Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Laser Cut Biscuits

This was a projects at the last pre-fab event at LJMU

Lol Baker helped me cut the ginger nut shapes, when linked together they make a range of structures.
It could have been improved by making the cuts deeper into the biscuits and not cutting round the edge of the biscuits.

The design is based on tasos

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Wednesday, 22 December 2010

organisational trust - research notes

Newton's conclusion is that implementation of policy is always interpretive.

Newton (2002) Barriers to Effective Quality Management and Leadership

This paper is looking specifically at two 'problem' departments in one university. Note: Newton has written on this area before perhaps this is an author to have a closer look at. It's uses Handy's psyc contracts (1984 1993) as a basis for examination

Impact of quality in H.E. The Trowler paper (1994) looks at HE rise of management and withdrawal of trust

"Martin Trow (1996) accountability is an alternative to trust, and efforts to strengthen it usually involve parallel efforts to weaken trust, and he adds that accountability and cynicism about human behaviour go hand in hand. So we can see that quality assessment and accreditation can also be used as a replacement for trust in institutions."

the connection of growth of quality 'industry and burden' and de-professionalisation of academic

2. the conceptualisation of leadership and change

There has been a slow movement from McNays' (1995) 'collegiality' of close cultural values and shared beliefs to more clored groups exemplified by Bechers' (1989) 'tribes and territories'. Changes as seen as managed or analysed for Brunes (1996) changes cannot be planned for but must be emmergent in order to cope with complexity

Newton (2002) uses Geertz (1973) 'thin' to thick' descriptions Using a 5 year ethnographic study, with questionnaires, tape-recorded interviews and desk research of institutional documents. Geertz, C., (1973). The interpretation of cultures: selected essays. New York, Basic Books

The two departments in Newton's study (2002) are sceptical over new quality and pull against it for a range of different reasons. Relating this to psychological contract, Handy's definition 'sets of expectations, between individuals and the different sub-organisations to which they relate within the organisation as a whole"

Ramsden (1995) discusses the implications of the seemingly permanent institutional angst.

198 199

Marris (1975, p156) change is like bereavement - there is a natural process that must be allowed to happen. Trying to ignore this will not help the process or speed it up

4.4 reciprocal accountability and mutual trust

Quality systems can be seen as a distrust of staff ability.

Ramsden (1998) see aspects of academic culture allowing misunderstandings to take place p110

Meade (1997 p3) it's all about good leadership members of the university community experience a climate that promotes a sense of trust, and hence a willingness to engage in change for improvement.

Meade, P. H., (1997). Challenges facing universities: quality leadership and the management of change. Dunedin, University of Otago

Harvey (1995 p 35) new collegialism and cloisterism are opposite ends of openness spectrum

lipsky 1980 street level bureaucrats - no management system can totally control this group, they implement the process at the sharp end. What is needed in stressing ownership and self assessment

middlehurst and gordeon 1995 unis as loosely-coupled systems (Weick 1976)

conclusion - implementation of policy is always interpretive


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Thursday, 16 December 2010

Top 10 Strategies for a Successful E-Learning Project

By Mark Steiner

Today’s wide blend of technologies enables an extraordinary range of cognitive, affective, and social enhancements of learning capabilities. Advances in collaborative learning and experiential simulation enable a variety of guided and inquiry-based learning that cross the barriers of distance and time. Through a mixture of instructional media, learners and educators can experience synchronous and asynchronous interactions.

This article focuses primarily on asynchronous learning, specifically constructing self-paced e-learning courses, though these strategies could be applied to a variety of learning design and development situations. Designing and developing robust, effective e-learning is not easy. Many tasks, roles, and tools are required to complete the process successfully. Here are 10 of the fundamentals critical to success.

  1. Educate the client on the fundamentals of e-learning. Regardless of a client’s level of e-learning awareness or sophistication, an educational process must occur. This is true whether it is an internal or external client. Even among experienced professionals within this industry, individuals undoubtedly have varying nomenclature regarding roles, processes, and tools. It is essential to educate your client on roles, processes, tools, options, costs, feasibility, and consequences to ensure all parties are operating on similar assumptions and guidelines. You and your client should approach the endeavor as a partnership. Assist your client in realizing what an integral part it is to the process. Build trust with your client by providing it with sensible, honest, pragmatic expertise. However, don’t be afraid to exert control and don’t be afraid to say no. Remember it’s your responsibility to set and control the client’s expectations.
  2. Determine the actualtraining need or gap. If training is not the solution to the problem, you are guaranteed to fail. It is doubtful either you or your client desire such an outcome. To help ensure determination of the actual deficiency, perform a thorough analysis, working closely with your client. Begin your analysis with what your client thinks is wrong, then dig deeper, utilizing your previous experiences, education, and intuition. There are a variety of resources that can assist individuals and organizations in enhancing and strengthening their analysis process.
  3. Define your process and communicate it, focusing on key review points in the cycle. The design and development of e-learning is often a complicated collision of ideas, tools, roles, people, technology, and desired outcomes. You and your client want predictable results. A well-defined, reliable process is the clearest way to get the desired results. What activities are to occur? When will they occur? Which ones must be completed before other activities can begin? It is important to make your client aware of its responsibilities: specifically inputs, review cycles, and corresponding impacts.
  4. Identify all key project personnel and define and communicate their roles. Now that a process has been identified and we know what will happen when, we need to know who will be doing the “whats.” Roles may include buyer, acceptor, reviewer, program lead, project lead, subject matter experts, instructional designer, developer, graphic artist, animator, audio/video specialist, etc. Regardless of the size of your company or project, roles must be filled. Maybe it’s the case that some individuals will be wearing multiple hats, but someone has to fill all of the necessary roles. It is essential to establish who signs off on what items at the beginning of the project. Also, it’s best to have a single point of contact for acceptance. Acceptance by committee is too often slow, painful, and expensive.
  5. Perform a comprehensive and realistic analysis regarding the technical needs and specifications of the project. Examine your client’s technical infrastructure. This often means working closely with IT. Does it have a learning management system (LMS)? What standards does it use for tracking? How many users? How media-rich will the e-learning be? Are there limits regarding high-bandwidth media? What kind of network transfer rates can be expected? What are past examples it considers successful?
  6. Perform a thorough analysis regarding the content of the e-learning and the specific instructional treatments. Set realistic goals for the program. Most teams usually don’t have a James Cameron Avatarbudget, but regardless of cost constraints, strive to make interactions meaningful, engaging, and relevant, mimicking the desired end behaviors. Clicking the Next button to continue is notconsidered meaningful interactivity. Creating engaging e-learning is hard work. Align the learning objectives with instructional themes, rehearsals, evaluations, and remediations that have been selected during the design.
  7. Specifically define your deliverables. How else do you know when you’re done? There are a variety of questions regarding the project scope that must be answered during the analysis and design phases: How much research and instructional design is required? What is the course structure? How many types and amounts of interactions? How many types and amounts of media? How many types and amounts of rehearsals? How many types and amounts of evaluations? Also, if it’s a blended project, keep in mind any potential collateral materials such as job aids, administrator’s and users guides, duplication costs, etc.
  8. Acquire an intimate knowledge of your development tools. Obtain or develop experts in key areas such as: project management, instructional design, graphic design, e-learning authoring tools, Web infrastructure, audio/video, SCORM and related standards, and newer methods such as mlearning and using social media. All of these areas are critical to the success of your project. If your team cannot adequately cover all areas, consider contracting outside resources that will both perform the required work andteach your team to be self-sufficient.
  9. In addition to the purely technical considerations of an e-learning project, also consider the unique aspects of interface design and media types and sizes when designing e-learning. Employing a graphic designer to create an effective interface, with custom buttons and eye-pleasing color schemes and assets is worth the expense. First impressions are critical to the learners and the e-learning product you are producing reflects the company and organization it is supporting. It’s a shame to see programs that have wonderful instructional design, but the 5 to 10 percent of the budget that should have been spent on a professional graphics talent was omitted. Other items to consider are the use of proper color palettes; your choice of file formats for graphics, audio, animation, and video; file-naming conventions and directory structures.
  10. Test your application early and often, from both a user and technical perspective. Don’t wait until two days before delivery to test your application in the actual environment it will be delivered. The concept of testing your application cannot be overemphasized. Hopefully, during the technical analysis phase, course components and requirements were aligned with the delivery environment. Still, testing should be done early and often to ensure operability and minimize unpleasant surprises. Also, from a human factors engineering (or usability) standpoint, test your application with learners. Don’t wait until you are out of time and money to find out if you have a flawed design. Test prototype versions of your program which contain key sample interactions, interfaces, and navigation schemes with actual learners early and often.

In summary, creating e-learning is complicated: project management, instructional design, interface design, Web design, a bevy of authoring tools and languages, 2-D and 3-D animations, audio, video, internet, intranet, extranet, browsers, plug-ins, SCORM and AICC standards, and oh, yes. . .changing learners’ behaviors and ensuring client satisfaction. Whether you have a large team or a small team or whether you are corporate or academic, keep these tips in mind to find a scalable, repeatable process that works for you.

Mark Steiner is president of learning solutions firm mark steiner, inc. Visit for more information.

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[ALT] Blogging in HE - a good example of a academic blog

Simon Brookes

Senior Lecturer at Portsmouth University. Professional interestes include Enterprise Education, Alternate Reality Games and technology for teaching.

I have been using the Posterous blog platform as a formative

learning/reflection tool for my classes for a couple of years now.

Posterous is great because students can email contributions to the blog

directly (and include images, movies etc) without needing access to the

blog interface.

The way I use it is pretty simple.  We do activities in class

(lecture/workshop) then I task the students with "homework" which

normally involves some form of personal application of the classroom

learning.  They summarise this as a blog post.

You can see my current cohort's efforts here:

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Embedding blended learning - the key processes

You’ve probably seen this before but I thought it worth raising as evidence for a carpe diem approach.

The undergraduate experience of blended e-learning: a

review of UK literature and practice

Rhona Sharpe, Greg Benfield, George Roberts, Richard

Francis The Higher Education Academy – October 2006

Key recommendations

Use the term blended learning. Although difficult to define, the term ‘blended

learning’ is finding acceptance among higher education staff. We suggest that

the advantages of the term include its poor definition - which allows staff to

negotiate their own meaning - the implication of the protection of face to face

teaching, and the implication of designing for active learning.

Work with and within your context. We found that institutions who we had

identified as successful implementers of blended e-learning had highly

contextualised and specific rationales for their adoption of technology.

Similarly, successful local implementations were often in response to a real

relevant issues occurring at the course level.

Use blended learning as a driver for transformative course redesign. The

importance of transformative course level designs was identified as one of

three characterisations of blended e-learning. Throughout the review, staff

repeatedly identified engaging in course redesign as critical to their success.

The valuable features of the course redesign were identified as: undertaking

an analysis of the current course, collecting and making use of student

feedback, undertaking the design as a team, designs which make explicit

their underlying principles, and developing the course iteratively over a

number of years.

Help students develop their conceptions of the learning process. It seems to

be important how students conceive of their engagement with the learning

processes and activities within a blended e-learning context. In order to

support students, it is vital that we are consistent and transparent in

communicating our expectations about, for instance, attendance patterns or

how to engage in purposeful dialogue in asynchronous discussions.

Disseminate and communicate results of evaluations. The need to coordinate,

promote and disseminate results from evaluations was identified as

a crucial aspect of monitoring institutional strategies and course redesigns.”

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empirical evidence that designs of classroom lead to deeper learning

A study from the US highlights that, the change in design of classrooms and in the change in teaching practice within those rooms leads to higher grades. Although there is limited budget for us to develop these types of rooms further, we should be reassured by this study that the rooms developed are having an impact.

See here for details

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clickers - the braver new world

Check out this video

This brings together such a variety of social media to help direct and focus the f-2-f sessions. Of course it would take huge amount of work to build students appetite for this level of engagement but perhaps with the introduction at level 1 across a programme you could see students getting involved on a deeper level. Perhaps with is what Trowler and the HEA were looking for in their recent paper on student engagement

See here for more information

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turnitin references

Mary Davis collection of research from JISC Plagiarism mailing list


Davis, M. and Carroll, J. (2009). ‘Formative feedback within plagiarism education: is there a role for text-matching software?’ International Journal of Educational Integrity 5(2). Available at


Davis, M. (2009). ‘The role of Turnitin within the formative process of EAP: a tool for global academic culture’ in BALEAP 2007 Conference Proceedings


Davis, M. and Yeang, F. (2008) ‘Encouraging international and dyslexic students to develop more learning strategies for writing through the use of Turnitin’ BeJLT 2(3) November 2008. Available at:


Davis, M. (2008) ‘Using Turnitin to provide powerful formative feedback’. ASKe 123 Guide, Oxford Brookes University. Available at


Davis, M. (2007) ‘The role of Turnitin within the formative process of academic writing: a tool for learning and unlearning’. BeJLT 2 (2) October 2007. Available at



Davis, M., Emerson, L. and Carroll, J. (2007).’The use of electronic detection systems for learners. Is there a pedagogic argument or are we just teaching them to cheat?’ European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction at Budapest 28 August-1 September 2007, 12th biennial conference. Abstract available at:


Davis, M. (2007). ‘Creating learning and unlearning opportunities from Turnitin in the process of academic writing’ ‘Designing for learning’ - E-Learning Conference at University of Greenwich, 4 July, 2007  Paper details at


Cohen, J. (2010). Using Turnitin as a formative writing tool. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, (2) pp1-14. Available at:

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Useful round up of empirical evidence of factors influencing student engagement

HEA report by trowler. This was commissioned to explore how influential student membership in course design, development and evaluation is to general student engagement. But there seems to be little or nothing out there. So this study has concentrated on empirical studies on general student engagement. Most of this stuff is from the US. trowler points out that concentrating on empirical means many interesting and useful studies were dropped. influencing factors 1. Staff-student contact
2. Active learning 3. Prompt feedback 4. Time on task
5. High expectations 6. Respect for diverse learning styles 7. Co-operation amongst students.

So what would be the opposite of a highly engaging course experience

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Tuesday, 14 December 2010

UK creative economy report commissioned by Universities UK

This report summarises the findings of research commissioned by Universities UK into the role and

contribution of higher education in the UK’s creative economy. The research gathered evidence from

existing data and research as well as case study analysis and contributions from industry, higher

education and public sector partners.

The findings demonstrate not only the crucial role that higher education plays in the UK creative

economy, but also why that contribution will become increasingly important to economic recovery.

During the latter stages of writing this report, it became evident, through the Independent Review of

Higher Education Funding and Student Finance (Browne Review) and the subsequent announcements

in the UK Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review, that it is likely that all direct public funding

for teaching in universities, at least in England, could be withdrawn from the majority of subjects

which support the creative industries. The importance of the creative industries to the economy, and

the importance of the higher education sector in underpinning the strength of the creative industries,

means that the arguments presented in this report are even more timely and relevant.

Addressing the barriers to successful engagement

Recommendation 1: Governments in the UK and the devolved nations should recognise the critical

importance of the creative industries to future competitiveness and the key role of higher education

in supporting their growth. This means according the creative industries policy emphasis in line

with their economic importance, and investing to ensure that the UK maintains its strong global

position in these industries. This investment should be prioritised through a clearly articulated

and aligned strategy.

Recommendation 2: In the forthcoming higher education white paper (due to be published in spring

2011), the Government should resist the narrow view that STEM subjects represent the exclusive

route to economic success, and should instead recognise the fact that STEM and creativity are

inextricably linked – successful knowledge economies need strength in both. In practice, this

means that the disciplines which support the creative economy should be identified as priority

subjects and attract public investment for teaching in a post-Browne environment. This is

particularly urgent in England and Wales, but is equally relevant in the other devolved nations.

Recommendation 3: Key industry bodies should ensure that the creative industries are included

in their engagement with government in the UK and the devolved nations.

Recommendation 4: Government and the research councils should ensure adequate funding

for research in disciplines relevant to the creative industries. This should include social science

research into the nature of the creative economy. Research assessment mechanisms should also

ensure that the outputs and impacts of creative industries-related research are fully recognised

and rewarded. Indeed, the REF expert panels, reporting to HEFCE on the outcomes of the impact

pilot exercise, have recommended that a broader definition of impact be adopted and that the

initial list of impacts need to be developed further, especially for the arts and humanities.

Recommendation 5: Universities should work to address the structural barriers to

multidisciplinary working. There is no single solution to these issues and different institutions

will need to find the approach that works best for their circumstances.

Recommendation 6: Higher education should work to overcome some of the process barriers to

working with the creative industries, particularly relating to the nature and speed of interaction.

This will require changes to the ways in which academic performance is rewarded to allow

more interaction with creative (and other) SMEs, as well as a willingness to create more flexible

organisational structures to support this. This will also require policy support from the national

and devolved governments and from the funding councils.

Recommendation 7: Encouragement and support for university-business interaction should be

a priority issue for the new Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in England, and for the main

economic development agencies in the devolved nations.

Recommendation 8: Intermediary bodies such as trade associations and industry groups (including

Sector Skills Councils) should work to raise awareness of the benefits to industry of working with

higher education across all forms of knowledge exchange activity.

Recommendation 9: Sector Skills Councils should work in partnership with the higher education

sector and industry to articulate and translate the skills needs of employers, broker relationships,

increase engagement and facilitate coinvestment.

Recommendation 10: Universities should continue to develop flexible policies towards

intellectual property rights so that this is not a barrier to effective knowledge exchange with

the creative industries.

Investing in opportunity

Recommendation 11: Third-stream funding, in particular from the Higher Education Innovation

Fund (HEIF), has been critical in supporting knowledge exchange between universities and the

creative industries. Government and the funding councils across the UK should ensure ongoing

support for these third-stream activities, for example through a reformed HEIF, to continue

to build innovative solutions to knowledge exchange.

Recommendation 12: There should be increased investment into multidisciplinary research

projects across the three main research councils with interests in the creative economy – the Arts

and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). In particular AHRC should be

resourced to participate fully in new cross-council initiatives.

Recommendation 13: Universities should continue to develop multidisciplinary education at

postgraduate levels, bringing together creativity, technology and business. The links between

the undergraduate and postgraduate provision are such that the viability of this multidisciplinary

activity is threatened by the anticipated withdrawal of public funding for creative (and business)

disciplines at undergraduate level. The Government should consider these issues as it reforms

future higher education funding in England following the Browne Review.

Recommendation 14: Universities should structure new ways of interacting with the disparate

sectors that make up the creative industries. Networks and subscription-based models offer

potential to aggregate industry demand and are worth considering, not least because they

can unlock the willingness of SMEs to contribute themselves.

Recommendation 15: Working through the Sector Skills Councils and other industry bodies and

trade associations, the creative industries should build productive working relationships with

higher education and contribute to the development of relevant educational provision.

Recommendation 16: Universities must continue to develop world-beating talent, but with

increasing focus on industry exposure, employability and entrepreneurship. This will mean

action on the development of consistent standards for industry experience and entrepreneurship

education as well as continuing to engage employers in new models of interaction that deliver

mutual benefit.

Recommendation 17: Creative businesses should work in partnership with universities to

develop opportunities for industry placements, live briefs and practical experience for students

at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Recommendation 18: Universities should continue to develop high-level and affordable CPD

for the creative industries through more flexible, tailored courses that meet industry needs.

Recommendation 19: There is scope for industry to work with universities and public sector

partners to build regional creative industries clusters and support innovation. Although higher

education is a powerful and natural partner for this, the support of industry and the relevant

public bodies (for example LEPs) is essential.

Recommendation 20: There should be ongoing support for the Skillset Media Academies, with

Skillset continuing to play a coordinating role on strategic network development.

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Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Developments in online feedback - designing a deeper understanding for students

This mini case study highlights the importance of a joined up approach for a department in tackling an issues as large as this and developing a wide range of initiatives that link together to bring about change

This psychology department got poor NSS results for feedback, they obviously looked at this issue deeply and then used online tools as well as other methods such as a programme wide workshop for students on learning from feedback.

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Friday, 3 December 2010

The ultimate checklist for learning and teaching innovation?

I'm ready Trowler's 'cultures and change in HE. his ideas focus on the need to reconnect L&T policy with local level cultures and practice. the ideas from learning organizations feature strongly. He lays out what a learning organization consists of, and then key questions that HEIs need to ask themselves. I paraphrase tham here. See pp123
1. Does my uni have the capacity to indentify its mistakes error or deficiencies? Is there a form process for doing this? 2. is my uni open to new ideas and alternative ways of doing things? Does it do this in a systematic way or on-the-fly. Does it research possible answers. 3. When alternatives are proposed does it move dirrectly to design policy, or does it work first on how to implementation processthat will truly engage, develop and change practice.
4. Does it think about holistic, sustainable, institution level change, or is it happy with enthusiastic individual level.

So are these the right questions to ask?
Trowler sums up pp127 answers to questions would offer
'robust systems and structures which would give organizational learning sustainabililty. When in place it should allow the institution to identify errors and problems as well as solve them; it will help the institution to learn from its own experience as well as learning from others, it will facilitate experimentation with new approaches and tranfer of knowledge, and finally it will enable the institution to measure its own learning and the progress made.'

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Thursday, 25 November 2010

Symbolic violence - bourieu 1998

This is where control is disguised, to the point that the controlled and even the controllers do not recognise it. Within this disguise is a form of control that allows it to remain hidden, as if it were designed not to be spoken about. It is systematic and may evolve, and will not be planned but come about, even though is may not benefit either party.

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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Students creating a questions for peers to answer


This is a very interesting idea. I know of a case study where level 3 students, as part of their summative assessment, write MCQs for level 1. These questions are then reviewed and marked on s specific criteria by the tutor, and the best ones are used with level 1 students.

There are a couple of different ways of doing this.

How many students?

Would it all be in one test, or separate test presented by each student?

How many questions per student?

Would the students be collating the marks, or do you what to do this?

Will the results be anonymous

Version 1 ‘clickers’

Small group, small number of questions, quick turn around in question-to-feedback, MCQ type questions

Students write the questions using turningpoint software, available on the network. These slides can then be copied and pasted into one big powerpoint presentation. All the students attending session get a clicker and answer questions, student who wrote the question stands up and says which was the right answer and why.

Advantages – ensures participation, students can ask questions and get feedback from you or the writer of the question

Disadvantage – have to organise session, book out clickers, session might drag on depending on numbers of students and questions.

Guide - Clickers (Classroom Voting Systems)

Version 2 ‘Survey monkey’

Large group, large number of questions, students manage the collating of results, allows wide range of question types

Students use this free online tool, create their questions, distribute to urls via blackboard. Students answer questions, and receive any feedback that the student provided. Students can review results.

Advantages – good for large groups, students manage the whole process promoting independence

Disadvantage – students might get questionnaire fatigue and not answer them all. This is an external service, and student will be required to submit details in order to create an account – so there are data protection issues. Answers are anonymous

Version 3 ‘BOS’ Bristol Online Survey

Large group, large number of questions, students manage the collating of results, allows wide range of question types

This is the same as the version above only this is ljmu hosted service, so no DP issues.

Guide - BOS (Bristol Online Survey)

Version 4 EXCEL and Blackboard

Large group, large number of questions, MCQ question type only, marks are not anonymous, staff member collates the marks

Students create a very simple excel spread sheet, which is sent to tutor. The tutor then uses a special blackboard tool to import the excel spread sheets. This create a single quiz or multiple quizzes in blackboard. Student can then do the online tests. The marks for the tests can be collated and are not anonymous. Students get basic feedback on what the right answer was

Advantages – good for large groups, marks are not anonymous, questions are easily reviewed by staff member, questionnaires can be randomised so students don’t all sit the same quiz but all do the same number of questions

Disadvantage – tutor has to upload questions (which is only a couple of clicks), questions don’t contain feedback

Guide - Creating questions in excel and uploading them into blackboard

Further Advice

Best practice would point for students to understand the basics of writing a good MCQ question

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Monday, 22 November 2010

ljmu e-learning forum on open-learning objects

Theme: “The BIG Share” Open Learning Resources

Institutions are starting to open up their resources to the wider world, projects that enable open sharing of content are happening across the sector, making content available on the web supporting your teaching and learning.

This e-learning forum will concentrate on these emerging resources. If will give the background context, discuss the educational implications, provide examples within the institution and provide support for you to look for yourself. 


David Kernohan (JISC) Virtual Presentation Via Wimba

David Kernohan has worked for JISC since 2006, latterly being involved in managing the UKOER programmes and related work. He's worked for HEFCE, and "has stories" about CETLs, FDTL and professional standards for HE teaching staff, and once upon a time ran staff development events, lectured in Music Technology, and prepared for QAA audits. He also blogs on educational openness and policy at and keeps a running commentary on twitter as dkernohan.

Traci Hudson (HEA) Module/Programme leader. Joint Teaching and Learning Co-ordinator

Traci will be discussing how nursing courses at LJMU are using resources developed by Nottingham University.

Ruth Nagus (ECL) ECL Faculty Learning Technologist

Ruth will be discussing how education courses are embedding a range of external resources to support learning.

Alex Spiers (AEU) – Learning Technology Officer

iTunesU – Alex will be discussing the current LJMU development project for the introduction of this service.

Katherine Harbord (MAS) – Senior Lecturer

Katherine will be discussing her use of open learning resources to support her students

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iPad homemade teleprompter

I love this video,

There are more basic ones that don’t require an ipad made from wood – but I just love the reuse of the ipad packaging and the whole simplicity.

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Squarepusher, scott mcCloud and educational innovation/creativity

Scott mccloud is an american comic book writer. I only know his books on the history and culture of comics, which are innovatively written as comic books. In the second of these, using only a few frames he describes the journey a someone makes when developing within a field. I'm making a very short summary here. We become skilled enough to become part of the group, this takes several steps,then we become highly skilled, equivalent to a master crafts man, but are only really copying what has come before. Then we become aware of the practice we are in and see areas for innovation, then we become aware of ourselves in the group. Finally we become aware of the group as if standing outside looking in. this is the final level, which many do not reach. This simplified version does do the comic panels justice, however, scott captures the journey from newbie to accomplish artist, from student to phd, from new academic to high level research, and from student lecturer to innovative lecturer.
It has all the levels of Biggs' SOLO taxonomy and the practice community of wenger. in an interview with bbc culture show the highly innovative bassplyer Squarepusher, talks about the way he approaches the instrument. to sum t is up it somewhere between knowing everything about the instrument and how it is played now, and rejecting all these in order to play it as if you have never hear or see it before 'like a monkey' as he puts it. This sessms a very obscure reference, but in particular approach to innovation we need space to play, a high level of skill and knowledge of the field, but also the confidence to reject established practice. I present these as interesting ways of thinki about innovation. They have connection and links with academic research in this areabut also jump out at me as a different way of thinking about it.

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Friday, 19 November 2010

It's so obvious, adoption happens at a local level, so issues, policy and response must be cated there - Trowler notes

Trowler uses so vignettes to illustrate this. The india nation 'blackboard' campaign tried to improve teaching practice with packs of training materials and teacher training. it had very little impact. It was seen as 'proving a remedy to the wrong ailment' and 'confirming to an ideal' where the reality was completely different.
NewU brings in a policy to broaden the student experience with elective modules. Staff find creative to conform to this policy but without offering any electives. There are even cases on 'compulsory elective'.
This localised adaptation can lead to real problems Analysis of the shuttle disaster was connected to a 'the normalisation of deviance'. Health and safety procedures were adapted over time and through a social process that allowed it to become acceptable.
Trowler cultures and change in h.e. P42

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Thursday, 18 November 2010

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Useful ref for the social appropriation of technology

As tools are adopted by different cultures they become part of that culture, have a history and a social significance which can be contrary to the original intention.

They are almost always 'domesticated' [bakhin 1981]

They are 'marked' with a rich history and context [de certeau 1984]

So in the introduction of tools it is not just a problem of learning the techniques, it is being very mindful of the context, the change in power relationships 'the deeper social significance' [wertsch 1998 p66

But individuals + tools + skills are all iner-dependent. And a difficult to transfer. wertsch use the metaphor, learn to ride one bike and you can ride then all. But this is rare for tools and skill toe so transferable. The complexity of contexts makes it so.

From trowler 'cultures and change in higher ed'

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Tuesday, 16 November 2010

A focus on the workgroup, notes from trowler book

The missing level of analysis is the meso level, as opposed to institution or individual. But this is simply a choice, by looking at this you are not fundermentally changing the nature of what you are looking at on the level of the 'figure' and its 'ground'
In looking at the individual, you recognise, explore and record the context.

Structure and agency in workgroups
Socialisation of teachers and lectures is very strong. They come with ready made symbols , guiding metaphors and beliefs that are hard to change. [entwistle et al 2000]

Here is a useful reference of the idea of institutionalisation berger and luckman 1967. 'gradual hardening of behaviour into taken-for-granted patterns'

'the interaction between structure and agency, between forces in social life which impose regularity on our behaviour and our ability to operate freely is what giddens calls 'structuration'.' .... 'people are carriers and creators of webs of meaning'

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Monday, 15 November 2010

Sociocultural understanding of teaching learning and assessment

Using a quote by tyack and Cuban 1995, Trowler highlights that deep culture stifles deep change. Proposition one - He uses fences and wells analogies to look at meaning and significance. Proposition two – "people's interaction with objects (tools technologies) is socially mediated: the objects themselves may influence the nature of social reality in significant ways"
Proposition three – "workgroups develop sets of discursive repertoires, which both express social realities and operate to constrain and delimit them."
Proposition four – "work groups develop unique ways of using the tools available to them and a context-specific understanding of aspects of their project"
Proposition five – "individual identities, or subjectivities, are similarly mediated and conditioned by social context."
Proposition six – "historical background, or least narratives about the past constructed by participants, has very significant influences on the social life in the present" (notes to self. This could be a really interesting area to explore in a study)
"any attempt to generalise across social contexts is fraught with danger" pp18 this is a great trawler quote and urges us all to take care in working across organisations. "Sociocultural and psychological approaches: the need for rebalancing"
Trowler says that H.E. approach to teaching and learning are dominated by psychological perspectives eg deep and surface learning. The context has been removed, as in this video

The reason why this approach has not affected T/L practice is because the 'local' has never been engaged. The cultural, historical and emotional aspects of the discipline and workgroup are ignored. But this isn't and either/or trawler is only looking for a rebalance.
He argues that the Meso level what i would call the local level is never considered. "When people go to work at their university they go to their department."

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Trowler - Multiple Cultures in Organisations, notes

Trowler uses Alvesson 1993 to highlight the great mix of levels and types of cultures an individual or group can belong too.
"the idea of multi cultural configurations takes ambiguity seriously without placing it at the centre of the analysis" Alvesson quote. So even if we add all this complexity we resist the temptation to make everything relative.
In reviewing this type of frame Trowler also points out that cultures are never 'birthmarked' (Greco,1988) or forever shaped by powerful personalities as in Clark 1972).
This is part of the picture why large scale implementations are difficult, because we tend to have a homogenous view of institutional cultures. We need to think 'market garden' and not 'agribusiness'.
'all models are wrong, but some are a good deal more useful than others'

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Friday, 12 November 2010

Henry et al - 1992 - eva project at uclan looking at institutional ethics and values audit

These are abridged notes from trowler 2010 p8-10

Attempting to do a psycho-metric, management consultant style audit for specific applied purposes. [personal reflection; my study has the applied approach, but with my job it is in escapable.]

It's designed to map individual' personalities, abilities and potential. [this seems unfairly damming of trowler and needs further investigations]

eva is a multi method approach, which is looking at the whole institution. As trowler says this is missing the point of loosing the local dimension and demonstrates the asumptions made about culture.

Eva looks as a very few aspects of ethics and values, these include trust, collaboration, information flow, power and professional respect. [trust should be review in this study] trowler argues that other aspects such as curriculur content could reveal much about values of individuals and institution. [taking a theme such as this a looking at all the different approaches, descriptions and values associated with it could reveal many dimensions]

distinct boundaries are very difficult to maintain between broad concepts such as ethics and values, they stray into other areas. This in natural and somewhat predicted by the background of the author. The author must be explicit when discussing them.

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Thursday, 11 November 2010

Trowler - cultures and change in h. e. - notes 1

What is culture
Lazy science because you can't define it - gerth and mills 1970
'the way we do things around here' geertz 1983

Look at it phenomenalistic - kuh and whitt 1988 but this looses and coherent narrative Could use a 'nomothetic' approach by naming different possible cultures Or
'inductive derived categorising' which build categories of culture from ground up.

Name some possible cultures and slot examples later. This tends to be functionalist 'for a reason' looking to better the system
The approach is defind in waterman 1993

Handy has a go in 1993
-power culture
-role culture Task culture -person culture

Berquist has a go in 1992 looking specially at universities
-Collegial culture
-managerial culture -developmental culture -Negotiating culture Mcnay 1995 mirrors berquist Collegium, bureaucracy, corporation and enterprise Inductively derived categorising [idc]
Nomothetic is imposed - idc reverses this, built from observation but avoids phenomenologic perspective. Uses participants to build frame work. Bill tierney 1988 builds framework from college over an academic year. framework includes -environment - what external pressures -mission, eg how is it decided Socialisation - how do newbies get inducted
Information - ownership and dissemination
Strategy - decision making
Leadership - formal and informal This framework is missing sub-cultures and tends to be all at the same corporate level. Withcomb and deshler 1983 conducted 83 interviews at CSU and distilled this frame work
Ccommitment to institution Unity/community Humanistic values
Academic quality
Educational freedom Ethical values
Institutional indentity

This is still corporate in nature, but does go deeper than tierney Henry et al 1992 - EVA study of uclan. This uses a rae of tool to develop a deep and higly interlated set of themes that support values

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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

watermarking image content for blogs - Lots of our students are getting excited about blogging. But are unsure of releasing images of their work (art + design students). This service reduces the image size and watermarks the image for free. It also does not hold any rights over images upload to it’s service and destroys any content after 4 hours. With a couple of clicks you can have some kind of peace of mind over your image rights.

It also links directly with flickr

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Friday, 5 November 2010

Report to hefce by nus - we want more tech but we're not sure why

This is being a little unfair about this report produced by nus that does capture [although somewhat depressingly] the perceptions of the student body.

Through desk research and focus groups they conclude, students want more choice, lectures that can use the technology, not a standard approach across disciplinesbut they are not sure that it really works.

the main point that stands out here is if you discuss innovation with people who have relatively little experience to draw from you will get thesse kinds of answers. A real opportunity was missed here by not involving students that had experienced a fully blended course that demonstrated a very different or radical approach to learning. this could have provided all the participants with a different vision and moved the debate on a bit further than where we are. Instead we experience the very conservative nature of students, that does represent the majority but does nothing for the possibilities.
They use the big reviews eg becta and newspaper articles to draw some conclusions. I'm very sceptical of how guardian reports are reliable enough to be considered uses to this report. Interesting points
Point 107 - answering the question in the symposium 'why might students want this technology? 'the most immediate answer is that the rest of the world is moving in that direction'. isn't a liitle sad that students don't believe that this can help and support learning and instead focus on the 'well if they've got one then we need it too.

Point 108 to summarise- 'e-journals are okay but they make access too easy'. By allowing greater access to resources we are damaging student learning because it's too easy. We need to make it harder, have only one paper copy, that is lost somewhere in the library.

conclusion This is a very useful report that shows us the huge gulf between the benefits thst technology can bring and the experience and perceptions of students. Come NUS you can do better than this
Student perspectives on technology, demand perceptions and training 2010

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Tuesday, 2 November 2010

clicker ideas . . . Great list of ideas to inspire creative use of voting systems

Derek has just published a book on the subject. I can’t vouch for the book but this site is overflowing with different ideas.

I particularly like running live experiments using the clickers

And student perception based questions, where students rate a particular outcome (eg nurses giving opinions on what symptoms indicate,%20N3%20Bruff.pdf

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Monday, 1 November 2010

Tumblr as student visual portfolio system - terms of service implications

Tumblr as student portfolio system

The service agreement

-       Back up

You are strongly urged to take measures to preserve copies of any data, material, content or information you post or upload on the Site. You are solely responsible for creating back-ups of your Subscriber Content.”

This is a fairly standard statement, but all students wishing to use the site will need to understand that they and not LMJU or Tumblr, are responsible for backing up content. How do students do this. I’m still looking into this, there does seem to be download tools out there, but how buggy these are would take some work.

-       Data is not shared with third parties – but in the event of a buy-out tumblr would pass on the user data

-       Copyright infringement  by students – Students accounts could be removed if a claim of use of copyright infringement is brought against them. Students should be aware of using copyrighted materials on their site

-       Students ownership of uploaded content – tumblr makes no claim over these materials “You own and control what you share on Tumblr”

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Thursday, 21 October 2010

Turning point clickers, on mobile

there are some good solutions out there, the best being but it's not cheap, and there are potential costs to students who are not on a free sms package

what might be interesting is to run as an experiment ask them via normal clickers, what mobile phones they have, what txt packages, do they have twitter accounts accessable via smart phone, then show them the software and see what they think

the advantages are obvious

the downsides are
students might have to pay local txt rates if they have no txt plan on the mobile
there are no sophisticated tools, it's just simple voting + plus free text answers (which could potentially be embarassing)
the interaction is a little slower as students have to type a phone number and code.
the question slides import into powerpoint, but the user interface is a little more tricky

the service is £40 (the price of one turningpoint handset) for 250 users per month

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Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Msn - student who don't use it or use it all the time do best in module marks.

The study into student use of msn compares module marks with reported levels of use.
The scale = never, some days, about half the time, most days, always.

The results show an inverse bell shaped curve, with never and always achieving the highest marks. the results demonstrate the complexity of human interaction mediated by computers. I think it shows the curve of adapting to the tool. The mid range users have trouble balancing their concentration, and are distracted by it. The high users are so use to it they know how and when to use it, it is more background and less distracting. The users that never use it are not distracted. The study could now use some observations of the different types to establish the extent of use and the different types of use.

Rutter, m (2010) messenger in the barn; networking in a learning environment, alt-j

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Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Turning point clickers, new capabilities

In review the latest upgrade to this software I found a few additional capabilities that are interesting.

Turning Point now offers multi response for students on one question

Data Slicing in Turning Point - allows you to compare different results on-the-fly

moment by moment recording of preferences in turning point - could be interesting in rating performance

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linking learning with facebook - an rss feed from elearning blog into students facebook profiles

The idea looks good on paper, Facebook has several RSS tool that allow RSS feeds to populate different areas of Facebook with content streams. But, what hits me is the privacy issue of encouraging students to add applications that I have no definite knowledge that they would have their privacy compromised.

RSS Graffiti has all the right capabilities but wants access to large amounts of my profile. It also has no links to privacy or legal statements.

I guess I can mention it

Back to the drawing board


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Monday, 11 October 2010

Looking at educational research through classroom design goggles

As the learning landscapes report highlights very little of the most influential education research and theories consider space. Looking again at these theories through the perspectives of classroom design goggle is one of the recommended steps. So, theories lead themselves more readily than others. It's easy to image space design supporting the theories of Wenger and Lave. It's much harder to see the assessment focus of Biggs' constructive alignment influencing space design and use. But when you re-consider and look for wider interpretations you can see possibilities. The central idea of feedback could involve a greater focus on staff time in the space to reacting to learning rather than just directing via teaching. The small subgroups working in the new Bryom St room enable this switch of focus.

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Friday, 8 October 2010

If I sit at the front of the class do I learn more?

No – the short answer.

Although this is an old paper reviewing psychological perspectives on this notion, the evidence shows little impact. But it does raise some interesting ideas about how the current movement for classroom re-design is breaking away from this old idea of the traditional lecture. In the more dynamic learning spaces, could facing away from the teacher and focusing more on the group have an effect on learning and engagement? Does this sort of empirical study have any value in understanding such a complex environment as a classroom?

Journal of Environmental Psychology (1988) 8, 149-157





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Thursday, 7 October 2010

major assessments like essays at the end of semesters lead to fewer learning hours

Innis [1996] found students spent 1.4 to 3.0 hours learning for everyone hour spent teaching Moffat [1989] hutchings [1991] gardiner [1997] brittingham [1993] found 0.3 to 1.0 hour
Innis [1996] also found this got worse over the years, reducing in number

By worse still
Students on text based subjects dedicate fewer hours [vos 1991] than science and technology subjects where there are more and smaller assessment points From gibbs & simpson [2004-5] conditions under which assessment supports students' learning SHE

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virtual patient simulation tool

The project has replaced paper problem-based (PBL) cases with Interactive Online Virtual Patient (VP) cases with options and consequences. Students work though the cases in groups making decisions as they progress, the outcomes are dependant on the choice they have made. The project has delivered 18 cases to the Transition year (T year) of the MBBS (medicine) course at St Georges', University of London, supported with online formative VP assessment cases for self-directed learning.   This showcase will demonstrate how the cases have been constructed, delivered and provide an opportunity for participants to see some of the cases. The session will be of interest to colleagues looking to use technology to support PBL (problem-based learning) and the use of virtual patients.

G4 project blog -

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