You’ll be aware that we have been running ‘Developing Your Data Skills’ Programme for staff and students at University of Edinburgh this year. The programme has been very successful and we have now had more than 100 learners complete. Since our staff live and work in Edinburgh and the region, I think this can be seen as part of the investment we are making in retraining and upskilling in data skills for the city. We have evaluated the programme and gathered feedback, so we will be able to report on the ISG KPIs.
We have designed the course to fit with participants’ busy working lives and thought specifically about how to attract mid-career learners to upskill in this area.
Participants have enjoyed the programme: ‘There are many data courses out there. Having a course which is specifically designed and at the correct level was time-saving and encouraged me to finish. I loved doing the course and I’m keen to get started on the next level. I would not have been able to do this without the course format, nor the tutor with her helpful, caring approach.’.
There have been many more comments from participants that echo these sentiments along with a real thirst from learners to go on to study all 3 levels of the Programme.
We will be having a ‘graduation ‘ celebration for all the staff and students who completed the programme on Monday 1st July. If you would like to come along to hear more about the successes and how they plan to apply their new and improved data science skills, please let me know by reply and I will send you a diary invitation.
One of our innovation projects over several years was to develop a Playful Engagement Strategy for ISG and to test some playful approaches. We know our Information Services Group (ISG) staff are innovative and creative, and they have developed a variety of fun, creative, and engaging ways to provide and deliver our technologies and services.
We want to ensure that this continues and that ISG fosters an environment, and culture, where innovation, playful learning, and creative engagement are embedded in our practices. This is in line with the University’s aim to offer an educational experience that is inspiring, challenging, and transformational.
To this end, we have established playful engagement themes, strategy and goals.
Our goals are to:
Facilitate the development of playful innovators, researchers, and creators
Promote creative, playful, and innovative use of technologies and tools in ISG services
Utilise our world-class libraries and collections in innovative and engaging ways to enrich our services
Support a healthy work life balance, and a positive, engaging and inclusive work environment
I am very pleased that Charlie has been able to spend the time to really think about what playful engagement could mean for a large IT and libraries service. Her work draws upon a whole raft of team, game, maker, challenge and enjoyment activities which all combine to make working here much more fun than it might otherwise be.
She and I will be presenting about this at the UCISA leadership conference in Edinburgh.
I’m very pleased to say we now have more than 10,000 lynda.com subscribers at the University of Edinburgh. Digital skills are in considerable demand as we know from the news and are also key to the capability within the institution for staff to be effective in their roles.
There’s only a small team in LTW but we augment that with a pool of 50 tutors from across ISG. This makes it possible to offer a broad programme drawing from experts in particular packages and technology areas. Because of this we are one of the largest training providers on campus, and key to ensuring that the University delivers on one of the elements of the people strategy: to ensure that staff and students have the digital skills that they need.
For students, the digital skills programme is co-curricular – it runs alongside the formal curriculum delivered in schools, and for many people it is an important part of the student experience- they can learn additional skills alongside and to help them with the subjects they study.
We deliver a wide range of teaching and learning and development, Jenni and her team have been doing a lot this year to map our training on to the JISC digital skills framework and to bring all the various skill training across ISG into one comprehensive programme. They have also delivered a huge training programme for the rollout of lecture recording.
Jenni has also been making plans to expand the programme by bringing students as tutors into the team and developing a job description for part time student trainers. For those students the job will provide an opportunity to get real work experience and teaching practice. The digital skills programme could not run without the contribution that colleagues make- it is a contribution to the staff and student experience, and a contribution of ISG in terms of the excellent services we provide. It’s also an important professional and personal development activity.
Being a good teacher is a skill- not everyone can do it and not everyone should. But for those who are good at it and do enjoy it is an opportunity to learn your subject inside out- to understand users, to engage with learners and to develop confident communication skills. If you feel you have something to contribute to the ISG Digital Skills programme, let me know.
Sadly I did not manage to keep up with the pace of 23Things this time and I am not eligible for the final prize. Some other people are though, and all the blogs have been impressive. So many people learning so much about so many new things. Well done all.
Creating a curated collection is one of my favourite passtimes. Selecting items from a larger collection and curating a subset for an exhibition or theme can amuse me for hours. Digital curation is Thing15 of our 23 Things.
I do think this is one way in which discerning people can add value to the internet. Making curated pathways through the never ending maze of linked content.
Some examples of curated sets I have created include:
Three online advent calendars which showcased the Oxford OER collections and OUCS services on a Christmas theme. It was not an arduous task ; the collections are rich and wonderful, and the premise of generous giving suits the spirit of the task. The calendars were wordpress sites scheduled to publish a new post each day in Dec.
I also encouraged my podcasting teams in Oxford to develop a tool for the podcasts.ox website to enable us to showcase a handpicked collection drawn from accross the collection e.g. some of our best female academics on interational women’s day. At the moment the tool is being used as ‘featured people‘.
More recently, at the Edinburgh Gothic editathon I learned how to curate a timeline using Histropedia. If the internet keeps producing tools like this for curating content I may be done for.
I haven’t managed to persuade anyone at Edinburgh to join me in an ‘Advent of technology’ or ‘Internet of free things’. But I did get Charlie to curate this set of 23 things and the world is a better place for it.
Update: As of 1 December there now is an Open Advent calendar at Edinburgh. Check it out!
I’m on there, here’s my podcasts and ebooks. They include a recorded talk about my research on the student digital experience and 5 years of blog posts available as an ebook.
In April this year I was delighted to welcome one of Oxford’s top podcasters, Dr Emma Smith to keynote at OER16. I first met Emma around the time we were launching Oxford on ItunesU. She is a Fellow of Hertford College and Professor of Shakespeare Studies. She was one of the first academic colleagues to champion the use and creation of OER at University of Oxford through her involvement in the Jisc funded Open Spires and Great Writers Inspire projects. Her OER licensed lectures reach an international audience and she continues to produce, publish and share cultural resources online.
After some early Jisc funding in 2009 Oxford’s podcasts collection quickly became one of the largest growing collections of openly licenced university lectures online. Oxford podcasts have published nearly 10,000 thousand audio and video items. 50% of this content is CC licenced. It includes 6,000 individual speakers and presenters. More than 23 million episodes have been downloaded. 10 million episodes have been streamed.
Emma was one of the first of the Oxford podcasters and the first major contributor to record podcasts herself. She has published 48 episodes which are part of 7 different series. Her biggest successes are ‘Approaching Shakespeare’ and ‘Not Shakespeare’.
Approaching Shakespeare has had more that 500,000 thousand downloads and regularly features in the itunesU global top ten.
Emma’s podcasts are only a small part of her work, but whenever I hear discussions about open academic practice I think of colleagues like Emma at Oxford who share so generously, but always with a wise, and enquiring eye to what might happen as a result.
Writing this post is reminding me of the connection between podcasting, recording and lecture capture…..ing,
You may wonder why Media Hopper is called Media Hopper. You will know the following definitions of hopper:
hopper ( agric) : a container for a loose bulk material. hopper ( minecraft ): a block that can be used to catch item entities, or to transfer items into and out of other containers. channel-hopper( tv) : quickly changing from one channel to another to find something you want to watch. Grace Hopper ( rolemodel) : an inspirational computer scientist. She developed the implementation of standards for testing computer systems and components and coined the term “debugging” for fixing computer glitches when she removed a moth from her computer. Dennis Hopper (role model): just cool. space hopper ( toy ): just orange and bouncy.
As I was explaining to Vicki, our Digital Recruitment and Marketing intern just the other day, Media Hopper gathers together all the mixed up multitude of video material from all over the University; brings it into one place; channels it into our VLEs, websites, portals and courses; applies standards and metadata is very cool.
I think it’s important to name things after inspirational women when you can, and Grace Hopper fits the bill for me.
Vicki will now be using videos in Media Hopper to liven up our LinkedIn presence.
I talk a lot about OER. Last week I was talking about it in Barcelona, this week I’m talking about it in Paris, in two weeks I’ll be in Berlin. I also write a bit about OER. On this blog and occasionally for case studies and articles. My work in creating a culture of openness is featured as a case study by OEPS. At the moment my homework is to write a case study for Gill and Fred to include in their new book.
I am also pleased to be able to make the case for new posts based on our institutional commitment to open. We have had support to extend contracts for our OER Adviser and our Wikimedian in Residence. We have also just signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Library at a time when they are working to open up huge swathes of their collections.
The task is to find OER to use in my work. I enjoy finding OER to use in my blog and presentations. Other OER I use in my work tend to be the OER about OER such as: