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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
A couple more things from today:
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.
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.
Click image to view presentation (new window)
- 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.
- Gamification – the application of gaming mechanics & psychology to education, such as ‘rewards’ as a motivating factor. Digital Badges are an example of this.
- 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.
- 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.
It’s ALTC2013 in a couple of weeks and I’m involved in testing the new conference website being developed by @mhawksey The site includes a version of Martin’s Reader tool which uses the WordPress plugin FeedWordPress. It was first developed for, and can be seen in action on the ocTEL website.
At City we have used the same plugin for our EdTech: Education & Technology blog which acts as a gateway to all the learning technology related blogs at the university.
If this test works then this post will appear in the Conference Reader as my blog is registered with the site and I have included altc2013 in the post or title text.