Month: March 2020

Shifting place and pace: New futures for online learning

Some of the links from my presentation at the University of Derby Online Learning Summit on Tuesday.

Follow me @honeybhighton

The book of online learning at University of Edinburgh

Near Future Teaching at University of Edinburgh

Manifesto for Online Teaching at University of Edinburgh

An ‘Edinburgh Model for Online Teaching’ at University of Edinburgh

When I wrote this presentation originally, I thought the shift in pace and place I would be talking about would be the new online microcredentials – Micromasters ™ – courses we have been piloting this year.

Little did I know that we would, as  a sector, experience a seismic shift  to remote learning online in little more than a week.  At University of Edinburgh we have all shifted place- we are now working from home or are stranded and trapped. We have all shifted pace. Things which we thought would take months and years to do suddenly gained urgency and we ‘flipped’ or ‘pivoted’ to remote learning and working outwith the university at very short notice.

I can tell you about what we have been doing at Edinburgh in online distance learning, because it is this previous work which has given us the capacity, capability and vision to respond quickly now.

We know that distance is a positive principle, not a deficit. It can generate meaningful learning opportunities and a positive student experience; it can build community; and it can advance a values-led and professionalising position of teaching, one that does not downgrade teaching into (mere) facilitation.

New futures?  who knows what will happen next? I won an EduFuturists Award  recently for an individual ‘who embodies a vision of where education could be 20 years from now’ , and suddenly it seems like I should come up with this vision pretty fast.  This is a new era and a paradigm shift for ‘business continuity’. In the past i warned my colleagues to ‘expect locusts‘. I wanted them to think big. I asked them to think about what happens if for some reason we can’t operate as usual. I admit, I thought the challenges would be strikes, snow or rogue volcanos, but I like a bit of Biblical scale…..

Some  of my emerging thoughts for possible futures:

  • After this current ‘panic pivot’ to teach out the current academic year. Universities will quickly start to think about semester 1 next year. Will university campuses re-open or will we teach semester 1 online?

The online learning landscape

  • A rush to online delivery by many universities will see skillful course design for accessibility, quality and learning communities become key.
  • Even if the on-campus learners return, this is not a one-off, they will need reassurance that they can go home, if called home and still complete their studies.
  • The undergraduate online market in the UK will be transformed. Things we thought impossible will become pragmatic.
  • Some universities will collaborate with peer institutions to develop courses and deliver together. Some will not.
  • Interoperability, licensing, IP, technical standards and open development will be as important for sharing, interchange, reuse, local adaptation of materials  as they always have been. Expertise in this area will be prized.

Leadership

  • Learning technologists who know about staff development, course design and open educational resources will realise they can work from home and work for any institution in the world. Their salaries will increase, and the work will be more flexible, more compatible with family life.
  • The (already) global market for academic colleagues who teach well online will thrive.

Digital transformation

  • On campus service such as counselling, wellbeing, welfare, disability support, finance, careers will need to find new elements of quality in delivery online.
  • Traditional face to face exams will become antiquated, and the purpose  and methods of assessment will become increasingly diverse.
  • ‘Halls of residence’ will be forever known as ‘petri dishes’.

Technology partners

  • The global platforms ( Coursera, Edx, Futurelearn, Linkedin Learning) will finally see return on their business model and they will own all the student data.
  • Home-based learners will sacrifice privacy and personal data in the rush to use Zoom and Houseparty et al.
  • Vendors and suppliers will try to renegotiate the costs of VLEs, streaming video and virtual classroom tools.
  • Libraries will finally invest properly in digitisation and digital collections and no-one will believe publishers’ protests that they cannot offer open access any more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

responding to crisis

I am so impressed by how well our teams and services are responding to this situation. We are seeing increased use of all our learning technology systems and receiving great, positive feedback on the support, training and expertise we are providing.

We have trained 800 staff to support remote teaching and offered online training in how to work from home.

The result has been:

  • 1200 Media Hopper Create uploads in Week3 March in comparison to 400 in the same week last year.
  • Support calls for Media Hopper Create down on last year show that the training and guidance is good quality.
  • 16-18th March 800 Collaborate sessions per day. 23rd March, 1400 sessions involving 6000 users
  • Learn Logins steady each day at 4,000 logins but this is fewer than an average day when everyone is on campus. We would usually see nearer 5,000 per day.

Our academic colleagues are working hard to play their part in tackling the Corona Virus.  This is one of the very good things about working in a research university. We are providing services which support research and teaching  and knowledge creation and dissemination.

https://www.ed.ac.uk/news/2020/experts-play-key-role-in-bid-to-curb-covid-19

In LTW, we are all part of this.

We are currently:

  • helping to open up content on MediaHopper  to be used by NHS Lothian staff,
  • helping MSc Critical Care to open up a Learn course to thousands of clinicians and creating a new MOOC.
  • helping Usher Institute to create a web database of  evidence based research on COVID-19 that can be accessed by policy-makers and clinicians seeking up-to-date and reliable answers to key questions.
  • adapting the graphic design in chapters from the Adult Medical Emergencies Handbook to be put online.
  • watching how colleagues in our UCreate Makerspace team are contributing to the effort to prototype and 3d print essential PPE.

This is important work and the university appreciates the contribution we are making.

Thank you, all.

outwith

as of March 17th:

We will be shutting down our Museums, Galleries and exhibitions spaces starting today.

We will be shutting down all the ISG managed libraries on all campuses  with the exception of the Main Library on George Square.

The Main Library will remain open as a vital service for remaining students and staff who require Wifi, study, office, printers and other services. In a further communication we will publish revised opening hours and services that the Main Library will offer.

We have sourced additional laptops for use in high priority areas of the University. These will be prioritised by the University COVID-19 planning team. We hope to have these available to hand out to staff by the end of this week.

We have sourced 100 extra mobile phones. These will be prioritised by the University COVID-19 planning team. We hope to have these available to hand out to staff by the end of this week.

We have enlarged the size of the Remote Desktop Gateway threefold. We have modelled that this will allow the number of connections needed.  (enlarged from 2 host servers to 6 host servers)

We have accelerated the installation of the new VPN. The new VPN has a bandwidth of 10 Gig and over 100,000 concurrent connections. We will announce this new service when it is up and running.

We are creating about 200 new teleconference numbers. A simple, but highly reliable, low-tech option for staff meetings and other activities when you work remotely. We are looking to have these built by early next week and distributed to units across the University through the PA and Technology staff.

We have worked with our external SaaS providers such as Blackboard (LEARN VLE and Collaborate), Microsoft (O365, OneDrive & Teams) to ensure they are scaled up for the expected increase in demand.

Based on ideas from staff we have sourced disposable gloves for Library staff who wish to make use of them. 

ISG is performing a series of tests to ensure each of its teams can work from home. Lisa McDonald is coordinating this testing.

We will be reviewing our IT Change management processes and communicate later this week about whether additional Change controls will be put in place.

We would ask staff to sign out of your PCs, but do not turn them off as we may want to enable remote desktop on your machines.

remote teaching online at University of Edinburgh

Lovely illustrations by the LTW interactive Content Team

Preparing for Teaching Continuity – Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

We have produced some advice and guidance on how to continue teaching remotely. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic we would advise that all teaching staff consider this advice.  Using our Learning Technology Training and Help Resources. Please also regularly check the University’s Coronavirus information and advice to keep up-to-date with the University’s position.

https://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/learning-technology/more/teaching-continuity

The tools you need are Learn, Collaborate and Media Hopper. They are available for all members of the University.

Some top tips to keep in mind when planning to teach remotely:

It is important to remember that good teaching online brings with it some of the same principles as good teaching face to face. A strong teacher presence, engaged learning communities, contact time between teacher and student and for students in pairs or groups. The following tips are designed to facilitate that as simply as possible and minimise disruption both for you and your students.

  • Keep it simple. See the technology as servicing some core teaching function and only choose what you need. Video for lectures (if you lecture), discussion boards for debates and dialogue, a virtual learning environment for hosting your content, a well-structured reading list, maybe a blog for student reflection and group work.
  • Get professional advice and ask for help early on if you can. Speak to your school learning technologist and IT support; information services staff and librarians are here to help and advise.
  • Communicate with students. This is critical. Let them know we are trying something new and why. Let them know where to go and who to contact if they run into difficulty. Get them talking on the discussion boards with prompts and questions at regular intervals.
  • Discuss with your colleagues and networks of contacts at other universities how they may have used technology in similar situations teaching in similar disciplines. Many universities offer the same or very similar learning technologies, so sharing practice can be helpful to someone you know.
  • Your students may already know you, but you need to show them you are present online: a picture of yourself, some short videos, encouragement on the discussion boards. Videos don’t need to be perfect. Showing personality has currency in the online space.
  • Consider assessments. Do you need to rethink the assessments if you are moving online? You might. There are many ways to assess online and most aren’t too complicated.
  • Consider which parts of your course such as fieldwork, labs, studios and practicals may have to be cancelled or changed. Think about the adjustments you have previously made for students with disabilities, are those alternative versions appropriate for all your students now?
  • Do the best you can 🙂 we understand this will be new and different for many teachers.

menopause fans

My fans. Picture taken by me. No rights reserved by me.

Who will be our menopause allies?

Will it be the younger women who roll their eyes or look away when we mention the menopause?

Will it be the men who are partners of menopausal wives?

What can we do now to support and destigmatise menopause in the workplace?

I’ve got some ideas and I’ve given it a try.

Let me tell you what I’ve learned.

You’ll wish you’d discussed this with your mother.

tempered radicals

“Slow and steady wins the race” by katherine_hitt is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

This is the workshop Dominique and I will be running at the Advance HE Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Conference next week. Please do come along.

‘The role of the tempered radicals: experiences of making changes in our organisation‘.

‘Tempered radicals’ are individuals who are committed to and identify with the organisations in which they work and yet are also committed to a cause or ideology which is fundamentally at odds with with the dominant culture in that workplace. Debra Meyerson has written about how these change agents make tactical decisions to effect change without making trouble. If you think you too may be a tempered radical this is the session for you.

We have been working for four years in University of Edinburgh Information Services Group to build an intersectional diverse, adaptive, family-friendly and socially responsible workplace not through revolution or protest but by balancing a delicate set of  incremental equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives which provoke thought, nuance and  behaviour change.

In our presentation we will share our experience of being ‘tempered radicals’ working toward transformational change in an  organisation with historical structural inequalities while still being minority ethnic women and feminists in IT with successful careers.  In this workshop you will be encouraged to think about how your own radical agendas have been tempered by your experiences of your workplace and how this tempering can be used to make you stronger and more successful as agents of change in the organization you care about.

We will share stories, evidence and data to describe the impact this work can have.

International Women’s Day 2020

Issue 26 p. 1 front cover
Illustration of hanging a sheet on a washing line
Usage terms: We have been unable to locate the copyright holder for Hanging a sheet on a washing line. Please contact copyright@bl.uk with any information you have regarding this item. – See more at: http://www.bl.uk/collection-items/spare-rib-magazine-issue-026#sthash.qZnKW0Db.dpuf

This is the second time I’ve been on strike across International Women’s Day. The UCU strike action two years ago was at the same time of year.

That year, while we were on strike we were also hit by the ‘Beast from the East’ -unprecedented snow.  This year we are hit by Coronovirus and the University is hurriedly making preparations ( but not reparations obv.).

The snow and the virus are acts of G_D and can be seen as business continuity incidents. The impact of both can be mitigated by use of learning technology.

If you are wondering why your university is slow to publish guidance on using tech for remote teaching and working from home. It may be because some of the professional expert teams are on strike.

The strike is not about short term things, it is about long term things and these are things worth recognising on IWD. The lack of equality at the University of Edinburgh is real. The pay gaps are real: gender (16.7%) and race (7.9%).

It is frustrating to not be able to come into work but we have gone for some digital celebrations, most of which do not require anyone to cross any picket lines.

To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March 2020, events and activities are taking place across Information Services Group to celebrate women and their contributions to the University and beyond.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, a new training room at JCMB is being named after computer scientist and educator, Xia Peisu.

Xia Peisu (夏培肃) (1923 – 2014) has been hailed “the mother of computer science in China.” After graduating from The University of Edinburgh with a PhD in electrical engineering in 1950, she returned to China where she was recruited by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Xia eventually became a founding professor of the Academy’s Institute of Computing Technology and led the development of Model 107, China’s first locally designed general-purpose computer.

Throughout her long career, Xia made numerous contributions to the advancement of high-speed computers in China and helped establish both the Chinese Journal of Computers and the Journal of Computer Science and Technology. A devoted educator, she taught China’s first course in computer theory and mentored numerous students. In 2010, the China Computer Federation honoured Xia with its inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her pioneering work in China’s computer industry.

LinkedIn Learning playlist

The Digital Skills and Training team have compiled a LinkedIn Learning collection of International Women’s Day themed videos and courses. The collection includes videos in a wide range of topics, presented by women who are experts in their field, and will be available from Monday 24th February. To access this playlist, make sure you are logged in to LinkedIn Learning with your University account, and choose My Learning > From Your Organization > International Women’s Day 2020. Alternatively, you can view the collection at https://edin.ac/37Nhs1N.

In addition to this collection, you may also be interested in the following Learning Paths on LinkedIn Learning: Women Transforming Tech: Navigating Your Career and Women in Leadership.

For more about LinkedIn Learning, see www.ed.ac.uk/is/linkedinlearning

Digital Wall in the Main Library

The Main Library’s Digital Wall is showcasing images and videos of women who are shaping the University and those who have had a significant impact in their field. These range from content from our historic collections including L&UC digital images collections and videos have been curated from the Media Hopper media asset collection.

Visit the Main Library to see the Digital Wall, which will be live until the end of March 2020 as part of Women’s History Month.

Data-Driven Innovation – Women in Data campaign

The Data-Driven Innovation Women in Data campaign aims to showcase the rich landscape of women working with data science, technology and innovation across a diverse range of industries, fields and sectors in the City Region. From students to government ministers, chief executives to lab technicians, the campaign captures their achievements, careers and hopes for the future in our 60+ eclectic interviews.

Women in Data aims to show women and girls that others ‘just like them’ are thriving in these areas, including from atypical and ‘non-scientific’ backgrounds. The campaign sheds light on their stories and talents, and supports long-term, critical conversations about the ongoing journey to gender equality.

See the Data-Driven Innovation website for more information.

 

 

pandemic planning

Strike that from Waddington’s Lexicon, ‘the Wonder Game’.

I am very lucky to have a team who think of everything.

The University of Edinburgh lecture recording policy includes a specific clause about reuse under exceptional circumstances including a pandemic (1.3.7). There is also a specific clause about reuse of recordings during industrial action (1.4.3).

I gave a presentation last year at ALT conference about how multiple forces  can combine to hit your business continuity. Last time we were on strike it was snow and floods, this time it’s pandemic planning altc.alt.ac.uk/2018/sessions/

Just saying. Get your learning tech policies in order and next expect locusts.

On strikes:  1.4 iii. “Recordings will not be used to cover University staff exercising their legal right to take industrial action without the lecturer’s consent.”

On exceptional situations:  1.3 vii. “A School may use a recording held within the lecture recording service in exceptional situations to provide continuity, as specified within business continuity plans relevant to the School. Examples of exceptional situations might include significant disruption from a pandemic or other natural event or the unforeseen loss of part of the University estate. The School will, where reasonably possible, inform the lecturer beforehand that their lecture is to be used and for what purpose, and the lecturer will retain the right not to permit this use. If the lecturer, acting reasonably, objects to use for this purpose, the School will not be permitted to use the recording.”