July 2015 – Work review

MC Work Log

This month I have been mostly writing a handbook for technology-enhanced learning practice, exploring use cases for Collaborate and meeting up with a range of people across campus.

Learning design for synchronous online activities

I’m pushing the use case for Collaborate, our supported webinar (online seminar) tool, at the moment as there is potential to make a big impact on the way we can support students using the technology. To help conceptualise how it might be used, I’ve written three learning design models that show how Collaborate (or any other online synchronous interaction tool) can complement face-to-face teaching.

In summary, these are:

  • Providing an additional point of contact.
  • Delivery of core content remotely (for example by a guest speaker).
  • As a staging ground for higher order learning through a ‘double flipped’ classroom model.

Read the blog post on the ELDT website for the full article:

Collaborate demo sessions

Whilst I ran two face-to-face sessions last academic year on Collaborate, over the summer vacation I am also running online demonstrations in order to enable interested colleagues a chance to have a hands-on play with the software. This approach is a condensed version of the sort of training that Blackboard offers on Collaborate, but focusing mainly on the interactive elements such as the poll tool, chat tool, whiteboard and audio/video chat, along with a few technical toubleshooting tips. We’ve also deployed Collaborate links in all Yorkshare sites now, making it easier to use the tool without any initial setup or requests for support.

It’s quite likely that I’ll be using Collaborate to offer more staff development sessions in the future. There could be potential in running short sessions over lunchtimes virtually, to enable staff to take part at their desk rather than give up additional time coming across campus to a specific room. Though, lunch would be a ‘bring your own’ affair.

#YTELHandbook writing

Most of July was taken up writing remaining pages for the York Technology-Enhanced Learning Handbook. Rosie Hare and I have been creating new resources and editing existing resources into an online handbook for both new and experienced lecturing staff on the role of learning technologies in higher education. We’ve established a baseline model, drawing upon practice now evident across several departments, and provided stylistic and pedagogic guidance across a wide range of technology-enhanced learning practice. The handbook is not a technical manual on the use of tools, though these are linked throughout, but its focus is on how to create effective resources, meaningful learning activities and an evaluative approach to learning and teaching development. The full launch was at the beginning of August, so I will provide further details in next month’s Work Review.

In the mean time, follow both YTELhandbook and #YorkTELchat on Twitter.

News in brief

I held a final get together for our CMALT candidates, exploring the specialist interest section of the portfolio. As some quick advice in case I don’t get around to writing it up: The specialist interest section offers space to go into depth about key projects or parts of your work. There are a range of topics that can be discussed, from the generic to the very, very specific. However, whatever is chosen, you have to discuss, evidence and reflect on how your approach differs from others. For example, most learning technologists will design learning activities, but what is your, individual, approach that shows your depth of understanding and the relationship between technology and learning.

At the start of the month we had our VLE upgrade, whilst I had little to do with that aside from a little bit of click-testing we also had an upgrade to the Replay system to address a few quirks with the software.

I recorded a case study to support the team’s VLE exam service, showing how our pioneer academic has helped us develop the approach. The video is available on YouTube.

This month was my first contact with three departments as the team liaison. I’ll be working with my old department, Social Policy and Social Work, and two departments who are ramping up their use of lecture capture, Environment and Computer Science.

This month I met with the PGCAP team to review how we will be embedding learning technology in next year’s programme, reviewing the sessions run this year. I’ve also met with the new YUSU Academic Officer to discuss the lecture capture service and our approach showing the learning benefits and discussing where it is appropriate to support learning in different disciplines.

I was also able to offer some accessibility advice for one of the new institution-wide student academic development tutorials being launched soon.

Reading this month

There were a number of papers and resources I explored to unpick appropriate use cases for Collaborate. The two that stuck out and I drew upon in the blog post were:

De Freitas, S., Neumann, T. (2009). Pedagogic strategies supporting the use of Synchronous Audiographic Conferencing: A review of the literature, British Journal of Educational Technology, 40(6), 980-998.

Wang, S. and Hsu, H. (2008). Use of the Webinar Tool (Elluminate) to Support Training: The Effects of Webinar-Learning Implementation from Student-Trainers’ Perspective. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 7(3), 175-194.

In support of writing the #YTELHandbook I brushed up on a few ‘classics’.

Gagné, R. M., Briggs, L. J. and Wager, W. W. (1992). Principles of Instructional Design. 4th Edition. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Jacques, D. and Salmon, G. (2007). Learning in Groups: A Handbook for Face-to-Face and Online Environments. 4th Edition. Abingdon: Routledge.

Laurillard, D. (2002). Rethinking University Teaching: A Framework for the Effective Use of Learning Technologies. 2nd Edition. Abingdon: RoutledgeFalmer.

Salmon, G. (2005). E-tivities. Abingdon: RoutledgeFalmer.

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