Tag: outwith

digital safety

Picture taken by me of a troll in Norway. No rights reserved by me.

Universities may be moving online but precious few are investing to keep their students safe.

The internet is not a safe place for everyone. As students study remotely and conduct more of their lives online, they are exposed to more risks of harassment, abuse, racism , misogyny, transphobia, fraud, scamming, bullying and doxing.

Universities are un-prepared for supporting students (and staff) who are attacked online and the headlines are starting to mount up.

Particularly when institutions are slow to respond.

There is reputational risk for student support services at universities in failing to engage with supporting our students. A worrying level of ignorance and low level of digital / social media skills amongst professional staff exacerbates this. Despite the duty of care accorded to UK universities to act reasonably in students’ best interests, to protect their well-being and to provide support as they continue in education there remains a lack of guidance to support good practice in safeguarding students, and very little focused on tackling sexual violence, hate crime and online harassment.

We must bring together guidance and training to support the development and effective implementation of a digital safety network and strategy, providing online safeguarding advice, support and training for students and staff, and drawing upon best practice from within and outwith the University, we must self-review our online safeguarding.

With a rise in cyber bullying and socially engineered threats many staff and students are not aware of the vulnerabilities of their own systems or best practice in safeguarding oneself and others online.

There are guidelines from UUK , OFS and from JISC

Colleges and universities can prevent access to illegal, harmful or inappropriate websites with filtering software, but this may not protect staff and students who access the internet from home or mobile networks – especially if using their own devices. This is particularly concerning for institutions with a cohort under 18, for which web filtering is an Ofsted requirement under safeguarding guidelines.

When users are logging in from home – and particularly where an institution makes significant use of cloud services, as at UoE ,policies and guidance need to be amended to refer specifically to any use of institutional systems or for institutional purposes, such as accessing collaboration tools like Teams and Zoom, and to harassment and bullying which happens online between known or anonymous parties.

Universities win awards and plaudits for the recent improvements to the student experience and student support services, however the support for students online is still lacking, with numerous reports of students being passed for one support to another and a then being left to sort it out themselves or engage with their harasser alone.

It’s time to do something.

shifting priorities

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

There is a lot going on. Priorities are changing all across the University.

For me, one priority has been to get some of my learning technology service teams on to contracts which are more secure. I have some amazingly talented and highly skilled professional in my teams.

That done, my next step was to ensure that we maintain our commitment to our student internships and sandwich placements.  I’m pleased to say we are recruiting dozens of students to help us with our digital shift to blended, flexible and inclusive learning in semester 1, and we are offering placement years to computing students from Napier University.

Another priority is to recruit some more https://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/CAB451/learning-technology-support-officer to join us.

If you know anyone interested: ‘Working closely with colleagues across the University, you will bring a strong customer focus, an enthusiasm for problem-solving, a methodical and efficient management of your workload as well as a desire to learn new skills and gain expertise in new areas. We value your communication and digital skills, knowledge and experience of working with learners and teachers’.

At Edinburgh Learning Technology Support Officers may specialise in a particular area of technology to provide expert guidance and support. We are interested to hear from people who might specialise in video, AR/VR, remote teaching, skills training, digital humanities or computational notebooks as these are growing areas of demand.

We are also recruiting e-learning software developers https://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/CAD662/elearning-systems-developer to help us deliver next generation learning environments: “Will you help us to deliver online, blended and hybrid learning for University of Edinburgh? We are looking for an agile developer to join our team to build capability for the future and contribute to teaching and learning in a world-leading centre of academic excellence. You will demonstrate experience of building and maintaining web applications, with proven skills in modern web technologies, including HTML, PHP, CSS, JavaScript, SQL, and the ability to prioritise your own workload and work independently. You will also have well-developed communication skills, and be able to identify and understand user requirements. You will understand the impact of legislation (such as accessibility, equality and GDPR) in the context of online education.”

 

Messages to my staff during lockdown

Every Friday I write a message to my teams in LTW.  Reassuringly, in the University we are getting a steady stream of high-level communications from HR and ‘the very top’.  In my messages I try to focus on achievements and successes.

I’ll keep them here to look back upon when we come out the other side. They already serve to be an impressive list of what the teams  have been doing.

Friday 20th March

Home office.

Dear All,

Well done all, for making it through what must be one of the craziest weeks at work, ever.

Thank you for all your work in getting set up to work from home, for looking after each other, and for taking care to be safe and well.

Thank you also for all the extraordinary measures you have taken to ensure that the University is successful in continuing learn, teach and web.

Gavin has asked me to pass on his thanks for  ‘The wonderful and immense response from LTW to the challenge of moving to remote teaching. Please give my thanks to everyone involved’.

I realise that we still have a lot to sort out about how we keep working, in our homes and with our families and pets who need us. This situation is unprecedented, but I trust that we will try hard and make it work.

Best wishes, enjoy your weekend.

-Melissa

Director LTW

Friday 27th March

Empty streets

Dear All,

I hope you are all ok at home. 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.

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.

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

Well done for making it through another week. If you are unsure, or short of something to do, please let me know.

Best wishes, enjoy your weekend.

-Melissa

Director LTW

Friday 3rd April

Deserted castle.

Dear All,

Another week has passed and I hope you are all still doing ok at home. The pace of activity in LTW does not seem to have slowed at all, many of you must be exhausted.  The Principal has given us two days of leave in recognition of the fact that everybody needs a rest from work sometimes.

I am very pleased to see how well you are managing to shift your teams, events, board meetings, steering groups and  community activities online. I know that there are online teaching and training sessions going on every day.

Amongst our many achievements:
• The Web Team ran our first ever Web Publishers’ Community online via Collaborate.
• Catherine Koppe was nominated for a Sustainability award for providing an electronic workbook service within the ISG training suites. The judges were impressed by the amount of paper this has saved, and direct cost savings as a result, they offered heartfelt thanks and congratulations for the fantastic work she is doing.
• Amanda Scully has been elected by University of Edinburgh students as Students’ Association VP for Community next year. Congratulations!
• You attended and spoke at virtual conferences to virtual audiences.
• You launched a new MOOC at short notice and high speed and shifted big courses from platform to platform as demand changes.  https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/covid-19-critical-care-education-resource/1 This  resource will help frontline healthcare workers in this high-stress, high-risk environment.
• Stewart Cromar and Jon Wilson are supporting ISG comms to make changes on the ISG website.
• You are progressing with recruitment and on-boarding where that makes sense.
• There is much blogging, podcasting and sharing of pictures of pets.
• Ewan McAndrew launched our new publication about using Wikipedia in Education. https://oer20.oerconf.org/wikimedia-in-education-online-launch/ It’s a beautifully designed book of case studies about curriculum innovation, with many examples from Edinburgh. The event was supposed to be in London for 200 people, but it shifted to online for 1,000 people.

You will have seen that Gavin is keen to advertise work opportunities for staff who are short of things to do. This will be very interesting for us in LTW as we may have colleagues from other directorates who join us to work in areas supporting Learn Foundations and media subtitling.

Well done for making it through another week. If you are unsure, or short of something to do, please let me (or your line manager) know.

Best wishes, enjoy your weekend. Stay safe. Thank you.

-Melissa

Director LTW

Friday 10th April

The University gave us along weekend Friday and Monday holiday

Friday 17th April

Cherry blossoms.

Dear All,
I hope you are all ok at home. It sounds like this lockdown will continue for a while, so please pace yourself for the long haul.
You will have noticed that Gavin has got the hang of Media Hopper Create and is doing regular video messages.  He is also very impressed with the success of the COVID MOOC and the future thinking from Learn Foundations.  Similarly popular is our course  ‘An Edinburgh Model for Teaching Online’. We have 150 staff signed up and 100+ more on the waiting list. Its great to see so many colleagues eager to find out how to do it!
I am getting a very strong sense that we will need to provide a lot more learning technology support to the College and Schools in the coming months, and perhaps for longer, so can I ask you each perhaps to have a think about people you know around the university ( or IRL) who you think would be assets to our teams (and might be on precarious contracts now)?  Staff or students. We will particularly need people who may have used our tech, built websites, taught or designed MOOCs, with good knowledge of accessibility and UX and a passion for teaching and learning.  Let me know.
Well done for making it through another busy week.
Best wishes, enjoy your weekend.
-Melissa
Director LTW

Friday 24th April

Library looking lovely.

Dear All,

Well done for making it through another busy week.

Stuart has attracted 400 academic staff to his training programme. Jon has 31,000 on his MOOC and Gavin now believes we can make MOOCs in a week. Lauren and Emma’s marketing efforts have brought more than 900 sign ups for the online learning open day. Ewan got 14 editors, 18 new articles and 80 articles improved as a result of his Earthday Editathon.

As a result of your creativity:

Our free courses are listed on https://www.edinburghlockdowneconomy.com/
The CRC collections are now available in Animal Crossing https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/dlam/2020/04/23/animal-crossing/
We now have a new “How To Make Video Content” series: https://media.ed.ac.uk/playlist/dedicated/102178591/1_ss0sj2nw/1_jwi6ubp1

You will be aware that concrete plans for semester 1 are still elusive.  Time constraints over the summer mean that it will not be possible to redesign all on-campus courses to be taught ‘fully online’, nor to develop a fully ‘hybrid’ model. I expect that we will use best efforts and the good thinking that has been already done in the Learn Foundations project to repurposed a scalable solution for moving all on-campus courses (particularly those for returning students in 2nd, 3rd and 4th years) into a state where simplified remote teaching can take place, continuing students can be held close and we can maintain community to sustain continuation of studies.

Another thing we learned this week is that the email announcing you have a voucher reward looks a lot like spam, so be careful if you get one not to just bin it!

Colleagues in the CRC are collecting your lockdown artefacts for their archive. I trust you will send them your many creative pieces.  https://www.ed.ac.uk/news/staff/2020/covid-19-experiences-to-be-documented

Best wishes, hang in there, enjoy your weekend.

-Melissa

Director LTW

Friday 1st May

Deserted castle.

Dear All,

Well done for making it through another busy week.

Students have been doing their first week of online and open book exams, and we’ve been supporting them as best we can.

We have been moving our classroom-based training programme online. We now have online delivery options for most of our classroom courses and Developing Your Data Skills Programme. These include webinars, videos, LinkedIn Learning courses, resources, guides. Digital Skills Programme webinars have been delivered to another 250 staff and students.

We are seeking to systematically improve our estate as is, starting with audits of content and accessibility. We are underway with a major programme to develop a new suite of common tools, services and technologies – including a modern, cloud-based publishing platform as a replacement for EdWeb – designed to offer our web community what they need to deliver a world-class experience for their users for years to come. We are also hoping that the university will sign up to the W3C ‘contract for the web’ https://contractfortheweb.org/ but it has to go through half a dozen committees first.

You have also been supporting Usher Institute in developing their ‘UNCOVER’ site full of evidence based reviews of COVID 19 https://www.ed.ac.uk/usher/uncover  and publishing new guidance for students on how to stay safe online.https://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/help-consultancy/is-skills/digital-safety-and-citizenship It is important to remember that just as ‘home’ may not be a safe place for everyone, the internet is a toxic place for many too, and we need to take care of each other.

You’ll have heard much talk about the dire impact the situation is having on the university. Your managers are working hard to try to ensure that contracts get renewed and jobs are secure. You will also hear much about furloughing, and economic recovery. This week Nicola Sturgeon launched a skills gateway online which links thorough to the MOOC platform where we have many of our online courses. https://www.myworldofwork.co.uk/learn-and-train/find-free-online-courses

Our ISG teams in UCreate Makerspace have been working hard to develop PPE for anyone who needs it. They have shared the design of the 3D stackable visor model they have been developing at uCreateStudio.  The model has been uploaded by the OER  team to Sketchfab so it can be downloaded under open licence. This makes the design available to anyone to make, re-use and adapt further as they wish.

Best wishes, enjoy your weekend.

-Melissa

Director LTW

Friday 8th May

Swanage.

Dear All,

Well done for making it through another busy week.

Good to see so many of you blogging about life working from home
https://www.noexceptions.io/embracing-remote-working/
https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/dennyroberts/2020/05/05/hyperreal-marx-and-furry-pets/

This week we launched a new MOOC on blended learning.  1700 people signed up for the online learning open day. We have welcomed new colleagues and we have colleagues joining us from other directorates to help with Learn Foundations and subtitling.  We have also moved some LTW colleagues into furlough if it hasn’t been possible for them to keep working. Colleagues on furlough are still able to undertake training, so there is no escape from updating your digital skills.

We are working with Schools to provide support for two different types of exam alternatives – open book exams with a 2 day turnaround, and shorter closed book exams with a 2-3 hour turnaround (plus an hour for digital submission, many of these are hand-written). Exam period is the 27th of April until the 29th of May, so still a while to go.  There are 483 exams in total, with 17K sittings. There are quite a few at the weekend and cover is being provided for any issues that occur on those days too.  Assessment continuity support: https://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/learning-technology/more/assessment-continuity

This week we also began planning for Welcome Week in September. Leaflets and handouts will be a no-no, we will need to think creatively about our merchandising  and inductions this time.

You may have seen discussion of a ‘hybrid’ model for teaching next year.  It is still a bit hard to get ones head around how social distancing will work on campus with each person needing a certain amount of space around them, our lecture theatres and seminar rooms will be very different from how they were before.  It its important to the University to advertise that this hybrid model is NOT an online-only model, and this is a strategic distinction for the University.  We know that many international students remain extremely nervous about the recognition of online only programmes.  So ‘hybrid’ delivery does not assume either a fundamentally on-campus or fundamentally online model but is designed for easy student transition between the two.  I’m sure it will become more clear, eventually.

We are running more training sessions for remote working and teaching and we have updated our training and documentation including documentation to support making video and streaming from home.  You may have spotted that the BBC have released images from their archives  to be used as backgrounds in Zoom https://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/empty_sets_collection/zfvy382   It sounds like ISG is about to buy a site-wide license for Zoom, so if you have suggestions of images from our archives which can be used as backgrounds I’d be happy to see them.  You too could work from under the eaves of McEwan Hall https://images.is.ed.ac.uk/luna/servlet/s/pit557 or dance at the 1949 Revel https://images.is.ed.ac.uk/luna/servlet/s/fnjyew

Best wishes, stay safe.

-Melissa
Director, LTW.

Friday 15th May

Fountain.

Dear All,

Well done for making it through another week.  Today is national #workFromHomeDay. 15th of May, in case you have lost track.

The University has launched a stream of recovery, renewal and adaptation projects. There are several streams with different names and subgroups. If you are invited to join one please do, but also please let me know.

I know you are all busy. A training programme for remote teaching is running every week, as is a whole raft of digital skills training for staff and students. Our copyright teams have added new guidance for copyright in remote teaching. Our graphic designers are discussing ways to make posters, stickers and signage for a socially distanced campus.

We are recruiting Learning Technology Support Officers, if you know anyone who might be interested https://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/CAB451/learning-technology-support-officer  Knowledge of the university, of LTW and of the technologies we use would be a bonus.

We are continuing to get regular updates from Gavin and all-staff emails from the Principal. On 26th May I’ve organised for VP Colm Harmon to meet with the university learning technology community to share his thinking about the way forward for semester 1. If you consider yourself to be a learning technologist and would like to join the meeting you are most welcome,  Laura will be sending out a meeting invitation soon.

You all know that there is online training in health and safety, bribery and corruption, bullying and harassment, equality and diversity for you to do. If you still haven’t done your mandatory training and you have teenagers at home, why not get them to work through it with you and use it as a home-schooling teachable moment about what its like to work in a behemoth.

Best wishes, stay safe.

-Melissa
Director, LTW.

Friday 22nd May

Selected fish and chip shops re-open in Edinburgh.

Dear All,

Well done for surviving another week at home.  Nice to see you keeping busy:

Callum tells us about the work involved in UNCOVER:

https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/website-communications/assisting-covid-19-research-with-uncover/

Duncan tells us about his art projects:

https://duncanstephen.net/lockdown-projects-month-2/

and the Tab tells us what is going on:

https://thetab.com/uk/edinburgh/2020/05/20/breaking-uni-of-edinburgh-cancels-all-study-abroad-starting-in-september-65773

Even in lockdown, LTW is still winning:  <secret until it is announced> on Friday, June 5, 2020, so don’t tell anyone until then.

We told the students we were recruiting interns and more than 100 of them applied to work with Learn Foundations one the summer. This is an amazing response and an exiting opportunity to show how we can work with students to co-create this new hybrid offering of (h)ours. 

We told the world about our online programmes and applications to PG OL degrees are up 21% on same time last year.

We told our academic colleagues about teaching online and another 400 of them are going to start to learn more in June.

We told our academic colleagues about making video and they told us they need an additional six media production studios around the campus!

We want to tell our new students everything we can about how to be successful as hybrid leaners so we are making courses to support them in 4 broad areas:

  • Getting started including intro to the Universities digital spaces/environments and interacting online
  • Digital Study skills
  • Digital Literacy and the online libraries
  • Digital Wellbeing and support

All told, not a bad week.

It was Mental Health Awareness Week this week, I am sure you are aware. Be kind to yourselves.

Best wishes, stay safe.

-Melissa

Director, LTW.

Friday 29th May

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

Dear All,

Well done for making it through another week at home. Today is the last day of the semester.  Thank you to all of you for adapting well and working so hard to ensure that students can complete their studies.

As the easing of the first lockdown begins, discussions about how and when the campus will reopen are happening across the University. It is hard to imagine what the new normal will be.

In the meantime, we must wave goodbye to 6 of our student digital skills trainers who leave us to spend their summers and future careers in new and exciting ways.  The Digital Skills Team are working with the Careers Service to think about what online support can be offered to graduates seeking work and attending interviews online.

On Monday we welcome 20 new student interns to help deliver the Learn Foundations project. They will be part of an important project to work alongside our returning students to shape the reality of how the hybrid model of teaching will work in September. Thank you to those of you who were able to join me on Tuesday to hear Colm Harmon, VP Students talk about his hopes for the coming semester, I think it was clear from what he said that he understands how vital our services are to delivering that.

The range of activities in LTW continues to be as impressive as ever.

The findings and recommendations from our ISG Equality and Diversity survey will finally be presented to Directors next week. It has been bumped several times. Additionally, Lilinaz is beginning a thematic analysis of the feedback and questions which come in from ISG staff during Gavin’s All-Staff meeting.   You will have seen our LTW all-staff meeting diary date in June going into your diaries. Any thoughts on what we should do at that meeting happily received.

Have a lovely weekend, stay safe and don’t forget to wear sunscreen.

-Melissa

Director, LTW.

 

 

How we put our VLE at the heart of teaching

The online space has always been part of  on-campus teaching at University of Edinburgh. Our Learn Foundations Project aims to make all the courses in the Learn virtual learning environment (VLE) more usable and consistent to provide a better student experience in the online teaching and learning space.

The events of recent weeks have highlighted a need for robust institutional responses to maintaining teaching continuity. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Edinburgh undertook a ‘digital pivot’ when it moved all on-campus course delivery to ‘remote’ teaching from outwith the campus in response to the national lockdown.

Learn Foundations establishes for the University an institutional standard for the use of Learn. In the past there was inconsistency across courses which contributes to a poor student experience. Students studying across subject areas, Schools, and Colleges, inevitably struggled to find their course-specific resources placed in different folders, and often called different things. Studies by our user experience experts in ISG demonstrated that many students were finding it difficult to use courses in Learn and were therefore having a poor learner experience. Agreeing on an institution-wide standard course structure and consistent course terminology, alleviated needless confusion caused by basic inconsistencies.

LTW Response to Teaching Continuity

Blackboard Learn is the online teaching hub / VLE/ LMS  for all on-campus courses at the University; it is where students  find their lecture recordings, resources and reading lists, submit assignments and receive feedback, and engage in blended learning activities.

In the March 2020 teaching continuity response to the COVID-19 our remote teaching strategy was to focus training on a core toolset (Learn, Collaborate, Media Hopper Create, and Replay) with Learn positioned as “the heart of teaching your course” (https://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/learning-technology/more/teaching-continuity/teaching-online). Online training sessions were delivered alongside drop-in sessions providing evidence-based advice about online teaching based on the University’s many years of research and practice in the area of online education (https://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/learning-technology/more/teaching-continuity/tips). Key to the message was that academic staff should consider on-campus teaching activities being moved online into Learn for a short period of time to see out the final three weeks of teaching, rather than a full online course redesign.

We saw a huge spike in usage across all our core learning technology services and  in response to a targeted comms campaign, 800 academic staff at University of Edinburgh tuned in to this training as part of the emergency response.

It was clear that those schools who had already adopted the Learn Foundations standard were in a better position to pivot teaching online than those who hadn’t.Those colleagues who had experience of recording their lectures and making their own edits had a headstart too. The largest demand and biggest training need was for using virtual classroom tools ( Collaborate).

Learn Foundations should be considered a fundamental component of Edinburgh’s remote teaching model, delivering a consistent and improved student experience and supporting Schools to use Learn effectively. It improves the staff experience of creating course content so it is easy to upload and straightforward for students to access.  It improves the student experience of carrying out learning tasks and accessing relevant learning materials.

Teaching Continuity – Academic Year 2020/21

Edinburgh University has committed to continuing  taught programmes, where possible, at the start of academic year 2020/21. Whether or not we do something fancy with new undergraduates, this still means thousands of courses online. This will mean a hugely increased focus on Learn as the online hub for teaching activities for on-campus courses. It remains unclear what government guidelines will be in place at that time in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and whether students and staff will be able to access campus buildings. At the very least it is highly likely that some students will not be able to attend campus in September due to travel restrictions and / or relaxed levels of social distancing. We should also be prepared in the coming academic year for full social distancing restrictions to be imposed again at short notice.

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.

All courses should therefore be ready for an online pivot and all teaching staff should be trained to teach elements of their course online. Even if the terminology of being ‘fully online’ is not being used, these remotely taught courses will need all their elements to be available at a distance if needed.

In order to build a consist and usable learner experience into a teaching continuity strategy we propose to include within the scope of Learn Foundations a mapping of all first semester on-campus teaching activities onto online equivalents to enable both online pivots, and remote students to continue to engage with teaching.

Mapping on-campus teaching to pivot online: a simplified hybrid approach

As well as Learn Foundations, a number of existing elements can be repurposed to support academic colleagues and learning technology support teams in the design of an Edinburgh Model of hybrid courses:

  • The on-campus timetable and curriculum should be considered the basis for a mapping of online activities. Where possible these should focus on the core online teaching toolset (Learn, Collaborate, and Media Hopper).
  • Lecture recordings and resources lists provision should be reviewed for gaps in coverage– particularly in first year courses.
  • Audits of accessibility of learning materials will continue and each School will be provided with reports to support improvement in access and inclusion online.
  • Learning designs will be repurposed from ELDeR sessions to inform modes of online teaching which have been tried and tested at University of Edinburgh, giving a firm grounding in appropriate pedagogy.
  • Online ABC sprints, led by school-based learning technologists and under guidance for the ISG learning design service, will lead teaching staff quickly through the process of customising the learning designs for individual courses.
  • The ‘An Edinburgh Model for Online Teaching staff development programme be offered to all teaching staff as an introduction to online teaching, and to give staff the experience of being an online student with a focus on communication, community and care that is important for all online teachers.
  • The learning technology training programme as part of the Learn Foundations project will focus on supporting the delivery of teaching online and the programme of remote training developed in March 2020 will be re-run intensively over the summer. Cross-references and supplemental information from the ‘Edinburgh Model’ course will provide ongoing support for using the core technologies required.
  • Local learning technologists in Schools will support colleagues in making discipline specific decisions about materials online.
  • Communications around the support available for academic colleagues in making this shift in pedagogy will be co-ordinated with IAD.
  • Copyright advice and training for colleagues moving their materials online will be provided by the Library and our Open Educational Resources Service.

We will also continue to offer tools and support for teachers who want to innovate and stretch beyond a core set of tools into using video, blogs, computational notebooks, wikimedia tools and virtual labs. A rush to online delivery by many universities will see skillful course design for accessibility, quality and learning communities become key.  Interoperability, licensing, copyright, IP, technical standards and open development will be as important for sharing, interchange, reuse, local adaptation of materials  as they always have been.

Fingers crossed.

Critical responses

What should an ancient research university with a famous medical school and a track record of distance learning do in a time of pandemic crisis?

I hear you ask.

Publish a massive open online course full of openly licensed resources, of course.

And so we did.

COVID-19 Critical Care: Understanding and Application

Frontline staff can now learn the principles and practice of critical care to treat and care for critically ill patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. For free.

Thank you to all our teams and to FutureLearn ( who are by far my favourite global elearning platform company this week).

 

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.
  • Students will want to watch their lectures 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.