Feb 012008

Jon P from Data Management writes…
Originally DMOS (Data Management and Operational Service) wanted access to a Wiki so we could put together a knowledge base for the all new HESA2007 return. For previous HESA returns we have relied for documentation on several folders, lots of web sites, many Word documents, Excel and Visio diagrams. A Wiki, we thought, could bring all of the new knowledge together, and make our lives easier. Thanks to Richard we got our wish and we were successfully wiki’d up.

From a slow start we are now all using and adding pages to the HESA area, but things have snowballed. The Wiki has expanded from documenting the HESA return to documenting more of our DMOS processes, including: Training, ADS, QLS V4, Enrolment. I have also now added a DMOS Forum and a DMOS Blog to the Web 2.0 team, but we are yet to really use them in anger.

If that is not enough we have had to change the Area name from DMOS to Registry as the Web 2.0 word has spread, and I have been asked to add Content Areas for the other Registry Departments. Soon there will be wikis for Timetabling, SESD, Exams, Awards and all the other Registry departments. These will go live once I have met with Richard to iron out the House Rules and set up a general Registry Help Forum.

I am expecting there will be lots of imaginative uses of the new resources and I am hoping that being able to involve the whole team in the process of documenting a procedure will draw out not only better documentation but also better procedures.

Feb 012008

Pam posted some really useful notes from the UU 2008 conference on e-learning to our Pathfinder wiki. I have appended her implications for teaching and learning at DMU herewith…

  • If ‘knowledge navigation’ becomes an important ‘new’ skill to be learnt-and taught-will this take precedence over the creating/assimilation/application of of new knowledge.
  • What expectations do students come bring to HE regarding mobile learning?
  • If we presume that all our students have mobile-phones, how might these be usefully engaged for pedagogic reasons-or should they be?
  • It seems to me that we are investigating these tools as a matter of course and that that our Pathfinder Project has helped crystallize debate and opportunities internally.
  • We ignore ‘where our students are at’ at our peril.
  • To investigate the pedagogical soundness of these tools as we would any other method as regards group, prior experience, context, overall learning aims etc; also as regards resources related to time and environment.
  • What tools can support mentoring between international PG students and UK UGs (or PGs if available) for friendship, proof-reading etc.. What role is there for external tools like Facebook? What are thecultural implications of this? (e.g. glaringly in China).
Jan 312008

Okay, it’s day two and we are really focused upon wikis and blogs, and the key issues raised in-class follow…

  • How can we use wikis for formative assessment. Simon got his students to answer issues in Health Care Management in week 15 – he took them through how to use them, and over the next week in groups, in-class they engaged with the questions more deeply, and provided feedback to each other. Some embraced the task by creating new pages, others by posting comments on a single page. Time in-class and (student) self-management (setting up rules) were critical.
  • How do we separate out group and individual elements in the assessment process?
  • How do we validate “perfectly scripted” answers? Here the technology/presentation vehicle is irrelevant.
  • How do we ensure a good conceptual grasp at levels 1, 2, 3?
  • Blogs are great for reflective logs, with shared/peer/mentor critique.
  • Can we use assessment in these tools to engage students in the learning process, through self-management/peer assessment?
  • How do we build tasks that stimulate critical literacy?

    Developing rubrics for peer-assessment is critical.

Jan 302008

Steve Mac and Heather are currently running a session with 10 students about e-assessment. Some interesting issues from the students about:

  1. why should their students work with e-tools? Are we having to cajole too much;
  2. what rules of engagement do we have for on-line work?
  3. ensure a mix of technologies – face-to-face, mobile and on-line, to engage all learners;
  4. how do we engage learners as a group to own tasks?
  5. what are the differences between group and individual feedback/assessment?
  6. can we use wikis or blogs as a record of achievement?
  7. can we use wikis or blogs to engage nervous learners?

Pam T rightly noted that e-assessment is part of a holistic approach to curriculum design, focused around a rationale.

The students should be action-planning after the session about…

  • In what ways, if any, do you use online assessment methods with your students? These might be diagnostic, formative or summative, and may include approaches to plagiarism management, feedback or assessment of learning. What are the pros and cons here?
  • Have you received any comments/other feedback from students (or team members) on assessment methods on a particular module or programme? If so, what form did this take and how might it help you plan for the future? If not, how might you best get some feedback to inform future planning?
  • In what ways do you plan to use online assessment methods in the future? What would be facilitators/barriers to doing this?
  • What one online assessment development would you be willing to share with others in the group? Or ideas for a development?
  • Develop a brief on-line assessment rationale for one of your modules. Think about the specific tasks that you ask your students to do and the on-line assessment methods that might support them.
  • Post your rationale on the Programme wiki on Blackboard, and critique that which has been posted by your partner for this task.
Jan 302008

Jon Tyler and I have just been handed our delegate badge and were sipping coffee and water awaiting the opening session for “Europe’s Leading Learning Technology Conference”. I had promised that I’ll be live blogging from each session using my wireless laptop to keep people up-to-date periodically, however the wireless internet connection is dismal; taking up to a minute to load a single page, and so I’m left typing this on a steel cased workstation kiosk, with a matching STEEL keyboard! Folks, it has taken me 15 minutes to write up until here and my hands hurt pressing these keys. How the organisers missed out decent Internet connection in this day and age beats me. I’ll stay optimistic and hope that the connection improves.

For now it’s time we head off to the first session.

BTW Jon says Hi!

Jan 292008

So far, our main developments have been in the use of synchronous classrooms (WebEx), to deliver staff development on Web 2.0 technologies. Six, 2-hour sessions have focused upon blogs and wikis, social networking and social bookmarking. an evaluation report will follow, alongside a recipe paper on engaging users through synchronous tasks. This also links to a conversation I was having earlier with Derek Harding, at the University of Teesside about producing shopping lists for users. His argument is for microlearning:

“Learning that doesn’t take long to do – maybe a few minutes. For example a small tutorial that covers how to do something in photoshop such as crop. People doing stuff in the community want to get on and do it rather than mess about doing courses so it is just a question of facilitating that.microlearning needs in communities. What I really need I suppose is a process for responding to Explaining this has just given me an idea. What we need is a shopping list page that people can write in to say ‘I don’t know how to x’ and the list can be visible to all like an faq list but newcomers can endorse things on the list by voting for them if they are already there. This would allow the community to set priorities.”

We also have a space in Second Life, which a student is scripting. This level 3 Computing Sciences student will be producing guidelines for staff development in virtual worlds.

Jan 292008

The main areas of work under leaders and managers focus upon 3 areas.

  1. Mapping the fit between interventions that involve a mix of technologies (namely blogs and multimedia) and personal engagements, in particular focus upon institutional coaching for team leaders. This is run by Vincent Cornelius at DMU. We intend to interview both Vincent and some coachees, in order to understand the impact of these interventions on team leaders.
  2. Development sessions with Senior Managers in each faculty, bring them up to speed with the contextualised, local implementation of Web 2.0 technologies. So far, five sessions have been held, and an evaluation paper is to follow. This will connect to a paper on reward and recognition for academic leadership in e-learning.
  3. Development sessions with Teacher Fellows, in order to assess the impact of Web 2.0 technologies on the growth of pedagogic research. So far, two sessions have being held and another will follow on February 14, and an evaluation paper is to follow.
Jan 292008
{Comment: Are some of us still in misconceptions like these fashion retailers were in that education is not heading online?}

Fashion retailers have long played down the significance of the internet, saying that no-one would chance buying a dress, let alone a pair of shoes, that they hadn’t tried on first.

Now it seems the same convenience that helped Amazon garner a enormous chunk of the book market is threatening to change the way we buy clothes – even though there are no virtual cubicles just yet.

Read More…

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Jan 282008
I went over to the session last week by Lucy Mathers and Mike Leigh (CSE), and Steve McKenzie (HLS) who outlined the ways in which they have embedded wikis into their curricula, to support group-work for on-campus undergraduates, and postgraduate distance learning students. They went on further to demonstrate how wikis can be used to share resources in a collaborative manner, and the concomitant impact upon the assessment process.

Early on in the presentation they showed a video which I though was a great way of introducing a complex idea. And so for those of you who were not able to make it, take a look:

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