All 15 entries tagged E-Learning

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April 20, 2007

WMG E–learning Lunch report

On Thursday 19th April we held the first e-learning lunchtime event in the Science Faculty. The event was held in the International Manufacturing Centre for staff in WMG and Engineering and was attended by over 40 academic staff. Representatives from WMG, the E-learning Advisor Team, the Library and E-Lab were on hand to offer advice and hands-on demonstrations of e-learning. We also displayed nearly 30 posters showcasing examples of e-learning around the University.

The event was a great success; many people stayed for over two hours to try out e-learning tools including podcasting, personal response systems, Quizbuilder and ELAT development projects. Our video and audio communication and streaming software projects proved very popular and we now have a number of new contacts who wish to be involved. Some of the participants had started the WELA course the previous day, so this was a great opportunity for them to see the types of activity already taking place. The ELAT would like to thank everyone involved with making the event a success.

January 24, 2007

Sitebuilder versus Blackboard debate

Writing about web page /stevencarpenter/entry/blackboard_and_firefox/

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

Looking beyond the expensive sales pitch into the reality, here is a very telling blog entry by a Blackboard user.

I comment with an important phrase:

decentralised customer led content creation and delivery workflows

...which is precisely what we have here with Sitebuilder, on a really huge scale, but also what commercial VLE users desire with increasing futility. Sitebuilder is deeply embedded across the institution, much more so than any commercial VLE installation that I know of. Why is this the case? I can give three good answers:

  1. Sitebuilder (and its associated skillset) is used for research, corporate and personal communications, and teaching, a VLE only does one job. Could we expect people to learn Sitebuilder and a VLE? Not likely.
  2. Sitebuilder’s functionality and features have evolved with the institution, guided closely by its users.
  3. Sitebuilder is a very high quality product, designed by people who really understand and care for useability and the customer. Blackboard, as you can see from Steve’s blog entry, is not.

January 23, 2007

Second Arts Faculty E–learning Exhibition Lunch

Follow-up to Report on the first Arts Faculty e–learning exhibition from Pathfinder blog, University of Warwick

Here is the plan for the next Arts Faculty E-learning Exhibition Lunch.

This second exhibition in the series will showcase a wide range of successful applications of technology in teaching, along with demonstrations of new hardware and software. Special exhibits will focus in particular upon the topic of:

Supporting students at a distance (more information below).

The exhibition is open to all staff and teaching postgraduate students within the Arts, as well as anyone else from across the University with an interest or expertise in this topic. It is an informal session, so please drop by at any time during the exhibition. A buffet lunch and drinks will be provided.

Supporting students at a distance

Students at Warwick are frequently expected to undertake work in a location away from the University campus and in less frequent contact with teaching staff and peers. This is not only true of fully distance based courses, but also of the research oriented student undertaking a project out in the field or writing a thesis. Some common examples are:

  • full distance learning courses;
  • hybrid distance and on-site courses;
  • transnational courses;
  • year abroad students;
  • placement students;
  • students in low-contact phases of a course (e.g. writing-up).

Many problems are posed by these arrangements, both to the student and to the tutor, but also to the administrator. Difficulties commonly occur in areas such as:

  • establishing and relating to a peer group;
  • connecting with the department and faculty community;
  • connecting with the wider academic community;
  • access to resources;
  • understanding (and confirming) module or activity purpose;
  • individual study guidance;
  • discussing work;
  • presenting work;
  • submitting work.

Of course these problems may occur in any mode of study, including on-site high-contact courses. The techniques and technologies that have evolved to address these problems are therefore useful in many situations.

Warwick has developed a range of sophisticated but easy to use technologies that allow us to effectively address these problems. The E-learning Exhibition will demonstrate these technologies and techniques, with showcase examples of real solutions by people at Warwick.

We will show how tools including Sitebuilder, Warwick Forums, Warwick Blogs and Perception can be applied to create a learning environment customised to your particular mode of teaching and course delivery, whether at a distance or in close proximity.

December 04, 2006

Report on the first Arts Faculty e–learning exhibition

Follow-up to Arts Faculty e–learning exhibition from Pathfinder blog, University of Warwick

On Friday 24th November we held the first in a series of Arts Faculty E-lunch events, sponsored by the Pathfinder Project. Many of the participants (estimated to be around 30) commented on how useful, enjoyable and informative it was. One of our key objectives was to meet a much wider range of lecturers from the faculty, rather than the usual “early adopters”. This certainly did happen, with all kinds of people visiting to see the exhibits.

The next event will be held between 12 and 2pm on Friday 2nd of February. It will follow a similar format, but with a focus on “distance learning” to include supporting students on a year abroad. There will also be an e-learning coffee and cakes drop in session on the 28th of February.

The success of the e-lunch should be attributed to the long list of exhibitors. Posters and presentations were used to showcase e-learning work. Eight A2 posters were on display, and proved the focus of discussion and consultation. This was extended with web sites explored in more detail using a PC, projector and screen (well managed by Lisa Lavender of History and Nicoleta Cinpoes of Renaissance Studies). The exhibitors were:

  1. Comparative American Studies, CAS Image Database
  2. Maria Luddy, History, Women in Modern Irish Culture database;
  3. Annunziata Videtta, Italian, IT112 module web site;
  4. Molly Rogers, History of Medicine, Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital Project
  5. Beat Kumin, HI203 module web site
  6. Elizabeth Robbery, Language Centre, German with Perception;
  7. Nicoleta Cinpoes, Renaissance Studies, Thomas Kyd web site;
  8. Piotr Kuhiwczak, Centre for Translation and Comparative Cultural Studies, Avoding Plagiarism online activity.

The Elab Sitebuilder team were also present (Karen Mortimer, Julie Moreton, John Dale and Matt Jones). At a desk with a PC they advised people on the use of Sitebuilder, and on the training opportunities available. Natasha Nakariakova provided advice on online assessment with Perception.

A third table was used to demonstrate hardware from the ELAT TOOLS evaluation service, including MP3 recorders (very popular), projectors, electronic whiteboards, and video cameras. There was also a chance to see and give feedback on new online video, audio and conferencing tools currently being developed by ELAT. Steven Carpenter (Sciences Advisor) and Chris Coe (Social Studies Advisor) facillitated at this table.

We also provided leaflets on:

  • Warwick Skills Programme
  • Sitebuilder Training
  • E-learning Training by the E-learning Advisor Team
  • PDP
  • Graduate School Training
  • The Learning Grid
  • Graduate Skills Planning and Recording

And of course there was an excellent buffet organised by Kerry Drakely of the Arts Faculty Office.

I should also thank Sarah Richardson of History for helping out with the event.

Thanks to everyone who helped.

November 16, 2006

Arts Faculty e–learning exhibition

News of an event sponsored by the Pathfinder project.

On Friday 24th (12:30-14:30 in the Graduate Space) we will be holding an ‘e-learning exhibition’ for the Arts Faculty. This will showcase successful work within the faculty. As requested by the Arts Faculty IT Committee, it will be an informal ‘drop-in’ session, consisting of:

  • two presentation stands with presenters able to demonstrate showcases and tools when requested;
  • poster display of showcases;
  • a practical support table, hopefully with a representative of the Sitebuilder team;
  • a giant (hopefully A0) concept map of e-learning activities within the faculty;
  • an ideas and suggestions sheet, with coloured pens
  • a buffet with food, drink and guidance booklets and leaflets.

So far I have offers of help with the presentations from Lisa Lavender (History IT), Nicoleta Cinpoes (Renaissance Studies), Chris Coe (Social Studies E-learning).

This is the first time we have run an event in this format, so it is a bit of an experiment. Publicity at such short notice and at this present time is also a challenge. But hopefully we will put on a good show.

Here’s an image of the poster that I am using to publicise the event:

Arts E-lunch 1

And an example of a showcase poster (this is intended for printing at A2, so the detail will be blurry in this image):

Kyd Showcase

October 26, 2006

Leicester e–learning events

Writing about web page

I’ve just received an email from Gilly Salmon’s PA at Leicester advertising the Learning Futures event in January ‘07. Looks as though it could be an interesting event – Warwick ought to send someone/some people, wouldn’t you think? I can forward the email to you if you’re interested.

October 04, 2006

what did i mean?

Follow-up to HEA York launch event from Pathfinder blog, University of Warwick

When I said we didn’t have the expertise, I meant particularly in the break-out group of four people who were discussing e-assessment. There were no doubt other people even at this event who know more than the four of us in some areas, so what eventually appears on the HE Academy’s pathfinder blog on the outcomes of that particular session should have the large caveat that it was the product of four brains, ably captured by Liz, but I don’t think we’d claim to be the national experts on the subject.

An issue that has come up a number of times at this event is the need for some sort of a nationally coordinated collecting point for existing and emerging research in e-pedagogy variously. The HEA are talking about setting up an observatory function to do this – which sounds like a grand plan to me.

October 03, 2006

HEA York launch event

Congratulations to the HE Academy for arranging the launch event for the Pathfinder programme in a hotel which provides wireless broadband – it means I can blog as we go along! I know Jay has been taking notes on her PDA, so she will probably be uploading them in due course. But this for the final session this afternoon we were in different groups – Jay went to the one on CPD and Staff Development, while I went to the one on e-assessment.

The idea of these break-out discussions was to help the Academy identify gaps in their provision or opportunities to provde targeted support for Pahtfinding institutions, as well as a chance for us to talk amongst ourselves about our challenges and the like. As you’d expect, we talked through a number of issues – how e-assessment links with assessment more broadly, how and why we assess, how electronic methods can help students to learn better and staff teach better and so on. Questions of whether there is enough support “out there” (research into e-assessment, resources and advice from the Academy including the subject centres, other sources of good practice and so on) were more difficult for our small group to answer – we just don’t have the expertise which others in our Pathfinder teams do. The joys of specialisation.

You might like to look at Trevor Hawkes’s blog – he’s leading a project on CAA (computer-aided assessment) across Warwick’s Faculty of Science

It’s been useful to talk to people from other Pathfinder institutions and I think some of us will certainly keep in touch on particular issues, as well as scanning each other’s blogs from time to time.

What else from today? I gave a brief overview of our project this morning and I got a giggle when I described our e-learning as “managed diversity” – a giggle of recognition, I think/hope. Jay wonders whether we might more usefully aim towards “nurtured diversity”.

And the wikipedia entry on mind maps is apparently rather good, with some pretty pictures too:

I’ll check it out in due course.

September 29, 2006

Starting Pathfinder

John Dale, Jay Dempster and I had a useful discussion yesterday about our Workpackage plan for the Pathfinder project. When it’s finalised, I’ll publish it on the Pathfinder page on the TQ website.
One of the issues of having a Workpackage plan, where each package is by definition clearly distinguishable from all other workpackages in the programme, is developing and maintaining the rich links between them. One of the packages is Evaluation, which clearly links to all the others, so that shouldn’t be a problem, but we have to be careful that some of the others (e.g. expansion of the WELA programme, development of materials in different departments, preparation of the physical space in the Library for pathfinder activities) don’t end up as discrete projects. It’s a real test for our “managed diversity” model, and addressing issues around communication, dissemination and coordination is one of the challenges at the heart of our Pathfinder programme.

and there's more

Writing about web page /elbench/entry/e-learning_website/

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

The TQ website has an e-learning page as well – TQ e-learning page – but this is one of many pages on our site that I see as re-directing people to the relevant expert sites. One of the features of Warwick’s administration is that there is still a significant cadre of generalists, who can in theory manage/administer anything in the University. Clearly we come into each position with particular experiences, skills and interests, and develop those in line with the needs of the job, but I would not claim to be an e-learning expert in anything like the same way as many others in the University indisputably are. So I see part of my role being to direct people to those who are experts – and our webpages are part of that. The more links and the less replication the better!

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