Co-design (Part 2)

November 23, 2016 Leave a comment

Further thoughts on the Jisc co-design consultation. Running short of time, so will keep this brief. The strand currently of most interest to me is ‘next generation digital learning environments’ 

Background: Co-design (Part 1)

I’ll look ahead to the 2020s tomorrow but briefly it’s useful (for me at least) to consider the last 10-years or so.

Perhaps not unsurprisingly a lot of the consultation discussion has focused on the VLE. A student’s digital learning environment is, of course, much broader than institutionally provided systems (and today our institutional systems extend way beyond the VLE).

Looking back 10-years or so… could we ever have imagined today’s digital learning environment?

Err, yes. And no.

Little change

Ten-years ago I was at the LSE and for the majority there I’d say the institutionally provided digital learning environment was very much the VLE, some library e-resources and desktop-based software. From 2005-8 we investigated, piloted and implemented Moodle (replacing WebCT). Alongside that we dabbled with blogs, elgg (remember that??) and a little later I think, Second Life.

Ten years later and the 2016 VLE is little changed. Overall usage has grown, and the VLE’s use for e-assessment in particular, but what the systems actually do, look-like and enable… not so much. They are certainly recognisable. One area of change, in terms of systems, has been the arrival of new online tools and services, which have extended the institutional digital learning environment. I’m thinking of lecture recording and e-portfolios in particular.

Why not? It’s easy to blame the systems shortcomings and they could be better. But innovative practitioners who want to try new things, can do, even if it requires some clunky work-arounds. The inertia and lack of change ultimately comes down to people and the approach to teaching and learning at our institutions.

Two big changes

The big change we (certainly I) didn’t foresee in the mid-2000s was the social media (aka web2.0) explosion and the participatory nature of the Internet we have today. It was September 2006 when UK universities first got access to Facebook and not until 2008 that Twitter really took off. The bigger digital learning environment has changed dramatically in contrast to university provided tools.

A change we knew was coming, which is central to digital learning environments today was mobile. (Although personally in 2010 I suggested the iPad would never catch-on).

That will have to do for today. Tomorrow I’ll finally get to the #ngdle questions that Jisc are asking, the overarching one being:

What should the next generation of digital learning environments do?

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Co-design (part 1)

November 22, 2016 Leave a comment

Some thoughts on the Jisc co-design consultation. Hopefully I’ll get beyond part 1 before the initial consultation closes on Friday.

There’s a lot of social media chatter about #codesign16 at the moment which is the Jisc Co-design consultation. So first things first… what are Jisc asking and why…

Essentially they are trying to decide what their future R&D project focus should be and which might be turned into technology services for their ‘members’ (aka subscribers).

co-design-consultation-pipeline

Jisc “innovation pipeline”

Jisc are currently focused on three research and development projects:

  1. digital capability
  2. learning analytics
  3. research data shared service

They are looking for the next set of projects and the co-design consulation is part of this process. It aims to produce:

Ideas for technology services that we could deliver to Jisc members to help them improve education and research

Jisc have proposed 6 areas for the community to discuss, some of which (three?) will be taken forward when the winners are announced in February 2017, followed by projects from March onwards. The 6, in no particular order, are:

  1. What does the imminent arrival of the intelligent campus mean for universities and colleges?
  2. What should the next generation of digital learning environments do?
  3. What should a next-generation research environment look like?
  4. Which skills do people need to prepare for research practice now and in the future?
  5. What would truly digital apprenticeships look like?
  6. How can we use data to improve teaching and learning?

That’s it for now. In part 2 (hopefully tomorrow) I hope to share some thoughts on the one that interests me most – number 2 or #ngdle

For now, having read up on the ultimate purpose of #codesign16 – ideas for technology services – one wonders would Jisc considering entering the VLE, sorry DLE market.

Facilitating HeLF Meeting

June 10, 2016 Leave a comment

The 38th Heads of E-Learning Forum (HeLF) meeting was held at the University of Birmingham on 9th June, 2016. It was the first HeLF event I have organised as a new member of the HeLF Steering Group.

strategy

The focus of the meeting was Enabling Strategic Change and it included a panel discussion on TEL strategies, groups discussions on policies and frameworks, as well as 5 short presentations. There are resources from the meeting on the HeLF  website.  I was really pleased with how it went on the day and particularly with the large number of people I managed to encourage to present and facilitate sessions – 14 in total. So many thanks to Mark Gamble, Fiona Strawbridge, Chris Turnock, Peter Bryant, Stella Ekebuisi, Catherine Naamani, Sue Gill, Brian Irwin, Uwe Richter, Alicia Mcconnell, Sarah Hayes, Sarah Davies, Rob Howe, and Amber Thomas, for making it a successful day.

At the end of the meeting we started looking forward to next year with a brainstorming session for 2016-17.

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Introduction to Learning Analytics

March 27, 2016 Leave a comment

Dashboards, metrics and interventions, my overview of Learning Analytics presented at UWL’s Academic Partnerships Conference.

I presented this on March 17th 2016 at the annual UWL conference for staff from our Partner institutions. As expected there was a lively discussion when we got on to the issues and challenges section of the presentation.

An Overview of Learning Analytics

analyticsprezi

Click image to view presentation (new window)

I ended my presentation with a summary of the recommendations from the Higher Education Commission’s January 2016 From Bricks to Clicks report. There are 12 recommendations in total. These are the  five I highlighted:

  • Consider introducing LAs driven by improvement of L&T processes & student engagement
  • Support LAs with clear codes of practice including fully informed consent
  • Review internal data management. Ensure data is fit-for-purpose
  • Ensure digital literacy, capability and data management are integral to overall strategic plan
  • Consider use of LAs in TEF submissions

Re-invigorating Module Evaluation

January 27, 2016 Leave a comment

A presentation on improvements to the module evaluation process at UWL given at the AUA The Higher Education Course and Module Evaluation Conference at Oxford Brookes University.

I co-presented at the The Higher Education Course and Module Evaluation Conference  with Helen Carmichael & Matt Grange on the work we had done to re-invigorate the module evaluation process at UWL.

MOOCs & the Real Challenge

October 21, 2014 1 comment

Report from the Westminster HE Forum: MOOCs and technology‐enhanced learning: next steps and challenges (PDF) on Tuesday 21st October.

Towards the end of this event the conversation moved off MOOCs and onto online learning more generally which was most welcome. But let’s deal with MOOCs briefly before moving on to some challenges ahead.

Despite the passage of time (18-months), which includes the launch of Future Learn, this morning it didn’t feel like the conversation around MOOCs had changed much since I blogged my report (7 things about MOOCs & UK HE) from a UUK May 2013 event. OK, that’s a bit unfair, the hype has certainly died down.

Photo of Glaziers Hall

Event held at Glaziers Hall – Credit: View from London Bridge by Clive A Brown (CC BY-NC)

The last session of today’s event was where the real challenges ahead were aired. This was the best session with the panelists, in particular @bobharrisonset & @HelenBarefoot, as well as @MarkRussell from the floor, making important points which might be paraphrased as:

  • Online is central in the future of education
  • MOOCs may be one small part of that but they shouldn’t be the focus of our discussion or actions now.
  • We need to focus on both capacity- and capability-building to ensure our institutions are in a position to deliver online education (whatever off-campus / on-campus blend that may be).
  • Three key area to address are staff digital and online teaching skills, student digital and online learning skills and our institutional processes (which are generally set-up for campus-based, single entry, fixed period courses rather than online provision).
  • This will require strong governance and leadership.
  • It is a big cultural not technological challenge.

And Finally

A couple more things from today:

  1. Amara‘s Law – highlighted by @urbangenie “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run”
  2. HEA’s Flexible Pedagogies reports highlighted by @AlisonLeCornu

Horizon Scanning @ Herts

May 9, 2014 3 comments

My keynote & highlights from the 2014 University of Hertfordshire Teaching & Learning Conference.

I was delighted to be invited to speak at Hertfordshire’s conference on Learning & Teaching Innovations. For my keynote I was asked to look forward and outline the likely impact of technology on the HE learning landscape in the next 5-10 years. Crystal Ball stuff. More of that in a moment.

Photo: Crystal Ball

Super Bowl Sunday Crystal Ball by Iris Shreve Garrot on Flickr (BY-NC-SA)

It was an excellent conference, and I have to say (sorry City, sorry LSE) easily the best university Teaching & Learning Conference I have attended. It was well-attended, almost 300 staff I believe, but what really stood out was the enthusiasm for teaching and for TEL. This came out in both the presentations and the discussions.

The day included 4 parallel sessions under the banner “Something to Share…”. I attended the TEL themed one and I think the format worked really well. There were 5 x 5-minute talks followed by 30-mins discussion. We used to run termly ‘show-&-share’ sessions at LSE and I’m a fan of this format but what worked well at Herts was the facilitated discussion afterwards rather than Q&A as we went along. We’re planning to introduce © ‘Show-&-TEL’ here at UWL  and I think we’ll try this format.

In a similar vein my favourite session was one on the use of Pecha Kucha for assessment. I’ve written about Pecha Kucha before but this was the first time I’ve seen it used for summative assessment. In the session we were treated to two PKs – one by the tutor, David Turner and then an excellent (Grade 83%) one on Bill Shankley & Cultural Identity by one of the students. Having tried it before myself I cannot stress enough how good both PKs were as I know how difficult it is. Four of the students then answered questions on their experiences. They had found the assessment tough, more work than other assignments but hugely rewarding and beneficial – not just for their academic studies but also in terms of confidence for forthcoming interviews for example.

Click it. Swipe it. Wink it.

clickitprezi

 

Click image to view presentation (new window)

My short keynote focused on four topics extracted from a variety of future-gazing reports (including the NMC Horizon Reports, OU Innovating Pedagogy Reports, and an Horizon Scanning Report for LFHE):

  1. Blended – not particularly new nor innovative, but there is a real renaissance in online learning at the moment, in part due to the hype around MOOCs. The next few years will undoubtedly see a significant increase in the online aspect of the face-to-face / online blend.
  2. Gamification – the application of gaming mechanics & psychology to education, such as ‘rewards’ as a motivating factor. Digital Badges are an example of this.
  3. Learning Analytics – the collection, analysis & reporting of data about learners and learning contexts. Student (progress) dashboards are one aspect of this but there are many applications, for example the use of analytics to inform curriculum re-design.
  4. Students as Producers – variously interpreted but essentially learning activities involving the creation of digital resources (beyond text) by students that are shared with peers; usually collaboratively and with some autonomy/student choice.