Welcome to the SHU blog of ELI 2008!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Last lap

Your 2.0 Life: Preparing Learners for Life 2.0
Mountain Community Colleges

This session didn't really deliver for me. They presented a lot of models and frameworks from the NCAT (National Centre for Academic Transformation) on course redesign using technology. http://www.center.rpi.edu/PCR/Proj_Model.htm .

The part of the presentation that stood out for me was the discussion about social networking sites - academics invading the student territory and not being welcome - argument. One of the academics had introduced Ning to her students and felt that it created a neat solution for them and her - them, because it wasn't straying on their social territory but the general use of the concept was familiar to them - her, because unlike in Facebook, she could control the environment and establish some baseline rules. There was very little of this needed in fact and she was pleased with how, with very little intervention from her the students started supporting each other - and even more pleased that as a consequence the number of direct emails to her requesting support dropped considerably. Surprisingly few in the audience had heard of Ning.

Ok - my last post - who's still reading anyway?

Designing the Next Generation Student Technology Fluency Programme - George Mason University
Interested in this because they had reported good results with their first programme. They are of comparable size and ethos to SHU - mission to 'Live, learn and succeed' and culture of entrepreneurialism. Describe DF as being caught between 'hype and fear'. Hype about how supposedly DF the digital natives are and fear along the lines of 'Facebook ate my daughter' media headlines. Argued the case for technology 'education' (why) not 'training' (how) - you know the old question - would you want your daughter to have sex education or sex training at school...
So, the difference between their first and second programme - first was more a series of pilots/small grants to fund initiatives etc. Decided they needed a more sustainable approach with second programme. They went to Heads of Faculty and asked for names of all staff who currently teach any type of research methods course (could our DoF provide this?) and through invitation from this list set up forums to share problems with the current provision.
The programme is based on Ten IT Goals (which cover the broad range of DF and although CT not a specific goal all have an element of critical awareness) http://tac.gmu.edu/goals/tenitgoals.html they also make an attempt at defining what advanced level skills might look like. They've set up a resource bank of DF assessment activities to encourage staff to use and integrate and add to - this sounded interesting and something I'll follow up. The revised programme only came into being in summer 2007 so no real evaluation of its impact as yet. The rest of the session was about their new Learning Hub - along the lines of the D&S learning hubs but one institutional hub with different specialist staff based there and open to staff and students - again, only a few weeks open so they are holding their breath to see if anyone uses it.
They summarise DF @ George Mason as 'a programme, a process, a space'. (Just the one space then?).

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Keeping them coming...

Supporting Learning 2.0 with a Technology Enhanced Teaching Certificate Program. University of Illinois.

I mentioned this earlier but a few additional points worthy of passing on. This is a truly collaborative venture between their Division of Instructional Development, the Centre for Educational Technologies and the University Library. It kicked off about three years ago when the when they went on a retreat and established their common goal of supporting and improving student learning. This gave rise to Learning Technology Teams - instructional technologists-educational developers and librarians working together in Faculty facing units - formalising what sometimes ,but not often enough, happens naturally. It's taken a while to get this working but seems to be having an impact now.

Emerging from this collaboration came the idea of the new course. They already do a range of new staff courses but they are not specifically focusing on technical fluency for teaching. Apart from stuff mentioned earlier - they also pair each course participant up with an instructional adviser - how scalable this is remains to be seen - so far they only have 5 staff on the course. They're also looking at how they can recognise and award merit to those staff who are already part way on their journey with technology enhanced teaching - possibly through reflective portfolio and a selection of the other activities.

Faculty Ideas about Technology: The Pedatechnical Impact of 2.0
Purdue University

Shared their experience of introducing a new programme called FIT (Faculty ideas about technology). http://fit.itap.purdue.edu Having touted round new technology with few takers they decided they needed a more pedagogically driven approach and a more formalised process for introducing new technology to help them to understand where to channel their resources (ie developers time), accessibility issues, technical infrastructure to support the new tools and most critically, its potential benefit to LTA. Their goal is 'To evaluate technology in the light of what they already have and to tie learning theory and pedagogy directly to the technologies'.
To cut a long story short - after a few false starts they have developed a methodology that they think works. Focusing in one 'teaching problem' at a time they have something called 'fit n sit' sessions where faculty, learning technologists and staff from their LTI equivalent meet. Through this they identify pilot classes where different technology solutions are tried and evaluated. Often linked to a blog with a 'celebrity' guest blogger talking about how they have innovated around a teaching problem using this technology. They then produce a 'white paper' through Google docs where everyone who feels they have something to contribute can -academics/lti/it/etc - that then is used to inform decisions about future implementation and resourcing.
They feel that the scheme is a success as it: engages those who have shied away from technology before, formalises the evaluation process, based on valid user requirements and provides a collaborative forum for feedback and policy development. Their plan is to have 7 fit n sit sessions per semester. Also looking at a student version where the focus is their learning problems and the team help identify potential solutions - we'll see - tho looking at the blog - as usual a woeful lack of comments/participation from faculty - but this one sounded really interesting...


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Why Gardner Campbell is so cool...

...well, to be honest, just one of the reasons Gardner Campbell is so cool. Take a look at his reflections on the final keynote and the twitter back channel backlash that ran alongside.

A masterclass in thinking carefully and not letting ego get in the way of constructive analysis (aka how to get other people to have a higher opinion of you than you have of yourself)

Challenged by how to teach reflection to students? - just subscribe to Gardner's blog

btw - I just remembered I was going to send link to Serena's short film - I had problems with it on my laptop but it seems OK on the other machines in our house so here it is, enjoy!:

Also, whilst you're there, you might want to check out the other things on her website to get a flavour of her other interests - impressive, hu'h?

Posted resources....

More and more speakers are posting the links to their sessions (http://www.educause.edu/13312 or see the main link in the Useful Links on the right hand side) Keep checking back, it is definitely growing. However I wanted to highlight a couple that may be of particular interest.

At last! the fourth video from the Fear 2.0 session is online - Scylla or Charybdis?

They have also posted all four as a package together with the outputs from the discussion and links to the "Got Fear" blog

And something called "The Digitally Fluent University: A Recipe for Success" - from some crazy English women who are prepared to push a metaphor to the edge of polite usage and just keep pushing!! Not sure how informative the slides are but if you want a replay of the full session - it is available at a price ;-)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Connecting and reflecting

Connectivism - George Siemens, Associate Director, Learning Technologies Centre, University of Manitoba

OK - so you have the video, heres the transcript (in terms of my very loose interpretation of the key messages that hit me.

This was the one I was really looking forward to, and it didn't disappoint, despite a very fast gallop through some complex theories about learning and knowledge that roll off the tongue of the speaker but take a bit more grasping from the audience (as the questions at the end revealed -not just me then).

The basic premise with Connectivism is that learning in a digital age happens differently. Most learning theories are based on a different era of knowledge production and George asks the question ' How does learning change when knowledge growth is overwhelming and technology replaces many basic tasks we have previously performed? The answer is through networking.

At its simplest, information is a node which can be connected - when connected, it becomes knowledge - the combined nature of many connections results in understanding

The tools which enable the greatest possibility of connection forming provide the greatest possibility of knowledge growth. Hello and welcome Web 2.0!

He still argues the need for the academic 'expert', claiming it can take up to 10 years to develop a true discipline knowledge - but sees the role changing to one of relationship builder, connecting the learner to other experts and knowledge builders. The importance of blogging as a means of connecting 'small worlds' to build knowledge is a key skill.

More controversially he calls for academics to get out of their closed publishing networks and get into the open spaces of knowledge that their students inhabit. Access and currency are the most important issues for consumers of information today and if our academics are not going to where the students access information they can't complain about the quality of the stuff out there - he likens it to an academic preferring not to teach in the draughty lecture hall (even though it can accommodate 100's of students) and teaching instead in a small seminar rooms and excluding the many?

Practising what he preaches, much of his work is available through the following sites, blogs and wikis.




Watch for yourself...

Don't take our word for it:

the videos of the keynotes and featured sessions are online now

Highly recommended:
What Wikipedia...
Virtual worlds as....
2008 Horizon Report

Not so much:
Educational Publishing....

Monday, February 4, 2008

Visiting Presidium

1. Yes we really did....look here we are with the sign in reception (you just can't fake that!):

Actually the time with Presidium was excellent, it was really useful to see their operations which was much bigger and busier than I expected it to be. Also it was interesting to see what a tightly run ship they have regarding what calls are coming in, time taken, time queuing etc, quality assurance of calls and continuous training programme.

All the staff made us feel really welcome - with special mentions to Andrew and Mike (of course), and also Michael, Christie, Phyllis, Russ, Alex and Joe.

2. Still friends after discussing the details of our engagement with Mike (Country) Cuthriell
I spent some time reviewing how our engagement with Presidium was going with Mike and Andrew (who had very wisely left before the excruciating photo shoot) and what our options are for going forward into 08/09. It was a really really useful discussion especially as it highlighted for us all the things that each of us assumed the others understood and brought out in conversation, things that have been difficult to get to the bottom of over the phone....yes, I am referring to the Patriot Act!
Also I ask Mike for a shopping list of reports that will help take us forward.

3. Getting to review the knowledge base and its untapped potential with Christie, our knowledge manager:
Christie had spent some time looking in detail at our knowledge base as she has recently taken over our knowledge management and had some great suggestions for how we might improve things at our end and theirs.
Kay and Christie kicked around some of the ideas and tried to map out the next steps for a digital fluency knowledge base. This was really productive and enabled us to take the time and space to acknowledge and (for some) answer some fundamental questions.

4. Kay asks Christie what it's like working with Mike (answers on a postcard):
...and this is nothing to the laugh we have when Mike takes us to see the sights of Somerset - which takes all of about 90 minutes (with 75 minutes of that eating). A quick tour of downtown incl many, many churches and the republican party local HQ (no democrats in those parts), the lake (which looks a bit like Wales), and Baxters coffee (Somerset's answer to Starbucks). But the highlight by far was parked in a disused parking lot (see what I did there), looking at large houseboats (not able to get out the car cos it was so windy we'd have been blown away) listening to a preacher on the radio telling us at varying volumes and with scarying degrees of intensity that we do have a friend in jesus, jesus is our friend, he is our only true friend...you get the idea...it was one of those "shouldn't be funny, but was" situations...it was definitely the parking lot that made it art!!

The trip back to Cincinnati was estimated to be 2 hrs with Mike driving and Russ riding shotgun, but despite having our entire afternoon timed down to the last minute Mike waits until we are about half way before admitting he doesn't really know where he is going - hmmm! More radio preaching, a chat about quality assurance at presidium, a few texts back and forth to Liz, a drive around someone's front garden, some music, a quick stop at a garage for directions followed by Mike doing a yee-haw! leap into the air (I thought it was hillbilly, Mike thought it was leprechaun - tallest leprechaun I've ever seen), some mind-bending riddles, more music, another retelling of the room service burger story more music etc etc etc all the way home (about 3hrs 15!! in the end...but, you know, educational)