Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Graduate Attributes Icon Winners

Three of our artistic Leeds Beckett students left our offices armed with prizes as successful winners of the Centre for Learning and Teaching's recent competition for students. They designed a set of black and white icons which represented each of our graduate attributes. (Just in case you have forgotten these are - being enterprising, being digitally literate and having a global outlook). The winning designs for each attribute  (watch out for them!) will be stamped all over our soon-to-be published "Little Book of Graduate Attributes" and on our staff and student resources available on the website. This branding will help staff and students identify and use the huge rage of resources we have more effectively.

The winning student was Paul Van Schanke. Here is Paul accepting his prize from Wendy Luker. The two runners-up were Khurram Asghar and Emily Pritchard. Well done to you all and thank you for your beautiful designs!

Friday, 12 December 2014

Achieving Excellence Awards

Janice Priestley won Team Colleague of the Year at the Staff Excellence Awards. We are all so happy about this! 

Congratulations Janice - much deserved.

Georgi Sinclair and Ruth Pickford went along to the dinner to cheer her on and a good time was had by all. 

Monday, 1 December 2014

Group working

How do we best encourage our students to work together in informal groups in the classroom or in more formal teams when they have to work together to complete a summative assessment task?

I was involved in 2 sessions last week which aimed to help us think about this.
Firstly, the Student Experience Think Tank was discussing how the whole University  could encourage students to be inclusive and effective in  group working activity right from them picking up a prospectus to having an interview with an employer.  
The second session attracted a range of academic staff from across the University- some new, some experienced and all keen to share what works and what doesn't. We talked about encouraging attendance, using team role "tools" effectively, strategies to stop "freeloading" students (who create worry and irritation in their fellow group members) proactively managing group work to be  successful and meaningful experience for participants, using Hangout to help students at a distance and the need for tutors to establish processes for conflict management.
We then shared good examples of fair marking and peer assessment. 
There was much good work across the University  and a real commitment to encourage students to work in groups and teams because this is an  authentic experience of life in the workplace post- graduation.

Sue Smith
Centre for Learning and Teaching

Thursday, 20 November 2014

From Administrator to Presenter

From administrator to presenter

Staff may remember that I used to run family history workshops at the University, so I am not new to presenting, even though my day job is Senior Secretary in the Centre for Learning and Teaching, where I am more used to supporting academics in my team when they present at meetings or conferences.

In the last three years I have become an author in my spare time and regularly visit writing conferences to further my craft attending useful sessions such as ‘What editors want’, ‘The ethics of having a pen name’ and ‘Powerful blog post writing’.

I finally felt experienced enough to propose my own session at a conference I attended in Manchester recently. The workshop was entitled: ‘Collaborating with a co-author – the way to make or break a friendship’ for which I used my experience in collaborating with a Finnish writer on a novel. (The brainstorming we did to create our novel was so exhilarating I would recommend everyone do it at least once in their lives. The downside included different writing styles, eg, one of us being a quicker writer than the other).

 One could probably tell that I worked at a University as I explained my three learning objectives to the participants. Those being to discuss the pros and cons of collaborating, to have a speed collaboration exercise (speed dating with a difference - this was to give delegates the opportunity to see how the people work differently), and to look at some hints and tips. And then there was the conclusion – whether it made or broke my friendship! (We are still friends despite threatening strangulation on more than one occasion – and I am sure she felt the same way about me).

The session went very well and the speed collaboration exercise, in particular, was terrific. There was a great buzz with animated expressions, some earnest discussions, and lots of laughter. Feedback comments included, ‘thought-provoking’, ‘thoroughly enjoyable’, ‘you are a born teacher’ – although the latter was from a friend, so she may be slightly biased. What was interesting, though, was that three people said it put them off ever collaborating. Clearly I emphasised the negatives more than the positives – a note to myself for the next time I run this workshop.

Deb Chapman
Senior Secretary

Friday, 7 November 2014

Video Note Taking made easy.

On occasions we might ask students to watch a video and take notes on the content for discussion later. This is perhaps a major component of flipped learning, where students access video content and bring notes for discussion to the class.

There are  a number of challenges associated with this:

  • The notes and the video are separate from each other.
  • It is difficult to match the comments to particular parts of the video.
  • Sharing the notes and the video together.
  • Storing the notes and the video for future reference.
  • Reviewing the notes and finding specific points in the video.
However there is a solution: http://www.videonot.es

Video Notes is a tool for synchronising typed notes with a video.

The service integrates with your Leeds Beckett Google Drive account where it stores all of your notes and video links for future reference.

You can also share the video and notes with others for viewing or editing and so it can be a great way to collaborate with note taking.

One of the best features is that the notes are linked to specific timecode points in the video, so if you have a note at 1min 24 secs and you click on that note it will take you to 1min 24 seconds in the video.

Below is a step by step guide to using Video Notes:

  1. Start by going here: http://www.videonot.es
  2. Once in there click on "Connect with Google Drive" 
  3. If you are already logged in to Google you will go straight to the Video Notes page, otherwise log in with your Leeds Beckett email address and password.
  4. Once logged in, the video notes screen will appear (see below for annotated image).
  5. On the screen you will have a box to paste the video URL, a space where the video plays and area for notes.
  6. You can alter the playback of the video (faster or slower depending on how quickly you can type).
  7. The notes save automatically (a message in the top right of the screen tells you that all is saved.
  8. The notes get saved to a folder in your Google Drive called "VideoNot.es" and once in that folder you will see all of your notes.
  9. To re-open a note, double click on it. You will get an overlay message saying that a preview isn't available. This is ok, just click on the VideoNot.es link in the connect apps area to open the note back up.
  10. Have fun. 

Monday, 3 November 2014

Dr David Killick attends International Conference on Learning and Teaching, IAFOR

Very stimulating IAFOR conference in Osaka. This was one of the most international conferences on learning and teaching which I have attended for some time. Delegates from such diverse places as Egypt, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Japan, Qatar, Taiwan, and, naturally, Japan. The range of work going on internationally is fantastic to see, and offered some very different perspectives on some key issues, including branch campuses and curriculum internationalisation.

My own workshop attracted a good range of participants - and their critiques of outcomes based approaches were insightful and gave me much to reflect on. I have just arrived in Kobe, and have the luxury of a National Holiday tomorrow - hopefully the rain will stop and the sun come out. While here I look forward to pursuing some research into conceptualisations of learning and teaching among Japanese academics, thanks to the organisation of a friend at Kobe University, before moving on to present at a QS-APPLE conference in Taipei next week. For now - I must check if my washing is ready to take out of the machine.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Simon Thomson Shares Digital Literacy Adventures at the University of Liverpool

On 28th October Simon Thomson (Head of E-Learning) was invited to participate in a development activity at the University of Liverpool. Read below to find out what he thought of that event and more broadly our own work on digital literacy.

The event was a collaborative activity between the students (noting that they don't have a students' union but a "guild") and the University, through their Digital Literacies Working Group.

Obviously I have a vested interest in Digital Literacy development as I was part of our own university working group that established the Leeds Beckett digital literacy definition for our graduate attribute and I am interested in some of the approaches taken by other institutions with regards to digital literacy development (of both staff and students).

It was useful to see that Liverpool had used the work undertaken by Jisc as a basis for their work on digital literacy: http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/infokits/digital-literacies/
We too used this material to help inform the basis of our own digital literacy definition. It provides a very useful "7 Elements of Digital Literacy" from which to work from.

The session consisted of a couple of short presentations of examples where staff and students had used a digital service or technology to improve their experience. The sessions then moved to break out groups which included a mix of staff and students and whilst the conversation that took place here were agreed to be under "Chatham House Rules" we covered the following topics:

  1. Social Media use (staff and students - including digital identity and use for learning & teaching)
  2. University technology systems (e.g. VLE) vs wider Web 2.0 technology services experiences.
  3. Risks and benefits of online identifies (and where to create profiles for what purpose).
  4. Assumptions about student capability with technologies (e.g. lack of orientation sessions for students on using the VLE)
I think this kind of conversation between staff and students really opens the eyes of both the staff and students. Staff get a perspective from the students on their experience (e.g. trying to find things on the VLE that staff have put there) and students get to see it from a staff perspective (challenges faced with multiple systems for teaching, research and admin). There was also a member of their IT team there and a quick discussion  was had about the core support hours for the VLE being 9-5, whereas the students perhaps expect a 24/7 service.

At Leeds Beckett University, the Centre for Learning & Teaching is working with our Students' Union this year to establish a Digital Champions role. These are student roles who will hopefully work in their Faculties to support the digital literacy development activities for staff and students. Also it is hoped that they will be able to begin to bring a student perspective to the use of our technologies and digital services and help inform some of our decision making processes.

You can read more about the work at Liverpool here: http://digilearn.liv.ac.uk

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Dr Susan Smith returns from ISSOTL 2014

I have been lucky enough to attend the ISSOTL conference for the International Society for Scholarship in Teaching and Learning. This was held in Quebec in October 22-26 2014.

Delegates from Canada, New Zealand, India, Japan and the States gathered to discuss a range of teaching and learning issues. There was a strong emphasis on strategies to facilitate deep learning, flexible learning spaces and the flipped classroom. I also went to some sessions about using drama therapy and role play- stimulating stuff but not for the faint hearted!

We need to consider some of these ideas as we write and consult on our new institutional learning and teaching strategy.
Dr Susan Smith

Monday, 27 October 2014

Dr David Killick attends the IEREST Symposium, Durham

The IERESTSymposium at the University of Durham (22 October 2014) was a stimulating and uplifting day. Members of IEREST Project were trialling materials being development to enhance the learning of students on Erasmus exchange programmes. There was a clear commitment from all participants to the principles of enabling students to take forward their intercultural learning and to derive the most from their study abroad experiences. But, there also there seemed to be much agreement with my own proposals that this work is too important to be reserved for the minority of students who do study abroad. 

Working towards enabling course teams to embed dimensions of interculturality within disciplinary contexts is something all universities should be focussing on. Adrian Holliday’s exceptionally clear exposition of his grammar of culture offered an interesting framework against which this work might be developed.
Dr David Killick