Tag: skills

hands-on digital skills

Hands-on digital skills. Image by ISG Interactive Content Team CC-BY

This blog is another about some more institutionally provided technologies. #openblog19

At University of Edinburgh we know that our people are our strength. This is a place of knowledge creation, and a place of knowledge sharing. It is a place in which we invest in the digital skills of our staff and students. It is true in any job that there is a need for learning and development and when you work in the digital sector the need is even more urgent in a rapidly changing environment.

As Director of Learning, Teaching and Web Services I am lucky to have responsibility not only for the institutionally provided learning technology, but also the institutionally provided digital skills training provision.  You know me, I like to have a strategy or framework for such things.

Our strategic investment in Lynda.com  has been a huge success. The digital skills training team are excellent and they have invested the kind of time and effort in managing this service for the institution which has brought us return in terms of take-up and impact  which puts us at the forefront of the  UK HE sector.

All staff and student at University of Edinburgh are offered an account with Lynda.com. We’ve seen a steady increase over 3 years  to the current 15,000 users.

I am particularly pleased that uptake is highest in Information Services Group (87%), and is consistent across all three Colleges (23-28%). The service is most popular amongst taught postgraduate students with 47% having a Lynda.com account. Between 1,200 and 1,800 hours of video is viewed every month. ,

The vast majority of courses viewed are on digital skills topics. Programming courses are consistently the most popular (Programming Fundamentals, HTML, Python) but data skills courses have recently gained popularity.

Lynda.com has been heavily and proactively promoted by ISG.  We appointed a dedicated  Service Manager to get out and about around the university to encourage engagement.  We have reached out to users across the campuses and to our 3,000 distance learning students.  We use Lynda.com to to develop staff and student skills, to supplement curricular teaching and to increase operational efficiencies for the other training providers on campus.

Developing student skills

  • Providing extra-curricular learning to enhance the student experience, aligned to frameworks such as the Digital Skills Framework or the Researcher Development Framework.
  • Developing employability skills, both digital and business, through the Careers Service.
  • Increasing visibility of achievements by downloading course completion certificates or posting them to LinkedIn profiles.

Developing staff skills

  • Developing the digital skills and capabilities of our workforce, enabling staff to play an active role in digital transformation and keep up to date with new technology.
  • Helping managers to support staff development and reviews by signposting a broad range of Lynda.com courses for their staff through the Digital Skills Framework.
  • Encouraging career development by mapping courses to professional development frameworks.
  • Enhancing curricular teaching by supporting digital classroom technologies.

Use by training providers

  • Enabling training providers to offer resources across a wider subject range and provide an alternative to classroom-based delivery. Examples include the Effective Digital Communication (Web Publishing) course which was re-designed from a face-to-face to online course using Lynda.com materials; HR’s business skills toolkits (launched in summer 2018) and ISG’s digital skills toolkits (to launch in April 2019) both of which signpost Lynda.com resources.
  • Including links to Lynda.com resources in pre- and post- course emails on Digital Skills Programme courses for preparation and further skills development.
  • Providing immediate help to those on waiting lists
  • Assisting in software and systems rollouts including Office 365, Windows 10 and lecture recording.
  • Reducing spend on external training courses by offering a just-in-time online alternative.

Lynda.com will be upgraded to LinkedIn Learning in summer 2019 and will bring benefits of a more personalised learning experience, more courses, the facility to include University of Edinburgh resources, the power of worldwide member profiles for trend and market analysis, and improved learning analytics. As an organisation we can add our own learning content to LinkedIn such as guides, videos and links to University web pages and online resources for viewing by an internal audience. There is a new reporting dashboard providing more learning analytics and data on learner behaviour, including aggregated trend data from across the globe.

There’s no doubt that the resource has been a good investment in the staff and student experience at  University of Edinburgh.

“This type of resource is critical in underpinning a number of projects, both Digital Skills and Capabilities and Digital Scholarship.”

“I wanted to let you know how helpful I have found Lynda.com. I have not used SPSS for 20 years! So going back to do statistics has been daunting. The  SPSS videos have been brilliant and helped enormously with my thesis.”

“This year, in Residence Life as part of my annual training program, I made all 220 of our Resident Assistants sign up to Lynda and throughout the course of the year have assigned them all courses to complete; time management and developing your professional image as well as encouraging Line Managers to set annual review objectives relating to courses which has all been incredibly positive.”

You can keep up to date with our ‘Learning with Lynda.com at The University of Edinburgh’ e-newsletters. Six editions have been published, with over 5,000 views to date and our dedicated Lynda.com web pages at www.ed.ac.uk/is/lynda or follow @LyndaUoE on Twitter

Adulting

The Radcliffe Camera, Oxford

I am honoured to have been invited to join the Centenary Commission on Adult Education. The membership of the Commission is as follows:

  • Dame Helen Ghosh DCB (Chair)- Master of Balliol College, Oxford. Previously Chief Executive, The National Trust; Permanent Secretary, Home Office; Permanent Secretary, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.
  • Sir Alan Tuckett OBE (Vice Chair) -Professor, University of Wolverhampton. Previously Chief Executive, National Institute of Adult Continuing Education; President, International Council for Adult Education.
  • Melissa Benn- Author, novelist, journalist, broadcaster. Chair, Comprehensive Future; Council member, New Visions for Education Group; founder member, Local Schools Network; Advisory Board member, Oxford Women in the Humanities.
  • Lord (Karan) Bilimoria CBE – Co-founder & Chairman, Cobra Beer; Chancellor, University of Birmingham.
  • Dr Sharon Clancy-Chair, Raymond Williams Foundation. Previously Head of Community Partnerships, University of Nottingham; Chief Executive, Mansfield Council for Voluntary Service.
  • Uzo Iwobi OBE -Chief Executive Officer, Race Council Cymru. Previously Principal Equality Officer, South Wales Police; member of the Commission for Racial Equality.
  • Melissa Highton -Assistant Principal, Online Learning and Director of Learning, Teaching & Web Services, University of Edinburgh.
  • Roger McKenzie-Assistant General Secretary, Unison. Previously Vice Chair, West Midlands Assembly; Midlands Regional Secretary, TUC; Race Equality Officer, TUC.
  • Sir Ken Olisa OBE -Chairman, Shaw Trust; Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London; founder & Chairman, Restoration Partners; Deputy Master, Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.
  • Sue Pember OBE- Director, Holex (professional body for Adult Community Education and Learning). Previously lead Director for FE, Dept for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) and Dept for Education & Skills (DfES); Principal, Canterbury College of F&HE.
  • Paul Roberts -Chief Executive Officer, Aspire, Oxford.
  • Dr Cilla Ross- Vice Principal, Co-operative College, Manchester.
  • Sir Peter Scott -Emeritus Professor of Higher Education, UCL Institute of Education. Previously Vice Chancellor, Kingston University, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Professor of Education, University of Leeds; Editor, The Times Higher Education Supplement.
  • Ruth Spellman OBE -General Secretary, Workers’ Educational Association. Previously Chief Executive of Chartered Management Institute, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and Investors in People UK.

The whole thing is being facilitated by Jonathan Michie, President of Kellogg College.

We hope to provide authoritative, evidence-based, recommendations on how ‘lifewide’ adult education – i.e., for all aspects and stages of people’s lives, and not just for work – should develop over the decades ahead. Our remit is the same as proposed for the 1919 committee: “To consider the provision for, and possibilities of, Adult Education in Great Britain, and to make recommendations.”

The Commission’s report will, attempt to cover the following:

  1. The need for lifewide adult education. Globalisation, technology and the changing world of work; threats to democracy and social cohesion; new social movements; demographic changes.
  2. The state of British adult education today. Who provides; who takes part; who does not provide; who does not take part. What types of provision are made (subjects, approaches, locations, media, etc.), and what are not. The relative importance of different types of provision for different social groups.
  3. The British contribution to adult education. A brief discussion of approaches developed historically in Britain, and of new practices developing today, and their contribution to democracy, civil society and personal growth.
  4. What we can learn from international experience. From UNESCO to the OECD; key reports; the impact of the current ‘output and measurement’ craze; international research.
  5. The structures, institutions and systems we need. Types of provision. Priorities for government: legislation, regulation, fees, public spending. What non-governmental agencies might do: local government, voluntary organisations, FE and HE, schools, private companies, etc. Meeting the needs of communities and social groups. Strengthening democracy in teaching and curriculum development.
  6. Implementing the changes. How can the changes be brought about: overcoming the forces in government, media and society that have inhibited the development of lifewide adult education over recent decades.

That’ll keep us busy!

 

co-curricular teaching for digital skills

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.
For staff it is available to all as centrally provided staff development  and we offer specialist schemes such as 23Things and  CMALT for particular key groups of professional staff.
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.

time for an evidence base for technology enhanced learning?

Red herring
Red Herring By misocrazy from New York, NY (Cropped from Kipper) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I spoke at JISC Digifest 2017. It was lovely to see so many colleagues old and new there.

Jisc had gathered a community of learning technologists and IT specialists and asked us to think about how we might find an evidence base for TEL.

But I do wonder: Should we even try?

There is a real risk to the universities in having the people who are best placed to build and develop excellent new services  spending too much of their time of fruitless tasks.   I think knowing what kinds of evidence is relevant for which decisions is a leadership skill, and leadership in learning technology is what its all about.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t make evidence-based decisions, or decisions based on data. We need to know the difference between evidence and data. But I think ‘technology enhanced learning‘ might be a red herring. Or possibly a hens tooth.  Or may be both.

Even before the Trump era of post-fact and post-truth there were already many people, with strong convictions will not be persuaded by evidence, however well it is presented.

Some times I suspect that people ask for evidence not because they want to make a decision, but because they already have.

Sometimes I suspect that the request for more evidence, and more detail is a stalling or blocking tactic. It is just one approach to resistance.  No amount of detail will ever be enough and you’ll spend a long time looking for it.

What I am sure is true is that different kinds of evidence persuades different kinds of people in different kinds of decision-making and we need to be smart with that. The  kinds of evidence that persuades users to use the tools, is very different from evidence budget-holders need to make decisions on spend and buy the tools in the first place.

The evidence-base is not the same as the business-case.

So, In summary: Should we spend more time assembling an evidence base for technology enhanced learning?

I vote No. The opportunity cost is too great.   It would have to be so broad, yet so detailed to convince university lecturers it would be quickly unstainable. It would be backward looking and the data unreproducable. It would have little useful link to the real, real-time decisions being made for investment for the future. We should not waste that time, we have more urgent things to do.

 

new support for learning technology professionals

Photo by Mihaela Bodlovic - http://www.aliceboreasphotography.com/, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48410918
Photo by Mihaela Bodlovic – http://www.aliceboreasphotography.com/, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48410918

If you are working in a learning technology role the University of Edinburgh is committed to supporting your professional development. I am delighted to announce a new university wide scheme supporting CPD for staff working with learning technology. Our aim is to support colleagues working in schools, colleges and ISG to become CMALT accredited.

CMALT is Certified Membership of the Association for Learning Technology – you submit a portfolio describing and reflecting on your work and linking to relevant evidence. The training and support you can access via the CMALT programme will ensure that you stay up to date with best practice and maintain strong links for career progression.

If you join our scheme now you will be supported to complete CMALT by:
*    discounted fees
*    regular meetings of the CMALT applicants group
*    mentoring and support as you put together your portfolio
*    access to organised writing retreats

For more information contact Susan Greig  in LTW now.

I completed my CMALT portfolio a number of years ago. I’m hoping my co-chairing OER16, judging the Learning Technologist of the Year competition and  supporting the roll out this scheme at University of Edinburgh will help me to maintain my good standing.

we hold these truths

Picture taken by me, mask of young president Lincoln. No rights reserved by me.
Lincoln data. Picture taken by me, 3d printed mask of young president Lincoln from SmithsonianX. No rights reserved by me.

Four score and seven hours ago  I arrived at the NMC conference. I am learning a lot about maker spaces and how they are used by libraries and universities to support the development of digital skills.

The University of Edinburgh is committed to people development and digital skills. With apologies to Thomas Jefferson:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all members of the University  are created equal, that the University  is endowed by our benefactors to deliver  certain unalienable  acts, that among these are teaching, learning and the  pursuit of research.–That to secure these activities, IT Services are instituted among (mostly)men, deriving their just powers from the consent of PSG –That whenever any form of IT services becomes disconnected from these ends, it is the Right of the directors to alter and restructure it, and to institute new IT/digital skills training laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect your Safety and Happiness online.

 

Actually, what our University’s people strategy 2012-16 says in relation to new technology is:

“The rapid technological developments in the modern world demonstrate the need to be able to review our approaches to teaching and research on an ongoing basis…… The challenge is not only to be able to invest in the continual costs and development of our technology, but to be aware of the potential of new and emerging technologies, so that we can exploit them effectively. Ensuring that staff know as much about these technologies and their capabilities as our students is vital.

We require the skills to use these technologies in new and differing ways, in order to maximise their benefits across our varied areas of work, significantly enhancing our efficiency. To this end, we need to embed digital literacy and digital wisdom across our workforce, to cover the breadth of our activities and functions.

The role of technology in undertaking research and delivering teaching will continue to change and may transform the manner in which teaching will be delivered in the future.

……. By increasing the skills of our workforce in the use of digital technologies, we will also embed good practice by ensuring good health and welfare is an essential consideration, in moving to new ways of working and learning”

Information Services currently has an IT skills training team of about 6 people, but the manager post is vacant. The plan for this summer is that that team will join  LTW services division and we will begin the search for a new head.