The winner in the Team Awards is the University of Edinburgh Lecture Recording Team. Congratulating the team on the win, the panel described why the entry was chosen thus: although lecture capture is an area of interest to many universities, what was most impressive about this entry was that it provides an exemplar for the implementation of any learning technology. The careful consideration of the perspectives of educators and students, coupled with a practical and responsive implementation makes for an effective model. The open ethos and sharing approach of the project for the benefit of the wider sector is also excellent practice.
Another excellent learning technology workshop from University of Edinburgh at ALT conference will be Data Skills for All
Most of our UK universities already have the Digimap Service, but I suspect few learning technologists have any idea how it can be used. The subscription often belongs to the Library, or to just one academic department so the power of the tools are not being utilised.
Co-created with academic and service users it enables students to use and understand data, to learn how to present it, and in doing so, to develop critical thinking through the use and interrogation of data.
Learning technologists who work closely in partnership with staff and students to deliver a technology enhanced curriculum can play a key role in ensuring that students learn appropriate data skills to apply in authentic learning task situations.
Participants will have the opportunity to understand how the platform and service is already being used, and to engage with census data to understand the range and versatility of the service.
This workshop will be of benefit to both FE and HE practitioners, who need to support students to gain critical data skills and spatial literacy that are already essential in the work place, as well as increase their ability to interrogate data and understand it.
This is the session I’ll be presenting at ALT Conference next month. It’ll be filmed and streamed apparently.
What happens when things go wrong? How resilient is the relationship between edtech and educators when we are tested by strikes, snow and sedition? How do we best learn from critical incidents? Can breakdowns in trust be repaired? What will we do when it happens again?
The relationship between professional learning technologists and academic colleagues is a finely balanced one. Professional learning technologists offer technology solutions to teaching problems and encourage innovations in pedagogy and learning. Learning technologists bring technology into classroom spaces on campus and online and ask colleagues to embrace it. Learning technologists assure academic colleagues them that the technology is there to help not replace them. We ask for trust, understanding, communication. As part of the business, however, our IT services are a key in ensuring business continuity, supporting students beyond contact hours and mitigating the impact of disruption to time and place.
Early 2018 saw an unprecedented period of industrial action at many UK universities. Never before in the 25 years of ALT have so many colleagues protested for so long against their employers, and never before has there been so much technology available to those employers to mitigate the impact of that strike. Where should learning technologists loyalties lie when they are asked to provide systems such as VLEs and lecture recording services which can be used to keep the business of learning and teaching running? When support is withdrawn and communication breaks down what agency do you have?
In addition to industrial action by learning technologists and academic colleagues who are members of the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) in March we also saw extreme weather events across the UK resulting in school and university closures which left many staff to stay at home and work remotely and many students to access their materials in distance learning mode. As the strikes and the snow dragged on the edtech polices and practise in many large institutions were tested. The UCU were vocal and vexed by the use of recorded lectures with or without expressed permission. Large collections of openly published lectures and learning materials, which had once been hailed as assets of great value came under scrutiny as strike breakers and motivations for institutional support for OER were questioned.
Session content: evaluation and reflection
This experimental and exploratory session will give ALT participants the chance to consider their own ethical positions with regard to strike action, business continuity, policy and practice in educational institutions and learn from insights and lessons learned by the learning technologist community. The session will be of particularly interest to CMALT holders who reflect on their own professional practice and colleagues who hold responsible roles as service owners, service operations managers and senior managers.
It is hoped that this session will be the start of a wider, longer conversation about disruptive events, professional roles, management negotiations, actions short of a strike, and the impact on academic buy-in for technology which disrupts learning and teaching.
Previous, related blog posts
Schön, D. (2008). The reflective practitioner : How professionals think in action.
Tripp, D. (1993). Critical incidents in teaching : Developing professional judgement. London: Routledge.
Lam, W. (2002). Ensuring business continuity. IT Professional, 4(3), 19-25.
Lecture Capture Emerges as Key Resource for University Business Continuity Planning; Echo360 Sponsors October 1st Business Continuity Planning Webinar for Higher Education. (2009, September 23). Internet Wire, p. Internet Wire, Sept 23, 2009.
McGuinness, M., & Marchand, R. (2014). Business continuity management in UK higher education: A case study of crisis communicationin the era of social media. Business continuity management in UK higher education: a case study of crisis communication in the era of social media. International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management, 17 (4). 291 – 310.
Resources for participants
2018 UK higher education strike https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_UK_higher_education_strike
Collective bargaining and Beatrice Webb https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatrice_Webb