ALT

"Digital Accessibility as a right - FHEDAWG guest webinar with Greg Gay"

ALT Events - 25/07/19

Barriers in digital information can prevent people with disabilities from participating as full members of society. It’s surprising that digital accessibility practices are still rarely taught as part of formal education. Digital accessibility is integral to enabling all learners in today’s information society. Teaching digital accessibility as part of college and university curriculum is important.
    
To fill the gap, Ryerson University has created five practical online courses and corresponding interactive, modular, and open textbooks aimed at raising awareness of digital accessibility globally.

Categories: ALT, Events

Academic online identity and social media

ALT Events - 24/07/19

Whether you are a serial poster, super scroller or logical lurker, there are opportunities for everyone to think about how to get more from social media.  This session will help you think about your academic identity online, providing opportunities to think about the way you network and what your social media is capable of doing for you.   Sarah will be sharing practical strategies and approaches that have been tried and tested, whether you want to engage students in sessions, reach a larger network with your research or want to connect with a wider community. 

Categories: ALT, Events

CMALT Webinar for Assessors

ALT Events - 23/07/19

At this session we will provide information and support to CMALT assessors, providing an overview of the assessment criteria, advice on how to complete an assessment, and an opportunity to see how the assessment process works.

There will also be time for individual questions at the end of the session.

Categories: ALT, Events

Call for Papers: Research in Learning Technology Special Collection on Mobile Mixed Reality Enhanced Learning

ALT News - 23/07/19

ALT and RLT are pleased to announce a Call for Papers for an update to the Special Collection on ‘Mobile Mixed Reality Enhanced Learning'.

Mobile Mixed Reality (MMR) is a rapidly developing technology that is being implemented in many different learning environments. A lot has changed already since the publication of our 2018 Special Collection on MMR, and this update to the 2018 special collection on MMR for 2019 will highlight the latest research in this domain.

Categories: ALT, News

Guest Post: ALT 2019 A novice abstract reviewer s tale by Alan Williams

#altc 2019 - 22/07/19
Why offer to review abstracts anyway? When I saw a call for reviewers for ALT 2019 I asked myself “Is this something that I am capable of?”. Yes, I’ve worked in higher education for well over a decade – I’m a late starter having worked in the NHS for two decades – have subjected myself […]

Student competition to create ALT’s Awards 2019 – Update

ALT News - 22/07/19

 

Lisa Mclaughlin is a 2019 graduate from the B.A.(Hons) Textile Design course at Hereford College of Arts. She was delighted to win the ALT award-making competition this year. This article gives you some information about Lisa’s work, and hints at what the awards will look like (they are currently under production). To give you a clue about the source of the print on the awards, this short post gives a little bit of information about Lisa’s practice.

Categories: ALT, News

Maren Deepwell marendeepwell in conversation with Melissa Highton honeybhighton

#ALTC Blog - 19/07/19

Welcome to this regular interview series on the #altc blog. This time I am talking to a leader in our sector, Melissa Highton. Melissa is Assistant Principal and Director of Learning, Teaching and Web Services, University of Edinburgh, FCILIP, FHEA and one of the first Senior CMALT Holders globally as well as the Co-Chair of the 2019 ALT Annual Conference, taking place 3-5 September, in Edinburgh.

Maren: Tell us about what you are currently working on?

Melissa: At the moment I am working on trying to promote a career in university IT as an option for graduates and returners.
This seems to me to be a challenge for leadership and equality and diversity in our sector and I speak about it at tech events, HR seminars and recruitment fairs.

I feel that we have a sector imperative to ensure that the services and products we develop meet the diverse needs of our students and users, and I suspect diversity in our workforce can contribute to that business advantage. I wish we could to work together to make a career in university IT seem like an attractive choice for all.

Maren: What influences your work? 

Melissa: I am very aware of the context in which we work, within the university, in the tech sector and in Scotland. Edinburgh University learning technology group is a big recruiter with a lot of innovation so we need to attract and retain talent. I am particularly interested in the value of students as change agents in our organisation. Offering students work experience is a no-brainer for me. We get up to date ideas and creative thinking from them; they get real work experience and digital skills from us. The digital sector in Scotland is booming and students are hungry for work experience which will help them to succeed once they graduate. If you are not studying a STEM discipline the digital sector may be hard to enter, we need a pipeline for students to find their way into well paid jobs and new roles.

Maren: Current recommended reading?  

Melissa: Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Umoja Noble (Author).

Maren: How do you make your to-do lists.. analogue or digital or both? 

Melissa: Both. I also hold a lot in my head, but this may not be entirely reliable.

Maren: On work travel, you are never without..? 

Melissa: A hermeneutic of suspicion.

Maren: Which learning technology makes the biggest difference to your work (and why)? 

Melissa: I pay a lot of attention to social media for work. Blogs and Twitter mostly. Reading and writing. I find Twitter to be a very useful way to keep up to date and colleagues are very kind when they recommend and share resources and news. I have been writing my own work blog for more than 10 years and I appreciate the work which others do when they write theirs. Blogging seems to me to be a key part of our open practice and (along with contributions to conferences) essential to creating a culture and social context for learning technology thinking.

Maren: Who are your learning technology heroes?

Melissa: I have been very lucky to work at some very good universities and with some really innovative thinkers. Sian Bayne and Ray Land got me started in learning technology, Aggie Booth taught me about VLEs, Allison Littlejohn told me about re-usable resources. Owen Stephens showed me library systems. Angela Newton and Helen Howard introduced me to Wikipedia, Tracey Stanley explained ITIL and service management. Stuart Lee and Sebastian Rahtz transformed my thinking about research and digital humanities. Daphne Koller and Michael Korcuska challenged me and Rebecca Eynon regularly sends me to the library to learn more.

Maren: If you had learning technology superpowers for a day, what would you change? 

Melissa: I’d have a busy day. I’d disrupt some of the historical, structural inequalities and get more women into the areas of edtech where they are underrepresented. That would bring us new thinking in software engineering, VR design, AV tech, drone camerawork and the internet of things. I’d disaggregate all our datasets for gender to better understand our users experiences and use our lecture recordings of women speakers to better train voice-recognition software. I’d do transformational make-over on the reputations of ‘maintenance’, ‘sustainability’ and ‘technical debt’ to make them the sexiest and most attractive parts of IT thinking and planning. I’d also give every university a Wikimedian in Residence and a playful environment for innovation. Then I’d have a gin and tonic.

Maren: What are your favourite hashtags? [or equivalent if you don’t use hashtags] 

Melissa: I follow conference hashtags when an event is on and I can’t be there.

Maren: What’s the best way for someone to learn more about what you do?  

Melissa: I write about all of these things on my blog, so that’s a good way. I am also available for conferences, seminars, meetings with senior management, dinners and bat-mitzvahs.

Maren: Thank you, Melissa, for talking with me #altc!

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

The Community of Inquiry framework as learning design model: a case study in postgraduate online education

RLT Journal - 18/07/19

Interaction within online educational environments has long been advocated as conducive to learning, whether interaction between the learner and their teacher, the learner and online resources or the learner and their peers. The relationship among these three types of interaction is also receiving increasing attention, with the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework providing a method of interpreting this relationship in terms of the interplay of teaching presence, cognitive presence and social presence. This case study investigates the use of the CoI framework as a learning design model, showing how it was used to address specific issues in a postgraduate online module. Specifically, the framework informed decisions to strongly link together interaction with the video content, activity on discussion boards and release of new learning materials. Using discussion board posts and video analytics as the primary evidence of learner engagement, the findings show how learner activity significantly increased in both ‘social’ contexts and ‘cognitive’ contexts. More importantly, analysis also revealed strong correlations among participation in discussions, video viewing and module completion. The study suggests that the CoI framework is a robust model for learning design in online environments.

Categories: ALT, Publication

Student competition to create ALT s Awards 2019 Update

#altc 2019 - 18/07/19
  Lisa Mclaughlin is a 2019 graduate from the B.A.(Hons) Textile Design course at Hereford College of Arts. She was delighted to win the ALT award-making competition this year. This article gives you some information about Lisa’s work, and hints at what the awards will look like (they are currently under production). To give you […]

Listen to the ALT Annual Conference 2019 preview on Radio #EDUtalk

#altc 2019 - 17/07/19
As part of the build up for the ALT Annual Conference 2019, which takes place in Edinburgh on the 3-5 September, Sue Beckingham, one of our conference keynotes was joined by Maren Deepwell and Martin Hawksey to speak to John Johnstone one of the hosts of EDUtalk. EDUtalk is organised by David Noble (@parslad) and […]

#altc 2019 Annual Conference accommodation options

#altc 2019 - 17/07/19
If you haven’t already sorted your accommodation we have now added lots of information to our website, with options in and around the University of Edinburgh. We have agreed some discounted rates with Edinburgh First, for delegates attending the conference. You can access these discount codes through our accommodation page. There are also a whole […]

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

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