Informaticopia

Friday, May 15, 2009

Rapid Elearning – Tools of the trade

The Higher Education Academy Subject, Centre for Health Sciences and Practice, E-learning Special Interest Group will be discussing Rapid Elearning – Tools of the trade.

The workshop, is to be held on Friday 26th June 2009 and will be hosted by SONET Applied Research Centre/RLO-CETL, School of Nursing, Midwifery & Physiotherapy, University of Nottingham

The programme includes sessions on Creating Reusable Learning Objects using Articulate Presenter and the virtual learning authoring system Pivote.

Location: Centre for Integrative Learning, Hallward Library Level 1
Rooms 105 & 106
For maps etc see http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/integrativelearning/images/File/University-Park-Campus-map.pdf

For further information contact:
Heather.Wharrad@nottingham.ac.uk OR Pam.Moule@uwe.ac.uk

It is a shame that this event clashes with the NI2009 congress in Helsinki, but personally I have to give my apologies because I will be at Glastonbury Festival.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

HEA HS&P Festival of Learning



Today I traveled to the University of Wolverhampton's Wallsall Campus for the first day of the Higher Education Academy Health Sciences and Practice Subject Centre, Festival of Learning.

I went primarily to put up a poster reporting the work of a project I was involved i led by Dr Pam Moule at UWE & funded by the HEA subject centre in which we carried out a survey and case studies to identify the elearning applications being used in HEIs and share examples of innovative individual and organisational best practice. I was told today that the reviewers had finished looking at it & once we have done a few minor edits it will be published. This should be in a few weeks and I will add details on this blog.


The conference was opened by Dr Margaret Sills, the Academic Director of the centre who welcomed participants and dealt with "housekeeping issues" including, for the first time, the use of text messaging to contact the organisers within the Festival of Learning" and to submit questions for the expert panel on Thursday. Margaret then introduced the first Keynote speaker.


Healthy Universities: Practising what we preach? was the topic of Mark Dooris, the director of the Healthy Settings Development Unit at the University of Central Lancashire. He set out the background to his recent work and examined why universities should be a part of the wider healthy settings work and what make their specific issues different from the Healthy Schools project and similar work. He described the different approaches in HEIs from the survey work his recently undertaken for the HEA & Department of Health. They had concluded that there is a need fr some national work, albeit with a "light touch" flexible and responsive framework to take this forward.


I next attended a workshop led by Alan Hilliard and Jenny Lorimer from the University of Hertfordshire describing their experiences with podcasting and the use of Electronic Voting Systems (EVS). They amde their workshop tuely interactive by getting participants to group together to come up with benefits and issues with large groups lectures and then very rapidly getting a "volunteer" from each group to record a two minute podcast on mobile MP3 recorders. These will be made available on the subject centre website at: http://www.health.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/healthcast

They then described how large group lectures had been replaced in a radiography module by podcasts which the students accessed in advance of small group work, which had been well evaluated by staff and students. The Q&A session drew out a variety of approaches, success stories and difficulties from other institutions. This was followed by some participative demonstrations of the Turning Point EVS including the use of conditional branching where the information presented depended on the group response to previous questions, which I'd not seen before.

I will be back for the final day of the Festival of Learning on Thursday.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

European Conference on e-Learning - Day 2

Another sunny day here in Cyprus started with a "mini-track" related to the use of social networking tools in health and social care - chaired by my colleague Pam Moule.


The first presentation was by Sotiris Fanou a PhD student from the University of the West of England. He described his current work on enabling those with Learning Disabilities, who are currently excluded from many aspects of society, to participate in Wed 2.0 social networking via the development of new systems. He described some of the background and the issues identified for those with cognitive impairments which are different to those with visual or auditory problems which are served by W3C accessibility guidelines. He clarified the aims and research questions and dealt with questions about the iterative development process which enable the system to meet the needs of these users and the content creation which is being handed over to those with learning disabilities to take control of themselves.


The second presentation was by Sari Mettiainen and Kristiina Vahamaa from the Pirkanmaa University Finland who described their use of a web based discussion forum to support nursing students on practice placements in disparate clinical settings. They highlighted the problems with existing support mechanisms and their hypothesis that a web based discussion forum could provide better support. Their case study showed positive outcomes for both the university staff and the 25 students involved with increased reflection in the students writing.

I presented next some of the findings related to Web 2.0 adoption or otherwise in UK universities delivering health sciences courses.


The final presentation of the morning was by Elaine Haycock-Stuart from the University of Edinburgh. She had worked with colleagues from Wright State University in Dayton Ohio, USA to provide students on both sides of the Atlantic who were studying Health & Society/Global Health with a shared discussion board to share knowledge and ideas. The experience had demonstrated increased technical skills and knolwedgeof health systems in different countries for both UK and US based students.



The last session I attended was Barry Eaglestone from the University of Sheffield who reported on work they had carried out to examine the Information searching behaviours of Lifelong Learners. He discussed the motivations and hypothesis for the research, carried out with 91 general public volunteers and the cognitive styles which were found to be relevant. He showed a query matching algorith which had been used with audio and keystroke logging.

Unfortunately I will be missing some of the final sessions of the conference as we need to start the trek to the airport for the journey back to the UK. In general it has been a well organised conference in a lovely setting. Some of the sessions have been interesting and have given me a few ideas, but most of the material has not been particularly cutting edge or innovative. I have met various friends old and new and made some interesting contacts whith whom I will be following a few things up after the conference.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

European Conference on e-Learning - Day 1

Today I'm attending the European conference on e-Learning at the Grecian Palace Hotel in Ayia Napa, Cyprus.

Following some delays at Heathrow yesterday we arrived at Larnaca airport to be greeted by a colleague who introduced us to his family who live locally and then took us for dinner in a traditional Cypriot taverna, where we tried a variety of local dishes.


The conference started in earnest this morning with a welcome from the chair George Papadopopolous from the University of Cyprus. Over 360 paper submissions had been received and 175 accepted - therefore will only be able to attend and give reports on a selection of the papers. Delegates for 33 countries (including several from outside the EU) have assembled fr the event, and there seems to be a large UK contingent, included some colleagues I didn't know were coming from the University of the West of England. The conference seems well organised and the setting is spectacular and warm - opening my bedroom window to look out on sunshine on the swimming pool and the Mediterranean was a great way to wake up.




The opening keynote address was given by Professor Thanasis Hadzilacos from the Open University of Cyprus. His talk entitled "What do educators care about e-learning environment architecture?" focused on the relationship between pedagogy and software architecture. He used analogies from art (Form v content) and biology (structure v function) to identify and illustrate what is general and what is special about technology used for education. The tensions between a course design and individualised learning were explored with a recognition that most learning is not the linear process dictated by modulkes, courses etc imposed by educational institutions.

The limitations of the write once, read many text, book format were described and a prgression seen to multimedia formats which are now being challenged by the need to students to have greater interactivity and mving to dynamic content which is developed by many and is never the same for 2 different participants. He concluded that we need to focus on what the learner does not on what the technology does.


The conference then split into streams and the first presentation I attended was by Frans Van Hoek from CINOP in the Netherlands who described a course he has developed for adult educations and youngsters with "low education" setting out the 7 steps model they have identified for information literacy, which is not just about digital literacy (IT) or information finding but takes the participants through the location, processing and using of information for different aspects of everyday life. He challenged the audience to decide if they are "information literate" and argued that lifelong learning is vital to stay information literate in a changing world.


After coffee I attended a session by Janina Radvilaviciute from Lithuania describing a system she has developed a learning system for the ECDL. She described how it was built and used by people with different levels of access administrator, manager, tutor & learner. Thesystem presents course materials, tests etc and has been used by over 1000 users in 3 yrs with learners achieving over 85% pas rates after using it.


The next session I wanted to attend on Providing autonomous hands-on learning and learner mobility using virtual computer technologies was canceled so I went to an interesting presentation by Lorenzo Sommaruga from the University of Applied Sciences of Southern Switzerland, describing an EU Lorenzo funded collaborative project on solid waste management (The Waste Train Project) highlighting blended learning in action. He described the training needs analysis for vocational learning across 9 countries with 8 languages. The project developed leaning materials and coordianted face to face delivery with tutors and students from all the countries and highlighted the different actors involved: author, tutor and course designer. He concluded by drawing together the lessons from the project which can be applied in other areas including the issues about coorodingation and communication with multiple actors in different geographical locations. It was interesting to see that the Web 2.0/communication tools provided were not used very much and he suggested this was because of the lack of familiarity of the tutors intriducing the materials to students.


My last session of the morning was a presentation by Lone Dirckinck-Holnfeld from Aalborg University who described some of the methodological and theoretical issues in the development of a community based Methodopedia as part of a wider EU funded blended learning project (see http://www.comble-project.eu/ ). Most of the presentation was about learning design and the issues of getting shared understanding and definition of the relevant terms.



After lunch I attended a presentation by Brigitte Grote from the Free University of Berlin who had been working with the humanities faculty to move from their existing established and supported use of elearning 1.0 to incorprate web 2.0 technologies. She used a couple of case studies to illustrate how mere document delivery via the web was being enhanced with interactive tools overcoming personal, organisational and technical issues to achieve high levels of uptake and satisfaction amongst students and staff.



The next session was June Clarke from Sheffield Hallam University in the UK, who described work her team have been undertaking to introduce and encourage academic staff use of Web2.0 tools. They hand delivered initiations (rather than email) to encourage those who may be less enthusiastic about their use to come to introductory sessions. 150 staff attended one of three sessions & got hands on experience with various Blackboard plugins for making quizzes, using adaptive release, blogs, wikis, podcasts and webcams. These had been successful and many of the staff who went to the sessions had used one or more of the tools, with good students acceptance and positive reviews.

During the tea break I've also had a look at who else is blogging from the conference and found:
* http://www.gurteen.com/gurteen/gurteen.nsf/id/ecel-2008
But no one else live blogging - if anyone is blogging from the event & reads this let me know & we can link to each others brogs to give a fuller flavour of the event.
I have had a chat with Roy Williams from Portsmouth who is recording the event on wikispaces http://ecel2008.wikispaces.com/


As we move towards the end of the day (it gets dark early in Cyprus) Sue Greener from Brighton Business School presented some of the findings from her recently completed PhD on the teachers role in elearning. Her work was based on a Community of Inquiry framework and chiefly related to asynchronous online learning. She highlighted issues of control and how shifting this from teacher to student may be challenging for some staff, leading to fear and opposition to the use of these tools.


My final session of the day was by Jonny Dyer (and Jean Jackson) from the Inclusion Trust humorously describing the development of an online community to attract disaffected kids back into education. Some of the issues with Key Stage 4 kids (from 13-16 years) and what is required for a true community were discussed in a Q&A format.


The sessions finished at 18.00 which gave time for a quick drink and a chat before boarding coaches to a "traditional taverna" for the conference dinner, which involved lots of dishes & more food than anyone could eat. The table I was at with delegates from Russia, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland and other countries I may have missed. Olga my Russian colleague who I was sitting next to found my English (more estuary than BBC) difficult to understand, but we still managed to communicate and I learned to say hello in Russian. Discussing the Nature v Nurture debate in (at least) 3 languages was an experience! Entertainment was provided by local musicians and some delegates even managed to getup and dance.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

XO Laptop, or One Laptop Per Child Project: An Extension Idea for a Sturdy Tool

I woke up at 4 a.m. thinking how great it one be to apply the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) XO Laptop (http://laptopgiving.org/en/explore.php) to several ideas.
  1. Educating children on health: It already has education as a mission, but I wonder how much of that is devoted to evidence-based health education practices? It uses gaming too, so it could also be adopted by groups such as Games for Health (http://www.gamesforhealth.org/). And, projects such as Re-Mission (http://www2.re-mission.net/) could be a model for how it teaches children compliance and self-care with other diseases.
  2. Medication Tracking and Compliance: In the US and other country rural areas, it could have something similar to the My-Medi-Health project, which aims to investigate and research methods for improving compliance among children. What about a module within it that has a personal health record? Or even one which encourages the child to document vital signs, medications, and treatments and then can beam it back to a provider's computer in the clinic? (http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/root/vumc.php?site=mymedihealth&doc=9495).
  3. A Remote Healthcare Provider Computer: This computer has incredible potential for remote areas for having a more robust electronic medical record. It could act as a repository for data until the healthcare provider could get back to a central computer and then, using its wireless abilities, beam them back into the main database (sync them up).
  4. Home Health Care for Rural Areas: As above, especially with nursing modules it could bring about cheaper care and bedside documentation for nurses in the field.
  5. Disaster Relief Use: What about developing a special model of this very durable PC for use in mass casualty disaster situations? Especially since it comes with a hand crank, and after disasters we often don't have battery and networking capabilities, note that it has a hand-crank to recharge and it has wireless social networking software built in. So, it could not only tell you where other healthcare providers are in the command zone, but share information on triage and treatment. Just a little retweaking of the system and it's ideal... especially because it is designed specifically for sturdiness, including water and sandproof and dropping and so on...
  6. Transcultural Care: The team using it are experts at symbolization and crossing language barriers. They could help develop a universal standard, or even several language algorithms, for helping international aid workers work together in mass casualty.
  7. Special Needs Children: I wonder how well it would work for autistic children and others within that spectrum, especially combined with http://www.zacbrowser.com/?
  8. Accessories: Could other equipment be developed to accompany it? For instance, a Wii Fit board to measure weight in the field, or something sturdier and just as cheap (the board itself is $87 retail or so bought directly, not through marked-up online vendors). Or, blood glucose monitoring devices and such? A blood pressure cuff?
  9. Field Database: Could a more remote version be created for use as field command centers? Even have database server versions, using the peer-to-peer wireless, to collect data? Not just for mass casualties, but healthcare in remote areas? Again, a sturdier, server version, but bring it back to the main computer and sync it up, perhaps in a healthcare truck, van, airplain, or helicopter or such? Valued data could be used for research, health care improvement, disease tracking, and even fundraising. Think of the value to groups like the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The CDC could really benefit from point-of-impact data collection.

What would it take to raise the money for it? Could the XO team help raise the money to form a separate group to investigate using it this way? Maybe even the Vanderbilt School of Nursing faculty and staff could be involved and find grants to make this happen? Maybe a research project for a grad student or two? Are there others who are interested in seeing this happen? Is it visionary?

Just some thoughts. Thanks for listening! - Richard Aries, MSN, RN, EMT

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"National" NHS elearning system

The British Journal of Healthcare Computing and Information Management is currently carrying a news story "NHS to deploy national system for elearning" about the provision of a National Learning Management System (NLMS) as part of the NHS Electronic Staff Record (ESR).

This will provide both individual employees and their managers access to each persons record of learning. The new system is supposed to be piloted from June 2008 and is expected to be made available nationally by September 2008.

It will be interesting to see if this "national" system for England will be able to exchange data and resources with the system currently being purchased for NHS Scotland, and whether any testing has been done to see whether the system can exchange records with the systems used in universities and other educational organisations which deliver much of the learning (and elearning) for NHS staff.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

HEA HS&P - elearning SIG Meeting

Today I'm attending an meeting of the HEA HS&P elearning special interest group at the University of Wolverhampton.

Pam Moule opened proceedings introducing key speakers, and I followed with an piece on Internet history & movng on to blogs & wikis. I lost the audience when they all started to edit the Wikipedia enries for their institutions.

Linsey Duncan-Pitt went next descrbing some of her experiences with students using blogs, in PebblePad & issues of confidentiality but having them put on an nstitutional sevrer which couldn't be seen by others from around the world. Comments were made about links to other resources such as Flickr. Other issues were about students using resources which they don't want tutors to see & the level of control. The discussion moved into ePortfolios & portability and interoperability issues.

The role of MUVEs in education was led by Tim Johnson & raised issues about immersive education and assessing attitudes. Unfortunately not everyone could go into second life but 4 players in the room were able to meet in Education Island & looked at the NHS Polyclinic.




The links Tim pointed out included:

Newnexus - http://newnexus.org/

Sloodle - http://slurl.com/secondlife/virtuALBA/252/212/33

Blood Typing Game - http://nobelprize.org/educational_games/medicine/landsteiner/index.html

SL-Labs - http://sl-labs.com/psychskills/

Educators Coop - http://educatorscoop.org/blog/?cat=4

Kar2ouche storyboards - http://www.immersiveeducation.com/downloads/kar2ouche/

America’s Army - http://www.americasarmy.com/

Hazmat Hotzone - http://www.etc.cmu.edu/projects/hazmat_2005/screenshots.php?page=0

Revolution - http://www.educationarcade.org/revolution

TruSim - http://www.trusim.com

Activeworlds - http://www.activeworlds.com/

Complex Wiki - http://complexworld.pbwiki.com/Immersive+experience

ACHUB - http://audiocourses.pbwiki.com/

Second Health - http://slurl.com/secondlife/NHS%20London/248/11/26/?x=400&y=300&img=http%3A//secondhealth.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/sh_hospital_med.jpg&title=Second%20Health%20Hospital&msg=Click%20the%20above%20to%20teleport%20to%20the%20Second%20Health%20Hospital

Lunch involved some interesting discussions about the different innovations (and attached problems) which people were experiencing.


After lunch Chris Turnock from Northumbria University described an FDTL4 project "Making Practice Based Learning Work". He set out the background relating to the preparation of practice educators and learning from the project. Towards the end of the project the need beyond healthcare for similar materials led to another web site http://www.learningintheworkplace.org/

The final part of the day was a meeting about the purposes and working practices of the group. An agreement was made to use the Moodle site within the SIG site to enahnce contacts, with 2 week discussions on particular topics. Paul Bartholomew who has recently taken up a post as elearning adviser to the subject centre agreed to take on much of the work which was suggested.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

PhD studentship in E-learning/Health Informatics

The University of the West of England, Bristol Centre for Learning and Workforce Research is currently advertsing a PhD studentship in E-learning/Health Informatics for UK/EU residents with a Masters degree or good honours degree (2:1 or above) in a relevant subject for a three year full time Doctoral Studentship starting in January 2008.

The Studentship includes a tax exempt annual stipend of £12,600 rising in line with UK Research Councils and covers annual tuition fees.

Proposals should relate to one or more of the following areas:

- Use of e-portfolios/ evaluation of e-portfolios

- Online Communities of Practice supporting professional working

- Application of handheld/mobile technologies in health and social care practice/education

- Technology based learning across further, higher education and health and social care boundaries

- Measuring attitudes of health and social care staff to the use of IT

- Evaluating practice change resultant from of the use of electronically available health information

- Impact of technology on management/ education in the health and social care arena

- Use of Web 2.0 technologies in health and social care education

Closing date for application is 01 October 2007

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Friday, May 04, 2007

JISC Web 2.0 - reflections

The final day, when we had much more interaction and actively-encouraged participation has lead to discussion of a whole host of interesting issues, including identity management, and the ethics of requiring students to use particular technologies. However, we probably needed to go through a lot of the earlier materials in the more structured manner.

It has been an interesting experience - hopefully some good ideas and recommendations can come out of it, and the Moodle fora will capture a lot of the ideas. Kudos to the organisers (Tom Franklin - franklin-consulting.co.uk/) and Mark van Harmelen (www.cs.man.ac.uk/~mark/).

If you want to look at the Moodle for asynchronous discussion, slides and audio recordings of presentations and Q&As at moodle.cs.man.ac.uk/web2 - you can self-register or use the guest login, (self) registration is required for contribution to the discussion.

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JISC webinar - Friday

Friday - last day of the Web 2.0 webinar already. Today provides for a round-up of the week, discussion of issues arising in terms of Web 2.0 use by institutions, and individuals, and consideration of 'where from here', especially in terms of what JISC might be asked to do. Once again, I will try to update this post at intervals over the time of the 'live' session.

One suggestion raised is that JISC might fund studies into different models for provision of Web 2.0 tools (eg external to institutions, internal hosting, or different blends), including the benefits and drawbacks. There seem to be plenty of Web 2.0 tools around, so it seems debatable that JISC might have any role in developing tools.

Some people suggest that we are still at the beginning of the learning curve on use of Web 2.0 in education; others suggest there is little quantitative evidence, but that there is some emerging qualitative data, at least on the issues that are emerging as important. Where institutions are providing tools, there seems, at present, not a great deal of take-up, and individual enthusiasts seem to be driving what work there is. Implications for pedagogy are still being explored. Issues of how to assess in Web 2.0 - especially in respect of groupwork - seem to be an important set of issues.

Do we need new assessment models and methods? How do we evaluate whether learners feel they have progressed, rather than assessment from the teacher's viewpoint?? If the pedagogic models are going to change, then who determines the nature of assessment/evaluation will doubtless change. Is assessment practice holding up the development of new pedagogic models?

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

EFQUEL seminar

I recently heard about an interesting seminar being organised by the EFQUEL(European Foundation for Quality in eLearning) in the Healthcare sector which has a working group of healthcare organisations all around Europe aiming to promote excellence and innovation in this strategic sector.

The event will be held on 16th May 2007 at The Faculty of Health and Wellbeing at Sheffield Hallam University, Broomgrove Rd., Sheffield, UK.

The meeting aims at bringing members of the WG and experts from the Fields of technology, education and training, research, industry and Governmental organisations together to discuss the Action Plan of the WG and the results after one and half year of activities.

The meeting themes are:

Theme 1: best experiences/practices of application of the quality system
(e.g. EFQM/ISO, Quality Mark of EFQUEL) in healthcare sector.

Theme 2: Innovate training and learning methods in healthcare system
(e.g. Food Safety, Clinical Audit, Patient e-Education)

Theme 3: Enhancing the Intellectual Human capital of the practitioners
And professionals in the healthcare system

The international seminar aims to promote the vision on the role of technology in promoting lifelong learning, innovation and desirable change in the healthcare sector.

The seminar themes are:

Theme 1: State of e-learning in Europe

Theme 2: Developing within e-learning in healthcare services

Theme 3: Quality Assurance Framework

Admission is free, but participants will be responsible for their own travel, accommodation and living expenses. A registration phase will be in operation from 2nd May to 14th May.

The registration includes lunches and coffees on 16 May 2007 and the Seminar Proceedings. Please note that the working language of the meeting and seminar will be English, and the seminar proceedings will be published in English only.

I would like to go but am busy on 16th May. If anyone would like to go contact:
Vince Ion on 07796 888573 or email: vince-ion@btconnect.com

& if you do go perhaps you'd like to feedback on this blog the key themes which are discussed.

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JISC webinar - Thursday

The topic for the penultimate day of the Web 2.0 webinar is 'Policy and strategy-concerns, issues, and suggestions relating to high-level HEI policy and strategy'. We had a few technical hitches yesterday, so today I've logged in early to the presentation. While waiting for the session to start, I've been browsing the Moodle discussion fora - which seem to perfectly demonstrate the '1% rule' (technology.guardian.co.uk/weekly/story/0,,1823959,00.html - 'It's an emerging rule of thumb that suggests that if you get a group of 100 people online then one will create content, 10 will "interact" with it (commenting or offering improvements) and the other 89 will just view it.') Although we have had up to 50 people 'participating' over the 3 days so far, we have few discussion posts in comparison.

An interesting survey is mentioned in the text-chat - on 'some real data on Web 2.0 use' - it is at >>> (University of Oxford).

The first speaker, David White, from TALL Technology-Assisted Lifelong Learning). His slides are at slideshare >>>. He talked about the 'edge of the institution' (eg Does the institution want to own or facilitate the ‘chat down the pub'?) and 'if everybody does their learning online, does e-learning become simply 'learning'? He suggests that Web 2.0 is changing the role of institutions' computer services, and that the future challenges will shift from the technological to the social, if these services offer e-learning and social spaces; their role might, he says, shift from provision to advice if students and staff are using services and applications outside the institution.

He asks whether it is a good thing for an academic to have a posting on Wikipedia, and presented some interesting results from the survey mentioned above.

People are listening actively, as we get a steady stream of input from the text-chat boxes (and instant reaction sometimes) - maybe the Moodle being not linked directly makes it a link too far for people to go to and use?

The second speaker is Chris Adie, from University of Edinburgh, looking at institutional policies on externally hosted Web 2.0 services. His materials are also at slideshare >>>. He touched on some interesting legislative issues affecting the link between the institution and the external service provider (eg Data Protection re: supplying student details to external bodies, Freedom of Information and Disability Discrimination Acts, sharing data outside the EU). University regulations (eg on assessment) might impact links with external providers in the case of online assessed materials (eg will the material still be available in 4-5 years time when the student finally graduates?). A whole set of interesting questions.

One issue raised was the assessment of student-created Wikipedia entries, for example, and how copies or the history might be tracked - one participant turned things on their head and asked whether one assessment criteria might be not whether the entry remains stable, but how much it is changed by others - interesting.


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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

JISC webinar - Wednesday

The theme for today's session of the week-long webinar is 'Learning and Teaching', with Tom Franklin and Mark van Harmelen, who are the main organisers/facilitators of the whole set of activities, as the speakers.

Tom Franklin began by talking about the typical trajectories of new technologies, from them being new and not well understood, and people tending to use them to repeat old ways of working, but then through a phase of beginning to enhance old ways of working, through transforming work, and to them being mature, well understood, and a co-evolution of work and technology. He suggests Web 2.0 technologies in learning are still at an early stage where they are still not understood. He presented a slide comparing old learning to new (www.slideshare.net/Downes/understanding-learning-networks) and also exploring new forms of teaching; he says almost all teaching today is driven by the assessments (from teacher and student perspectives); whether this will change or not, he is a little sceptical.

In looking at how things might be done differently (and whether the new technologies can really allow us to do anything new), he looked at sharing of results/data from different groups/studies, and may lead to cross-disciplinary work; sharing resources between students (eg over several years), through course-based social bookmarking; collaborative work and co-design. He ended by presenting a dystopian view for discussion from last week's 'Observer' newspaper (>>>) in which 'in which people endlessly Google themselves and expertise counts for nothing; online communities gather merely to confirm their own prejudices; internet television purports to showcase amateur talent but is dominated by corporate marketing; newspapers are driven to the wall by online advertising and news sites edited at the whimsical click of a mouse; and knowledge of history and literature becomes smothered by an avalanche of blogs from self-obsessed teenagers.'

Mark explored some basic issues around what kinds of values we wish to promulgate in our learners; he supports the empowerment of learners, to work independently and in groups, who engage in lifelong learning. He discussed/promoted the ideas of Vygotsky (social constructivism) and Papert (constructionism), and in his work promotes working in teams, using critical incident analysis. He suggests that, if we are to 'grow' independent learners, we need to foster meta-cognitive skills, and need to find ways to develop groupwork assessment. He concludes (as an enthusiast for Web 2.0) that Web 2.0 on its own will not solve the problems, but may work as catalytic tools in conjunction with developing the new pedagogies.



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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

JISC webinar - Tuesday

The second day of the JISC Web 2.0 webinar - today the topic is 'Content Sharing'. The two speakers are Brian Kelly (UKOLN at Bath) and Graham Atwell (Pontydysgu). I am going to try 'blogging live' during the presentations.

Brian's talk is titled 'Content creation: Web 2.0 is providing the solution'; his presentation material is available on the UKOLN website at >>> He began with the proposition that our students are using third party Web 2.0 services already (eg Facebook, GMail, etc), and are often a lot better than those provided by universities' IT services. Even though many Web 2.0 services are in 'perpetual beta' (as opposed to the 'frozen' services provided locally by institutions), he suggests that this is akin to education where we should all be continually improving, ie in 'perpetual beta'. His talk focused on a range of issues around in-house development of services and using external providers, links, etc.

Graham's talk was titled 'Content creation and open educational resources' (delivered from Bremen in Germany). Open educational resources (OER - coined by OECD) is about creation and provision of open source tools, software, content, standards etc. He suggests that the biggest challenge of Web 2.0 to institutions is the concept of openness (as most education is based on closed, restrictive paradigms). Dimensions of openness are easy discovery, re-use, learnability, and community (to support the resources). He suggests some OERs have been very successful (eg the MIT open resources), but there are also challenges, as many repositories are not widely used, or re-used.


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JISC Web 2.0 webinar

As this blog is about elearning as well as health informatics, a somewhat different tack from me for a change. All this week (April 30 - May 4), I am taking part in a webinar organised by JISC (www.jisc.ac.uk), the UK higher education body that provides the JANET academic network and supports/promotes use of information and communications technologies in education.

The webinar is using a mix of live sessions (one hour lunchtime sessions with speakers and live Q& A sessions) and Moodle-based discussion fora (yes, they use 'fora' , not 'forums'). The live sessions use Instant Presenter (www.instantpresenter.com).

I will try and post a daily overview of the discussions and issues arising - the one for yesterday will be late.

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