Tag Archives: technology

Event: Student Engagement, Flexible Learning and Attendance

Student Engagement, Flexible Learning and Attendance

Date: 8 Mar 2013

Start Time: 10:00 am

Location/venue: Room 8K14 (Boardroom) Jordanstown Campus University of Ulster

This event is being hosted as part of the Higher Education Academy’s Workshop and Seminar Series 2012/2013
The use of information and communication technologies is increasingly adapted to support flexible learning in Higher Education institutions. The adaptation of more sophisticated technologies offers a broad range of facilities for communication and resource sharing, thereby creating a flexible learning environment that facilitates and even encourages students not to physically attend classes. However this emerging trend seems to contradict class attendance requirements within Universities, inevitably leading to a dilemma between amending traditional regulations and creating new policies for the higher education institutions.

This workshop will bring together educators, researchers and practitioners from the academic society to present the latest advances on technology enhanced learning and new methodologies of measuring student engagement in a technology enhanced learning environment.

It provides participants with a forum to discuss the impact of new technologies on flexible learning and debate the major issues arising from linking flexible learning with class attendance and attainments.
The workshop will contribute to understanding the impact of flexible leaning on attendance and attainments and provide quantitative evidence for determining regulation amendment and development of new policies in addition to addressing practical challenges in the wider deployment of new technology to support flexible learning.

There is no charge to attend the seminar, but a place must be reserved.

To Register please email Thematic.Seminar@heacademy.ac.uk

30 places available on first-come, first-served basis.

Full details on the HEA Website. The text above is taken directly from the website linked above.

Provision programme is available here.

Changing the Learning Landscape – The Use of Social Media in Science & Technology Teaching and Learning

cll-web-bannerChanging the Learning Landscape – The Use of Social Media in Science & Technology Teaching and Learning.
Date: 13 Mar 2013
Start Time: 09:30 am
Location/venue: The Royal Society of Chemistry Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, , W1J 0BA

Changing the Learning Landscape (CLL) involves a series of activities to enable those involved in higher education to embed learning technologies in their learning and teaching practice.

One strand of activity involves discipline-focused workshops aimed at lecturers, module leaders and programme leads who are either new to, or have some knowledge of, learning technologies and would like to find out more.

‘The Use of Social Media in Science & Technology’ workshop offers an opportunity for those involved in teaching, or directly managing degree programmes, to find out more about the role social media can play in enhancing the student and tutor experience. Through a series of presentations, activities and discussions, led by academics from the science and technology disciplines, participants will be introduced to new social media approaches and see discipline-focused exemplars of social media applied in practice.

Topics will cover:

  • an introduction to teaching with social media;
  • encouraging student social networking in laboratory practical sessions;
  • enhancing fieldwork learning through social media technologies;
  • social media and lecture capture;
  • accessibility aspects of social media;
  • student perspectives on the use of social media in science and technology teaching and learning.
  • These topics will be delivered by practitioners from the science and technology disciplines.

    There is no charge for the workshop but places are limited and you are advised to apply early using the booking form.

    Please note that a similar workshop ‘The Use of Social Media in Engineering & Mathematics’ will be held on 22 May 2013 at a venue in Manchester. Details of, and registration for, this workshop will follow in due course.
    For general enquiries about this workshop please email Alex Fenlon; alex.fenlon@heacademy.ac.uk

    More details are available from this website.

    Texting Times

    The Market Square in Antwerp, Belgium

    First, Glasgow Caledonian University….
    I seem to have been talking about SMS texting a bit over the last while. Last week I was invited by Kevan Gartland to Glasgow Caledonian University to participate in an event on Feedback Enhancement in the Biological Sciences. This was one in a series of seminars on this subject organised by Glasgow Caledonian University in association with the Higher Education Academy. I outlined our use of text messaging (as described previously) especially in assisting with peer marking and rapid communication of results following a written class test for around 100+ students.

    Also presenting at the event was Jamie McDermott from GCU who was demonstrating his use of www.textwall.co.uk especially in an inter-professional context in a session with some 500 students. This has proved most successful in engaging students in this large lecture context with many asking questions by text message were they would normally have been reluctant to pose a question verbally during the session.

    ….next, Antwerp in Belgium…
    Then this week I was off to Antwerp in Belgium for the 2012 BlackBoard Teaching and Learning Conference. This time I was invited by Travis Sowders of BlackBoard Connect to be involved in a panel discussion on the use of SMS text messaging in the classroom. Travis chaired the session and there were contributions by Jo Spiller from University of Edinburgh and myself on our three uses of texting at Ulster; communication, feedback and voting.

    **Update on Friday 1st June 2012. Slides from our session at Antwerp are now embedded below:**

    **Update on Tuesday 19th March 2013. Interview regarding the use of text messaging in the School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster as recorded in Antwerp for BlackBoardTV is now embedded below:**

    …. in other parts of the conference…
    For me one of the highlights of the conference was the keynote address by Kayvon Beykpour, general manager of Blackboard Mobile. He described the work that had been done to introduce push notifications in BlackBoard meaning that students can receive up-to-date information straight to their handheld device. This was well received by conference delegates. However, it was the second part of his presentation that appealed to me most where he described the new developments in mobile-enabled class tests / examinations. Tests set up in the mobile environment can be made available to users of an array of mobile devices, but they can still be accessed in the traditional way via a computer connected to the VLE. This new feature opens the possibility of running multiple choice and short answer tests for large groups of students, each accessing the test from the familiar platform of their preferred mobile device.

    I was also most impressed with a demo of Kaltura video sharing software for Blackboard. This facilitates a You Tube type environment where video may be shared in a number of different ways to different user groups. For me this represents an opportunity to consider upgrading the platform for our YouTestTube video sharing project adding mobile functionality and making the site much more accessible.

    There were a number of Tweeters at the event and the tweets from the #BbTLC2012 hashtag have been archived at the following address: bit.ly/ImS3zs

    Not surprisingly, WiFi access throughout the conference venues was excellent and worked flawlessly. Antwerp is also a charming city to visit.

    Image Credit.

    HUCBMS Conference

    Last Friday I took part in the Heads of University Centres of Biomedical Science (HUCBMS) Conference 2011 held at the Coleraine campus of the University of Ulster. I was presenting on Using Mobile Technologies and Video Sharing to Engage Students in the final session on Innovation in Teaching and Learning. This turned out to be a very interactive session and I am grateful to the delegates for the many questions and comments received during and after the presentation.

    My slides from the event are provided here as a PDF.

    Image credit.

    When You Need to Call Tech Support

    It seems that with the majority of new technical innovations a helping hand is needed for new adopters.  The video below summaries this nicely!

    Social Networking with Students

    Last week I was involved in a University of Ulster Centre for Higher Education discussion forum on social networking with students.  The event was held by video-conference across three campuses and attracted a good deal of interest from staff.  It was useful to hear short accounts from colleagues using social networking with students and to consider some of the issues in getting started in this area.

    For some staff there was the feeling that the technology can sometimes be daunting especially if bespoke tools are used that need server set-up and some level of configuring.  However some scenarios were described where Facebook groups had been used to successfully to engage students especially as a number were already au fait with this social networking tool and using it regularly.

    Some tips that came out of the discussion and from my own experience are given below.

    1. Why do you want to use social networking with students; is it just a nice tool that we shoe-horn into a pedagogic purpose?
    2. Are tasks on social networking clearly defined?  Students will not just network for the sake of it!
    3. Can students “see the point” in what we are trying to achieve, how do we get them to buy-in to the exercise?
    4. Choice of networking tool.  Are we intruding on their social space by using tools that students consider their private areas?  We need to clearly define the boundaries and use social networking in a context that does not compromise accepted professional standards.
    5. Manage expectations.  How will academics interact with students online; will we be available 9 to 5 or 24/7?  Students need to know!
    6. Don’t ask students to do something you are not prepared to do yourself.  Do you want your students to blog?  Do you blog?  If the answer is “no” it will very soon become apparent to the student group that you are only a by-stander.
    7. Social networking should augment existing communication channels with students therefore important course information should not be communicated by this method alone.
    8. Social networking should help to increase inclusivity within a group.  However, ensure that the chosen exercises do not alienate some within the class who may be uncomfortable using the technology.

    Image credit.

    Quick Reflections on the Ulster eLearning Conference 2011

    The University of Ulster’s 9th annual eLearning conference was held today on the Jordanstown campus and again provided a good opportunity to explore all things in teaching and learning with a USB cable attached.

    One of the highlights for me was the opening keynote address by Peter Bullen from Hertfordshire who reminded us that there is no real pedagogy around the technology that assists learning; but rather around the teaching and learning activities themselves.  He encouraged the audience to try to better understand the value of every learning activity and then concentrate on value; not cost.

    The other main highlight of the conference for me was  a session led by Sal Cooke on the activities and resources of  JISC TechDis.  This highlighted such tools as Xerte and many of the accessibility resources available through the JISC TechDis website.  There are too many to individually describe high, so please take a look if you are interested in making Microsoft documents more readable.

    My Tweets from the event are below.

    • Stephen McClean (PlanetChemistry)In a session looking at Blackboard learn; our new VLE! #EULS112011-01-20 14:16:39 UTC
    • Stephen McClean (PlanetChemistry)Playing with Xerte http://www.techdisplayxerte.info/ at #EUls112011-01-20 13:06:18 UTC
    • Stephen McClean (PlanetChemistry)Just found out about Accessible Twitter in the session about @JISC_TechDis with Sal Cooke at #EUls11 http://www.accessibletwitter.com2011-01-20 12:36:23 UTC
    • Stephen McClean (PlanetChemistry)In a session about @JISC_TechDis with Sal Cooke at #EUls112011-01-20 12:06:23 UTC
    • Stephen McClean (PlanetChemistry)Being shown An Open Letter to Educators at #EUls11. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-P2PGGeTOA4 Quite annoying but some good points #edtech2011-01-20 11:07:23 UTC
    • Stephen McClean (PlanetChemistry)Some of the qualities of social networking may clash with current pedagogocal paradigms (Karen Fraser) #EUls11 #edtech #edchat2011-01-20 10:53:35 UTC
    • Stephen McClean (PlanetChemistry)Students feel comfortable learning in an environment that is familiar to them; eg Facebook. Lurkers can also benefit. #edtech #EUls112011-01-20 10:51:54 UTC
    • Stephen McClean (PlanetChemistry)In a workshop on social networking at #EUls11.2011-01-20 10:46:11 UTC
    • Stephen McClean (PlanetChemistry)Try to better understand the value of every learning activity and then concentrate on value not cost. Peter Bullen #EUls11 #edchat #edtech2011-01-20 10:28:47 UTC
    • Stephen McClean (PlanetChemistry)How much impact on the learning environment does our attendance and discussions at conferences really have? Ques from Peter Bullen #EUls112011-01-20 10:24:50 UTC
    • Stephen McClean (PlanetChemistry)Sometimes the best teachers are taken out of teaching to be involved in innovation. #EUls11 #edchat2011-01-20 10:15:20 UTC
    • Stephen McClean (PlanetChemistry)Picture of rubbish bags at #EUls11 containing marked but uncollected coursework destined for the bin. Waste of feedback!2011-01-20 10:09:17 UTC
    • Stephen McClean (PlanetChemistry)Innovating, sustaining and embedding technology enhanced learning #EUls11 @UlsterUni2011-01-20 09:58:08 UTC
    • Stephen McClean (PlanetChemistry)Keynote address by Prof Peter Bullen Univ of Hertfordshire at #EUls112011-01-20 09:54:55 UTC
    • Stephen McClean (PlanetChemistry)Prof Kate Greenan opening the 9th annual University of Ulster eLearning conference #EUls11 (making my own hashtag; is there another one?)2011-01-20 09:49:10 UTC

    Text Messaging in Higher Education / Ulster’s E-Learning Conference

    Today I’m off to the University of Ulster’s 9th elearning conference and will be contributing a poster about our work on Text Messaging for Student Communication and Voting.  The poster has had a few outings before and is embedded at the bottom of this post.

    If you have already seen the poster you might be more interested in our recent paper in Bioscience Education on the topic of Text Messaging for Student Communication and Voting.  This provides a full descriptive account of our practice and some of the uses we have found for this ubiquitous technology.

    The abstract of the paper follows and you can download the entire paper by clicking here or on the image below.

    Image credit.

    Festival of Innovative Practice 2010

    Today I will be at the University of Ulster’s Centre for Higher Education Practice (CHEP) inaugural “Festival of Innovative Practice”. The event website states the following:

    “The purpose of this event is to showcase and celebrate the wide range of innovative work undertaken by both funded CHEP projects and also through the key CHEP sub-committees during 2009-10. In addition, and importantly, it aims to allow all participants to share and learn from each other’s practice.

    The day will involve a keynote presentation by the Centre’s Visiting Professor David Boud and the opportunity to hear snapshots of the projects and visit their posters and stands in an interactive exhibition hall.
    Topics range from:

    * Technology-enhanced learning.
    * Creative approaches to working with students.
    * Curricula developments e.g. problem-based learning, work-based learning, PDP, student induction
    * Pedagogic research e.g. student attendance”

    I will be presenting our work on the use of text messaging as both a communication and voting tool for relatively large year one modules under the “Technology-enhanced learning” theme. The programme for the day is here.

    As time permits I will also post a few tweets using the #CHEP10 hashtag.

    10 Uses for an iPod Touch in Education – #1 Making Notes

    iPod Touch Photo of Notes

    I have recently acquired a 32GB iPod touch to be investigated mainly for its use in a higher education context. I intend in this occasional series to reflect on the various features and applications that I have found to be useful. By implication these applications this will also apply to the iPhone but the plan is to talk about features that apply to both.

    In the first of this series I want to briefly mention the “notes” application which comes as standard on the iPod touch.
    I have found this feature to be most useful; in fact I am using it to write these reflections during a quiet moment in an examination board session as I wait for another course to be considered! Do these things ever run to time?!

    Admittedly it is unlikely you will write a book chapter using this app but to capture ideas or make a quick note to yourself, it then comes into its own.

    In a teaching and learning context notes could be used to make rapid feedback during practical classes or at presentations where background noise or the very disruptive nature of doing so might preclude recording audio feedback.

    The beauty of this app lies again in the handiness of the iPod technology which is much more portable and more readily coaxed from standby mode than even the most agile laptop PC or netbook. Notes captured on this app may be emailed either to a group for feedback or to your own email account for use in other applications.

    My uses or suggested uses are given in the list below.

    Notes for feedback at student presentations
    Notes for feedback during lab classes
    Writing blog posts or sections of papers during spare moments
    Notes during conference lectures if you are not tweeting!

    Of course there are also situations where students could use these devices to record their reflections or for learning purposes. If readers are using Notes for other things in an education context, please add these as a comment below.