Social, Accessible, Mobile
Online success for Early Years.
If you want to know how to run a very successful blended learning course just ask Michelle Rogers. Michelle is a Course Leader in the Institute of Education in Early Childhood Studies and runs the Early Years Foundation Degree (Flexible and Distributed Learning Pathway).
As Michelle explains, it takes a while to set up online courses as things have to be right, right from the start, “… in an online course it is really very important that the first interaction students have with the resources, the tools and the lecturers is a really interesting and purposeful interaction. First impressions last a long time; they affect your later work with the students, the level to which they will engage with you and with the resources.” It is not such hard work though, I know that some lecturers think they have to spend a lot of time teaching students about how to use the equipment but we just gave them the very basics to begin with.”
Improving Retention with Facebook.
One of the purposes of SAM is to bring you news about how people are using technology for education in the University. I go out and interview people about their activities whenever I get the opportunity. One of these interviews was with Dave Robson from the Institute of Health and Society, amongst his other Senior Lecturer roles Dave is also the Induction Tutor. Dave has been using Facebook very successfully with the last three intakes on the adult, child and mental health nursing courses. You can access the whole interview from here, in an Issuu online book but just to whet your appetite here is a quote from Dave. “Facebook works on all platforms, all mobile phones unlike many other technologies, so I was convinced this was a good place to start engaging with students. I started using Facebook with the February 2012 intake, so I have now used it three times very successfully. In fact it has been so successful that Facebook has now become a key tool for the Institute of Health and Society to retain the best students from the moment they confirm their commitment to attend the course through that six or nine months it takes to start the course. This was previously a difficult time and we constantly lost good students to other universities during this period. David Green said he believes it’s really important for the rest of the University to start using Facebook in this way.” It is so successful that it has now been made compulsory for all successful candidates to join Facebook! Read the rest of the interview and find out just how Dave is making Facebook such a successful tool in recruitment and retention.
Changing the Learning Landscape.
Last Wednesday I joined an informal group meeting of people interested in eLearning. The group welcomes lecturers, technicians and others from all over the University whether you are new to elearning or an experienced practitioner.
We had been hoping to hear from Helen Cork from Sport about her use of the flipped classroom strategy but unfortunately she could not attend. We had an excellent opportunity however to talk to Will Bowen-Jones about the Changing the Learning Landscape activity carried out a couple of weeks ago at the University. If you are not familiar with this programme do look at the HEFCE, IFHE, JISC and ALT pages about the drive to use technology effectively in Higher Education. We had a lively discussion about the topics raised and we all came away with ideas about how we as individuals, as members of schools and institutes and managers could help take the CCL programme forward.
If you are interested in eLearning do get in touch with Michelle Rogers (email@example.com ) and she will add you to the circulation list.
Last week Sarah Pittaway and I went to a meeting of the Jisc Learning Experts Group in Birmingham, this was a feedback meeting about some of the current and recently finished projects. I can’t praise Jisc enough for the work they have been doing in this area they are producing data and tools that are useful in all sorts of areas in a HE and FE education. Below I will provide just a few links to some of the resources they have provided already, I’m sure there will be more in the future. As part of the resources on SAM I will also put a link on the, How to do things page, to the Jisc Inform Journal.
Digital Literacy Staff Development Materials
Summer of Student Innovation Event (November 12th)
Students as change agents
The EBEAM Project – developing Digital Literacy at Huddersfield
Student Expectations and Experience of the Digital Environment
Evaluating a Learning Technologies module for Academic Staff
The DigiLit Leicester Project
What’s coming soon.
We have a number of interviews lined up for you from a range of sources. The first is Dave Robson, Senior Lecturer and Induction Tutor in Pre-Registration Nursing. Dave explains how he is using Facebook to engage with and support prospective and new students. Following Dave will be Dr Val Chapman who is the Director for the Centre for Learning Support, talking about the work she has been doing with the Employability Skills Audit which links directly into the My Ability website. We will also, hopefully, be bringing you an interview with Alison Marsh, the Senior Lecturer in Journalism talking about all sorts of modern technologies which they use in the “News Room”.
Keep watching this space for all the UW new technologies news and do contact me, Tim Johnson, and let me know what you are doing :) just email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get you in the news too!
ANOTHER Funding Opportunity.
This is an advance notice of a call for proposals from individual staff members to lead projects that enhance the student experience. The close date is 10th June so that gives you plenty of time to write a proposal. The Higher Education Academy is keen to encourage evidence-based research which can lead to innovations in learning and teaching that have clear benefits beyond your own institution. Applications are invited from any member of staff engaged in the student learning experience in HEA-subscribing institutions. Call dates for proposals from Departments and for Collaborative work will be announced later in the year.
This is a call for bids for funding for embedding Digital Literacy in teaching in the disciplines.
Digital Literacy in the Disciplines is a series of mini-projects that aim to develop the use of digital literacies via discipline teaching and learning practice. Institutions are invited to bid for one of eight projects (two projects per HEA cluster of disciplines) attracting £5000 of funding per project.
Go on, have a go!
Interview with Geoff Kohe.
A few days ago I was lucky enough to capture an interview with Geoff Kohe from the Institute of Sport and Exercise Science. I might be the only one but I do not automatically think of social media in relation to sports education, isn’t it all about gymnasiums and sports fields? Not according to Geoff.
Geoff’s research covers subject areas many of us would not normally associate with sport such as, socio-cultural, historical, and political aspects of the Olympic movement, national identity and public memory. Whenever possible he likes to incorporate digital and social technologies into his teaching and learning. For example, in one particular module on sport and social issues he has created a Facebook site to consolidate and share student’s work. In another students engage with digital music and video files.
If you would like to read the full interview go over to the Interesting Practice blog and pick up the Issuu link from there.
What are we up to?.
SAM is starting to get more active as more people get to know about the site. We are only just starting to advertise what is happening on SAM and on QuileR, we didn’t want to start off in a mad rush :) Of course SAM and QuileR aren’t the only things we are doing there are also the University’s Second Life island and the Calling All Lecturers, Scoop.it site. We will also be bringing you news from everyone else in the University. We will shortly be publishing news from Sport and from Early Childhood Studies and that’s just to start with. Do get in touch and let us know what you are doing in your corner of the University, just email email@example.com so we can sing your praises too :)
Today on the University News pages is a request for views from “businesses, individuals, students and staff” on the best use of the University’s proposed new enterprise and technology centre, to be based at the former Grove Farm site.
“University Park, off Bromyard Road, is planned as a Health and Wellbeing, Science and Enterprise Park, the first phase of which will see a new doctor’s surgery developed on the site.”
“We are open to ideas to help support business in the region and the first step is to listen to what people want.”
You can take part in the survey, just give ten minutes of your time, at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/worcesterunipark
The Humanities First Year Tutors.
I have had the most super meeting this afternoon with “a very nice lady” by the name of Laura Jones. Laura is one of the “Institute of Humanities First Year Tutors”, a group who are doing marvellous things with the first year students. These Tutors are previous students of the University and, with the help of the Learning and Teaching Fund, are bridging the gap between college/school and University by using social media and modern technologies. If you want to try setting up something like this in your discipline why not contact Laura to talk about it.
When I can interrupt Laura for another interview I will bring you more news of what the First Year Tutors are doing.
The Motion and Performance Centre.
Dr Mark Corbett and Joe Bevins run the Motion & Performance Centre in the Thomas Telford Building. Immediately I hear a cry of, “what on earth does this have to do with digital stuff?” Although the Motion & Performance Centre is now part of the Sports Department Mark and Joe work with many other people in the University too. To work in bio-informatics you do not necessarily have to have a background in sport or health, Mark’s background is Physics and Joe’s is Computing.
The usual data that Mark and Joe work with are graphs and time sequence reports, this data is then used to produce information that can be used in a wide range of applications. Health, geography, psychology, digital media and digital representation, and sport are just a few of the areas where this amazing data is put to use. Look at this example by Daren Wood.
Mark and Joe have worked on some very interesting research in geography and psychology but more on that another time.
iPad to help people with dementia
“Touchscreen technology (including iPads) provides an ideal format for engaging older adults and older adults with dementia in meaningful and engaging activities; providing opportunities to interact with other people in residential care, and supporting restorative memory and reminiscence activities in alone and group settings.”
This quote is the conclusion of research undertaken by Dr Tim Jones and the team in Psychological Sciences. During 2011 the team carried out research at care homes throughout the West Midlands. The research was intended to confirm whether iPads could help people with dementia with some of the difficulties the condition creates. This PowerPoint presentation describes the main goals of the research and the reactions of patients, carers and staff involved in the research. Although some challenges where identified there were no insurmountable barriers to use of the iPads and, as the conclusion states, there were some very encouraging outcomes.
What a marvellous use of technology – I bet no one saw that one coming :)
Open Access Week 22nd – 28th October.
Open Access Week is a “A global event, now in its 6th year, promoting Open Access as a new norm in scholarship and research.” The week is run by the Open Access Week Organisation and is supported by people like the BMJ (British Medical Journal) and recommended by people like the JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) and HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England). Have a look at these two videos (1) (2) about Open Access to help you understand more about this important issue.
Manned Flight to Mars.
The fabulous news today is that we have just sent off our first manned rocket to Mars – hurrah! Here is wishing all our colleagues and friends on that flight bon voyage :)
The Will Robinson Project was instigated by The Pollen Unit as one of the first joint HEA/JISC funded flights. Colleagues will be visiting the biospheres that have recently been built on Mars by one of the many government-funded initiatives for the diversification of industry onto new planets.