Matt Lingard's blog

Horizon Scanning @ Herts

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.

Social Media at ALT-Cs

A look back at social media use at the ALT-C conference over the years. Very much personal recollections, certainly not a definitive history. Later today I’ll be heading to Nottingham for the ALT-C conference #altc2013 It’s ALT’s 20th conference which makes me feel like a relative newbie to the field of learning technology. My first ALT-C was in Sunderland in 2002, about which I remember very little – David Puttnam and the Stadium of Light. My first Social Media ALT-C My first social media fueled ALT-C was 2008 in Leeds and I think that’s the conference where social media first featured heavily. There was stuff going on before that (e.g. see #altc2006 photos on Flickr, #altc2007 RSS Yahoo Pipe) but a minority sport I think (I didn’t attend between 2003 & 2008, so can’t be sure). By 2008 I’d been messing quite a lot with blogs, wikis, Facebook, RSS and the like – I’d run my first social media workshop in 2006 “Social Software: Blog it, Digg it, Poke it!”.

Edubloggers at Work
Photo by samscam (CC BY-NC)

At the time of #altc2008 one of my tools of choice was Netvibes. Ahead of the conference I created this ALT-C 2008 Netvibes page and compiled an OPML file (collection of RSS) from it for others to subscribe to. I also created a conference wiki with Kris Roger (an LSE colleague) & Athina Chatzigavriil (UCL & future LSE colleague) to collate comments from delegates to help us write the 2008 Conference Review for the ALT Newsletter. The conference also featured Crowdvine which continued to be used as the conference site until last year. Crowdvine made a a lot of use of RSS and enabled delegates to add their various social media channels to their profiles e.g. my 2008 profile. The 2008 conference also saw the development of a conference Fringe with the introduction of F-ALT. I particularly remember the Edubloggers meet-up where I first met many people who have since featured heavily in my social media network. Talking of which, Twitter also arrived on the ALT-C scene at the 2008 conference with 310 hash-tagged tweets. See Twitter at ALT-C below. While ALT’s Youtube channel now features recordings from 2008, they weren’t actually added until 2011. I helped Seb Schmoller set-up the ALT YouTube channel in 2009 and the first uploaded video was Making Group-Work Work from the 2009 conference. Working as a WPC at ALT-C For the 2010 & 2011 ALT-Cs I was one of the four Web Participation Co-ordinators. This was a new role on the conference programme committee tasked with helping make the most of the online aspects of the conference including social media, crowdvine and the live streaming. I didn’t attend the 2010 conference in Nottingham in person but was very active from afar and did a lot of tweeting from the official @A_L_T Twitter account which I’d helped get off the ground in 2009. Twitter Usage at ALT-C Although Twitter featured earlier, as the chart shows it was 2009 that it really took off as the backchannel tool of choice.

Tweets at ALT-C
Tweets at ALT-C

These numbers have been taken from topsy.com and for each year I’ve counted the number of tweets tagged within the same calendar year that included #altc20xx, altc20xx, or #altcxx. Despite a slight dip last year there has already been much more pre-conference tweeting in 2013. At the time of writing – lunchtime, the day before the conference, there are 1186 tweets for ALT-C 2013. I suspect the number of tweets will increase again this year despite the growth of other networks such as Google+. Top of the Tweeters

  • 2007 – @mmetcalfe (1 tweet)
  • 2008 – @andypowe11 (51)
  • 2009 – @jamesclay (252)
  • 2010 – @dajbconf (333)
  • 2011 – @digitalfprint (423)
  • 2012 – @digitalfprint (403)

Update

Updated 08/10/2014 with the following tweet from @mhawksey:

Testing ALT-C Conference Reader

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.

Brief Overview of MOOCs

Visuals from a recent MOOC talk I did at SMUC

I gave a short ‘intro to MOOCs’ talk at the St Mary’s University College E-Learning Staff Development day on 17th July, organised by friend & ex-colleague Hervé Didiot-Cook. The slides don’t tell the whole story of course but they will give you a good idea of what I covered. More about the event in Easy Tools Please on TED team blog.

Social Media Presentation for CLL

Social Media in Engineering & Maths presentation as part of the HEA Changing the Learning Landscape programme

I gave this talk as part of a full day on the use of social media in teaching Maths & Engineering. It was Academic Professional Development in Learning Technology strand of the Changing the Learning Landscape programme. The event was held at the University of Manchester and attended by around 40 staff from institutions across the UK.

My talk was essentially highlighting the work of others so I can’t take too much credit. It featured polleverywhere and a collaborative editing experiment with a Google Doc involving 20 or so participants, most of whom weren’t in the room.

[gigya src=”http://prezi.com/bin/preziloader.swf” allowfullscreen=”true” allowscriptaccess=”always” width=”550″ height=”400″ bgcolor=”#ffffff” flashvars=”prezi_id=woqqrmlafnvy&lock_to_path=0&color=ffffff&autoplay=no&autohide_ctrls=0″ ]

7 things about MOOCs & UK HE

Report from the UUK May 2013 event: Open and online learning: Making the most of Moocs and other models.

Bologna University Students by micurs
Bologna University Students by micurs

This Universities UK event was aimed at senior staff in Higher Education (VCs, Pro-VCs, Registrars, Deans, Directors & the like). The delegates were mixed. I’d say around 50 UK HEIs were represented, by some of the above, but also a decent number of learning technology folk.  The presenters included 4 VCs & the Universities Minister, David Willetts.

1) A significant moment?

The UUK published MOOCs: Higher education’s digital moment? to coincide with the event and several of the speakers referred to the 2012 growth of MOOCs as a Napster moment or Amazon moment for HE (ie game-changing). This comes hot-on-the-heels of the IPPR / Pearson report An avalanche is coming: Higher education and the revolution ahead which talks of ‘disruption’ & the ‘unbundling’ of HE. It’s sensible to question the motives behind some of the rhetoric, but at the event, there seemed to be acceptance that significant change is underway.

2) To MOOC or not to MOOC… that is not the question

I think the day’s central question was not whether to MOOC, but how to respond to MOOCs & the changes they may bring. What’s your institution’s strategy going to be to deal with the changes ahead?

  • Will you look to optimise the campus experience by embracing digital & increasing quality contact time (Don Nutbeam, VC, University of Southampton)?
  • Will you develop a broad portfolio of on-campus/off-campus/no-campus offerings (Jeff Hayward, VP Knowledge Management & CIO, University of Edinburgh)?
  • And of course, will you offer MOOCs? If yes, then is ‘which courses?’ a strategic decision or whoever fancies it?

3) Reasons to MOOC

Martin Bean (VC, Open University) suggested a number of reasons an institution might want to engage with MOOCs:

  • Profile raising
  • Student recruitment
  • Expanding impact
  • Stimulating innovation (see 4)
  • Revenue

The University of Edinburgh, the only HEI to have already delivered a MOOC on one of the big US platforms describe their objectives as: gaining outreach to new audiences; experimentation with online delivery methods at large scale; reinforcing our position as a leader in the use of educational technology in HE. More on this & lots of statistics in their report published earlier this week: MOOCs @ Edinburgh 2013: Report #1

4) Teaching Innovation

While there has been wide criticism of the pedagogical quality of the new MOOCs, Wendy Purcell (VC, Plymouth University) suggested that digital developments are putting teaching upfront & central. She sees an opportunity for a positive repositioning of the value of teaching and development of new pedagogies. Sian Bayne (Associate Dean, University of Edinburgh), the only speaker to have taught a MOOC, commented that her Edinburgh Digital Cultures MOOC had offered a space for pedagogical innovation and that teaching it was invigorating.

5) Partners

The world of MOOCs is full of partners. Universities are partnering with delivery & marketing platforms such as Coursera & Udacity. Companies such as Pearson are partnering with them to proctor in-person exams (eg find a test centre for your edX MOOC). The sponsors of the UUK event were Academic Partnerships & 2U. Slightly different services, but both working with universities to develop & deliver online courses. David Willetts hopes that MOOC & industry partnerships will develop & potentially help with the UK skills gap (such as computer science).

6) Future (Learn)

Futurelearn is the under-development UK MOOC platform owned by the OU. It includes 20 university partners as well as the British Library, the British Council and the British Museum.

I was really looking forward to hearing more about Futurelearn with both Martin Bean & the launch CEO, Simon Nelson speaking. We didn’t learn much. Despite their claim that ‘this is not simply re-purposing existing content’ we heard little about building on the OU’s experience of learner support or delivering ‘teacher presence’; a challenge that speakers from Edinburgh & 2U had highlighted. Nor did we learn anything about the new platform. However, Stephen Jackson from QAA, did appear to confirm that FutureLearn will offer proctored exams.

7) Future (Unknown)

Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun has predicted that within 10-years job applicants will be touting Udacity degrees. Emma Leech (Director of Marketing & Recruitment, University of Nottingham) reminded us that Thrun’s claims go further; he has suggested that in 50 years there will be only 10 institutions in the world delivering higher education and Udacity has a shot at being one of them.

Update 20/05/13 – Thrun under-estimated: Georgia Tech, Udacity and AT&T launch online CompSci Masters aiming for 10,000 students in 3-years

Crystal balls aside, it’s an exciting & challenging time ahead with new players, new partnerships & business models starting to emerge. One thing is clear, whether it’s MOOCs or enhancing campus courses, learning technologies & technologists have a central role to play.

Update 20/05/13 – Presenters’ slides availble on UUK website

css.php