All 4 entries tagged Elearning

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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

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  • See the example here by Robert O'Toole on this entry
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