ALT

AmplifyFE Community Space Webinar: Enhancing Student Engagement

ALT Events - 03/06/24

Join Robert Treharne to learn more about enhancing student engagement.

Categories: ALT, Events

ALT Awards submissions closing soon!

ALT News - 30/05/24

Entries for the ALT Awards 2024 are still open until 11 June 2024, meaning there is just over a week to submit your entry. This year’s Awards Ceremony will take place on 4 September, as part of the ALT Annual Conference 2024, held in Manchester. 

With the awards now in their 17th year, this year we have a number of categories to better reflect our Learning Technology community:

Categories: ALT, News

Personal branding strategies in online hashtag communities: the case of #AcademicTwitter

RLT Journal - 29/05/24

Several studies have explored the uses and benefits of social media hashtag communities in higher education… Yet, more research is needed to examine communication structures and strategies for personal branding in educational social media hashtag communities. In otherwords, to understand the dynamics, characteristics, and strategies for faculty, university staff, and graduate students need to brand themselves professionally in social media hashtag communities. This research aims to explore social network structures, dynamics, influencer characteristics, and personal branding strategies of the #AcademicTwitter online community. X (formerly known as Twitter) data on #AcademicTwitter from 2021 were retrieved and analysed using social network and quantitative content analysis. Our study found that most of the recurrent users in the community were scholars (faculty and researchers) predominantly from the STEM field. However, the most influential users were media/fan pages (a profile account created for different purposes such as sharing tips in academia, publishers, etc.) and other professionals (freelancers or university staff). Our research sheds light on the current practice of disclosing specific teaching and research interests or expertise in social media bio profiles for personal branding, especially among scholars. Unique communication contexts such as social media hashtag communities still bring challenges to the dissemination of information, relationship building, and personal branding strategies. Our results also provide recommendations for scholars (faculty and researchers), graduate students, university staff, and practitioners to improve communication practices and personal branding strategies on social media hashtag communities.

Categories: ALT, Publication

ALT Honorary Life Membership - Call for Nominations Closing 31 May!

ALT Announce - 28/05/24
 

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HONORARY LIFE MEMBERSHIP - CALL FOR NOMINATIONS CLOSING 31 MAY!

 

We award Honorary Life Membership (HLM) to individuals whom we believe have
made an outstanding and sustained contribution to the advancement of ALT's
aims for the development of Learning Technology in a regional, national, or
international context, through research, practice, policy-development,
leadership, or a combination of these. [...]
Categories: ALT, Announcement

Rethinking Assessments with Generative AI: Strategies and Approaches

#ALTC Blog - 28/05/24

Co-authored by Ian Miller, Elisabetta Lando and ChatGPT.

The rise of generative AI has sparked a significant debate across the educational sector. Many teaching practitioners are grappling with the challenge of students using AI for formal assessments and presenting the work as their own, impeding an accurate assessment of the students’ abilities and understanding. However, putting a blanket ban on AI is not the solution, argues instructional technology expert Dr. Helen Crompton in April’s Active Learning SIG webinar. Instead, we need to rethink and redesign assessments to leverage the power of generative AI as a learning tool, working with AI rather than against it.

Assessments have traditionally focused on testing what students know, but there have been long-standing arguments for a radical overhaul of assessment methods. Back in 2019, Simone Bhitendijk of Imperial College stated in a TES interview that for active learning methodologies, such as the flipped classroom, to truly take off, assessments would need to evolve to reflect their interactive nature. Bhitendijk went on to say that it would “require a change in the wider ecosystem to accelerate the uptake” (TES, October 2019).

AI is indeed a significant change within the wider ecosystem. Assessments need to radically shift their focus from merely testing knowledge to evaluating the capabilities or competencies needed to apply that knowledge. Active learning methodologies, even with the use of AI itself, can offer a promising avenue for addressing some of these challenges.

Key challenges:

  • ChatGPT and other AI language models can easily generate written content like essays that may get passed off as a student’s original work.
  • Typical plagiarism detection tools struggle to identify AI-generated text reliably.
  • AI models can introduce biases, inaccuracies, and lack proper citations when automatically generating content.
  • The importance now, more than ever, is the need to explicitly embed digital critical thinking skills in all areas of education.

While not foolproof, Dr. Crompton suggests some short-term strategies to make cheating more difficult:

  • Require citations and references to be included and verify their accuracy manually.
  • Ask students to connect their work directly to class discussions, readings, and experiences.
  • Encourage collaboration, group work, and peer feedback as part of the assignment.

Note: Some of these tactics, such as citations and references, may eventually be outsmarted by AI, so they should be considered temporary measures.

The long-term solution, however, remains one of reimagining assessment:

  • Use real-world, authentic tasks like problem-solving case studies.
  • Incorporate practical components and multi-stage activities that are harder to automate.
  • Have students critique AI-generated content to build critical analysis skills.
  • Conduct debates with AI to develop argumentative reasoning abilities.
  • Use AI for mock job interviews to practise communicating complex topics.

The key is creating active learning experiences that demonstrate deeper understanding beyond just reciting information. This aligns with the concept of ”making thinking visible” (OU innovation reports, 2020), which lies at the heart of active learning methodologies (and indeed lies at the heart of this ALTSIG’s remit). However, “making thinking visible” can pose a significant challenge for educators, who often juggle time constraints and large student cohorts. Furthermore, using generative AI to create active learning assessments requires educators to master the AI tools themselves and learn to create prompts that generate assessments aligned with learning outcomes. This process will take time, and institutions must provide the necessary support for the development of these essential staff digital skills.

While initially disruptive, it might be worthwhile to look at the positives. According to some quarters, this may even be the end of essay mills. Embracing the technology’s capabilities prudently and with proper support could potentially enrich student learning in powerful new ways.

Categories: #ALTC Blog, ALT

Insights from Award-Winning Collaborators

#ALTC Blog - 23/05/24

By Jane Secker and Chris Morrison

This blog post is written jointly by Jane Secker and Chris Morrison who were highly commended in the ALT Awards in 2023 for Leadership in Digital Education. The award was in recognition of the work they did during the pandemic to provide support to the higher education community on copyright and online learning issues. This included establishing the ALT Copyright and Online Learning Special Interest Group and a webinar series which still runs to date. 

Jane and Chris research, write, present and muck around together and have successfully collaborated for over 10 years, following discovering (incidentally in a Brighton beach bar) their shared passion to make learning about copyright fun, empowering and engaging.  

They tell us…. 

Last year we were jointly presented with a ‘highly commended’ award for Leadership in Digital Education. We do many things as a collaborative venture, finding over 10 years ago that we had shared interests (copyright, Star Wars, libraries, music, doing what we can to make the world a better place). But we also discovered that we had complimentary skills and values. As set out in one of our favourite books, Thomas Shenk’s Powers of Two, many creative partnerships (Lennon & McCartney, Marie & Pierre Curie, Ant & Dec – ok maybe not Ant & Dec) prove that two heads really are better than one. In our particular mix of leadership, we combine one person’s tendency towards perfectionism (looking at you Chris) and counter that with the other’s drive to get things done, tick off an action and move onto the next thing (sound like anyone Jane?). But bring that together and you have some kind of magic…. Plus, for anyone who’s spent any time in our company, a lot of bickering! 

Leadership however has traditionally been seen as an individual endeavour – that leading is about one person’s ability to create a vision and to motivate a team. However, in this increasingly challenging and diverse world, we are seeing a growing recognition that one person cannot do everything, there simply isn’t the time. And of course, we all have blind spots that we need trusted colleagues and friends to help us with. Therefore, co-chairs can be a really effective way to lead an organisation and share the load, but also amplify your message and make sure you aren’t just reflecting your own personal preferences to the detriment of your team or community.  

We were honoured to receive the ALT Award for the work we did during the pandemic and since then. It felt like a real recognition of what we had achieved and it was wonderful to attend the Gala Dinner and be applauded by the digital education community.  

It’s a relatively simple process to write an application and you can self-nominate. The key thing is to think about the impact of your work. Writing reflective pieces like for AdvanceHE fellowship and CMALT where you have to document the impact of your work, can be great to draw upon. Remember it’s not all about metrics too, it’s about how your practice might be changing and supporting others. And the award was great to include on our CVs, shout about on LinkedIn and include in our respective promotion applications. It also led to us both getting a personal congratulations from Senior Managers at both our institutions.  

So, if you think you wouldn’t be eligible for the leadership award because you don’t fit the bill of a typical ‘leader’ think again. If you work in partnership with someone else, or create and share a vision for something in learning technology in a non-traditional way then don’t be constrained by your or other people’s previous thinking. We encourage you to apply for the ALT Awards 2024 and wish you luck.  

We are now open for entries until Tuesday 11 June 2024, and we welcome submissions from individuals and teams based anywhere in the world. The awards are free to enter. Learn More.

Categories: #ALTC Blog, ALT

Unlock Unmissable Opportunities at ALT's Annual Conference in Manchester!

ALT News - 23/05/24

We are thrilled to offer this exclusive opportunity to be a part of the Association for Learning Technology's (ALT) Annual Conference 2024, set to take place in the vibrant city of Manchester.

Categories: ALT, News

Impact and implementation of UNESCO’s Recommendation on Open Educational Resources in academic libraries: SPARC Europe Case Study

RLT Journal - 23/05/24

This paper analyses the role of libraries in the development of Open Educational Resources (OER) and, more specifically, the impact and level of implementation of UNESCO’s (2019) OER Recommendation in Higher Education libraries. This study, the result of a joint undertaking between a national R&D project and SPARC Europe, is based on an online survey, disseminated amongst the European Network of Open Education Librarians (ENOEL) and uses a descriptive research methodology. The results highlight the implementation actions being taken by university libraries (n = 136) in each of the five areas of action of UNESCO’s Recommendation. We find that the main contributions are being made in the areas of capacity building and Open Education policies, but that considerable work has yet to be done in terms of promoting inclusiveness and the sustainability of OER. Thus, the full implementation of UNESCO’s recommendation requires a greater commitment on the part of librarians to joint actions undertaken via international networks and projects, as well as greater institutional commitment and the building of interdepartmental alliances.

Categories: ALT, Publication

ALTC24 is now a certified CPD event! 

ALT News - 21/05/24

We are excited to announce that the Association for Learning Technology is a proud new member of the CPD Certification Service. Established in 1996, The CPD Certification Service is the world's leading and largest CPD accreditation service. 

Categories: ALT, News

Students’ perspectives of a study support (Studiosity) service at a University

RLT Journal - 21/05/24

Supporting students’ success and achievement is a key mission of WP (Widening Participation) institutions such as the University of Bedfordshire. An essential step in ensuring students succeed is the development of academic writing skills – these are vital during students’ studies and when students leave university study and undertake further study or enter graduate-level employment. During the 2021–2022 academic year, the University of Bedfordshire implemented a study support service called Studiosity, a service designed to provide students with formative feedback on drafts of their assessment tasks. This study utilises a survey instrument exploring Studiosity’s Writing Feedback (WF) service and addresses a gap in the literature where there is very little understanding of the details of students’ engagement with the system. The survey’s results indicate a mismatch between students’ assumptions about formative feedback provided by Studiosity. However, when students utilise Studiosity’s WF service, the personalised and specific feedback raises students’ confidence in their ability to write academically.

Categories: ALT, Publication

Learning Rate of Change: How action research helps bridge the gap

#ALTC Blog - 21/05/24

By Jim Turner

As learning technologists, we are at the forefront of a rapidly changing educational landscape. New technologies, pedagogical approaches, and learner expectations seem to evolve at an ever-increasing pace. How can we not only keep up, but lead innovation and effectively tackle the complex challenges we face? Action learning offers a compelling solution. 

In a recent ELESIG webinar presented by Becky Quew-Jones highlighted a key principle: our rate of learning must be greater than or equal to the rate of change in order for us to maintain a sense of control and agency. For learning technologists grappling with the educational impacts of phenomena like AI, the rate of change is clearly leaving or sense of learning far behind. Action research could provide a structured way to confront through a methodology called ‘action learning’ that by bringing together diverse practitioners to investigate issues (action learning sets), question each other, share knowledge, take action, and reflect on the results. 

The basics 

Some key benefits of action learning for learning technologists include: 

  • Collaborative problem-solving – Action learning sets harness the diverse perspectives and experiences of participants to deeply explore challenges and uncover new solutions. For complex, people-centered issues without clear answers, this collaborative approach is far more effective than tackling them alone. 
  • Accountability for action – Rather than endlessly discussing problems, action research demands real action between meetings to move toward solutions. Reporting back to supportive peers creates positive accountability. 
  • Psychological safety to accelerate learning – Action learning sets provide a safe environment to openly share struggles and quickly develop new knowledge/skills. Honest dialogue and questioning fast-tracks the learning process. 
  • Links to research and practice – The cycles of action and reflection at the heart of action learning parallel the scientific method. It can serve as a systematic research methodology and also bridge research and practice by field testing new approaches. 

As learning technologists, we could employ this versatile approach for challenges such as: 

  • Evaluating and implementing emerging educational technologies 
  • Redesigning courses/programs for new modes of delivery 
  • Tackling issues like academic integrity, accessibility, or digital literacy 
  • Piloting innovative pedagogical approaches 
  • Improving technology adoption and support for faculty 
 Want more details? 

The presentation offered inspiring examples of action research in degree apprenticeship programs, academic integrity efforts, and research on workplace learning. Becky has recently used this process and published an article on a particular ‘wicked’ problem at the heart of her current job role. Here is summary of that process: 

  • Participants: Six representative apprenticeship ambassadors from large organizations with existing relationships with a business school for level 6 and 7 apprenticeships. 
  • Three Action Learning sets conducted over a 9-month period. Each set lasted 2 hours.
    • Set 1: Investigated barriers preventing curricular collaboration between university providers and employers. “Wicked problems” were identified and categorised into initial themes. 
    • Set 2: Reflected on outcomes of issues recognised in Set 1. Facilitated dialogue to overcome barriers and identify best practices to maximize translation of knowledge. A sixth theme (senior management buy-in) was added. 
    • Set 3: Reflected on outcomes of actions taken since Set 2. Promoted further dialogue to discuss best practices to enhance work-based learning experiences for current and future practice.
  • The researcher’s role was to gather the participants and facilitate the action learning sets. The participants acted as co-researchers. 
  • Data was analysed using a six-stage thematic approach, including transcription, coding, collating codes into themes, reviewing themes, defining/naming themes, and reporting. The data included the cyclical process of planning, acting, observing and reflecting was followed, with the goal of improving practice. 
In summary 

By convening action learning groups around these issues, we can accelerate progress and spread innovative practices across our institutions. The beauty of this is that it doesn’t require extensive training or resources to get started. We can begin by gathering a group of engaged colleagues, establishing ground rules for productive sessions, and diving into the cycles of action and reflection. 

In a time of disruptive change, learning from different methodologies can empower us as learning technologists to not only keep pace, but to drive educational innovation for the benefit of faculty, students, and institutions.  

What to try it out?  

Becky recommended the following . . .

1.      Watch the presentation recording 

2.      Coghlan, D., 2019. Doing action research in your own organization. Doing Action Research in Your Own Organization, pp.1-240. 

3.      Brockbank, A., & McGill, I. (2003). The Action Learning Handbook: Powerful Techniques for Education, Professional Development and Training (1st ed.). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203416334 

4.      Pedler, M. and Abbott, C., 2013. Facilitating action learning: A practitioner’s guide. McGraw-Hill Education (UK). 

5.      Pedler, M.M., 2012. Action learning for managers. Gower Publishing, Ltd. 

References: 

Rebecca Quew-Jones (2022) Enhancing apprenticeships within the Higher Education curriculum – an Action Learning and Action Research study, Action Learning: Research and Practice, 19:2, 146-164, DOI: 10.1080/14767333.2022.2056135 

Categories: #ALTC Blog, ALT

ALT East England: Digital badges - Where do we go from HEAR?

ALT Events - 17/05/24

Many institutions are seeking new methods to acknowledge and reward valuable contributions from staff and students. This can include achievements in academics (curricular), extracurricular activities, or co-curricular programs. Examples include information literacy workshops, employability skills development, internships, community service projects, or volunteer work.

This session will explore how digital badges and certifications can be used as a recognition tool for these contributions and accomplishments. Digital badges are verifiable online tokens that represent a skill learned, an accomplishment achieved, or a completed program. Compared to traditional paper certificates, they offer greater accessibility and shareability.

The online session will feature experiences from three institutions that have been piloting the use of digital badges. Following this, there will include a general discussion about digital badges and certification, with the presenters and audience.

Presenter bio/description:

Peter Harrison (Head of Academic Practice and Education Excellence, Cranfield University)

Peter’s session, The backroom to our badging strategy will describe what Cranfield wanted to achieve with their badging initiative, why they went with a commercial registrar, how to give badges value and managing growth and change in badge portfolio.

Bernadette Martin (Learning and Teaching Librarian, Library and Learning Services, Open University)

The Open University is creating a badged online course on Digital & Information Literacy. Tailored to different degree levels, it will teach information research, critical thinking, and other digital skills. The course repurposes existing resources and offers easy access for students and staff and is aligned to the Digital and Information Literacy Framework. The course will be offered to all OU students through our VLE from September 2024.

Cory Saarinen (Assistant Director - Technology Enhanced Learning, Institute of Continuing Education, University of Cambridge)

The Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) has been working on a pilot project around the implementation of Digital Certificates and Badges in partnership with Accredible. Since January Digital Certificates and Badges have been implemented across ICE’s non-award bearing Online Course portfolio, with progress being made on bringing onboard all non-accredited courses in time for the 2024 Academic Year.
 

Categories: ALT, Events

ALTC24 Call for Proposals closes on Monday!

ALT Announce - 16/05/24
 

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#ALTC24 CALL FOR PROPOSALS CLOSES ON MONDAY!

 

The Call for Proposals for ALT's 2024 Annual Conference, 3-5 September in
Manchester UK, will close on MONDAY 20 MAY AT 12:00 BST.

If you're not sure how to write a proposal or this is your first time, read
our blog on writing a proposal for #ALTC24 [4]. We have also published a
blog on writing a business case to attend #ALTC24 [5] to help you secure
the time and funding to attend. [...]
Categories: ALT, Announcement

Writing a proposal for #ALTC24

#ALTC Blog - 16/05/24

by Kerry Pinny, Interim CEO and Chief Operations Office of ALT

Writing a proposal for a conference can feel daunting, so, we have written this blog to help you submit a strong proposal for our 2024 Annual Conference (ALTC24). If you don’t think you have anything interesting to share, think again! If you’ve never spoken at a conference before, now’s the time!

We know it is challenging to gain funding and time to attend conferences. To help, we have shared advice and an example business case to help you submit the strongest case to attend ALTC24. Speaking at a conference benefits you and your organisation and can help to further substantiate your case. As a thank you, our speakers receive a discount on the registration fee for the conference! Read ‘Writing a business case to attend ALTC24’.

All proposals will be peer reviewed by two members of the Conference Committee

This year, the Annual Conference will be in Manchester, UK on 3-5 September. Co-Chaired by Diane Bennett, Teaching and Learning Manager (Distance Learning) at The University of Manchester, and Scott Farrow, Head of Digital Learning at Edge Hill University we will be “doing, reflecting, improving, collaborating”.

Submit a proposal

Where to start

Start by thinking about what you want to achieve by speaking at the conference. Are you working on something interesting and think others will benefit from hearing about it? Do you have research you want to disseminate? Are you seeking collaborators or feedback? Do you have an idea or perspective you want to share or debate?

Then, read the conference themes. Our themes were authored by our Co-Chairs and give you direction on the topics we want to focus on this year. Do you have work, research or ideas that fit the themes? If so, make a note of your initial ideas. If not, don’t worry! Participation is important to ALT, so, we include a wildcard submission type for proposals that are not directly relevant to the themes.

Hone your topic

Think about your work and research. Do you have something to talk about that will help your peers? If so, that’s what we’re looking for! What have you worked on? What are you working on? Do you have reflections or lessons learned to share? What research have you completed? Are there initial results/conclusions you can share from your research? Have you been thinking about a particular topic and have perspectives, a framework or advice to share? Do you have something you’ve always wanted to get off your chest?

Pick a session type

Once you know what you are going to talk about, you need to think about how long you will need and what style best suits what you have to say. Your abstract will need to reflect the length and style of session. This year you can choose from:

  • 60 minute workshop (an interactive and practical learning session)
  • 30 minute research paper or case study
  • 15 minute presentation
  • 60 minute ALTC radio show

A workshop is an interactive and practical session. You might include discussions, practical demos or activities individually or in groups that will help delegates to explore the topic of your session. It is important that delegates learn or take away something from a workshop. The abstract should clearly detail what the delegate will learn or take away from the session and what they will be doing during the session. A session where you talk for 60 minutes is not a workshop!

A research paper or case study is a 30 minute session for you to showcase something you’re researching or studying. Ideally, a research paper or case study will be on a published or in-progress piece of research or study. If it’s not yet published or complete, it should be at a point where initial results or conclusions can be drawn from it and shared with delegates.

A 15 minute presentation can be on any topic in any style but remember, you only have 15 minutes! These short sessions are ideal for first-time speakers.

This year we have a new session type, the 40 minute ALTC radio show. ALTC radio was a great success last year and it offers delegates an alternative format to engage with as well as offering a creative and informal session type for speakers. Share the waves with colleagues, play your favourite tunes or chat about all things learning tech!

Pick a title

The title of your proposal will be the title advertised on the conference programme, so, it’s important to choose an effective title. Delegates may decide whether to attend your session without reading your abstract!

Keep it concise, to the point and make sure to mention keywords. Funny or catchy titles are welcome too so use your imagination. Ask yourself, does your title tell delegates enough about what they are going to hear?

Writing an abstract

The abstract is your 500 word advert for your session. It is a summary of the main points that will be explored in the session. Peer reviewers will read it and base their decision to accept or decline the proposal solely on the abstract. Delegates will read it to understand what they will learn from the session and decide whether to attend.

Your abstract should demonstrate to the reviewers that you have something relevant and valuable to add to the conference. Therefore, it needs to be focused, clearly describing the value of the session to delegates and the value of your ideas to the conference itself.

Depending on the session type you choose, your abstract should address the following questions as concisely as possible:

  1. What will your session focus on?
  2. Why is that focus important/relevant to delegates?
  3. How is it relevant to the conference theme(s)?
  4. Who is your intended audience?
  5. Why should delegates attend?
  6. What will delegates learn?
  7. What evidence or data are you going to use?
  8. What are the key findings, conclusions or implications?
  9. What will delegates be doing during the session?

Remember, reviewers and delegates may not be familiar with what you’re talking about or with your area of work. Avoid jargon, colloquialisms and acronyms.

If you are using data or referring to literature in your session, remember to include it in a reference list.

Avoid identifying information in your abstract where possible. To aid the double blind process and the fairness of the review, avoid mentioning names or other information that would enable a reviewer to identify you. You will be able to add that information back into the proposal later.

Proofread

Before submitting, remember to proofread your submission. Step away from your submission and review it with fresh eyes.

What happens next?

When the call closes, our Conference Committee will begin the double blind peer review process. Each reviewer will indicate whether the proposal should be accepted or declined and provide feedback. Proposers will be notified of the outcome along with the reviewers’ feedback in June. If your proposal requires revisions, you will be given time and instruction on how to make those changes. Once accepted, you will have until July to register as a speaker and your session will be published in the conference programme.

Need inspiration?

Still not sure you have anything to submit? Why not get some inspiration?

Look back at the programmes, abstracts and recordings from previous years. You can watch all of the recordings from our 2023 Annual Conference on YouTube. Read all the posts from previous conferences on our blog.

Submit a proposal

This year, #ALTC24 is heading back to Manchester on 3-5 September 2024 and we are looking forward to once again convening the Learning Technology community at this unmissable event. Learn more and register here – altc.alt.ac.uk/2024.

Categories: #ALTC Blog, ALT

ALTC24 Call for Proposals will close on Monday!

ALT News - 15/05/24
Submit a proposal by noon BST (12:00) Monday 20 May 2024

You have until Monday to submit a proposal for this year's Annual Conference. Taking place in Manchester, UK on 3-5 September, ALTC24 will introduce two new session types, ALTC radio show and emerging research. 

Categories: ALT, News

Writing a business case to attend ALTC24

#ALTC Blog - 14/05/24

By Kerry Pinny, Interim CEO and Chief Operations Officer

We know it can be challenging, in the current economic climate, to secure approval for funding and time to attend ALT’s Annual Conference. One way to gain support and increase the possibility, is to submit a strong business case with your request. 

A persuasive business case outlines how attendance will benefit you, your team and the organisation, why attendance is good value for money and how it will support your continuing professional development. The example is designed to help you write your business case.

Writing a case: first steps

An effective business case will make a strong connection between attendance and the benefits the organisation will see as a result. If you have never written a business case before, start by:

  1. Writing down the most important strategies, projects or challenges in your organisation.
  2. Thinking about how your work contributes to your organisation’s strategies and projects or can help solve its challenges. 
  3. Identifying the skills and knowledge that you need in order to contribute to the organisation’s strategy and projects or solve its challenges.
  4. Considering how attendance will contribute to your career development and CPD. You could review your annual appraisal or look at the essential criteria for a promotion or role you would like to apply for.
  5. Visiting the Conference website to identify and note the sessions in the programme that are relevant to your organisation’s strategy, projects or challenges.
  6. Using the conference programme to Identify and note speakers, sponsors or exhibitors you would like to meet and how meeting them will contribute to your organisation’s strategy, projects or solving challenges.
An example business case

The Association for Learning Technology’s Annual Conference is one of the UK’s largest conferences for learning technology and digital education professionals. Held over three days, the conference provides a valuable and practical forum for practitioners, researchers, managers and policy-makers from education and industry to solve problems, explore, reflect, influence and learn.

The conference attracts over 350 delegates from across the UK and around the world. Delegates are practitioners from Higher and Further Education, Schools and Industry at all levels of seniority. Delegates are in a wide range of roles including learning technologists, senior/executive leaders, developers, learning and development professionals, academics and researchers. 

At present, our [insert organisation] is focussed on [insert strategy, projects, challenges that are important to the organisation]. [explain how your role contributes to the organisation’s strategy, projects, challenges]. 

[Insert a session title] will help/support [me/my team/department/the organisation] [with what?] because the session will [what info is relevant from the session abstract]. (Repeat for 3-5 relevant sessions)

I have submitted a proposal to present [insert session title and brief abstract]. Presenting this paper will [why does presenting benefit you and the organisation?].

[During the conference, will you be visible on social media, blogging, podcasting etc?]

I am keen to develop [insert your CPD/career goals] and the sessions on [insert relevant sessions] will support me [list the ways the sessions will support your CPD/career goals].

While at the conference, I will have opportunities to network and connect with delegates. I plan to meet [insert a speaker, sponsor, exhibitor or delegate(s) you would like to meet (e.g. are there speakers from other relevant organisations)] connecting with them will help/support me/the organisation by [why will meeting these people be beneficial?].

The conference represents good value for money with over 100 sessions including three keynotes, from leading experts in the sector, panel discussions, workshops and research papers. All of the sessions will be recorded, therefore, I will have access to any I cannot attend as well as a significant resource I can continue to use after the conference. Including registration, travel and accommodation, the conference will cost [insert cost to attend].

After the conference, I will [explain how you will disseminate or share what you have learned with colleagues, the organisation or external networks post-conference].

This year, #ALTC24 is heading back to Manchester on 3-5 September 2024 and we are looking forward to once again convening the Learning Technology community at this unmissable event. Learn more and register here – altc.alt.ac.uk/2024.

Categories: #ALTC Blog, ALT

ALTC24: an update from our Co-Chairs

#ALTC Blog - 10/05/24

By Scott Farrow, Head of Digital Learning at Edge Hill University, Diane Bennett, Teaching and Learning Manager (Distance Learning) at The University of Manchester

It doesn’t feel like almost eight months ago we were dusting off our 80’s disco moves ready to celebrate at the ALT Award dinner at University of Warwick…but it was and now we’re into full swing with planning for the ALT Conference 2024 in Manchester.

So, what does 2024 have in store for the ALT Conference and how are plans progressing?

The ALT events team has been busy behind the scenes preparing for the event in Manchester this year. Diane and I are excited to be working with a strong team of committee members and we both feel really privileged to be able to co-chair an event which has been a huge part of our working lives for a number of years. Collaboration, empowerment and supporting improvement are all values we both share in our day-to-day work and something we hope to bring to the conference through the themes and via the work alongside the committee. Keep an eye open for future blog posts from others within the committee. If you’d like to meet them and find out more about them, visit the conference website.

This year’s themes were proposed with an eye on both the values we share as co-chairs and what’s current within Learning Technology across both further and higher education. You’ll see that the themes below link to some of the key priorities and areas of focus emerging from the ALT Annual Survey 2024.

This year’s conference will focus on:

  • Cultivating collaboration,
  • Reviewing, reflecting, re-imagining,
  • Inviting improvement,
  • Emerging research.

What will you be contributing?

One of the key findings from the annual survey this year was collaboration and the use of collaborative tools which was rated 2nd on the list of priorities for 2024. Another of the findings from this survey was dedicated time being the biggest challenge for digital transformation within organisations who responded. Additionally, within the Professional Development in Learning Technology survey findings, the importance of professional recognition continues to increase year on year and more professionals are seeking to change jobs.

Last week, we held our first committee meeting which included some thought-provoking discussion – including conversations about keynote speakers who have resonated previously and reflection on formats we feel have and have not worked at various conferences we’ve attended. We hope we can bring some keynotes and key sessions which will help challenge our thinking, leaving us to return to our workplaces inspired.

The committee will bring you further updates and news in the lead up to September, so keep your eyes peeled for those. If you’re missing your ALT-C fix, don’t forget the ALT YouTube channel has session recordings from previous years, including this playlist from the 2023 programme in Warwick.

We hope to see you in Manchester!

This year, #ALTC24 is heading back to Manchester on 3-5 September 2024 and we are looking forward to once again convening the Learning Technology community at this unmissable event. Learn more and register here – altc.alt.ac.uk/2024.

Categories: #ALTC Blog, ALT

ALTC24 Call for Proposals extended to Monday 20 May

ALT Announce - 09/05/24
 

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#ALTC24 CALL FOR PROPOSALS EXTENDED TO MONDAY 20 MAY

 

The Call for Proposals for ALT's 2024 Annual Conference, 3-5 September in
Manchester UK, has been extended and will now close on MONDAY 20 MAY AT
12:00 BST.

This year's conference theme is 'doing, reflecting, improving,
collaborating' and we are looking for proposals that address any of the
following themes:  [...]
Categories: ALT, Announcement

Empowering ESOL Excellence through Technology

#ALTC Blog - 08/05/24

By Deborah Millar, Executive Director of Digital Transformation, Hull College

In the dynamic realm of Further Education (FE), we at Hull College have experienced firsthand the power of technology to transform teaching and learning. Our pioneering use of Microsoft Translate has dismantled language barriers, notably enhancing our ESOL program. This initiative aligns with our dedication to Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and has also garnered the prestigious ALT ‘Ethical Use of Edtech’ award last year.

ALT Awards 2023

Our experience is a testament to the transformation that technology can foster. Located in the City of Sanctuary, we face unique challenges and opportunities in supporting refugees and asylum seekers. Integrating tools like PowerPoint Live, Immersive Reader, and MS Translate has significantly boosted ESOL attendance from 65% to 91.5% and achievement rates from 77% to 90%. Beyond numbers, we’ve changed lives—enabling better job performance and facilitating social and professional integration. Our efforts have saved over £50,000 in administrative costs, showcasing the dual benefit of technological adoption in education.

“When the teacher used technology in the classroom, I couldn’t believe it. There were 10 of us with different backgrounds and languages, and we could all understand her. I had used technology sparingly before I came to the UK, but this has helped me make friends and settle in. I was alone, and now I’m not!”

The ALT Awards are highly regarded as a symbol of success and excellence. They provide a platform to recognise these achievements and share our strategies widely across the sector. The introduction of the new ALT Award for the use of Technology in Vocational Education, in collaboration with Ufi VocTech Trust for 2024, further emphasises the increasing significance of edtech across various educational fields. This is an excellent opportunity for institutions that specialise in vocational training to showcase their innovative approaches.

We encourage fellow institutions to consider entering the ALT Awards. Whether it’s showcasing groundbreaking projects or learning from peers, the benefits of participation are vast. Each entry not only stands to win but serves as a lighthouse of innovative practice that can inspire and guide the whole sector.

Our Tips for Writing a Successful ALT Submission:

  1. Use the ALT Awards Guidance and Framework to ensure your submission meets the judging criteria.
  2. Show how your project breaks new ground in educational practice.
  3. Provide compelling statistics and testimonials that speak to the tangible benefits of your initiative.
  4. Show that your project is replicable, increasing its appeal and potential impact across the sector.
  5. Prove how your project advances inclusivity, aligning with the core values of modern education.

Join us in celebrating and advancing the integration of technology in education. The ALT Awards are not just a competition but a celebration of innovation that is enriching the lives of learners nationwide. Let’s Continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible and inspire each other towards new heights of achievement.

We are now open for entries until Tuesday 11 June 2024, and we welcome submissions from individuals and teams based anywhere in the world. The awards are free to enter. Learn More.

The ALT Awards celebrate and reward excellent research and practice and outstanding achievement in Learning Technology. Established in 2007, the Awards have set a benchmark for outstanding achievement in Learning Technology on a national scale and attract competitive entries from the UK and internationally. All entries are reviewed by an independent judging panel chaired by the President of ALT.  

Categories: #ALTC Blog, ALT

[ALT-MEMBERS] [ALT-ANNOUNCE] [ALT-MEMBERS] [ALT-ANNOUNCE] [ALT-MEMBERS] [ALT-ANNOUNCE] [ALT-MEMBERS] [ALT-ANNOUNCE] [ALT-MEMBERS] [ALT-ANNOUNCE] [ALT-MEMBERS] [ALT-ANNOUNCE] [ALT-MEMBERS] Weekly News Digest - Issue 748, 08 May 2024

ALT Announce - 08/05/24
https://go.alt.ac.uk/445Iq1R

 

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[Association for Learning Technology: improving practice, promoting
research and influencing policy.] [2]

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST - ISSUE 748, 08 MAY 2024

WELCOME TO YOUR WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FROM THE LEADING PROFESSIONAL BODY FOR
LEARNING TECHNOLOGY IN THE UK. We support a collaborative community for
individuals and organisations from all sectors and provide professional
recognition and development. Each week we will update you on the latest
news and publications, events, jobs, and calls for proposals from across
the learning technology community. [...]
Categories: ALT, Announcement

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