Attended the New Lecturers Programme as an interloper, or mole, in order to meet the latest batch of academics and to try and inculcate a close working relationship between themselves and WaLTS. Also, still being new, it was a useful opportunity for me to learn more about the academic side of the university. Particularly enlightening was Iain Rowan and Fiona Jackson’s session which covered a broad range of academic policies and procedures including valid grounds of appeal for students and how honours degrees are calculated (more complex, if possible, than the OU’s with which I am well versed!). The course carried over to Friday morning which was given over to Student and Learning Support, my directorate. Familiar territory, though I still learned about some services the Library and Sunderland Futures offer that I wasn’t aware of. There is always something new to learn!
This is the collection of badges I earned during my participation in ocTEL 2014: https://backpack.openbadges.org/share/a79221cbbec974197333ed1bd3227460/
I’ve had problems exporting my badges from the ocTEL site into my Mozilla Backpack, until today when I went to the export page there were simply no badges listed. I completed the feedback form to report this yesterday and though I haven’t had a reply, today when I checked the page it was working – except for one badge. So, unable to export this one I have had to resort to my backup plan, simply taking a screenshot and imploring you to trust me when I say I earned it honestly!
The Student and Learning Support Innovation Event is an annual showcase of the work done by each team within SLS. It is an opportunity to both meet and network with other teams and find out what they do, and to demonstrate work which we have been doing. At two and a half weeks in the event was perfectly timed for me and was a wonderful opportunity to learn about the other teams and how we collectively contribute to the enhancement of the student experience. As to our own stand, we ran two live demonstrations, the first was an interactive quiz – with prizes! – using a student response system running on a portable SMART Board and the second was ClassLive (Blackboard Collaborate).
While I feel that my contribution on this occasion was rather minimal for obvious reasons, I was at least able to obtain a small budget for giveaways and small prizes for our quiz in order to attract people to our stall, and I hope that I was a positive influence on the team and encouraged us to showcase some really nice tools we can help people with.
Organised by Jisc RSC Northern and held at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland, eFest 2014 was a conference bringing together staff from FE and HE institutions across the North East, with an emphasis on learning technologists and people from related fields, with service providers such as Turnitin, OneFile and MoodleRooms.
The whole day was fantastic, I got to meet lots of interesting new people, discovered some new services, many of which I went away and read up on, adding the best to my personal toolkit, but the highlight of the day was the presentation of Paula Kilburn from Stockton Riverside College who presented three case studies on the use of video marking. The first was the simplest, an academic using an iPad to record him as he annotated a student’s written work. In the second the academic used the screen and audio recording functions of QuickTime to record him as he worked through an audio file the student had created, demonstrating in real time the changes required which would have got the piece up a grade. In the final example an academic was watching a video while recording audio feedback, pausing or going back as required. In all three cases the resulting videos were uploaded to the College’s Planet eStream account with no, or minimal editing, the idea being to deliver better, faster feedback, not a polished video. In all three cases the academics reported that it was faster and easier for them to give better and more comprehensive feedback than would have been possible to write. The whole pilot was a huge success with students who received video feedback showing substantial improvement compared to the respective cohorts from previous years.
As always at these kinds of event, there was a open marketplace for tea, coffee, mingling and for various providers to demonstrate their wares, trying to attract people to them with the usual games and freebies. Turnitin, however, set the standard to beat with their Rubrics Cubes, very droll.
Finally, I would just like to say that with regards to the ‘Stadium of Light’ Metro station, I would humbly suggest to Nexus that to improve accuracy this station be renamed to the ‘Random Tesco car park over a kilometre away from the Stadium of Light, with no clear sign posting’ Metro station. My unexpected journey humbly reminded me to be grateful for smartphones, satellite navigation and the company of fellow wayward souls. In all seriousness, to anyone who needs to go to the Stadium of Light on the Metro, get off at St Peter’s station instead as it is actually closer.
Attended the University’s corporate staff induction where I was given a broad overview of the University’s structure, mission, plans and culture, followed by a video tour of the London campus and a guided tour of the two city campuses.
Greetings, and welcome to my fifth blog, if memory serves me correctly. My first was a personal blog, written entirely in code as I used it as an exercise to teach myself HTML and CSS. This was probably around ten years ago now. I was proud of this one, but posting anything was cumbersome and after a while I transferred it all to WordPress. The third was just a revamp, a new theme and ‘relaunch’, but Twitter came along in between times and took over, so all these sites are gone now, like tears… in rain. Still going strong though is the fourth blog I created – http://www.attackhamster.co.uk – which is dedicated to my furry little friends. This is still WordPress, but now it’s hosted on my own web space as I wanted to learn more about WordPress, how to install from scratch and customise. There’s a story behind that domain name of course, but I’ll save that for another time.
This blog is a little different as it’s purpose is largely to provide me with a platform where I can talk about my work as a learning technologist and reflect on what I’ve learned in order to keep improving. I have also now reached a point in my career where I feel a certain responsibility to contribute more and give back to the learning technology community which has taught me so much over the past few years.
Another reason for starting this blog now is because a couple of weeks ago I was given the very happy news that I was going to be seconded into the University’s new TEL Support team, initially for three months but the indications are that it will be made permanent. It’s no secret that I was really disappointed by the decision to effectively disband the former LTech team last year, and with it my transfer onto the Senior Helpline, so this secondment is great news for me and it will be wonderful to get back to being a full time learning technologist again.
Finally, and with an eye on my CMALT renewal next year, this blog is providing me with a space where I can host a portfolio to showcase some of the things which I have created and am proud of, and to give me a smarter, better way of recording all of the CPD training I do and events I attend.
Note that while I am styling this as a professional blog, I fully reserve the right to delve into other areas of interest to me, technology in general, philosophy and literature for example. My Twitter on the other hand is the other way around, in that it exists mostly for personal use, but I do use it for work too sometimes.