Winter School 2017 report

winter-school‘Brilliant, engaging, authentic – thank you!’

This year’s Winter School, our sixth, has been the best attended of any we have run so far which was really pleasing for the team. We’ve met lots of new colleagues over the two weeks and been inspired by the kinds of things people want to do with technologies for their learning and teaching. Feedback from the sessions has given us some great ideas on how to develop our workshops and also the kinds of things people would like to find out more about, that’s why we collect it, so we’ll be scheduling in workshops on Evernote and technologies for polling over the next few months for starters. To keep up to date with when workshops are running you can follow us on Twitter (link below), follow us on this blog, keep an eye on the University Announcements page and also search the CLL Booking page here.

‘Lots of showing and sharing of experiences – colleagues sharing their use of various tools… Learning about those tools and trying them out.’

Our aim is to make the Winter and Summer schools a mix of introductory and more exploratory sessions, providing opportunities for staff to extend themselves. In the feedback we get, staff report a valued feature of the sessions is the opportunity to try out new tools and systems, to discuss the strengths and limits of these, how these can be trialed and then made a part of learning and teaching practice, and to share and learn from what colleagues in other schools and departments are interested in and are doing. We are also delighted to read about the wider impact and reach our sessions have in a range of contexts, from enriching personal practice, to staff championing in schools and departments the ideas and knowledge they gain, to applications for research groups.

‘I came to build up professional knowledge and skills for my own personal development and I think this will definitely come in useful in the future.’

‘This will quickly enable myself and other module leaders to elevate the skills of our students…’

Immediate use to help a research collaboration (2 UK sites, 2 European) meet and collaborate. I will include this system as a way of indicating how we will collaborate – thus strengthening a bid for funding. I will explore using this for T&L in a European meeting to demonstrate some of our T&L content.’

Another way we’ve responded to the feedback we get has been developing an advanced session on using Twitter, following a brace of well attended introductory Twitter sessions over the summer. We ran this in the winter school and knowing that it is crucial to include local examples of good practice we enlisted the help of Zelda Chatten, who is part of the team that supports the Library’s social media presence. Between us we were able to share practical tips and useful advice about our experiences using Twitter.

This was a fruitful partnership which extended the range of sessions we run collaboratively (we also run an Adobe Connect session with colleagues from CSD) and one which we will repeat and continue to build on, for example we are planning to develop a session jointly-run with CSD colleagues on Stream Capture.

‘The opportunity to explore some very useful tools in a supported way – I left with some great ways to make my slides more visual and engaging and will pass these tips onto others.’

It was also the first time we ran the session ‘Engaging learners visually’ in which Alex and Tünde shared a few tools that you can use to create more exciting, visual slides, including Notegraphy, Piktochart, Prezi, Haikudeck and some features of PowerPoint. We discussed accessibility considerations when putting together pictoral slides. Judging from the attendance and busy keyboard-working during the workshop, it was a lively and useful topic to cover!  We will definitely run this workshop again.

‘Hands-on guidance through the set-up, recording, stream process. Also love the well-scaffolded and visual resources laid out on the VITAL page. Great!’

If you attended one of our the Winter School sessions you will be enrolled on our Workshop Resources module in VITAL which will contain at least the slides from the sessions and usually further links and support resources on all of the sessions we run. Our Summer School will be running from Wednesday 7th June until Friday 16th June 2017 and some sessions are already scheduled in to run and are bookable here:

‘Thank you – terrific, inspiring session!’

Thanks to everyone who came along and engaged so positively. We derive much inspiration and learn so much from all of our sessions, which we always strive to make a collaborative venture. But for now, the decorations are stowed back in the loft, the last green triangle Quality Street has reluctantly been scoffed, and the jumper from Santa exchanged for a Star Wars onesie, it can mean only one thing; the eLearning Unit Winter school has been and gone and the festivities over for another year. Hope to see you at the Summer School!

The eLearning Unit team


Winter School VITAL Workshops 2013

The eLearning Unit Winter School: 8th – 11th January 2013 – 8 sessions planned – full information and booking at the Booking Website here.

The eLearning Unit is pleased to announce the schedule for 2013’s e-learning winter school. As well as the usual introductory workshops for academic and administrative staff, we will be running more advanced sessions for staff already familiar with VITAL as listed below. A new addition this year is ‘VITAL Plus’ where we will explore the lesser-known and utilised tools and facilities in VITAL, along with some tips and tricks for working with VITAL. Also listed are a couple of shorter sessions on the Friday, run in our Studio, where we will have a look at some very specific topics over the course of an hour.

  • Tues 8th Jan (pm) – An Introduction to Technology-Enhanced Learning using VITAL
  • Weds 9th Jan (am) – VITAL Introduction for administrators – NOW FULLY BOOKED
  • Weds 9th Jan (pm) – VITAL Plus (new workshop– NOW FULLY BOOKED
  • Thurs 10th Jan (am) – Wikis, Blogs and Journals
  • Thurs 10th Jan (pm) – Creating and managing electronic feedback (Turnitin GradeMark)
  • Fri 11th Jan (am) – Creating screencasts and podcasts
  • Fri 11th Jan (pm) – Mini-session 1 – Creating online CPD within the University
  • Fri 11th Jan (pm) – Mini-session 2 – Using Xerte to create accessible, online content – NOW FULLY BOOKED

Full information and booking at the EdDev Website here.

As well as these scheduled sessions, the Unit will be happy to run these or other workshops for schools, departments and faculties on many aspects of e-learning and learning enhanced technology by request. Please do approach us about any of your e-learning/VITAL training needs.

Studio Wednesdays

Please also remember our ask-us-anything ‘Studio Wednesday’ drop-in session, run every Wednesday afternoon between 1:30pm and 5pm. Full details on this drop-in are available here.

A note on the winter and summer schools

Last year the eLearning Unit decided to run workshops in a different way by reducing the number of sessions put on during term teaching time and instead to offer these in blocks outside teaching time, in Winter and Summer School formats. It was hoped that  an increased number of staff would then have the opportunity to attend workshops and at a time when they might be planning modules rather than in the middle of teaching. This approach has proved successful and we have seen many more colleagues from across the University come along to find out about what VITAL and the available learning technology at Liverpool can offer them.

We continue to run our usual introductory workshops for academic and administrative staff every term and on request. We also run one ‘focus’ workshop every term, a specialised session on a particular learning technology topic (e.g. feedback) or VITAL tool (e.g. the Test tool). Full details and booking at the booking website here.

2012 eLearning Winter School workshops

January 2012, saw the launch of the eLearning Unit’s Winter School workshops. Five workshops over three days drew together a variety of techniques that staff could implement within their University roles. With over 50 places taken up, the Winter School was very much a success. As a new member of the eLearning team, this proved a good introduction for me to discover staff needs in relation to available technological resources. Attracting over 30 participants, the workshops ran as follows:

  1. An introduction to VITAL
  2. Creating electures and podcasts
  3. Creating and managing efeedback
  4. Inclusive learning resources
  5. Working with groups in VITAL

VITAL, the University’s Virtual Learning Environment, provided a basis for the Winter School’s content with a few introductory sessions to help users navigate and build content. The podcasting workshop proved popular, with members of staff aiming to use short podcasts as instructional video/audio, to help provide students with short snippets of information. I noted how the creation of such video content would help one member of staff to tackle some of the regular general queries he received from students. Having visual content easily accessible in his VITAL module meant he could direct students to the appropriate information, freeing him up to deal with other demands. Suggestions were also put across about the potential use of student use for podcasts to provide assessment content that can be uploaded and viewed within VITAL.

“I was pleased with the informal but instructive format, with excellent tutors and realistic learning environment”

Also demonstrated was Turnitin, a plagiarism and assignment marking tool that gives teachers an opportunity to provide clear electronic feedback to a student’s work. The software was received warmly and its glossy look proved favourable over other alternative feedback tools. Turnitin also contains a degree of easy to use drag-and-drop features that make it a very easy piece of software to learn and adapt to.

A key feature that became apparent to me during the workshops was that each session provided a suitable ground for testing and trying out, bringing thoughts and ideas to a discussion. Part of our work here is to let staff know that they have a supportive team willing to help them navigate their ideas to combine pedagogy with technical developments. Having the Wednesday afternoon drop-in sessions, within the eLearning Unit, allows us to extend that invitation to staff, improving relationships with staff and empowering them in their technological teaching endeavours.

by Philip Walker