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Report on #BathFlip 29-04-14

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Flipped learning – the inversion of the ‘traditional’ model whereby direct instruction takes place in face-to-face classroom sessions and questioning and problem-solving are usually set for homework – is rapidly gaining momentum in post-compulsory education and training. This is in part due to emerging evidence that shifting content delivery outside the classroom (e.g via video/audio/screencasts) and introducing questioning, peer discussion and interactivity in the group learning space – is leading to improved results, better retention and higher levels of student engagement. This week I went along to a one-day Flipping Project Conference organised by my old institution the University of Bath. Seventy-five people, mainly academics, attended a series of workshops, knowledge swap-shops and a keynote given by Dr. Julie Wintrup from the Centre for Innovation and Leadership in Health Sciences at the University of Southampton. Although ostensibly about flipping, the conference touched on a number of issues relating to technology-enhanced learning including student engagement, audience response systems (clickers) and online/blended learning.

In the morning I went along to the Technologies for Flipping workshop led by Giles Martin from the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Office at Bath. As well as covering some of the tools and methods that can be used when flipping (Camtasia, Panopto, Present.me, Xerte Toolkits, Padlet etc.) there was some useful discussion of Eric Mazur’s concept of just-in-time teaching, the need to explore alternatives to video for delivering flipped content (web tours, peer annotated PDFs etc.) and the importance of a consistent experience for students in a flipped environment. One question that generated some lively debate in the room (as well as on Twitter) was the extent to which academics should be expected to create their own flipped content or pass this on to others e.g Learning Technologists. Some academics in the room felt they lacked the expertise and know-how to, for example, edit and share video. Someone pointed out, however, that Learning Technologists wouldn’t be expected to create lecture slide content for staff so it would be unreasonable to expect them to create flipped content for academics although other forms of support would be appropriate.

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The afternoon kicked off with three parallel knowledge swap-shop sessions and I attended the one focused on Education. Dr. Polly McGuigan from Bath discussed how she flipped a core unit Introduction to Biomechanics in order to provide more support and problem-based learning to students who lacked strong Maths skills. Using the Panopto lecture capture software Polly created weekly narrated slides of between 5 and 25 minutes which was set in ‘homework’ time, along with supported reading. Students were then asked to complete a series of multi-choice quizzes via the Moodle VLE which were credit-bearing (1% each). The answers to the quiz questions then provided the basis for discussion and problem-solving during class time. Polly warned against the possibility of “flipping fatigue” setting in if attempts are made to flip everything on a unit – next year she will be picking and choosing what to flip based on what has worked well this year and this will involve reducing the amount of flipped content by about 50%.

Helen Boulton from Nottingham Trent’s School of Education followed Polly and talked about her School’s implementation of the SCALE-UP project to support a flipped approach, following a senior management visit to North Carolina State University. The project aims to “establish a highly collaborative, hands-on, computer-rich, interactive learning environment for large-enrollment classes.” Initial data from the U.S has highlighted large gains in attainment, improved attendance, better problem-solving skills and higher levels of student engagement. At Nottingham Trent new classrooms were designed with round tables and laptops/tablets on each table to encourage peer learning. An Apple TV connected to a large screen enables students to easily share their work with the rest of the class and Helen noted that presentation skills particularly among less confident students improved markedly. On top of this Helen described how students like the fact that they get far more one-to-one support in a flipped approach and lecturers get to know individual student needs. Although there have been some issues with the technology set-up in the classroom (specifically some staff found the Apple Macs difficult to get to grips with) the gains in terms of higher levels of student engagement have been significant and staff are confident that this will be reflected in improved results at the end of the year.

PollyMcGuigan
Dr. Polly McGuigan at #FlipBath

The final session of the day was the Keynote given by Dr. Julie Wintrup from the University of Southampton, entitled Engaged Pedagogy: The radical potential of the classroom. Julie’s focus was very much on student engagement and how academics must be willing to think creatively in terms of what happens within the classroom (which is seen as a unique, special place). Julie has posted detailed notes from her talk so I won’t go into too much detail here. A couple of things that stood out for me from Julie’s talk were (a) more evidence of growing momentum behind the ‘Students as Change Agents/Producers’ agenda as a model for student engagement and (b) the idea that there is something inherently radical about flipped learning in that in theory it actively challenges the power relationships characteristic of a more traditional ‘didactic’ teacher/student model.

I found #BathFlip to be an enjoyable, well organised and thought-provoking event and liked the fact that it addressed wider themes of student engagement without losing sight of the potential of a flipped approach to teaching and learning. It was great to catch-up with old colleagues at Bath and I am looking forward to helping to spark more interest in flipped learning at Solent.

 
Resources and Links:
SCALE-UP Project at North Carolina State University: http://www.ncsu.edu/PER/scaleup.html
Flipped Learning Network: http://flippedlearning.org/
University of Bath’s Flipping Project Wiki: http://flippingproject.wikispaces.com/
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Social media has no deadline

Really interesting post about using social media in assessments by SSU & LTU alumni Domi! Domi and I worked together on creating a blogging assignment for lecturers here, which later evolved into an activity that I covered for an academic project I was doing.

My ideal solution in most cases would be to remove the lion’s share of assessment from the live environments – for example, have a blogging activity worth around 40% of the grade, and a traditional hand-in that’s derived from the blogging activity worth 60%.
The blog would be treated as development – “show your calculations” style stuff – and marked on a week-by-week basis, with weighting given for relatively quick to work out metrics like engagement, consistency of posting etc – but the real scrutiny would be reserved for the hand-in.

I’m pulling this together on the fly, so it may be a bit clunky. It would involve a little more involvement on a persistent basis from the course team, but not as much as one might think – I should have given the caveat that my personal belief is that an academic developing an activity involving social tools should have at least a cultural understanding or familiarity with those tools – they don’t need to be a technician, but they should know the tool well enough to know how they want their students to use it, how to explain that to their students, and what exact value, in what context, the tool will bring to the activity.

With all that in mind, a simple set of metrics, that allow for shallow & regular “quality assurance” tests, laid out in a table, should be within reasonable parameters.

Digi Domi

As part of my job as a Learning Technologist I often have to deal with online assessments, whether they be submission via the VLE (using either in innate tools or Turnitin) or on our Mahara e-portfolio platform. Every now and then I am faced with the challenge of a member of staff wishing to use a social media platform (external blog for example) to run and assessment and how can we lock this down at the deadline? There is normally some uncomfortable work-around I can come up with such as taking screenshots, or downloading a version of the content to submit an non-live version. I call these workaround uncomfortable because for me they do not address the core issue.

The real discussion for me is about the conflict of using ‘slicker’ external tools and being able to lock the student’s work for assessment. We should consider whether ‘locking’ and ‘deadlines’ are…

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Education, Technology

Mobiles phones increasing (non-digital) literacy in poor countries

An interesting article in the Independent recently reported on a Unesco report that found the availability of cheap mobile phones has supported an increase in literacy where physical books can be difficult and expensive to source.

The Independent article offers a digest:

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/unesco-mobile-phones-are-causing-a-reading-revolution-in-poor-countries-9289137.html

The full Unesco Report can be found here:

http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002274/227436e.pdf

However, note the health warning that the report was supported with funding from Nokia who have a large market share on basic feature phones in the region surveyed!

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JISC South East Technology Showcase – Solent Finalists for Reading List System

Write-up by Margaret Feetham (Deputy Librarian)

A number of staff from the Library and Learning Technologies teams attended the South East Technology Showcase event near Guildford on Wednesday 2 April 2014 where the Reading List Project was shortlisted as a finalist.  Each of the 15 finalists were asked to give a 10 minutes presentation and the other teams had five minutes to give a score out of 10 for impact of the project on  learning and teaching and another score out of 10 for impact on the organisation.  All scores were totalled up at the end to give  a winner and a runner up. The presentation team of Hannah, Roger, Julie and Lauren were drawn second to last so had a long wait while colleagues from Eastleigh College talking about using ipads within a lathe workshop environment drew the short straw and opened first.  

Projects varied from using ipads to film swimmers underwater so that you could give immediate feedback about swimming style to encouraging florists to use social media to market their services following a decline of the florist shop on the high street (and we all received a purple lily) or allowing zoo staff to continue with work place learning in the penguin enclosure.  Other systems included information management systems that allowed staff to record assistive learning requirements or a whole student management system which provided everything from absence reporting to student progression and was core to the running of Barton Peveril college,  And University of Creative Art’s subject support templates were not unlike our subject guides  

Despite an excellent presentation from our team which received some complimentary tweets and posts, reproduced below, the  runners up were a team from  Reading College consisting of students who described how they used google + features such as communities and hangout  to collaborate on their learning .  As the students said, this gave them access to impartial advice which they didn’t get  from their friends (because mean friends don’t last !) and it used the technologies they wanted to use.  The winner was Swim UK for their use of ipads to film swimming underwater which allowed the swimmer and coach to receive/give immediate feedback about swimming style allowing the student to improve more quickly. It was claimed that it took up to three  months of the speed of learning up to certification level.

I think the two winners were selected for the ease of use of their systems, without a need for huge training or outlay and also very immediately put the learner at the centre of the process.  But all the contestants  were winners in that all the finalists were able to demonstrate that they had brought great benefit to their learners and organisation – I can think of several things that it would be great  for us to do here!

Adam Blackwood ‏@adamrsc  18h
#RSCSE @solentofficial Showing how OnLIne Reading lists can be used anywhere by students. .. http://ow.ly/i/56AAi 🙂

Nikki Gilbey ‏@gillersn  17h
@adamrsc @solentofficial I think it could be a winner….. #RSCSE

Nikki Gilbey ‏@gillersn  17h
“@clare146clare: As always great work taking place at Southampton Solent #rscse” they are a bit good aren’t they?!

Fareham Byte ‏@Farehambyte  18h
@solentofficial librarians use door signs to remind academics that they need reading lists. Brilliant idea #rscse
Adam Blackwood ‏@adamrsc  18h

RT @ArtieVN: #RSCSE @solentofficial @SolentRoger team M now presenting pic.twitter.com/L004pt0H3X

JISC RSC South East ‏@Jisc_RSC_SE  18h
@solentofficial presenting at #RSCSE SETS Awards. – Reading List system to get academics to become more engaged with the library.

Our presentation: https://twitter.com/ArtieVN/status/451351620434268161/photo/1

Education, Technology

Report from the Change Agents Network Event at the University of Winchester Feb 2014

In the past few years we have seen the emergence of a number of projects and initiatives where students work closely with staff as partners or ‘change agents’ in teaching, learning and research. The University of Exeter pioneered this approach (see Dunne and Zandstra, 2011) and more recently the University of Greenwich received JISC funding to develop a national support network of students as change agents and the staff that support them (www.hei-flyers.org). The first CAN (Change Agents Network) event was held at the University of Winchester on 19/20 February 2014 and Jenny Watson and Julian Prior from Learning Technologies were invited along.
 
Yaz el Hakim, (Dean of Teaching and Learning at Winchester and a keynote speaker at our T&L conference in 2012) kicked off proceedings stressing that the days of simply listening to the ’student voice’ were over and instead urged us to work with students as equal partners. Simon Walker from Greenwich then spoke about the aims of the network which are as follows:
 
* Creating a national network of student change agents to address new drivers for change
* Enhancing student change agents’ understanding of effective practice and change issues in educational innovation;
* identify and share effective practice and develop a forum for supporting and sharing of ideas;
* Create and link to resources to support staff and students
* Develop an accreditation framework for students working as change agents
 
Simon made the important point that students are coming to universities with vastly different knowledge and experience of digital literacies, bringing with them different ‘backpacks’ of devices.

Sarah Knight (eLearning Programme Manager at JISC) followed Simon, opening with a quote from NUS VP Education Rachel Wenstone and emphasising the benefits the students as change agents initiative gives to students, staff and institutions such as gaining experience of leadership, increasing confidence and skills, recognition and retention. Sarah recommended the NUS student engagement toolkit
http://www.nusconnect.org.uk/campaigns/highereducation/student-engagement/toolkit/ and talked about some of the existing projects where students are working as partners and digital pioneers such as the Summer of Student Innovation (http://www.jisc.ac.uk/student-innovation), Oxford Brookes’ InStePP project (http://jiscdesignstudio.pbworks.com/w/page/50732755/InStePP), the Digital Student Project (http://digitalstudent.jiscinvolve.org/wp/) and Greenwich’s Digital Literacies in Transition Project (http://jiscdesignstudio.pbworks.com/w/page/50732712/Digital%20Literacies%20in%20Transition%20project). 
 
Sarah’s key message was that we need to learn from students; working as partners in student-led projects really can transform education and is something the HEA, QAA, HEFCE and NUS fully support. Finally she hinted at some of the future work of the CAN which includes supporting the development of a SEDA recognised qualification in Institutional Change Leadership for students working as change agents, and launching a new journal: The Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change (reviewers and contributors needed). Exciting times ahead!
SarahKnightsmall

The next session led by Simon Walker and Mark Kerrigan was an interactive workshop focusing on getting to know some of the existing projects. These included:
 
  • Josie Fraser at De Montfort Uni, Leicester who is running a digital literacies programme that is very ambitious and involves working with the council and local schools to improve digital literacies across the area (see http://www.dmu.ac.uk/about-dmu/news/2013/october/dmu-at-cutting-edge-of-a-digital-learning-revolution.aspx);
  • Sheffield Hallam’s ‘Menu of Teaching Approaches and the Technologies that can support them‘ focuses on encouraging staff to make use of the many existing technologies and tools that are available to enhance learning (see Julian for a hard copy of this resource);
  • Nottingham is using students as change agents to transform teaching, inform T&L strategy and support practice;
  • Greenwich have produced cards to categorise in a light hearted way where people are as regards digital literacies (see image below);
  • Will Page the student engagement officer at Exeter talked about the more than 50 change agents projects dotted around the university. Tips for engaging students included awareness that students no longer use email as their primary mode of communication.

We also learned that Winchester annually produce a student journal in which academics submit student work as case studies.  Fiona Handley edited the first volume and said it was a lot of work as each article needed to be almost  rewritten to get it into an consistent format but that it was a great vehicle and a means whereby students as partners’ reports could be disseminated.

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Parallel sessions
 
A couple of workshops that Jenny and I attended are worthy of mention: 
 
(a) Technology and change – Amy Barlow (Winchester) and Mark Kerrigan (Greenwich)
 
This session involved student fellows from the University of Winchester talking about the Mobile Device Scheme (MDS) they were involved in alongside Amy Barlow, a learning technologist at Winchester. The three year project introduced three different devices to students (iPads, Windows Surface tablets and the Galaxy Tab) and four student fellows (one from each faculty) played a central role as partners for innovation and technology experts. The fellows are in the process of publishing a monthly newsletter which includes App reviews and they undertake group workshops and 1-1 sessions with other students.
 
Mark Kerrigan from Greenwich University rounded off the session by talking about the mobile scheme in the School of Science whereby all first year undergraduates are loaned an iPad as a vehicle for developing digital attributes, literacies and competencies. There is an emphasis on developing critical skills and students are part of an inter-disciplinary research group and receive scholarships as a reward. One output was a set of student produced cards where students are encouraged to assess their level of digital literacy against four ‘ideal types’ (Immersed, Adaptive, Fixed, Detached).
WinchesterChangeAgentssmall

(b) Supporting students – Peter Chatterton (Change Agents Consultant)
 
This workshop was led by change agents consultant Peter Chatterton who together with JISC has devised a toolkit to support institutions working alongside students to implement change. The resource toolkit comprises case studies, practice points, benefits of working with students as partners, useful links and a card toolkit based on University of Ulster’s Viewpoints for Student Partnerships resource. The card toolkit is structured around four distinct stages of implementation:
  • Partnership set-up
  • Partnership implementation
  • Capabilities, development and accreditation
  • Evaluation, impact and sustainability
In small groups of staff and students we took one stage each and, using the cards, explored how we might implement student partnerships by setting priorities for each stage of the process. I found this to be a really valuable exercise and it was great to hear that the card toolkit can be adapted for an institution’s needs. The toolkit provides a comprehensive plan for implementing student partnerships and students as change agents – the resources are available at http://www.hei-flyers.org/wordpress/viewpoints-resources/
 
Two other sessions that we attended:
  • A workshop on writing and persuading skills led by an actor and screen writer who emphasised the importance of taking the time to understand who the audience was, so the content could be focused and cut to size.  He emphasised that content should have a snappy beginning, middle and end (no waffle).
  • Dave White led an interesting session on the morning of the second day in the fantastic setting of the Everyman Cinema in Winchester. Dave talked about the work that he and Helen Beetham have been carrying out on the JISC Digital Student Project and we then engaged in a useful future scenario planning exercise, the results of which can be seen at http://digitalstudent.jiscinvolve.org/wp/files/2014/03/Digital-student-experience-2020.pdf – well worth a look.

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Overall we experienced two days of lively discussion and thoughtful reflection and we learnt a lot from other universities who are much further down the line in terms of working with their students as change agents. Solent has a long history of student partnership projects (Graduate Associates, the Peer Leaders scheme, Solent SMILE Fest etc.) and we are excited to see how a change agents initiative at Solent works alongside the development of digital literacies and supports the embedding of technology enhanced learning more generally.

Julian Prior

Jenny Watson
 
 
Useful Links:
 
Follow @CANogogy on Twitter
 
 
http://www.hei-flyers.org/wordpress/case-studies/ Case Studies: Students as Change Agents
 
 
 
 
http://escalate.ac.uk/downloads/8247.pdf (Elizabeth Dunne and Zoos Zandstra, 2011)
 
http://www.mickhealey.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Students-as-Change-Agents-Handout.pdf (Mick Healey’s survey of Students as Change Agents in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education)
 
 
http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/digitallyready/our-students/ (Reading’s Digitally Ready Project)
 
http://jiscdesignstudio.pbworks.com/w/page/36560187/T-SPARC%20Project (Birmingham City’s T-SPARC Project – Technology-Supported Processes for Agile and Responsive Curricula)
 
Images, Technology

Protesting Too Much About Getty Images

Protesting Too Much About Getty Images

The Getty Images scheme to make 35 million of their images free-to-embed has been more controversial than I’d have ever guessed it would be.

I’ve written a little bit on my personal blog about Getty’s change in the way they handle image sharing, and the reaction:

I embraced it because to me, it’s a pretty good thing when a corporation or organisation works out a way to navigate through the cultural sense of entitlement users of the contemporary web have, without resorting to fear tactics, litigation, or DRM that breaks the content that we’re trying to use…

…All of those methods are corporate ways of dealing with a cultural problem, and they don’t really help anyone. And all the while, the social internet has been moving further and further into the wild west of sharing stuff with abandon, and without attribution.

“Protesting Too Much About Getty Images”

I lied, of course. I didn’t write a little bit. I actually wrote a lot. But it may be helpful, so I hope you read it.