Friday, 24 April 2015

YEDG Meeting April 2015.

On Tuesday 14th April CLT were pleased to host the 4th meeting of our regional university learning and teaching network, YEDG (Yorkshire Educational Development Group). In the morning David Killick and I chaired parallel ‘What’s On Top?’ discussions in our CLT development room with colleagues from Huddersfield, Leeds, York, York St. John and Hull Universities. In the afternoon we engaged in a ‘Show and Tell’, sharing good practice and learning around areas including graduate attributes, pan-university curriculum development, our UKPSF CPD schemes, and strategies for engaging staff in disseminating their good practice. We also welcomed a visiting academic who shared with us details of innovative curriculum developments being implemented at the University of Utrecht. 

By Prof. Ruth Pickford

Jisc Digifest 2015

Simon and myself attended Jisc Digifest on the 9th-10th March. The event was an opportunity for us to see how Jisc and other university institutions are currently implementing technology within learning & teaching.

Digifest is the first event like this that I have attended on my placement with CLT and I learnt a lot about what other universities are doing in terms of Digital Literacy in the space of just two days.

The event was made up of different keynote speakers and workshops led by professionals and academics in this sector. The sessions ranged in content but were all focused on different ways technology and digital literacy can be enforced in higher education. I attended two keynotes and seven workshops that varied in topics and styles.

The main elements that I found interest in at the event were regarding mobile learning and bring your own device methods. This is something that I, as a student, would like to be enforced at our University. I can see these elements being beneficial to my learning when I go back into my third year after my placement. I can also see how these methods could potentially be useful other students across the university.

I also attended workshops based around how media and television can be used within teaching and learning. What I was being shown were programmes that are very similar to the Beckett media player; this is something that could be utilised more within teaching and learning and somewhere that enables students to use and reference television/film clips royalty-free in their work.

Digifest was a useful event that has given me ideas of what types of digital learning that is available, as well as making me aware that the ideas and methods discussed at the conference the Centre for Learning & Teaching has already enforced or are in the process of developing.

By Kate Hoban

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Reflections on OER15

Last week I presented at OER15, a national conference on Open Education. This year it was in Cardiff and brings together an international audience to present, discuss and debate on all that is "open" in education.

Last year I wrote a brief blog post about co-chairing the conference, OER14. This year I was able to revert back to being a committee member and presenter at OER15!

Open Community

I am a passionate Open Educator and I feel a little bit like the OERxx conferences have perhaps come of age. I won't go into the history (you can read a bit about that in last years blog post), but I think it's a conference that has grown and evolved. Initially starting out as a dissemination conduit for the amazing #UKOER work with the first conference in 2010. 2014 was the first year in which the conference was sustained without "funded projects" to guarantee attendees and 2015 has once again shown that the OERxx conference has well and truly established itself as the UK's "go to" conference on Open Education. Now attracting international speakers and audiences I think it is an important window into the "grass roots" nature of Openness in the UK. The keynotes this year were collectively an excellent example of the diversity of activity taking place in "open". Cable Green kicked off the conference with his keynote and the key message that:

Failing to share publicly funded HE resources ‘immoral’. 

Open by Default
 I think it's hard to argue with this kind of sentiment, why should we not make any materials open that were funded publicly?  Martin Weller went on to close the conference with his keynote which warned us about "Open Washing" whereby a corporation labels their activity as "open" but in fact it's not really. (Read the article linked above for more details).

Open Washing

To me this indicates that "open" is in fact becoming mainstream and of course we should push back against open-washing, but we could perhaps see it has an indicator that the "Battle for Open" is being
fought well. What is important for the open community is that we remain vocal in what "we" really mean by open, and not allow it to become a distorted term. Sheila MacNeill gave a personal perspective on what it means to be open. Airing her own washing she talked about us as individuals being the "open resource" and being proud to be open practitioners.

Airing our Open Washing

I can very much align my own experiences to Shelia's, that in fact we are perhaps fighting a battle for open everyday within our institutions. It sometimes doesn't feel like we are winning but I think we are (slowly). When both the strategic development of open and the front line battle for open comes together you end up with, as an example, the fantastic work being led by Josie Fraser on the DigiLit Leicester project. This work is fundamental in embedding the concept of "open" in at the earliest stages of learning and teaching and is important in recognising that it's not just Higher Education who are championing open ed.

Finally I would just like to say a thank you to those who attended my workshop session. Readers of my blog & tweets will already know that I am developing a Facilitated Open Online Course (fooc) and I used the OER15 conference as a course development opportunity. What better way to develop and open, online course than to get 20+ experts in open education to be critical friends to your ideas. Even better was that many of them also want to develop and run the course with me. This for me epitomises what the "open movement" is all about. Collaboration, Sharing, Selflessness, Giving etc etc. Sheila is right that we should be proud to be Open Practitioners and we should tell everyone that we are and what that means. There is still a scuffle for open and we should keep fighting the cause.

If you want to find out about Open Education then why not check out the Staff Guide to OER that was developed as part of our work on Open Educational Resources in 2009 and linked below.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Electronic Management of Assessment at the White Rose Learning Technologist meeting in York

On Wednesday 22nd April I attended the White Rose Learning Technologist Forum held at York St John University. The meeting was facilitated by Lisa Gray from Jisc and focused on the Electronic Management of Assessment (EMA). 

As part of the meeting Lisa discussed Jisc's current work on EMA and that they have created 4 projects out of a larger body of work looking at  the electronic management of assessment. The 4 project areas are:

1. EMA Requirements Map
2. Feedback Hub feasibility study
3. EMA Toolkit
4. Reliability of assignment submissions

The first 3 projects are been taken forward by Jisc. The reliability of assignment submission although important to the sector it is something the service providers are working on as a priority and Jisc have paused on this this area while the market leaders make changes.

More information about the different projects and the work done to get to the current position can be seen on EMA blog :

The session itself started with scene setting by Lisa and then the attendees working in small groups and pairs to identify the challenges of EMA. Using a long list of activities and issues we worked through the list identifying areas common to us all and coming up with our top areas for improvement or challenges in implementing EMA. From my small group the following areas were identified as being barriers to implementation of EMA. 

1. Not having a longitudinal view of the feedback for both staff and students
2. Not being able to make individual amendments to deadlines etc for students with extensions or late submissions. 
3. The software not being flexible enough to handle the wide range of moderation methods at different institutions e.g 2nd markers leaving comments for 1st marker but not the student. 
4. Systems not being integrated, such as Gradecentre into Student records systems.

The views from across the room were very similar in their main issues. It was interesting that staff resistance was not one of the issues particularly identified as it seemed that if the tools supported current processes staff would not be resistant. Also some institutions had provided staff with 2 monitors or an iPad to support the move to online marking and submission. 

The second part of the session we were split into 3 large groups to work on the 3 different Jisc projects and though about what we would want it to be or meant to us and how as a community could contribute to it.

I was in the EMA toolkit group and we looked at how the toolkit would fit around the assessment life cycle that was based on work from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Assessment lifecycle from Jisc  
As  a group we thought the toolkit should have a number of 'lenses' for different groups of people, including academics, students, learning technologists, administrative staff and senior management. The toolkit would highlight key areas or filter information less relevant depending on which lens you were viewing through. Also we suggested including information on the challenges and the 'pain' people had gone through for certain areas, giving a true reflection of implementing and supporting EMA. The toolkit should also be created under an open licence with institutions able to adapt it to suit local needs by adding policies and case studies from their own area. The community would then feed back into the 'original' toolkit with case studies and links to documents and resources that could be shared with others. 

At the end of the afternoon a number of people shared their ideas and experiences, these included a bespoke assessment handling system, protecting students from systems downtime and the introduction of e-submission policy. 

Overall a really enjoyable afternoon and lots of shared experiences about managing assessment from across the Yorkshire region. 

Online Feedback Is Coming Of Age


Thanks to Tom Hey and Jack Gilbert from the Learning Systems team for their contributions to April’s 8th of the Month staff development session.

What’s clear from our discussion of the pro’s and cons of online and more traditional forms of feedback is that online feedback methods are coming of age.

Increased functionality of Turnitin in particular offers challenging opportunities, with participants particularly keen to explore potential use of online rubrics and audio feedback.

The Centre for Learning and Teaching has collated student views, short video case studies, support for online feedback, practical and theory guidance from the sector, and these feedback resources are available for Leeds Beckett staff here

By Mark De Groot

Monday, 13 April 2015

10th Association of National Teaching Fellow's Symposium

Together with Simon Thomson, I participated in the 10th Association of National Teaching Fellow’s symposium in Birmingham on Monday 30th and Tuesday 31st March. Sessions included inspiring keynotes from Professors Sally Brown and Pauline Kneale, Pecha Kuchas from new and established NTFs, discussions on the UKPSF, deepening the relationship between teaching and research, and using cognitive styles in pedagogy. We also continued working on the NTF Journal and the latest NTF book. The National Teaching Fellows are an interesting group and the conversations between sessions covered a whole spectrum of innovative approaches to teaching and learning across UK higher education!

By Prof. Ruth Pickford (Director of the Centre of Learning and Teaching)

Good AGM turnout for #antf15 @hardiekirsten has just given her detailed chairs report.
 AGM at Association of National Teaching Fellow’s symposium. Photograph by Simon Thomson.