC-2013) themed as  ‘Building new cultures of learning’ was marked by firework celebrations at the lovely green campus of Nottingham University. The 3 conference days were well spent networking, presenting our work and observing what others are up to in the field of learning technology in UK and global HEIs and other educational institutions. Naturally, with the 20 year-anniversary came an element of reflection.

One of my highlights of the conference was seeing one of our very own academic member of staff, Dr Tim Bullough (Engineering), amongst the presenters. We have so many innovative good practices at Liverpool worthy of being shared with others. Tim presented Kritikos, a customised visual media search tool for students, in front of a captive audience (see our earlier blog post on Kritikos being presented at a uni e-learning network meeting).

The main flavours of the conference were: institutions presenting data and insights on their minimum VLE requirement programmes, such as Jess Power from Huddersfield on ‘Blockages in relation to VLE use’, or Suzanne Wright from Nottingham on ‘Maximising Moodle’. Lecture capture was another much-spoken-of topic, typically presenters sharing their experiences with institution or department-wide lecture capture implementations, such Leonie Sloman from King’s College London’s medical school using echo360 who collected some impressive rigorous data both from students and staff on their preferences and experiences with it; or Ben Steeples from University of Essex, who shared with us a fast-pace whole-scale implementation of a lecture capture system within 30 months, using Panopto as their chosen system. Many universities in the audience had institution-wide lecture capture systems. Ben pointed out a legal guidance document by JISC on recording lectures. Essex will be looking at guidance on writing rights management and license awareness of staff and implementing a more gradient way of guiding rights of recordings from staff opting out from recordings through to enabling the creation of OERs and anywhere in-between. I also went along to a demonstration of Lecturetools (an echo360 company) by Prof Perry Samson, USA, who demonstrated his use of this as an in-class tool. An impressive aspect of it was not only that in-class polls can be asked after slides, but also the fact that each student can add their electronic notes/marks on any slide which are recorded for each student and can be retrieved by them later – saving on having to make notes on paper!

Of course the conference couldn’t happen without the mention of MOOCs, which others have documented amply, perhaps just to mention an award-winner example by Nottingham Uni who have developed their own ‘NOOCs‘ (N for Nottingham, rest is the same as in MOOC), the one on sustainability has won the prize.

Talking of award-winners, each year a ‘learning technologist of the year’ is announced, with Sheila McNeill from CETIS winning this year’s title amongst warm support of the ALT community. The Best Proceedings paper was won by Richard Osborne and colleagues at Exeter Uni on ‘Integrating technologies into ‘‘authentic’’ assessment design: an affordances approach‘.

A useful session was given by Lesley Gourlay, Martin Oliver (and sorry, I forgot the third presenter’s name!) on how to get your research published in the Research in Learning Technology journal – if anyone is interested in this contact me (Tunde) for more details. It’s a great journal to be published in: it is a high quality peer-reviewed, open access and free journal! See also two of our staff’s recent publicatons in it:

Susanne Voelkel’s (School of Life Sciences, University of Liverpool)  on “Combining the formative with the summative: the development of a twostage online test to encourage engagement and provide personal feedback in large classes” and

Peter Reed’s Hashtags and retweets: using Twitter to aid Community, Communication and Casual (informal) learning

And finally, last but not least, I wanted to mention our own presentation by our eLearning Unit team, which Phil Walker and I (Tunde) presented on everyone’s behalf entitled ‘eLearning Unit, can we help you?’. It was about our team development. The session was well attended – people were buzzing with activity and we got many positive comments afterwards. A separate blog will follow on this shortly.

So the overall impression of ALTC? It is definitely a useful forum to benchmark in our role as learning technologist. I just wish it wasn’t so expensive as its high costs is getting preventive wiping out one’s annual conference budget! And one of the best unexpected bits: not only meeting and getting to know national and international colleagues but also having a chance to catch up with one’s very own colleagues (yes, Peter Reed and Tim Bullough!). 

by Tünde Varga-Atkins, eLearning Unit

Further links and resources

Tools mentioned at the conference – may be worth checking out? 

  • Speed Reader: paste your text and turn up your reading speed (I just tried it and was able to enhance my speed!)
  • Audioboo : audio sharing tool
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Augmented Reality

Imagine hovering your smartphone camera display over a poster on a wall and seeing a video appear on screen related to the content of the poster. Augmented reality (AR) works in this way. See the video below for an example. It merges content created virtually (videos, images, animations, graphics) with real world environments. This virtual content is layered over a real-life object, whether that is a picture, a person or even a building, the options are endless. Viewed through the camera display on a smartphone or tablet device, these AR ‘overlays’ can be triggered by a GPS location, a sound, or through the recognition of an image (usually a photograph, graphical display, painting or poster). This is dependent on the application used but if content is synchronised, using an AR app, then content can ‘overlay’ information, for example, onto a famous landmark, or help someone to navigate around an a city area.

Newspapers, magazines and advertising agencies have already made use of AR. I’ve seen one app used to animate logos and text displays in the headlines of newspapers. It is fun seeing an advertisement in a newspaper come to life as an animation, however, this use of AR appears, in my opinion, rather gimmicky and the ‘fun’ effect was one that quickly waned. In terms of using two forms of media together, I think that comes down to preference. Certainly in my own experience I’m unlikely to use my phone or tablet for AR purposes whilst simultaneously reading a newspaper. AR in the context of entertainment will inevitably face practical questions as to why audiences should use AR in conjunction with other firmly established forms of media. Will the technological development of AR echo the anticipated rise and now more recent fall of the 3D TV? I do believe AR has a place that, once identified, will integrate it into certain elements of everyday practice. My hope is that this practice includes education and the interactivity found in learning environments.

AR in Education

It’s hard to know where to start when choosing an app to work with AR. A brief search through the Google Play and online App stores reveals an explosion of AR apps all focusing on different types augmented experiences. This ranges from live virtual views of someone’s location, using map software, to producing music using a hand-drawn piano layout.

After trying a lot of different AR apps, I came across Aurasma. Aurasma is a smart device app that was demonstrated by Judy Bloxham at the e-Assessment Association hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University in November 2012. Judy’s involvement in an AR project, supported by JISC and their RSC Northwest Network, is powered by Aurasma and has utilised AR for the purposes of enhancing educational content. The project compiled a series of posters that aided formative assessment and became interactive when students used the Aurasma app alongside them. This helped students to engage in a reflective thinking process drawing upon some of the key principles they had covered in their learning of the subject. Using AR and interactive content like this can also provide an ideal entry point for a learning activity to begin – with options to break down content into a series of options that students can choose to follow.

A good example is outlined in the poster below (provided by Judy Bloxham), allowing the user has to use Aurasma to interact with a series of buttons and videos to see which is the correct shelf for storing raw meat in the fridge.

fridge[Link to the original website for this poster:  http://tinyurl.com/dxhnbhm]

You can use Aurasma’s image recognition tool and see how this poster can trigger interactive learning content. This can be tested on a computer screen or using a printed version of one of the posters linked below. There are two ways to do this depending on the smart device that you are using. Some instructions are outlined below.

Android devices:

1. Visit the Google Play store to search and download Aurasma
2. Open Aurasma and press the ‘A’  icon at the bottom of the screen
3. This takes you to the Explore section. Press the magnifying glass at the bottom of the screen to go to the Search page.
4. Type in RSC Northwest to find the RSC Northwest Channel. Click the image and then click the ‘Following’ button on the next screen.
5. Now press the bracket icon [ ] on the bottom line to return to the camera view. Then view over one of the posters below.

Apple devices:

1. You can download Aurasma in the same way as above (for the Android devices) and follow the options to connect to the RSC Northwest channel.
2. Alternatively, search RSC Northwest in the App Store and install it to your Apple device.
3. Use the camera view and hover one of the posters below. Make sure the whole of the poster is displayed on your smart device.

hazards-v2.1

[Link to the original website for this poster:  http://tinyurl.com/dxhnbhm]

hearing

[Link to the original website for this poster:  http://tinyurl.com/dxhnbhm]

These are examples of how an image can trigger an Aurasma ‘aura’. Open one of the PDF files to full screen and hover your smartphone device over the image. If the app has joined the channel correctly the image should trigger the interactive ‘aura’ content. Do let us know in the comment box below about your experiences using this app.

To read more about the use of AR used in education then visit the following sites below. These were recommended by Judy Bloxham, who I would like to thank on behalf of the eLearning Unit here at the University of Liverpool, for allowing us permission to make use of the above posters, demonstrating the use of Augmented Reality in education. Her work in raising awareness about the potential benefits of AR in education is ongoing and well worth following. Below are some further links related to the information above and to other AR projects, if you would like to delve further.

https://sites.google.com/a/jiscadvance.ac.uk/augmented-reality/home

Guardian Blog Post – http://www.guardian.co.uk/higher-education-network/blog/2013/feb/11/augmented-reality-teaching-tool-trend

Scarlet Project – http://teamscarlet.wordpress.com/

cARe Project http://blogs.city.ac.uk/care/

Living Learning: Plumbing from Kendal College https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/living-learning/id549156508?mt=8

written by Phil Walker

Webinars: reaching a wider campus – extending our teaching and training

Some thoughts on our first VITAL online training session – Weds 20th Feb

webinarModelmodified
Eagerly anticipating the start of the webinar – cup of tea at the ready..!

The eLU have just successfully trialled offering VITAL training for University staff via a webinar. After recently attending quite a few excellent webinar sessions run by national bodies (JISC, ALT, TechDis) and having run a couple of successful webinar ventures nationally with Ed Dev colleagues last year, we could see some very valuable potential in using this format for our in-house learning technology training, namely:

  • No need for people to trek across campus to a training room – just access from your office PC – in fact from anywhere.
  • Shorter sessions are now possible on some of the lesser-known but hugely useful tools and facilities in VITAL (in this instance Rubrics cards – see note at the end of the post).
  • Sessions are recorded for anyone to be able to access any time after the session.
  • The ‘chat’ text box records the discussion and the questions from the session.
  • Give staff experience of the webinar format and so consider how it could be useful in their own practice. 

We can see multiple applications of the webinar format, particularly as the campus expands, our international partnerships go from strength-to-strength and more CPD courses are offered online by schools and departments. From our own point of view we are always looking for new ways of reaching as many people as possible, and to develop ways in which to deliver our teaching and training, and to pass on our experiences of doing this.

What is a Webinar? The webinar format is an online session which is joined from an office PC and all that is needed to participate in the session is a pair of headphones for your computer and an internet connection. A microphone can also be useful but not essential as text ‘chat’ is mainly used for side-communication in many sessions. The session comprises the elements of a face-to-face session but run virtually, so depending on the presenter and the session there will a video stream, an audio stream, interaction via either of these and/or a chat box. Interactions such as polls and quizzes can form part of the session. The whole can be recorded and edited and offered for general access afterwards.

We used the Adobe Connect system for our session, as the University has its own installation (here) which can be accessed and utilised by anyone with their usual MWS accounts.

So some initial thoughts and reflections on using webinars in this way include:

  • worried danIt is quite scary as a presenter the first time you run a webinar (click image left for face of fear)! Be prepared for this!
  • You need a co-pilot to manage the chat room and pick up on questions, problems, conversations developing and so on (see image at the bottom of this post).
  • Good pre-session materials are needed to help people understand the concept of a webinar and the environment you are going to use, as much as the content of the session itself.
  • Rehearse the session you want to run in as much fine detail as you can – you will find that some of your planned interactive items don’t quite work or need better guidance materials on what attendees have to do in the session.
  • It is a very positive and satisfying experience to run a webinar session and understand how, in the absence of face-to-face interactions, the toolset available in the conferencing software offers a different kind of personal contact and interaction.
the gulf between us
Where is everyone?

We tried out a number of ideas for ways in which attendees could interact, from running simple polling questions and discussing the results, to asking people to switch to a different browser and access a VITAL module to try out what had just been demonstrated. All of these were managed with varying degrees of success but there is very little we wouldn’t do again.

If anyone would like to watch the edited recording of the session on marking by criteria with the Rubrics facility then please do get in touch with the eLearning Unit. If you would like to find out more about using the Adobe Connect system for running such a session yourself and to get any advice on how to run a webinar then we would be delighted to share our experiences in more detail with you. As we said at the start of this post, there are multiple applications for this kind of  session and we are very keen to explore these with you.

Tünde and Dan

About VITAL Rubrics: Interactive, electronic versions of criteria sheets can be created, attached to most assessable items in a VITAL module and used for marking. Cards can be used to generate a grade or can be used qualitatively, they can be made visible to your students before they submit their work or after, and they allow for extra written feedback if required for every level on each criterion. Further, criteria cards can be shared amongst marking teams, as well as adapted, re-purposed and re-used.

Conference report: #ALTC2012, confronting reality

Attending our annual professional conference, the Association for Learning Technology Conference (ALT-C), was special for two reasons this year. For one, this was the first time I was involved in presenting, and secondly, I was co-presenting with Jaye McIsaac, our colleague from Educational Development (see Jaye’s blog entry of the even here).

Venue of ALT-C 2012, University of Manchester
ALT-C at University of Manchester, instagram by sarahhorrigan

Our presentations involved a student evaluation method which we have been using successfully for curriculum and module evaluation for a number of years now. The technological relevance was that we tried a number of technologies to see whether we can improve on the process, called the Nominal Group Technique. (Slideshare links here to our presentation & demonstration.)

One of the most useful aspects of the conference is to be able to chat to other institutions and see what they are up to. Having seen plenty of engaging presentations, credit must go to our academic staff at the University of Liverpool, many of whom who could have been there presenting their innovative e-learning practices at ALT-C. In fact, if you are one of them – do consider presenting at ALT-C in 2013! The eLearning Unit can support you with the process.

Eric Mazur at ALT-C 2012
Eric Mazur at ALT-C 2012

My personal highlights

My highlights included (hard to keep list short):

  • Eric Mazur on active learning – covering how to work the lectures so that they reduce gender bias, ‘confusion’ as a sign of learning (i.e. if students are confused, it is a good sign that they are learning), and the ‘usefulness’ of demonstrations in science lectures.
  • Attending and presenting together with my colleague, Jaye McIsaac, as this brought a fresh perspective on what ALT is and why it’s useful.
  • The Digital Literacies projects presentations, including a session by Helen Beetham and others on ‘Tools of the Digital Trade’.
  • Getting to know the Pecha Kucha format (at ALT, it’s 9 slides with 45 seconds each).
  • A presentation on ‘session capture‘ , with the idea that through extending the naming from ‘lecture capture’ to ‘session capture’, comes the extension possibilities of using recordings in many more settings, such as induction activities, aiding a more institution-wide take-up of the practice. (Loughbourough has Echo360.)
  • The London JISC project, Generation 4.5, which uses virtual patients through multi-branching PBL (problem-based learning) scenarios.

Tools & tips

As usual, there are always tools or tips to pick up. Just out of interest, the trendy tool of the conference was the Instagram app that everyone seem to be using (see first image of this blogpost).

  • ScoopIt – a curation service which colleates content from blogs and other web resources on a given topic, e.g. see a ScoopIt for ALTC2012.
  • Articulate Storyline – an (according to the presenters) exciting e-learning authoring software which has Flash-like capability for animations.
  • Twitter tool – which combines twitter feeds in a PowerPoint.
  • Mobile Xerte
  • Khan Academy: free videos on various topics.
  • Clapometer: a tool that measures the applause level of an audience (one lecturer uses it as a fun alternative to a clicker indicating best response from students).
  • YouTube wraps: a tool that allows you to tailor an existing YouTube resource.

and finally, the awards: 

ALT-C Gala dinner
ALT-C Gala dinner: individual and team awards

I have never made it to the ALT Gala dinner before. It was inspiring to see the best of the profession receiving awards and recognition for their work.

One of the Learning Technologist of 2012 awards went to a close neighbour, Philip Taubman, Lancaster University, for his work on Open Educational Resources and their VLE. The runner up team award (joint second place) was awarded to the SCARLET team at Manchester for ‘their excellent development and implementation of the pioneering SCARLET Augmented Reality (AR) toolkit’ – enhancing learner engagement with artefacts and bring library special collections to life – and for Skills@Library, University of Leeds, for ‘their outstanding development and implementation of internationally recognised open e-learning resources’.

At ALT-C, prizes are also awarded for the Best Proceedings papers, which for the second year in a row was given to Tom Cochrane, this time for his paper on “Secrets of mlearning failures: confronting reality“. The two best Pecha Kucha Presentations were: “Transforming Learning Technologists into Design Researchers“ by Brenda Bannan, and “Engagement by stealth: Can a PG Cert get teachers excited about tech?“ by Lindsay Jordan who dressed as a miner for this: ‘at the coalface’.

So overall, a really good conference – and here at the eLearning Unit we have hatched plans for presenting at ALT-C 2013 as a team.

Tünde (Varga-Atkins)

Digital pens and multimodality, revisited

At the 6th International Conference on Multimodality I gave a paper on behalf of Muriah Umoquit and myself on using digital pens in a research context for drawing.

Prezi
Using digital pens – link to prezi

The paper summarised our experiences with using digital pens. Three conference highlights related to educational technology were:

  • Cheryl Ball talked about a multimodal journal, Kairos, which, breaking with the tradition of publishing articles with static writing and images, uses multimodal forms such as hypertext and multimedia such as videos, links and web-pages. The premise is that each article chooses the ‘right’ kind of modes, which can best communicate the given argument, rather than the journal’s format restricting the mode of the argument. They work with authors to use various digital tools to produce their multimodal texts. See for instance one of the articles organised as a website using the metaphor of the Shakespeare’s rose relating to the theme of definitions.
  • Marthe Burgess from Norway talked about a school project in which students were asked to construct a video narrative (as opposed to a traditional essay). In this case, students producing ‘multimodal’ texts a bit like when our students in Engineering or in Music are asked to produce wikis ( websites ), in which the form (site design) of the site is an integral element in the way the content is constructed and understood.
  • One of the articles that I read in preparation for the presentation by Luff et al (2007) entitled, “Augmented Paper: Developing Relationships between Digital Content and Paper“, which examines the ‘affordances of paper’ as a form of technology, arguing how versatile it is and why we still don’t have a paperless office. One of its features is that it is very mobile . Luff and colleagues’ project looked at, probably before the appearance of QR codes, how paper can be augmented to link to digital media. I just love the arguments as the digital pen operates the same way, it combines the graphical with the digital in a symbiotic way. (You get a drawing or written note, which can be tapped by the pen which evokes a digital audio file. Or you can digitise the written note or drawing in the form of a pencast, which can be played on the computer.)

Tünde

How to run a webinar? We have Followed the Sun….

The video recording above is of our second, really successful webinar on using the Nominal Group Technique  that we ran at the wholly online Follow the Sun conference in March 2012, hosted by Leicester in the UK as well as Australia and the US.  (Our first session for the ELESIG group was summarised by one of the participants, Olivia Fox, in her blog.) This blog summarises our experiences and tips for running a webinar, in case you are thinking of trying it out.

So what is a webinar? A webinarweb-based seminar. It has all the elements of the face-to-face seminar but it is running completely online, with participants logging on at a distance, and is usually conducted through a web-conferencing platform, like Blackboard Collaborate (nee Elluminate) or Adobe Connect. Webinars can also be recorded for reviewing, or for those who miss the session.

Our first session, back in Feb 2012, was facilitated by the ELESIG committee members, Helen Whitehead and Carol Higgison, who spent two occasions with our four-member team to help us get to know the software, Blackboard Collaborate, and its features and layout so that we could plan the interactivity used in the session. We were quite ambitious in that we  not only delivered the one-hour session with four presenters (where you normally only have one or two), but we also planned to run a real Nominal Group Technique session online. The Nominal Group Technique is a useful  student evaluation technique of learning experiences. Our focus was on evaluation for the purpose of curriculum design or review.

The 3 stages of the Nominal Group Technique
The 3 stages of the Nominal Group Technique

We had set ourselves the task of finding an online way to mimic the ‘real world’ process of people writing ideas on post-it notes, then clarifying and consolidating the different post-it-note items and then finally ranking them, as in the pictures to the right.  We devised a system where participants wrote their entries on a virtual whiteboard, then one of our team organised them as we were clarifying, by grouping the same items together, and then the voting stage was simulated by drawing circles next to the vote items (the above video is of our second session which was shorter and did not include this step). The process was a bit clunky but it worked as it did get the idea of each of the stages of the Nominal Group Technique across to the participants. We also made use of other interactive features such as polling. Participants followed the webinar using their headphones, and asked questions using the chat text entry box as we went along. So it was good fun and we were very happy with the interactions during the session.

Finally, we just wanted to share some of the tips we have learnt about running webinars.

What do you need for running a webinar?

  • A web-conferencing system e.g. Blackboard Collaborate. At the University of Liverpool we currently have Adobe Connect available for web-conferencing.
  • Headphones and microphone for each team member.
  • Powerpoint slides (optional) or other resources.

So what did we learn about conducting a webinar?

  • Set up time: practice with the same PC, same sound equipment that you will be using for your final, live session, (make sure you won’t have interruptions like phone calls or colleagues)
  • Don’t use speakers, use headphones, as speakers may echo.
  • Show video or not to show (of presenters)? Advice here can be event-specific; some say it looks more professional if you don’t show video, just sound; others like showing video. We used screenshots of ourselves on the slides.
  • Interactivity is key.
  • Use of smiley icons or hands up for questions, or quick yes/no button to clarify e.g. if participants hear or understood something.
  • Ask participants’ prior experiences as a quick poll (see about 8 mins in the above video).
  • Moderator: one of their roles is to welcome participants, and ensure all is working with their audio.
  • Practice practice practice – especially the interactive bits! And timings.
  • Switch sound off if you are not presenting.
  • Think about how to manage silence (when participants are engaged in a task or waiting for responses).
  • Someone needs to monitor chat.
  • Lack of non-verbal cues: keep having slots for questions, clarification + at the end – ask about how they may use it in their practice?
  • Ask some experienced colleagues, if available, to run it with you to practise and offer feedback about session interactivity.

and finally,

  • Be brave. Have a go!

Tünde, Jaye, Nick and Ray

ps: If you have experience of running or participating in/attending a webinar before, please share your tips and reflections in the comment box below.

For more information and advice, contact Tunde elearning @ liv ac  uk

The ELESIG project team was:

  • Tünde Varga-Atkins, eLearning Unit, University of Liverpool
  • Jaye McIsaac, Educational Development Division, University of Liverpool
  • Nick Bunyan, eLearning Unit, University of Liverpool
  • Ray Fewtrell, School of Medicine, University of Liverpool
Project outputs:

Project report: Varga-Atkins, T. with contributions from Bunyan, N; McIsaac, J and Fewtrell, R. (2011) Using the nominal group technique with clickers to research student experiences of e-learning. Project Report written for the ELESIG Small Grants Scheme. Liverpool: University of Liverpool. Available from slideshare.net at http://slidesha.re/sc8gwT

Practical guide: Varga-Atkins, T., with contributions from Bunyan, N; McIsaac, J; Fewtrell J. (2011) The Nominal Group Technique: a practical guide for facilitators. Written for the ELESIG Small Grants Scheme. Liverpool: University of Liverpool. October. Version 1.0. Available at http://slidesha.re/s5KPUr

Build it and they will come!

Image

I recently attended a one day ‘engaging hearts and minds’ workshop run by UCISA designed to show case best practice in supporting e-learning staff development. I often go to events like these and they can be a little bit of a ‘groundhog day’ with very similar presentations wondering what the best format is for getting academic staff to participate in e-learning staff development! There tends to be very similar discussions around the format (short ‘bite sized’ events vs. short courses), timing (when in the term, which days etc.), and integration between practical support to use different e-learning tools with case studies and pedagogy, online, blended or purely face to face.

Image

It’s certainly useful to go to these type of events to check that we are not doing wildly odd things in this area, or not missed something which we haven’t thought of that is really successful. My general observation from this event was how well I think we do within our staff development support within the University in providing a range of flexible ways staff can lean about e-learning, and how well it is integrated with pedagogy and case studies.

The event showcased a series of different approaches to staff development across a range of HEIs in the UK and Ireland – many of which we do at Liverpool, but there were some interesting approaches that might be worth developing here. For example:

  • E-learning summer schools which combined practical ‘how to sessions’ with sessions by academic staff explaining how they have developed technologies, plus lots of inter-disciplinary networking and peer support. Sort of a cross between out CPS and e-learning summer schools and our learning and teaching conference. (Dublin Institute of Technology e-learning summer schools).
  • Short ‘bite sized’ online ‘webinar’ type sessions by academic staff showcasing their work. Different times of the day were used (including evenings!) to provide flexible access as many staff could not make Wednesday afternoon slots etc. Online numbers increased over equivalent face to face events. (Salford University teaching and learning conversations events).
  • Using BarCamp events and other networking techniques, to support the development of effective communities of practice. (London College of Communication)
  • Using short (3 to 5 week) online short course for e-learning staff development. (Middlesex University)

For more information about each of these and other case studies:

Image

UCISA engaging hearts and minds best practice guide

It was very surprising to learn how some institutions have e-learning support in very different units to general educational development, often with no input with learning technologies into accredited programmes such as PG Certs or other learning teaching staff development  A number of participants were also noticing some reductions in the number of academic staff attending e-learning related events and short courses. The discussion moved onto the idea of developing new forms of staff development which are much more integrated to support staff to deal with the complexity of issues associated with improving their learning and teaching. Learning technologies are only one part of an increasing number of issues for staff to understand and implement into their learning and teaching – widening participation, inclusion & diversity, research-led teaching, improving feedback, increasing student numbers etc.  Technology is only there to support effective learning and teaching, and not there for its own sake.  I think our emerging strategy in EDD & the eLearning Unit to move towards more holistic and integrated staff development, which builds on staff need at department or programme level etc. is potentially a more effective approach. It would be interesting to evaluate staff perceptions of this approach through our curriculum review and other support activities.

Nick Bunyan