August 2015 – Work review

August’s work review is a little late as the end of August and start of September has been busy. This month the York TEL Handbook launched, I’ve been getting my head round data tables and have been roaming the campus. And finally… I’e written and submitted my last piece of work for my MA.

York TEL Handbook

As mentioned in July’s Work Review, the York TEL Handbook was launched during August. The aim to provide a guide for new and experienced lecturing staff in the use of technology to enhance learning and teaching at York. The handbook is available to all online:

Rather than reading from start to finish, the handbook allows lecturers access to recommended approaches appropriate for the stage in the module design and delivery they are working on. At a fundamental level, a baseline recommendation gives a consistency to students’ experiences with the use of learning technology, specifically the institutional VLE. Moving beyond that, I have embedded accessibility guidelines throughout the document, particularly in the content creation section, as a reflection of the importance of inclusive practice as part of learning and teaching professionalism. The Handbook is also peppered with ‘key concepts’ that I’ve extracted from the literature and our own recommendations about where to focus efforts in the design and delivery of technology-enhanced learning. Expect to see these on Twitter soon!

Feedback on the York TEL Handbook is very much appreciated and will support our ongoing efforts to create useful resources and appropriate support for lecturing staff. Your views are welcome via the online form.

Follow both YTELhandbook and #YorkTELchat on Twitter. Rosie Hare (co-editor) and I will be running Twitter Chats at specific times on themes of the handbook and we will also be launching Collaborate Online Seminars (Webinars) on different themes in the handbook too. Further details on those on the ELDT Professional Development page.

Data hunting

One of the more technical aspects of my role is to unpick any data errors with our lecture capture scheduling system. To do this I work closely with a dedicated developer in IT Services, thinking through where data comes from, how its manipulated and passed to different systems. I won’t bore you with the details, but essentially, we ran some tests prior to the start of term to ensure our system was ready to go with the new year’s data and we encountered a scenario that hadn’t been designed for. All is now fixed ready for recordings to commence in a couple of weeks.

Getting out the office

The summer vacation has meant I could get out of the office and meet up with a few more people across campus, with time to talk about approaches and provide some guidance. I ran two workshops on baseline use of the institutional VLE for one department, and provided a consultation on the use of the VLE quiz tool. I also provided guidance on site structure and how to create graphics for the VLE to a colleague. I delivered an introduction to flipped classroom learning design and technical training on the use of our supported screencast recorder. Finally, I ran the second of three online webinars introducing Collaborate, as mentioned previously.

I’ve also recorded a video to walkthrough the process of preparing a site for the next academic year. Whilst I did this at the start of September, a lot of the suggestions come off discussions I had with staff I met during August. Obviously, this video would be more useful to flag up now, rather than after term has started!

Other activities

I drafted an article for the University’s Learning and Teaching Forum magazine due out next term. The article suggests appropriate uses of learning technology adopting a cognitive model for learning. This is to align with a cross-cutting theme of designing student work.

The lecture capture service moved servers during August, so I was on comms duty. The hard work was done by our hosting provider and supplier, and it all went smoothly.

I led a discussion reviewing our team’s training provision, with the outcome that we’ll be providing a tighter range of professional development opportunities for academic staff based on key themes.

I have also continued work on our institutional lecture capture tender.

Reading this month

I’ve (finally) completed my studies towards my MA Online and Distance Education, handing in my final essay at the end of August. This month has allowed/required me to revisit some of the texts from my elective module on leadership in education, with some of the highlights below:

Boud, D. and Brew, A. (2013) ‘Reconceptualising academic work as professional practice: implications for academic development’, International Journal for Academic Development, vol.18, no.3, pp.208-221.

Eggins, H. and Macdonald, R. (eds.) (2003) The Scholarship of Academic Development, Buckingham, Open University Press.

Henkel, M. (2000) Academic Identities and Policy Change in Higher Education, London, Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Lydon, S. and King, C. (2009) ‘Can a single, short continuing professional development workshop cause change in the classroom?’, Professional Development in Education, vol.35, no.1, pp.63-82.

Lynn Taylor, K. (2005) ‘Academic development as institutional leadership: An interplay of person, role, strategy, and institution’, International Journal for Academic Development, vol.10, no.1, pp.31-46.

McNamee, M., Flemming, S., Shire, J., Jones, D., McNamee, M. and Pill, A. (2004) ‘Continuing professional development: suggestions for effective practice’, Journal of Further and Higher Education, vol.28, no.2, pp.165-177.

Rowland, S. (2001) ‘Surface learning about teaching in higher education: The need for more critical conversation’, International Journal for Academic Development, vol.6, no.2, pp.162-167.

Shephard, K. (2004) ‘The role of educational developers in the expansion of educational technology’, International Journal for Academic Development, vol.9, no.1, pp.67-83.

Shurville, S., Browne, T. and Whitaker, M. (2009) ‘Accommodating the newfound strategic importance of educational technologists within higher education’, Campus-Wide Information Systems, vol.26, no.3, pp.201-231.

Starr, K. (2011) ‘Principles and the Politics of Resistance to Change’, Educational Management Administration & Leadership, vol.39, no.6, pp.646-660.

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