Month: December 2014

advent of technology

Eric Carle, Illustration of the farmer/Father Christmas in "Dream Snow" ECA Library Image Collection
Eric Carle, Illustration of the farmer/Father Christmas in “Dream Snow” ECA Library Image Collection

In previous years I have enjoyed making Christmas collections of curated open images and artifacts along various ‘Open Advent’ themes.

In 2011 OUCS had its first ‘Open Advent Calendar’, followed in 2012 by the ‘One-Horse-Open-Sleigh‘ and in 2013 by ‘Online Presents‘.

This year to save me from tears, I am touting the ‘advent of technology’ hashtag. (Not particularly successfully it has to be said).

My best festive themes  feature ‘raise a glass for our Google Glass project’, ‘choose your tools carefully with our Christmas TREE‘ and ‘be careful of your digital footprints in the snow’.  Jo gamely joined me with some sterling ‘elf sciences work.

However, today being REF day, and Edinburgh having done rather well, I can point you to genuine CHSS nuts boasting in an open flyer!


new digital vision for University of Edinburgh

Cornucopia, John Mooney in University of Edinburgh Art Collection
Cornucopia by John Mooney in University of Edinburgh Art Collection

I am excited to say the University is working with Google to explore and promote innovation in learning and teaching in Higher Education. Edinburgh students and staff will have a unique opportunity to experiment with Google Glass, one of the most talked about developments in wearable technology in recent years. Our reputation as a leader in strategic innovation in digital education is growing worldwide and we have a number of strategic partnerships with the international companies who develop new technology for users.

Wearable technology is exciting  for academia because its designed for people being active, moving around and needing to be hands-free. So where we do active field work, sport, performance, complex experiments, medical procedures, explorations, digs or where we move around in large and small spaces (landscapes, city, architecture, public transport, exhibitions, collection,  art installations) it can transform the way we work  in gathering and using data and information. The technology functionality and usability is still developing and it is exciting to be involved at this early stage to shape how the features and applications can be used for learning, teaching and research.

Learning technologists from LTW, Information Services are working in partnership with students and staff across the whole institution to evaluate the potential for technologies like Glass to support and enhance a wide-range of educational activities and experiences.

Throughout January we will be inviting students in all disciplines to share their innovative ideas by submitting 3-minute video proposals.  Some of the best proposals for using Google Glass  will go forward to become live projects within the University.

This is an exciting opportunity for students to shape the way new technology is integrated into learning and teaching. We would encourage you to experiment and be inventive,  Edinburgh University’s vision for digital education will be shaped by our students’  creative potential. I expect we will see a range of perspectives and discuss many aspects of seeing, light and dark.

You can find further information about the project and how to participate by visiting

exploring new markets

Picture taken by me in the street. No rights reserved.

My vision and strategy skills were tested during my trip to Online Educa in Berlin after Lufthansa left my luggage in Frankfurt and I stupidly, left my glasses and contact lenses in that luggage. I found myself taking a very myopic view of MOOC strategy, and trying not to fall foul of any immediate tripping hazards.

Luckily the luggage returned before I began my next leg to London.

At the conference I presented  a high level overview focusing on the role of the public intellectual; the ways in which we can use digital initiatives to develop town and gown relations; the ways in which we add value to online courses; and the importance of research universities in sense-making in a maelstrom.

I used broad strokes to paint a colourful picture, but that may be becasue everything in the distance seemed slightly blurred.

Many friends and partners from the LERU universites were there, and there continues to be a wide interest in our experience at University of Edinburgh of living with MOOCs.


fully re-booted

moocThis week I’ll be welcoming all comers to ALT’s  winter wonderland event
CPD Rebooted – Creative Professional Development in Learning Technology‘ in Edinburgh on Tuesday, pulling myself up by the bootstraps at Aurora on Wednesday and then briefly, standing furry-booted at the Online Educa Conference in Berlin.

At ALT I’ll explain why peer-review is good for your soul. As an Aurora role model I’ll explain why table manners are important. In Berlin I’ll explain how MOOCs are changing management in higher education.

I have a very varied job and will be packing several pairs of shoes.