The third day note of #ALTC 2017

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Keynote Speech

Peter Goodyear‘s keynote speech was about learning space. He talked about designing different types of knowledge. My understanding is what he mentioned here is explicit knowledge. Can we design implicit knowledge? He used five examples of learning spaces to state that learning space we create should be for students to shape their own learning spaces. It needs to be designed to be easy for individual learning, for staff supervision and for everyone in the room to connect to each other. He also mentioned the idea of different levels of learning spaces, and call our attention to the barriers such as languages and concepts we used. Peter also pointed out in research we often have findings that rely on correlations between two elements. However is this the reality of what students are doing in classroom? Student learning isn’t well supervised in the room! What we did was just not to disrupt in the environment. His research of using Activity-centred analysis and design (ACAD) framework to help learning design shows how the way changes from focusing on learning goals to focusing on learning activities. It’s quite true to use design as reasoning for what actually students do in the space.

Morning Sessions

A very useful session for me is to learn the ABC (Arena Blended Connected) curriculum design from Natasa Perovic and Clive Young’s (UCL) “Presentation: Our rapid blended learning design method is ACE! [1728]”. As they introduced, “ABC is built on University of Ulster’s ‘Viewpoints’ approach and based on Diana Laurillard’s notion of six “learning types” from her well-established Conversational Framework.” This is a practical approach to help people to work together to design learning activities. I need to spend time on knowing the background and understanding how we can design staff engagement workshops using this approach.

I’m impressed by the TRI_IT (The Technology Related Innovation-Implementation Tool) that the University of Nottingham has developed. Richard Windle and  Adam Pryor (Loughborough University) presented in the session of “TRI-IT. You might like it. A tool to support innovation adoption in Higher Education. [1782]”. I will certainly try it and see in which context, I am able to construct a learning pattern with technologies deploy within it. I quickly browsed their HELT Open website. Their evaluation toolkit called my attention. This is something I am thinking to develop in supporting our learning resources.

Afternoon sessions

There were not many people attending the afternoon sessions. The most useful session for me was Rob Cullen’s (Manchester Metropolitan University) talk of “Teaching and Learning Conversations (TLCs): Building and sustaining a webinar community of practice. [1740]”. As it said on the website “The TLC is an exciting informal cross-institutional collaboration to provide joint CPD opportunities for everybody teaching and/or supporting learning in Higher Education.” They use Adobe Connect to run a series of open, informal, monthly interactive webinars which have built an active online community of practice. I am interested in the approaches that they used for webinar activity design as this can be a good example for our ALT Wales community to form and grow.

In addition, 7 colleagues from Cardiff University presented their wonderful work.

Presenter Session Resources
Laura Roach Reuse repurpose, recycle: Utilising existing technology to reduce staff workload in Higher Education [1714] video (from 53:35)
Christopher John and Geraint Evans EasyPoll: Risks, obstacles and instrumental success factors to developing a bespoke learning technology tool within UK Higher Education [1752]
Dewi Parry, Matt Smith and Karl Luke The Phoenix Project – Interactive Learning [1691] interactive learning
Karl Luke Using actor-network theory as a lens to explore lecture capture practices in and across spatial (re)configurations [1661]  Slides
Rebecca Ferriday The way to Academics’ Hearts is Through their Minds [1602]
Geraint Evans and Dewi Pary Developing professional networks for Learning Technologists at Cardiff University [1774]

 

There are a lot of learning and reflection after the three days. I am sure I will check back my notes of resources from the conference. I noticed that many institutions are developing learning design approaches, including students experience-focused pedagogical methods, engaging academic staff, students as partners, CPD, and community of practice. I also noticed that designing new “learning space” becomes a trend; many universities are working on reshaping teaching spaces with requirements for developing a clear strategy at the same time. The ALT is really a useful community for me. It will be the 25th conference next year.

Useful resources and tools I learnt in the day:

One thing I learnt so far is to be impactive. I haven’t done this very well. I remember in 2014, I talked to someone I met in the conference that I don’t understand why people who I don’t know follow me on Twitter. She responded: I don’t know, I suppose they agree your tweets, or maybe they thought they get useful resources from your tweets. I am kind of person who do not like to be noticed, but I realised what “impact” means from this year’s conference. Through twitter, blogs, talks, and published papers, people become influencer. I think this is a leadership skill.

After writing my notes, I worked out what is in the canvas ball. It does not tell me the future, but it does call my curiosity, and make me wonder what’s inside by looking at it from outside.
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The second day note of #ALTC 2017

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Keynote Speech

Siân Bayne’s keynote speech encouraged us to rethink the value of anonymity and leave space for un-nameability and ephemerality through presenting her research study on Yik Yak. The Yik Yak was popular as an anonymous messaging app among youngsters and undergraduates, and it’s closed up in May 2017 due to the problems with cyberbullying which anonymity plays a key role. Surprisingly to know that “40% of students in Higher Education have witnessed online cyberbullying in their social media networks”. On the other hand, anonymity brings “unreachability” which can “enable particular  forms of equality” (see Siân Bayne’s references). I agree what she said “…not only they did this for branding themselves but also more or less compulsory to be on Facebook to function socially…” I gradually reduced my posts on my Facebook as I sometimes feel I was on Facebook only for keeping the connection with my friends all over the world, otherwise there is no better way of keeping the connections. I will read the article “You are the Product” to learn how personal data are used by Facebook. I came across the Tor project, which aims to protect people’s data against a common form of Internet surveillance. However, I wonder how secure of using services like Tor will be.

Morning sessions

It’s good to see Fotios Misopoulos’ presentation of “Effectiveness of Learner-to-Learner Interaction in e-learning: An instructors’ perspective [1776]” (University of Liverpool). It showed a study of dimension of interactions that proves students using discussion board get better grades if they are encouraged to participate in a way that (1) having questions lead to common interested topics, (2) having questions that bring different views to debate, or (3) having questions students link to their own experience and stories.

I was particularly interested in Vicki Holmes and Adam Bailey’s (University of Reading) presentation of “Right Here! Right Now! Placing pedagogy at the heart of web-conferencing [1783]” as I have been involved in the Blackboard Collaborate project in Cardiff University. It will be good to compare how they have supported the technology from early adoption stage to business as usual. They had a 2-year project and chose the early adopters who had impact on students learning experience by adopting the technology. From their online support resources, I can’t see many differences from what we have offered to our users. However, their three groups of use cases are something I can look at in depth as we didn’t list our use cases in this way. They suggested good practice from these aspects: clear purpose, design for interaction, presentation techniques and prepare students. They also shared the things they learnt from the project: the technology increased flexibility, improved communication, attendance is unaffected, positive student feedback, staff learning curve, and the importance of audio.

Redesigning the learning space seems one trend that most universities are working on. Although I didn’t intend to attend sessions about digital learning spaces, I learnt it briefly from the session of “Rethinking Lectures in Redesigned, Collaborative, Learning Environments [1784]”. Beth Snowden and Bronwen Swinnerton (University of Leeds) presented how they have designed the lecture theatre using three dimensions approach: pedagogy, space, technology and how user feedback was. Their case studies of the staff/students experience of the new lecture theatre can be seen online.

Catherine Naamani (University of South Wales) talked about a grounded theory study of students experience of digital classroom in the session of “It isn’t all about the technology: An exploration of the impact of learning space design on collaborative approaches in the digital classroom. [1803]”. I had a chance to be in the digital classroom as the part of the Digital Classroom Roadshow once. I liked the flexibility between changing groups to control presenting screens. I liked the easiness of accessing to an online group and team working. However, I dislike the fixed facilitates. It’s costy, immovable, and bonded within the space. The presentation included her findings such as staff perspective focused on technology rather than pedagogy; preparation is the key, and manage dominant groups in the classroom, technology barriers, staff development and confidence building and accessibility issues.

Afternoon sessions

In the afternoon, I attended two 1-hour workshops. I attended Thomas Cochrane’s “Mobile VR in Education Workshop [1641]” session because I am interested to see how VR can be used. I haven’t been involved in any work using mobile VR and it’s a good opportunity for me to understand its usefulness. The session details are accessible. Due to a poor WiFi connection, my experience of trying the mobile apps wasn’t as good as I expected. But I see the potential of using VR tools. I immediately thought we can use the technology to create open day virtual tour and the University maps and locations. We can also use it to create health and safety online training.

It was pity that not many people turned up in Julie Usher and Vicky Brown’s session of “EnABLing the Institution: a holistic approach to enhancing the student experience [1677]”. I quite like the activity in the session. Their work has been recognised and won the ALT team award this year. The session details are below.

More useful resources and tools I learnt in the day:

ABL
10 top tips for A.B.L. [Active Blended Learning], University of Nottingham

The first day note of #ALTC 2017

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It’s the second time I attended the ALT conference since the one in 2014. I’m glad to have the opportunity to join again.

Keynote speech

In Bonnie Stewart’s keynote speech, the most interesting norm for me is “adaptive change”, which was originally defined by Ronald Heifetz (1998). He stated that change has technical and adaptive elements. Technical challenges require changes in our skill sets. The current knowledge, expertise and resources are enough to deal effectively. Adaptive challenges require changes our mindsets. The problem is not clearly defined, and there are no clear answers. The current knowledge and expertise cannot solve the problem, but require risk taking, creativity and the ability to use “failures” as learning opportunities. (Jillian Lohndorf and Patrick Sanaghan). This may be the reason why we are unable to resolve the challenges, as we keep using technical means in adaptive challenges.

Another interesting term is “Cyborg”, which Donna Haraway used as a metaphor in her essay “A Cyborg Manifesto”. Without knowing the background of Haraway and her feminism opinions, it’s hard for me to fully understand her essay. However, I have been fascinated to find the “Life with extra Senses – How to become a Cyborg” presentation. It makes a lot of sense for me to understand where Cyborg is from and why it is a norm. It opened my eyes up to accessibility. How amazing it would be if I could sense the nature as other creatures do? I will explore the cyborgfundation later. Right now, the colours on the website is a kind of harsh for me eyes. I don’t know if this is because I’m sensitive to certain colours.

It’s a busy day. I used twitter, offline Word document, and web browser bookmark to quickly make notes. The WiFi wasn’t good, so I switched from using Google doc to an offline Word document.

Morning sessions

In Cardiff University, we provide Staff induction module and Students induction module about Learning Central (our VLE platform). However, it is open only to the University users. What I like about the York TEL Handbook from Richard Walker and Wayne Britcliffe’s session “Facilitating student-led teaching and content creation through technology: Use cases, instructional design & delivery responsibilities [1623]” is that it has embedded in their University learning and teaching strategy, and the handbook is almost completely open to public. The session resources are accessible from http://bit.ly/uoyaltc2017.

I was pleased to sit next to Fiona Handley (University of Brighton) at lunch time after attended her session of “Student technology ambassadors schemes: their impact on roles, relationships and digital skills training in UK higher education [1698]”. One unexpected finding from her research was students talked digital skills as general; they often relate to specific technology/tool, but they do not see knowing of using a technology/tool as gaining digital skills.

The findings from the Student digital experience tracker definitely help me to see the differences between students’ perception and my perceptions about students using technology and is useful for me to refer to when support staff to adopt a new technology in their teaching and learning activities. For example, we should be careful of giving suggestions when staff said almost all my students use their own devices according to the finding of 88% HE students are using personal laptops and 66% HE students are using institutional desktops.

Afternoon sessions

Daniel Roberts and Tünde Varga-Atkins from the University of Liverpool presented how they bench-marked the VLE baseline in their presentation “Are we serving from the baseline? Student and staff perspectives on an Institutional VLE Baseline requirement. [1637]”. We have released the minimum standards for Learning Central this year, and this is the University of Liverpool’s core VLE baseline. Aha, this video shows we were discussing our own practice about VEL minimum standards in the session.

My colleague Simon Wood was mentioned by Lawrie Phipps and Simon Thomson in their presentation of “VLE to PLE – The next generation of digital learning environment. [1678]”. Personalised User Learning Social Environment (PULSE) is a HEFCE funded project being led by the Centre for Learning & Teaching at Leeds Beckett University. I like the idea of changing “the ownership model of educational technology from predominantly being institutionally owned systems to ones which are personally owned by the student”. However, I think it challenges us to question how active and self–actualisation the students are to be able to take the ownership. The session polling results can be seen in the open document, and their findings from student feedback of VLE is very useful for other universities. For me, PLE is much wider than VLE which we seem to construct students’ learning in certain structure. PLE doesn’t need to be formal like the VLE which most universities are offering. It has been created informally and are changing of its forms with the learner tailors what are the most efficient ways for themselves.

I attended Peter Bryant, David White, and Donna Lanclos’ (The London School of Economics and Political Science) workshop of “Be in the conversation, not just the room – Hack your way to influencing pedagogical and technological strategy [1644]”. In the session, I learnt that Future Happens can be a practical method for helping learning technologists to propose changing solutions to steering groups and respond to questions from senior managers. I haven’t fully worked out how we can use it in our work, but I like it’s rules, such as “We are here to build not smash”.

More useful resources and tools I learnt in the day:

Good and bad:

  • I know it’s impossible to attend all sessions. The good thing is some session videos or slides are available soon, and I can view them after the conference.
  • I wonder if it’s just me who think there is little time for reflecting on each session I attended. Four sessions in an hour are a lot to take on. I would prefer to see more in-depth discussions/debate between similar work from different universities and hand-on workshops. I also wish the programme instruction provides the author’s institution.
  • The WiFi keeps disconnecting. Eduroam should work in most universities, unfortunately it isn’t. I have been in sessions required a quick online poll and Google doc group writing. No good Internet connection interrupted people. The lesson I learnt is to always prepare a Plan B of non-online activity to quickly resolve the problem of being unable to take online activity that is caused by poor WiFi.
  • Funny enough, we thought people have mobile phone or watch to check time. The reality is, people including presenters do look for a clock in the room to check time. Must be something psychological relating to this behaviour.

Notes from the Blackboard Teaching and Learning Conference 2015

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The three days Teaching and Learning Conference by Blackboard was over. I wrote down some important notes based on the sessions I had attended.

  • Graham Brown-Martin’s keynote speech are based on his past two years work. He interviewed those educational leading thinkers, such as Seth Godin, Sir Ken Robinson, Keri Facer and so on. You may have a look at his website and his speech (which has similar ideas) on TED before it’s available on the Blackboard website. His new book Learning {Re}imagined is available now.
  • Dr Anne Campbell and Graham Storey from the Open University shared their course design for staff development training on Blackboard Collaborate, which is a good practice example.
  • The University of York (presented by Simon Davis) has developed their own Anonymous Assignment feature in Blackboard according to the user requirements. However, I don’t think we will do it. I would prefer to support staff by providing clear policies and demonstrating good practices. The session activity is available here.
  • The speech of Valerie Schreiner shows the focus of the Blackboard products. It includes portfolio, peer-to-peer assessment, calendar, LIS 2.0 standards, SIS (Students information systems) and grades, Blackboard Offline, Blackboard Analytics, Blackboard Grade App, Blackboard Student App. I like her emphasis on course design should consider four aspects: simple, continuous, mobile, and engagement.
  • Gilliam Fielding’s presentation shows the UCISA Digital Capabilities survey 2014. She pointed out that digital capability is role-based rather than technology-based. The executive summary was published in April 2015 and the full report will be issued in Spring 2015. You may also have a look at the results of UCISA Survey of technology enhanced learning 2014 that was published in September 2014.
  • The Blackboard Exemplary Course Program Rubric helps instructors and course designers to recognise best practices by considering four aspects: course design, interaction & collaboration, assessment, and learner support. The Blackboard exemplary course past winners are viewable here.
  • Calum Thomson presented Dr Rod Cullen and his research on webinars. We used kahoot.it to vote and see the vote results in the session activity. You may have a look at his presentation at the MELSIG event (which has the similar information) before it is available on the Blackboard website.

Technology in Higher Education Summit

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Technology in Higher Education Summit 2015 (Bett Summit 2015) is a space for higher education professionals to share ideas, future-gaze and streamline technology decision-making. 21-24 January 2015, London. Top themes are

  • Future-proofing your university
  • The changing landscape of technology
  • Behaviour change
  • Business forum
  • Mobile technology

ALTC2014 day3~ research& findings

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The third day in ALTC.

In the keynote speaker Audrey Watter’s talk, I learned a new term ‘Luddite‘. Her blog also provides the detail. This talk required a good understanding of English literature. I was a bit lost until she talked about psychologist B.F. Skinner and behaviourism.  Interesting points (1) we should concern our design of technology from the behavioursim and control perspective. (2) Technology actually does not change human that much apart from allowing us do things more efficient and quicker, for instance, we read from holding a hard copy of  a book to reading books from Kindle.

From Kulari Lokuge Dona‘s presentation, I learned the Carpe Diem method to design MOOC and the use of Open Badges.

Electronic management of assessment (EMA) – HelF Survey report 2011-2013. Not surprise that in the findings, 57% people said that Blackborad and Turnitin do not integrated well. In the session, we discussed what are the top 5 important elements in the Assessment process and what are the challenge and solution in the Assessment of your institution.

(image from JISC website)

It found that using collaborative tools can support the development of transferable employability skills – in the Simon Davis‘ talk. This session presents a study from the University of York  based on the Collaboration in Business Planning module and the CBI Education and Skills Survey 2011.

learning-layers.eu is a 5 year project develop technologies that support informal learning, details see Debbie Holley’s talk.

Another interesting presentation is from Peter Reed talking about the different results between students and staff satisfactions based on Herzberg’s 2-factor theory and a SIEME model of student satisfaction (I haven’t found the resource of this model).

After the fantastic conference, I started to do things below:

  • Follow more people from the conference on Twitter and start to do more networking.
  • Thinking of how to spread the ideas and research findings, debates and resources into Cardiff University such as make a presentation in the VLEG meeting.
  • Take a close look at the resources such as survey, case studies, and projects that have been done by other institutions and organisations.
  • Take a close look at work that has been done by the Learning Technologist winners.

It’s impossible to talk to everyone and/or remember everyone that you have talked to in big conferences like ALTC.  I feel Google glasses will be very useful. It will help people to recognise other attendants, their names, job, twitter account, expertise, presentations, etc.

It’s been a good experience for me to meet so many people who work in the similar area and start to have a feeling of belonging to a “Learning Technologists” community. Many people have the title such as Learning Technology Adviser, E-learning Designer, E-learning Developer, E-learning Coordinator, E-learning Consultant, E-learning Trainer, E-learning Support Officer, Learning Analyst and similar. The area becomes increasingly recognised. Here is David Hopkins’ introduction and his e-book published in 2013 “What is a Learning Technologist?

ALTC2014 day2~ evidences & case studies

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It’s the second enjoyable day at ALTC 2014.

The first session I attended was the Augmented Reality from Allen Crawford-Thomas and Judy Bloxham (JISC RSC). It’s fun to try the apps and discuss about the potential uses. It brought new experience immediately. Blippar and Layar worked well on my mobile, but Zapper didn’t, similar to other people next to me. Heard the SAMR Model again in the session. Also to know an interesting term “calm technology” means interaction between digital technology and reality is designed for users without realising the technology. Their paper ‘Immersive Learning Experiences through Augmented Reality‘ is worthwhile of reading. I like the idea that makes the interaction between human and online resources more real, more like learning in the reality.

From Catherine Cronin’s talk, I got some useful resources: the book Networked, ds106 open courses posted by Jim Groom and his view “openness is ethos not a license.”, #iCollab – the international community of practice of students and lecturers, and Gardner Campbell‘s work on learning technology and education.

I had interesting conversations with people from different institutions and realised many universites/collages do have a bigger VLE support team, like 7-9 people plus people from pedagogical side of supporting.

The UCISA TEL Survey of technology enhanced learning 2014 is another timely resource. The findings will be very useful for us to review the services we provide to some extent.

Learn from the Learning Technologist of the Year Awards winners, Congratulations!

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In addition, some new ideas for me:

  • Students may feel confused with online learning, and they need to have the sense of ‘belonging’ to the institution. (from Helen Anne Beetham‘s talk)
  • We need to bring in the minimum standards for the online learning (from Martin Lynch and Catherine Naamanis talk)
  • Electronic Management of Assessment (EMA) is importantly increasing(from Simon Kear‘s talk)

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