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A new strategy for ALT - update from the Chair and Chief Executive

ALT News - 16/07/19
Subheading: 

Dear Members

Categories: ALT, News

Guest Post: Keeping British Universities international: what has immigration ever done to us by Mari-Cruz Garcia

#altc 2019 - 16/07/19
  It is hard to believe that the ALT Annual Conference 2019 will be the last time in the organisation’s history in which educators from Scottish and British Universities meet their European colleagues as part of a common EU education space. This fact is even harder to accept if we consider that 62% of the […]

2019 Call for nominations for Honorary Life Membership

ALT Announce - 16/07/19
We award Honorary Life Membership 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.

We encourage nominations from all sectors and invite you to help us
recognise those individuals who have made a difference and whom you would
like to see receive the Honorary Life Membership Award. [...]
Categories: ALT, Announcement

2019 Call for nominations for Honorary Life Membership

ALT News - 15/07/19
Subheading: 

We award Honorary Life Membership 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.

We encourage nominations from all sectors and invite you to help us recognise those individuals who have made a difference and whom you would like to see receive the Honorary Life Membership Award.

Categories: ALT, News

The Power of the Voice supporting learners on placement through podcasting

#ALTC Blog - 15/07/19

A post by Ian Wilson, Senior Lecturer in Education at York St John University, I.Wilson@yorksj.ac.uk, @iwilsonysj

Supporting with Podcasting (video blog)

Preamble 

I’m a great believer in pushing boundaries and trying new things. Being heavily interested in technology, the world of live streaming and YouTube content are areas which I am constantly engaging with. The possibilities to support learning with these is well documented – however, when I was deciding how I was going to keep in touch and support the students during their placement, I left my comfortable area of live streaming in favour of podcasting!

In the beginning 

Being an avid blogger, I had often produced an audio version of my blog posts, although the actual podcasting arena was new to me. I wanted the podcasts to be useful, informative and provide some element of humour/being human. I wanted the students to recognise my own personality within the podcasts, as well as the content being beneficial. I also wanted them to sound good, because I was aware from my own personal engagement with podcasts, that if the quality was poor the engagement would probably reflect this.

Equipment and Content

I wasn’t sure whether I would be making future podcasts and I guess I could have just started with using a microphone that I already had, and the free software called Audacity. However, I always feel better about things if I have some decent equipment so I invested in a Rode microphone and the RodeCaster Pro . I was impressed by the quality of both of these and I must say, they made me feel quite professional and the quality of the recordings were good.

As for content, initially this was blank page, but after a few emails to the students and some thinking on my walk to work, I came up with some segments that would be included in each episode. 

  1. What the students should be doing in the following week 
  2. Support with their School Based Task 
  3. Answer any of their questions 
  4. A teaching idea 
  5. Some motivational advice 

Every Friday, I managed to sit down with my Google Docs and write the script for the episode. Not being on camera would allow me to read from the script and also, I didn’t really want to spend too much time editing afterwards. It was definitely going to be a one take podcast! 

Image by Tumisu on Pixabay

Recorded and Published

After I had written the script, I would record the podcast and get it published. Following an early email from a student, it appeared that some of them listened to the podcast on their journey home, so I was always keen to have it up and ready for about 16:00. 

The RodeCaster Pro, recorded well to audacity and, since the buttons on it allowed me to play my jingles as the show progressed (yes, I had jingles!). I did have to do some limited editing after recording, but this was usually just a matter of some noise reduction and tidying up the start and beginning. 

I didn’t have a proper ‘logo’ or anything, so I just decided to use images of cute animals from pixabay.com to make them more visually more appealing. I already had an account with Audioboom from when I recorded my blog posts, so I quickly added a playlist and for the five-week duration. 

Impact and Feedback

It is always important to look back over a pilot idea and assess how well it had gone. Even after the first episode had gone live, a few students emailed me to say thank you and to provide questions for the next episode. It was from these first emails that further sections were added to the schedule. 

Overall, the feedback was positive. I acknowledge from the listening figures, that the number of people listening went down throughout the placement, but I was confident that the podcast was supporting some learners. One student informed me that they have stored all the teaching ideas for future placements, and that it was really beneficial to have the questions answered.

Initially, the podcast was never meant to have positive impacts on the students’ grades. If anything, the focus was on supporting them and their well-being while away from university. From the analytics and positive emails, it was felt that this was achieved.

Outro 

I did wonder whether I should do a similar podcast for the first years while they were on placement, but time and energy didn’t really allow for this. I still have the equipment ready for my next go at podcasting and I have already started to work on an idea for the start of the next academic year. Will I do the podcast for placement next year? Well I think I will, if time allows, then yes, I will.

You never know, I do a lot of live streaming in my ‘other career’ so I might even start to have a go at that. One thing I will continue to do is engage with new technology in order to support the students, especially when they are working away from the university or learning at a distance. 

You can find an example of Ian’s podcasts here: https://www.wilsonwaffling.co.uk/se2-podcasts-2019/

Ian Wilson – Senior Lecturer in Education
York St John University
I.Wilson@yorksj.ac.uk @iwilsonysj https://www.wilsonwaffling.co.uk/

If you enjoyed reading this article we invite you to join the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) as an individual member, and to encourage your own organisation to join ALT as an organisational or sponsoring member.

Categories: #ALTC Blog, ALT

Call for Expressions of Interest to Chair the 2020 ALT Annual Conference open until 30 July 2019

ALT News - 11/07/19

We are seeking experienced Co-Chairs for the 2020 ALT Annual Conference Committee. The Co-Chairs will play a major role in planning and delivery of the conference in 2020. For information about previous ALT Annual Conferences please visit https://www.alt.ac.uk/altc.

Categories: ALT, News

Further Higher Education Digital AccessibilityWorking Group webinars

ALT News - 11/07/19

Many Members have participated in a new webinar series organised by ALT as part of our work with the Further Higher Education Digital AccessibilityWorking Group (FHEDAWG).

There have now been two webinars and recordings from both session are now aavilable:

Categories: ALT, News

Learner experiences of a blended course incorporating a MOOC on Haskell functional programming

RLT Journal - 10/07/19

There is an increasing move in higher education to blend university courses to include a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). This article reports on the learner experiences of such a course, which incorporated a purposely designed MOOC as part of the blend, to teach Haskell functional programming. A survey revealed that students most valued the programming exercises, quizzes and instructional videos, while the follow-up focus group highlighted the flexibility of the MOOC, usefulness of the videos, drop-in sessions and programming exercises. The overall mix of activities was regarded as particularly useful. While discussions were not rated as highly in the survey, students in the focus group commented on their value, particularly for getting support from external learners. The perceived lack of face-to-face contact was the biggest issue; however, this reflected a lack of awareness of lab sessions which could have been better signposted. There was perceived to be a gap between the MOOC and the rest of the course in terms of level of difficulty and authenticity of learning tasks. These issues were positively addressed in subsequent runs of the course. The outcomes of this study are relevant to educators seeking to incorporate MOOCs into blended courses.

Categories: ALT, Publication

Meeting of the ALT Board of Trustees

ALT Events - 09/07/19

The Board of Trustees of ALT is the Association's overall governing body and meets three times a year face to face and monthly online. 

You can find out more about the Trustees on our governance pages. You can read the minutes from previous meetings on the committee minutes page

Categories: ALT, Events

Hello world!

#OER20 - 09/07/19

Welcome to Oer20.oerconf.org. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!

Categories: ALT, OER - Conference News

Meet the first #altc Annual Conference Exhibitors 2019

#altc 2019 - 08/07/19
A big thank you and warm welcome to all our exhibitors for the 2019 ALT Annual Conference so far!  We are sure you will enjoy meeting them. The exhibition hall will be the hub of the conference. Refreshments and lunch will be enjoyed here, and the Conference Helpdesk will also be located in this hall. […]

ALT Annual Conference 2019 Guest Post Summary

#altc 2019 - 08/07/19
With us entering the final stages of the ALT Annual Conference 2019 which is taking place in Edinburgh on 3-5 September (last days of early bird registration) it seemed like the opportune time to provide a summary of the guest posts we’ve had so far: Posts from Co-Chairs: Welcoming ALT’s Annual Conference back to Edinburgh […]

'Early bird' registration deadline tomorrow, 9 July - 2019 ALT Annual Conference

ALT News - 08/07/19
We look forward to welcoming many of you at this year's ALT Annual Conference in Edinburgh in September and this is the final reminder that 'early bird' registration closes tomorrow. 
Members can benefit from a discounted rate to attend all 3 days including the awards evening and single day tickets and non-member rates are also available.

 

'Early Bird' registration

Categories: ALT, News

Final reminder: 'Early bird' registration deadline tomorrow, 9 July - 2019 ALT Annual Conference

ALT Announce - 08/07/19
*Dear Members,*

We look forward to welcoming many of you at this year's ALT Annual
Conference in Edinburgh in September and this is the final reminder that
'early bird' registration closes tomorrow.
Members can benefit from a discounted rate to attend all 3 days including
the awards evening and single day tickets and non-member rates are also
available. [...]
Categories: ALT, Announcement

ALT Trustee Elections 2019

ALT News - 08/07/19

Dear Members of ALT

Categories: ALT, News

IMPORTANT: ALT Trustee Elections open today, 8 July 2019

ALT Announce - 08/07/19
Dear Members

On behalf of the Board of Trustees I am writing to inform you that voting
to elect two new Trustees will open today, 8 July 2019.

The election will be carried out for ALT by the Electoral Reform Services.
Eligible Members will receive voting instructions via email and any members
eligible to vote twice, as individual members and representatives of member
organisations, will receive two emails. Voting closes at 12:00 noon on 20
August 2019. [...]
Categories: ALT, Announcement

A Report from the HEE North TEL Stakeholder Event

#ALTC Blog - 05/07/19

On the 11th of June I attended the NHS Health Education England special TEL event at Northumbria University. This is a community of practitioners, academics and learning technologists working in the NHS on how to use technology to improve the education of health care professionals. This was a special themed event on the uses of virtual, augmented and mixed reality systems and I was asked to attend to see what technologies and approaches could be beneficial for the University of Sunderland’s new Medical School.

The morning was given over to presentations from universities and NHS services on their current practice, and in the afternoon we got to have hands on experience with many of the systems discussed.

South Wales Fire and Rescue talked about how they are using CenarioVR to create 360 degree images and video which can have hotspot interactions added to them, the results of which can be viewed in modern web browsers or more immersive virtual reality solutions such as Google Cardboard or any simple VR unit which allows you to insert and use your phone to provide the screen and processing power. CenarioVR has the additional benefit of being able to output SCORM compliant content for integration with virtual learning environments.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service demonstrated a 360 degree video of the inside of an ambulance, developed by Richard Grice, which allows paramedic students to virtually explore and interact with the contents of an ambulance, which can be extensive and overwhelming for new students.

Leeds Institute of Medical Education demonstrated an augmented reality application and t-shirt from Curiscope which allows you to see internal organs and structures on top of an actual person.

Using Curiscope on a tablet (Image courtesy of Sonya McChristie | CC-BY-NC)

They also talked about their TiME – Technology in Medical Education programme – which aims to give clinicians and academics the development time needed to get to grips with technological developments.

Finally, there was a demonstration of a new system from Inovus Medical who have developed a rather unique and impressive mixed / augmented reality system to enhance the experience of training surgeons to perform laparoscopic surgery. Their conventional training simulator (a see-through box with the laparoscopic tools going into it) has been enhanced with cameras and a computer which gives students a display of the contents of the box, overlaid with any computer-generated imagery you could want. So, for example, you can simulate what would happen should you accidentally cut a blood vessel and suddenly the area where you are operating is flooded with blood.

Inovus mixed/augmented reality system (Image courtesy of Sonya McChristie | CC-BY-NC)

I was impressed. This is a genuinely innovative use of AR / MR with clear benefits, and one of the things which I will be feeding back to our Medical School for further exploration.

Some new things I got to experience for the first time Google Glass, which didn’t impress. The quality of the projected screen was okay for video, but it’s very small, and any highlights or annotations you add, take up a lot of the available viewing area; text is barely legible. A much more impressive AR system was Microsoft’s Hololens, but I was surprised and disappointed by how narrow the field of view was. Step out of the margins of what you need to focus on and the augmented image is gone. I also found the user interface to be very unintuitive – you have to wave your finger to simulate a mouse click. It was the first generation system I used, and I believe the second generation unit offers an improved field of view. Finally there was the Oculus Go, which is very similar to Google Cardboard and other systems which use your phone, except it has the screen and processor built in. That was good, very polished interface and comfortable hardware – a good mid-range virtual reality system.

‘Key learning points’ (Image courtesy of Sonya McChristie | CC-BY-NC)

The full event agenda and copies of presentations, where available, have been published on the Health Education England website.

Sonya McChristie, University of Sunderland, Sonya.McChristie@sunderland.ac.uk. Mastodon: @sonya@scholar.social

If you enjoyed reading this article we invite you to join the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) as an individual member, and to encourage your own organisation to join ALT as an organisational or sponsoring member

Categories: #ALTC Blog, ALT

2019 ALT Annual Conference - Registration now open!

ALT Announce - 05/07/19
*Dear Members of ALT*

'Early Bird' registration for the 2019 ALT Annual Conference 2019 – Data,
Dialogue, Doing, taking place 3–5 September 2019, University of Edinburgh
ALT Annual Conference is closing on 9 July. Register now
https://altc.alt.ac.uk/2019/registration/ .

Led by our Conference Co-Chairs the conference is seeking to confront and
challenge established assumptions, approaches and accepted truths in
relation to key dimensions of digital education, and to advancing our
practice and thinking through critical dialogue and reflection, closer
scrutiny of evidence and theory, and a stronger commitment to values
including creativity, community, social good, openness and porosity, and
more democratic [...]
Categories: ALT, Announcement

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