February 2015 – Work review

By Matt Cornock


Back-filling, this is February’s work review summarising some of my key activities from this month.

Advising Departments on Programme Sites

Before I joined the E-Learning Development Team I revamped the Programme Sites within SPSW, working with the programme leaders to introduce more content that supports students’ progression through their degree programme. I also included a number of academic skills development resources, such as presentation skills (available on slideshare), group working (see this tweet) and resources used throughout the course that the Library developed. The Programme Sites also offer a way to provide ‘intranet’ type information and communicate to a group a students in an accountable way. As the VLE is regularly used by students due to the provision of taught materials there, this avoids the situation where students have to actively seek out multiple sources of content (e.g. the Department website), by placing everything within one log-in.

Prompted by a request from a Department, I’ve captured the different ways a VLE can be used by a department or school to structure the information they may available to students. The following document outlines: a Programme/Departmental-approach to using a VLE, establishing a Programme Site, communication approaches and maintenance approaches.

Keeping in touch with student life

I volunteered again to assess several applications for the York Award and enjoyed reading the different activities students get up to in support of employability and generally making the most of their time at University. The York Award is a scheme that provides recognition for the extra-curricular activities, such as participation in a society, volunteering and work experience, in addition to a reflection on the value of the academic studies. As part of the application students reflect on their experiences, what they have learnt and show how they have developed as an individual through their experience at York. Many of these portfolios are humbling in that students are cramming so much into their three or four years with us now. Some of this is down to competition in the labour market, so the feedback we provide through the York Award applications and interviews aims to help students refine their message when going for jobs, but also just shows what opportunities students have and can make the most of with their free time.

Forming links

This month, as someone with an interest and knowledge in e-accessibility, I met up with Disability Services to provide an overview of how the VLE is used at York and the way the Replay lecture captures can form part of the support for disabled students, particularly those with impairments to note-taking in class. We discussed how the ELDT supports: resource creation, student interaction, site structure, assessment, in-class tools, lecture capture and synchronous remote participation.

I also spent some time with the Library’s Teaching and Learning Team on mapping both of our training provision to the JISC Seven Element Digital Literacy model. We adapted the model slightly to reflect the development needs and professional capabilities of academic staff. Based on our discussions, I’ve summarised how we reinterpreted the elements here:

  • Media literacy – Relates to outputs, creativity with digital technologies. Being able to produce material in appropriate media for your message and audience.
  • Communication and collaboration – Networking, SNS and forms of communication and collaboration. Email, Skype, Google Apps and beyond.
  • Career and identity management – Promotion of yourself and your research in the digital domain (also supporting students in this perhaps).
  • ICT literacy – Functional skills (button clicking), choices over tools, capability and willingness to engage with new software.
  • [Supporting] Learning skills – The use of technology to support learning and teaching practices. Supporting students in their use of technologies. Learning from students’ use of technologies.
  • Digital scholarship -Relates to scholarly activities. A willingness to engage and appreciation of the role of technology in professional practice. Includes the role of technology in administration and research.
  • Information literacy – Relates to digital library skills. Finding resources and selecting appropriate channels for dissemination.

I’ve also used MindMup (change the vowel, avoid trademark infringement?) within Google Drive to provide a visual representation of how our two teams training offering maps out. As that’s completely unofficial, I won’t share that here!

Mobile campaign

Working with Rosie Hare, we put together a series of photos (included below) to support the promotion of Blackboard Mobile App on the ELDT blog and Twitter. The app can be used for quick access to online resources within the Yorkshare VLE and as part of a week-long series of lunchtime stalls, Rosie came up with a ‘top 5 things’ you could use the app for:

  1. Download it for free (at the University of York at least).
  2. Look up the lecture notes, hopefully not just before the session itself.
  3. Post to the blog on the go, allowing for more immediate posting of reflection on placements.
  4. Upload media, such as snapshots of whiteboard group work, to shared spaces on Yorkshare.
  5. Personalise the modules list for quick access to the most relevant sites.

Further information is available on the E-Learning Development Team Website.


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