Out in the Open

‘bridging knowledge to health’ paul bica (CC BY 2.0)

I feel exposed.

Early next year I’ll be one of several facilitators of Teaching Complexity, a free online seminar series run by my colleagues at UAL: Dave White, Head of Digital Learning & Bonnie Stewart, Visiting Fellow:

Through talks, discussion and other activities the seminars will explore how open and creative approaches to teaching and learning can help students navigate the complexity of higher education and the digital environment.


So why do I feel exposed?

As well as being delighted to be involved I feel somewhat nervous too, as I’m far from an expert in ‘open and creative approaches’. I’m fully signed up to openness of course but it’s just not a field or community that I’ve been heavily engaged with over the years.

I definitely wouldn’t be called on to run any of the main seminars for #teachcomUAL! Thankfully (for participants) it’s the digital fieldwork sessions I’ll be facilitating and I’m very much looking forward to planning those and assisting in some experimentation out-in-the-open.

UK TEL Innovations

The Heads of E-Learning Forum (HeLF) met at the University of Sheffield on 27 February. The theme of the Spring meeting was TEL Innovations and it included a visit to to two innovative spaces in the University of Sheffield’s Diamond Building: their Virtual Reality Suite and the iForge Makerspace.

The Diamond, University of Sheffield on Flickr

There were several short presentations and lots of networking opportunities as well as a panel discussion. In no particular order, some nuggets from the day:

  • AmIHired? – Andy Beggan introduced a great social media awareness tool from University of Lincoln. This simple tool is worth a look. It produces an online CV of your publicly available social media activity: tweets, Facebook profile, Instagram pics, YouTube likes etc. A great tool to get students thinking about what they share and how they are presenting themselves to the world including potential employers.
  • iForge is a student-run, engineering Makerspace at the University of Sheffield. Peter Mylon explained that iForge is run by a group of 25 students and is available to all students for extra curricular projects, to prototype ideas as well as working on academic coursework. Read about the iForge.
  • VLE Learning Analytics  – Phil Rothwell from LJMU explained how they are using Microsoft Power BI to extract data from their VLE to produce reports on usage of different tools. Power BI allows you to run reports without the need for much knowledge of computer programming. We have been doing something similar with Blackboard but via Tableau. It’s an area we hope to develop over the coming months , so Power BI will be worth a look.
  • Bluetooth Beacons – Brian Irwin from SHU showed how Bluetooth beacons have been used at their Institute of Arts. The beacons allow information to be highlighted to staff/students based on location. The beacon sends a signal to an App on your phone, allowing location-specific information to be flagged to students.
  • Nursing virtual reality simulations – At the University of Lincoln they are using a 360 camera to record scenarios in their clinical suites. The videos are available on YouTube but are primarily designed be watched on a VR headset by students taking on the role of patient in the clinical suites.
  • Loopd – although not demo’d the founder of Loopd, Jonny Driscoll, was a member of the discussion panel. I took a look and chatted with Jonny after the panel. He developed and launched Loopd following his frustration with traditional VLEs while studying as an undergraduate. It’s essentially a private social network. I’ve set one up to try out – just need someone to talk to… let me know if you want to join (Matt.Lingard@uwl.ac.uk). On a related note ALT published its Edtech Start Up guide earlier this month.

Image credit: Diamond, University of Sheffield on Flickr

This post was first published as UK TEL Innovations on the UWL Teaching Hub.


Learning & Teaching in a Digital Landscape

A presentation as part of a Seminar Series run by London South Bank University’s Centre for Research Informed Teaching.

Woman Using a Samsung VR Headset
Woman Using a Samsung VR Headset by Nan Palmero CC BY 2.0

I was really pleased to be asked to deliver this session at South Bank. Many thanks to LSBU’s Marc Griffith, Head of Digitally Enhanced Education for the invitation.

In the talk I asked participants to briefly look back to 2007 (the year the first iPhone was released) but mainly we concentrated on the current picture of the use of TEL in UK Higher Education.

Finally we looked ahead to four areas for the future. No futurology, all areas that are already established but likely to expand further in the coming years:

  1. Blended Learning
  2. Learning Analytics
  3. Virtual Reality
  4. Artificial Intelligence

My overview slides with various links are available: Learning & Teaching in a Digital Landscape.


Show me the data. Sorry I can’t.

I gave a presentation about the development of UWL’s Learning Analytics policy at the Blackboard Teaching and Learning Conference 2017, held at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy in March 2017.

Learning Analytics systems

In the presentation I outlined the 10 Principles that form the foundation of our policy and the steps we took to develop and implement the policy last year. I also gave an overview of our project that initiated the need for a policy: a predictive learning analytics project aimed at maximising the continued success and retention of UWL’s students.

My slides are available: Show me the data. Sorry I can’t and I have also written a related article on the #ALTC Blog: 7 Tips for Developing a Learning Analytics Policy.


Competitive Ice-breaker

I kicked off our second meeting of the UK Poll Everywhere User Group at City University, London with a competitive quiz using Poll Everywhere’s segmentation feature.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It was a close run battle, ending in a fair 3-1/2 to 3-1/2 draw. The day as a whole went really well and I particularly enjoyed the team-based learning session expertly facilitated by Rebecca McCarter from the University of Bradford.

I have posted a full report from the day on the user group site, see 2017 User Group Meeting Resources.