Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Project report on programme community sites

Last year I was asked to run a project to introduce blackboard community sites to all 130 undergraduate courses. It was difficult but I was supported by a great team. Myself and Jack Butterworth from IT services are talking about it at the European blackboard conference this year.

Here is an overview
In 2012 all 133 LJMU undergraduate courses recruiting that year were provided with a programme level community site in Blackboard (the institutions virtual learning environment). Each site was populated with all students currently registered on that programme, and all new students who have been accepted ha the opportunity of being added 4 weeks prior to their start date. The sites were pre-populated with relevant information for these students, and all programme leaders were contacted and asked to add to this content, and generally make the sites their own.
For more information on the how this process was managed visit the project site here.
Project Aims
The aims of this project were to:
Provide a programme level space to support cross cohort communication and content access.
Allow early access for new students to pertinent information and university systems
Spread good practice in the use of programme level community sites (an increasing number of programmes were using them)
Automate the process of adding students to these sites
Review of the process
The project involved consultation with many different departments within the University as well and staff and the Student Union. The project plan was agreed at the senior level and a minimum specification of content defined. Exemplar sites were created and used to demonstrate the idea to as many programme leaders as possible. The creation and population of the sites with students and were automated. During the process a number of programme leaders wished for similar programmes to be merged into a single site, to enable a more efficient use of the sites.

Webpa project

I've wanted to get this technology installed, tested and available for a long time. Thanks to IT services, we seem to have cracked it. There is a growing number of staff using group work submissions, but because of the high numbers of students it's very difficult to run peer marking. Hopefully we will see some high use next semester.
We have decided not to link it to blackboard next year. If the tests work out well we will run it as a separate application for a year and then try and link it up with the next upgrade.

Flipping OERs

I know they are supposed to save academics time, but the cataloging and technology involved in their creation renders them almost useless. I have been trying to encourage staff to use them for several years, but unless those staff are very capable with IT, they have endless problems.

They are
Difficult to view unless you install them
Some of the more complex ones are not compatible with the latest browsers
The data bases could also be improved, they are growing unwieldy and difficult to identify anything useful

Beautiful designed study into academics changing identities

So jealous, I've been looking for a good process for my doctorate for years now. And in my final write up I come across this. So simple but very effective, qualitative and quanta give. Oh poo.

Note to self do more background reading!!

Negotiating professional identities in higher education: dilemmas and priorities of academic staff.
Authors: Calvert, Mike
Lewis, Thérèse
Spindler, John
Source: Research in Education; Nov2011, Issue 86, p25-38, 14p, 1 Diagram
Document Type: Article
Subject Terms: *CASE studies
*UNIVERSITIES & colleges -- Employees
EMPLOYEE empowerment
Geographic Terms: ENGLAND
Abstract: This article reports a case study of how staff in a new university in England are making choices about their use of time. Weekly time logs, small discussion groups and individual interviews reveal that the principle of 'service' is embedded in the professional identities of staff. The paper explores how this perspective is reinforced by notions of 'professionalism' that are encouraged within the community of practice. It indicates how keeping the narrative of service going can result in self-denial, with implications for reflection and scholarly activity. The paper concludes by posing questions about how staff can take care of their professional selves, as their work intensifies and resources fail to keep up with increasing government expectations of Higher Education. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Copyright of Research in Education is the property of Manchester University Press and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
ISSN: 00345237
Accession Number: 70101060

Persistent link to this record (Permalink):

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Distance learning forum. Generous libraries and quick course turnaround

These are the notes from the distance learning forum run in LJMU. We meet every semester to share good practice and chat. This month the library team turned up on mass. Cath Marlowe, Rob Caley, Jackie Fealey and Pauline Smith. They demonstrated the new Discover tool, and how blackboard can connect with resources more easily. The huge amount of possible resources brings its own headaches. Anyone interested in embedding material from this recourse into their courses needs to connect with the libraries to find out the possible availability. They also showed their extensive range of online support materials which can be directly placed within your course. All in all, they were very receptive to working along side staff developing courses, so well worth connecting with them if you are in need.

Matt Tucker from Built Environment then presented his course design. This is for a small number of postgraduates and is in the first year of its development. His process is to create a recording of a lecture every week, which links to weekly blog questions and then an online seminar. Points of good practice being the consistency of the process, which the students found very easy to fit into their working life, and connecting online task feedback into the seminar. The small number of students allowed Matt to create the course as he went, although there were some issues with workload. He admits that the model wouldn't work with larger groups that 25, but is ideal for creating a course on the go!

Research into how students use video to learn

This post is a short lit review ie just completed to support an online course. I thought I might be useful to share. It's interesting how many studies are appearing just recently.

key questions
A limited literature search indicated some key findings but also reveals conflicting results.
Key questions
What evidence is there that video presents an efficient or valuable method of learning when compared with other media?
Under what conditions does is learning maximised, impeded or reduced?
In what ways can video be used as submitted course work?
In what ways can video support the communication of assignment feedback?

Key findings
Previous studies
Watching a video without controlling its play back is inferior to text DeFleur et al., 1992, Furnham et al., 2002 in (Tibus et al., 2012). There were many empirical psychology studies comparing tv delivery and text which showed text to be superior. Many of these could be easily discounted, because of the progress in the development of the online individual control of video. But this assumes that people use online video in a stop start way. Analysis of youtube statistics would provide interesting evidence of student viewing behaviour, interviews would also provide a glimpse into the world of learning via video.

Good practice
(Eick and King, 2012) Shorter videos of high quality were preferred by students. (Plon 1993) we need to think about the number of learning elements that the viewer has to understand in a sequence. This paper contains the beginnings of an interesting perspective on how to measure when students believe they should pause a video.
(Tversky et al., 2002) importance of design of materials e.g. animations
(Merkt et al., 2011) Most powerful in terms of learning process was stopping and browsing, using the video as part of a process which used a number of technologies and activities.
(Ibrahim et al., 2012) how to direct learners’ attention to relevant information and decrease cognitive load, creating conditions for the learners’ cognitive system to meet the processing demands

Evidence of learning
(Tibus et al., 2012) empirical evidence of learning during video, such as inferring information, making connections not explicitly in the video
(Merkt et al., 2011) video is just as good as print, probably because of the pause play function
video-based multimedia material generates the best learning performance and most positive emotion for verbalizers (Chen and Sun, 2012)
video and animation are more appropriate for visualizers (Chen and Sun, 2012)
(Brecht, 2012) empirical evidence that additional graphics, animations and music increase learning benefits
(Brecht, 2012) most significant findings are that video lectures are used by students for tutorial help, they improve initial learning, they reduce dropout rates, and they improve course grades
(Kay and Kletskin, 2012) results indicated that a majority of students used the video podcasts frequently, rated them as useful or very useful, viewed them as easy to use, effective learning tools, and reported significant knowledge gains in pre-calculus concepts
(Wright et al., 2012) in supporting learning software classroom, and problem based learning with textural support worked best
(Ramsay et al., 2012) (1) use real scenarios; (2) provide short segments; (3) present simple, single messages; (4) convey a skill-in-action; (5) develop the videos so participants can relate to the settings; and (6) support participants' ability to conceptualize the information.
Video Feedback
Learning from seeing yourself Dowrick 1983 in (Bobo and Andrews, 2010). The strength of this “video self-confrontation” approach was believed to lie in viewing oneself,
Viewing yourself changes (Bobo and Andrews, 2010) improved self efficacy
(Jones et al., 2012) gives the student an impression of being present during the marking process
(Jones et al., 2012) demonstrate step-by-step answer formulation; algorithms; show the solution, alternative answers,
(Jones et al., 2012) this medium has advantages over traditional methods of communicating feedback, (b) that students enjoy this new form of feedback, and (c) that this encourages them to engage with and learn from the tutor assessment of answers, rather than concentrating only on obtaining marks
(Crook et al., 2012) this study has revealed that the use of video instigated positive changes in theways in which staff thought about and developed
(Crook et al., 2012) feedback for their students; and for students, the use of video enhanced their active engagement with the feedback they received.
(Crook et al., 2012) the pilot study the majority of staff and students surveyed would like to continue to use video as a method of feedback.


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