[:en]I recently attended a SAILS community of practice meeting for staff supporting students with disabilities. I attend these meeting regularly, and they are open to all staff interested in developing a more inclusive practice. I attend not only for my own CPD, but also to offer any support that I feel that we here at SALT, and in fact, colleagues elsewhere on campus, can provide. It was a great opportunity in itself to meet other people who strive to support others as they learn and teach. I recommend that you attend every so often to keep yourselves up to date with current developments, initiatives, and processes. Remember that inclusivity is a journey, not a destination and that we can all be better at what we do.
Today I was asked to complete a feedback questionnaire, and to add my comments and suggestions. I was asked ‘What might I do as a result of this meeting?’. We have all put this type of question on our feedback forms, but it struck me that I hadn’t thought about what I would be doing, other than selfishly enjoying its fruitfulness! So I was duly prompted to share what I had gained from the session. My main takeaway is that you shouldn’t take departmental titles at their face value in terms of what they can offer you. Take the Transcription Center for example. They provide an amazing service to support people with a visual impairment, (not only for Swansea University students and staff either) see their web page for details of their breadth. As well as giving an overview of what her department does, Tina also gave advice and guidance on how best to support all our students and colleagues when we communicate with them, by considering the methods we use and by making small changes to our practices. (See the guide below for details.)
Here are the papers that were shared at the meeting and the links to the departments presenting. Enjoy!
Please let me know what you think, and if there is anything that I can help with in terms of signposting for various support systems, please get in touch: email@example.com, or take a look at the CDP Inclusivity patch on Blackboard by clicking the images below and following the instructions guides. You should also take a look at the SAILS website here: http://sails.swan.ac.uk/
Following on from a blog post that we (SALT) created in January 2016 on New Year’s Resolutions, and given the changes that have taken place in 2017, here in SALT we thought it might be a good idea for some of us to reflect on what we’ve achieved in 2017 and what we hope to achieve in 2018.
This is the second of a series that will be published during January and February, and some of the post will give you the chance to meet some of our newer team members.
I’m now heading into my tenth year as part of the Blackboard/elearning/SALT team. In those ten years, I’ve seen SALT develop and grow from the 4-strong Blackboard team into the 15 strong SALT team that we are today.
As the team has grown and evolved, so too have our roles. This has been particularly significant for me as I have changed jobs slightly and now carry more responsibility, which is rewarding in many ways.
Among other things, 2017 saw me take on more mentoring and assessing for the internal Fellowship route, and attending the SAR Panel for the first time as lead assessor for the group of applicants that I assessed.
2017 also led me to design and online course based around the concept of the Flipped Classroom. This, in turn was designed in a format that I experienced in 2016, through Jane Hart’s “Modern Workplace Learning” course. You may have seen Jane Hart in last year’s SALT Conference. (That was the one with the sketchnote by the side). The flipped classroom CPD module is still running and set to be evaluated in February 2018.
I’m anticipating several challenges in 2018, but also looking forward to them.
As well as maintaining the current levels of support that we offer in the TEL (Technology Enhanced Learning) team, I would also like to develop further TEL-related CPD, in an online environment, but how this will look will depend on the outcome of the evaluation of the Flipped Classroom. However, I am keen on the concept of the #1minuteCPD as driven by Manchester Metropolitan University, but maybe adapting it to #10 minute TEL? Plenty of room to explore.
I also would like to revise my personal blog. I returned to blogging in 2016 but, like most New Year’s resolutions they tailed off, and I blogged sporadically. However, I have some strong ideas for reviving the blog, and in order to facilitate some of these ideas I am looking to migrate from the blogger platform to WordPress.
Finally, I am looking forward to working with two of my SALT colleagues, Rhian Ellis and Professor Jane Thomas on an event looking at ways of enhancing traditional teaching. All too often we expect teachers to innovate, and the majority of people assume that innovations must involve technology, when in fact, sometimes the simplest, or more low-tech technique is often more effective.
Furthermore, are today’s younger generation so immersed in technology that they see teaching without technology as innovative in itself, or whether this is a concept for the future?
[:en]Here in SALT, we thought we’d take a leaf out of PVC Stringer’s book and work on some New Year’s resolutions ourselves. Kicking off the blog posts is one of our newer team members, Rhian Ellis with her reflections on 2017 and what she’s hoping to achieve in 2018.
What have I achieved?
In September 2017, I was appointed to Swansea University’s Academy of Learning and Teaching as an Academic Developer, specialising in continued professional development. Getting to know my SALT colleagues and members of the wider University community has been a privilege, while settling into my new role. 2018 is going to be an exciting year! So, what have I learned since being here?
My career development in 2017 has encouraged me to reflect on my identity as a ‘learning teacher’ over a twenty-five year period of great change in education. Not only upon WHAT I have learned, but HOW I learned. I find Jane Hart’s curated list of current ‘Top Tools for Learning’ most interesting for this. It can be seen here in the video of her keynote speech on ‘Modern Workplace Learning’ at the SALT conference in 2017.
I was surprised by how many tools I used daily (and encouraged my learners to use) for many years as a teacher, some of which were introduced in formal CPD sessions e.g. Prezi. I’m now discovering lots of new and useful ones on a weekly basis, often through my everyday interactions with colleagues and academic staff – another key characteristic of the ‘Modern Professional Learner’ celebrated by Jane Hart. Learning in this more casual way illustrates how CPD is often informal in nature. For example, the tips we get from others and then pass on.
Jane Hart suggests we count how many tools we use regularly in our professional and/or personal life.
When I did this, I realised that I developed my use of digital tools for learning far more than I imagined – even ‘google’ counts! Since September, I’m now using many more.
This reflection has encouraged me to be open-minded about trying out versatile tools such as ‘Padlet’, introduced to me by my SALT colleagues Debbie Baff and Mandy Jack in their September ‘TEL Month’ workshop. Here is a padlet I recently put together on ‘Feedback and Feedforward’ support. Look out for workshops on this theme with myself and Suzie Pugh from SALT in 2018, by the way! You can even contribute to the padlet if you wish.
Twitter is another tool I’ve used more for professional reasons in 2017. It featured as the top learning tool in Jane Hart’s research for ten years, only recently being over taken by You Tube. Twitter was created in 2006 by American founders Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone and Evan Williams, and now features a lot more than people’s dinner photos… thankfully! Twitter has become a useful platform for endless CPD opportunities, and I’m now a regular Twitter user.
So what are the benefits?
Twitter alone has enabled me to build a ‘trusted professional network’ at, through and for work. I now have a wealth of information at my fingertips. I have connected with world-leading experts who share current developments in higher education, including newly published research papers, topical issues, shared experience and thought provoking debate.
Using Tweetdeck allows me to coordinate and manage both my personal and SALT twitter accounts with ease. I took part in my first monthly Tweet chat on it recently, a ‘Peer Coaching’ forum, hosted by SDF.ac.uk. I contributed my experience of ‘peer triads’, and in turn learned about other coaching practices in the UK. @rhianellis3 @susaltteam
A big thank you to my very own peer coaches, Louise Rees and Debbie Baff! Louise and Debbie introduced me to SDF.ac.uk, a helpful community of practice (we form a great example of a ‘peer triad’ in action, by the way!). The tweet chat generated useful ideas for future CPD possibilities here at Swansea University. I’m looking forward to the next chat on ‘Team Coaching’, January 26th 12-1pm.
I’ve also gained many new Twitter followers over recent months, mainly as a result of my retweets and comments. As a result I am developing my ‘on-line identity’, as well as contributing to a wider community of academic development.
Lots of academic staff at Swansea University share my enthusiasm for Twitter and its potential benefits. Connecting with you in this way has enabled me to get to know people’s specialisms, passions and questions. In turn, this can help inform CPD planning from SALT.
My intentions for further use of twitter include:-
Sharing expertise through more tweets
Refining the use of hashtags # to maximise engagement
Continuing to build my professional network
Applying my learning to CPD opportunities for academic staff at Swansea University
Promoting excellence in teaching and learning in 2018 and beyond
I also intend to devote a controlled amount of time to Twitter/Tweetdeck each week, flexing it around my priorities. One of the disadvantages of twitter is the risk of overspent time. As your profile increases in popularity, people may wish to interact with you more. Mobile devices also tempt frequent checking, so I have set myself strict boundaries.
My work in academic development in 2017 has definitely moved me even further along the ‘visitor-resident’ mode of engagement with digital learning tools, with lots of benefits.
My advice to anyone who may remain ‘on the fence’ about Twitter for CPD (as well digital teaching and learning tools) is to keep an open mind! There’s no obligation to ‘move in’, simply ‘visit’ whenever you choose and see if you find benefits too.
Happy tweeting in 2018 everyone! @rhianellis3 @susaltteam #CPD
Blog created using Rolfe et al’s (2001) Reflective Model.
Rolfe, G. Freshwater, D., Jasper, M. (2001) Critical reflection in nursing and the helping professions: a user’s guide. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
[:en]A while ago, I came across a website (via twitter, incidentally) called Learning Wheel. This particular site is a community site where you can collaborate and share resources or technology that can be used to enhance your teaching or professional development.
Each wheel is split into 4 sections and each section has a series of ‘spokes’. To quote Learning Wheel themselves:
“LearningWheel is a model of digital pedagogy designed to enhance learning and develop digital literacy skills. It has several unique layers:
Visual pedagogically informed tool
Created by practitioners for practitioner
Categorised in to four pedagogic ‘modes of engagement’
Can be ‘Resource’ specific
Can be ‘Contextualised’ to a subject area
Can be ‘level’ specific
Promote free and accessible digital resources
Scalability: flexible and adaptable”
There are two that stand out particularly for SALT, and one of these are in the subject resources and is aimed at the trainee teacher, although it’s just as useful for practising teachers too:
There are lots of subject specific wheels too, so have a look. You may find some useful resources for your discipline! If you feel you can create one, then there is an option to be the captain of your own learning wheel.
As with all collaborative resources, the resources contained within each of these learning wheels are not necessarily used by Swansea University, but if you are interested in any of these tools and want to know more then SALT would be more than happy to look at some of these with you and suggest alternatives where possible.
If you do use some of these learning wheels, please share it with @learningwheel and also with @susaltteam or contact SALT so that we can promote the good work that is going on, not just in Swansea but further afield.
Being part of the SALT (Swansea Academy for Learning and Teaching) team at Swansea University has its perks, some more obvious than others.
Having attended a meeting of the Learning Innovation Group (LIG) yesterday, I was reminded of some of the reasons I love the job that I do. I’ll admit, I’m not a big fan of meetings – the thought of sitting down trying to concentrate (both from an engagement and an accessibility point of view) for hours on end is certainly not fun. But every so often, little nuggets crop up and make them worthwhile.
The topic of the meeting yesterday was “Learning Innovation” and the purpose of the meeting was to find out what was going on within the colleges, to facilitate discussions and try to encourage, nurture and foster collaboration both between the colleges and between SALT and the colleges.
It was heartening to see that innovation wasn’t necessarily perceived as being “techy”, particularly as within SALT we try to promote the ethos of “Pedagogy first, technology last”. Perhaps it was unfortunate that numbers were low for this meeting (or maybe a blessing in disguise as it enhanced those conversations?) but it was good that the colleges who weren’t able to have representation at the meeting were able to supply valuable insights from within their colleges.
The biggest talking point came from “Flashback Friday” which is a method of encouraging reflection within the School of Management. It employed a simple technique whereby students are given one question on a Friday and are expected to reflect on that question for the following week. The concept was simple yet effective. So simple in fact that it wasn’t regarded as innovative by the lecturer concerned and only identified due to a chance conversation between the lecturer and a member of the SALT team.
Flashback Friday also generated attention in the meeting because of the materials used to deliver it – students were given what can only be described as heavy duty cling film (I’m not sure what the material was called – sorry!) that acted as a whiteboard.
I was also enthused by the amount of innovation in assessment that was on display, from giving students advance notice of a potential exam question (Gen Bio & Geography), the increasing use of in-class polling (Engineering) and the use of multiple choice questions as both formative and summative assessment, using both technical and non-technical solutions (Medicine, Science and Engineering). Furthermore, I continued to be impressed by the “Authentic Assessment” that was being used throughout the university – the College of Arts and Humanities offered some excellent examples of how role play by way of running a fictitious company to aid translation, or a news studio to aid media students.
As the discussions progressed, it became apparent (in a nice way) that while there is a tremendous amount of good practice and innovation going on throughout the university, because staff are “doing it”, they don’t see it as innovative. This was all very positive though, more of a “Wow, we do that in our college and I didn’t think of including that on our list”.
Having worked in SALT for 8 years, I have been party to several different discussions, projects and events that covered similar things and it’s not the innovation itself that impresses me, it’s that fact that there is so much of it, and that people are so humble with it, and so willing to share with others. What I took away from yesterday’s meeting was the “so and so in my department does that too, why don’t you speak to them” – we don’t foster this type of conversation enough!!
In SALT we pride ourselves on being good teachers, but we are unique in that we come from all sorts of backgrounds and we continually look for new tools and technologies. The best nugget of all for me from this meeting came from one of my SALT Colleagues – “This type of discussion is really good, but have you seen how they curate this in Manchester Metropolitan University” #101creativeideas
THAT is what makes me tick. The sharing of knowledge, resources and tools as well as the sharing of the way things work. My role, and that of the majority of the SALT team is to foster the wealth of talent that is teaching at Swansea University, and to nurture it. In order for us to help others, we must help ourselves, and to do this we must start from within. The subject of my reflections from yesterday’s meeting is therefore, how can SALT curate the knowledge, skills and resources within the team, how can SALT collaborate with each other and with the wider community to enhance the knowledge, skills and resources, and (most importantly for me), what part can I play in this process?
If we want teaching to be excellent at Swansea, we need to strive for excellence as a team and lead by example.
[:en]Those of you who are followers of learning technology will probably have heard of Jane Hart of Top 100 tools fame. A few of us within the SALT Team follow her blogs and tweets and given that we are looking to improve on our CPD provision, a recent workshop that she ran, “Modernising Classroom Training with Technology” was of particular interest to the team. I participated in this four week, asynchronous, online workshop with a view to looking at how it was delivered, and whether it was an approach that we might consider as one of the options for delivery in the future.
I could tell you the title and I could tell you that it was a four week course. Its outline is not available online anymore so I’m unable to link to it, but it was intriguing. I couldn’t wait to get started, though having never participated in an asynchronous online course before, I wasn’t sure how it would go.
So, what did the course involve?
When my registration was processed and I received my login details, I was directed to yammer, which was the platform that was being used for the duration of the course. There was a pre-course activity, followed by 10 activities spread over four weeks. Activities 1 and 2 were released during week 1, 3-5 in week 2 and 6-10 during week three. That said, it was an asynchronous course so there was no requirement to be online for particular periods of time or for a specific length of time. One thing that was mentioned in the welcome email was “the more you put in, the more you get out of it”. This was true. I engaged as much as I could with the course (there were a couple of activities that I wasn’t able to complete), and I feel that I made a positive contribution to the course.
I have blogged about each week post-workshop on my personal blog, and have linked them below (on the week) if you want to read further. If you have any questions about any of the tools used within the workshop, or even about the concept of asynchronous online learning then please feel free to contact me.
Activity 1: Using mobile devices in icebreakers
Activity 2: Using QR Codes
Activity 3: Using mobile devices for notetaking
Activity 4: Digitally annotating training materials
Activity 5: Interactive training materials
On the whole, I really really enjoyed the experience. I felt that the concept of the asynchronous course was really good, as was the content. From a CPD Perspective, I liked the fact that the activities were released each week and that there was no time limit to complete them. Great for when work gets in the way. That said, there appeared to be only a small group of participants, and I felt that I would have benefitted more from more people engaging. The course will be left open for a couple of months, so there may well be more activity later on, but I’m not sure.
Yammer is not the easiest platform to navigate, even for the tech savvy. Think of yammer as a cross between discussion boards and your Facebook newsfeed. Any threads that get posted are in chronological order (as is the case with a discussion board or forum). However, when someone comments on a thread then that thread goes to the top (a la Facebook). Taking into account that it is an asynchronous course, and therefore people won’t necessarily be watching it on a daily basis, it is easy to get lost in the myriad of postings. Thankfully, Jane was able to organise the layout with a site map stored as a note so it was easy to go to the activities if you knew which one you wanted to go to.
Would this benefit SALT?
I think this approach is well worth trialling. I can see two areas in which it can be used, though there are probably others. Both options relate to TEL and CPD. Option 1 would involve designing a similar course with a view to exploring the core tools supported by the team. The second option would be to run a course of a similar vein to the workshop I’ve attended but with themed tools and apps (for example, centred around assessment and feedback, or tools for large groups). I guess I would need to think on this a bit more but there’s certainly scope.
As mentioned earlier in this post, please feel free to contact me if you would like any further information on any of the tools, or the workshop.[:]
[:en]Having returned from leave to be greeted with “You have the most popular session of the month”, suffice to say I was rather nervous!
However, after 7 months of blood, sweat and tears, Xerte is finally up and running here in Swansea. The purpose of today’s session was to explain what Xerte is, what it does and why it is useful to staff in their teaching.
In short, it has accessibility features aplenty, it has scope for collaboration, sharing and peer review and it has a vast range of multimedia options available. Not to mention that it allows for flipping the classroom, formative assessment in the form of basic quizzes.
The session also outlined some of the training sessions that we will be running, both on the Park and Bay campuses.
I hope that the people who attended the session and who watched it via live streaming saw enough to whet their appetites, and are interested in following it up.
The following link will take you to a PDF of the presentation that I used today, complete with speaker notes. To view the speaker notes, simply click on the “Comments” button to the right of your PDF Reader
It’s Wednesday so it must be Bristol and the Heads of E-Learning Forum or Helf as its known to its friends. Helf according to its website is, ‘a network of senior staff in institutions engaged in promoting, supporting and developing technology enhanced learning. We have over 125 nominated Heads from UK Higher Education institutions and a regular programme of well attended events.’ They have meetings 2 or 3 times a year as well as being involved in a number of reports and other publications. They also run a lively JISC mail list that brings a lot a remarkably useful information into my inbox.
One of the real values of this group is that your hear what really goes on in other institutions all shared under the Chatham House Rule. None of the proud parent, ‘Oh our young lecture capture is doing remarkably well at University’ here. What you get is a much more nuanced, honest view and all the better for it.
This was my first face to face meeting so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but the title ‘Blending physical and virtual spaces’ was intriguing and I was keen to meet some of the people who had been sharing all that information. Interestingly, there were people from all over Britain but remarkably few from other Universities in Wales considering that Bristol is not that far away!
As I often do I won’t give a blow by blow account of what I did on my day out but instead share some of the many useful things I got from the day.
There was an interesting project from Derby using video feedback the https://flexiblefeedback.wp.derby.ac.uk. This involved staff to student feedback but also student to student feedback, helping students to learn to both to give and receive critical feedback. The trick will be to see how scalable it is. Another project The Dynamic Lab Manual in Bristol and has won awards and you can read about it here – http://www.chemlabs.bris.ac.uk/DLM.htm
UCL have created a new role of Learning Spaces Specialist, Paul Burt, who sits in the E-Learning Environments team. His role is to make sure that learning space at UCL are actually fit for learning. So they don’t have a ‘let’s have what we have already got but bigger, bums on seat approach’ that inflicts so many universities. Instead, making learning spaces effective for learning is at the heart of their design. The have some extensive Learning Space Guidelines that outline what to consider when requesting, specifying, designing, supplying, installing and maintaining facilities and environments in UCL’s learning spaces. The guidelines cover a whole range of requirements from access to the amount daylight and from acoustics to technology. One major area talked about was the variety of teaching uses a room could be used for. A strong message that came through was the outdated nature of traditional large lecture theatres and that theatres such as the ones below can accommodate both large group teaching and small discussion groups in the same session, make good use of the space and are not as expensive as may be thought. In some case they may even be cheaper than traditional lecture theatres.
Adding power in every seat may be outmoded when tablets can last for several days on one charge but may be needed in the short term by some students. UCL have power in the front two rows. If you want power, you need to sit at the front, which may well have other benefits for you as well.
Peter Bryant, Head of Learning Technology and Innovation at LSE was looking at the success or otherwise of e-learning and argued that there are numerous small local projects still in the use that have not reached tipping point. I think JISC has been responsible for a lot of the small project culture of e-learning, making the most important thing chasing the next round of project funding where the new is always more exciting rather than turning a project into an institution or sector wide application. Additionally he argued that institutional dictats do not always have the desired effect. What’s needed is change from the middle out.
Finally, Mark Gamble from the University Bedfordshire, home of the first series of Freshers,explained that his role is to manage the e-journey of their students from the moment a student thinks about coming to Bedford and clicks. Quite a task but how joined up are we in this process?
The idea is not to run training session or a full on seminar. At Bitly “we gather together … over lunch to learn about – anything! One person presents about a subject they’re interested in, a cause they care about or a side project they’re working on while the rest of us listen and learn over lunch.”
So what about starting small – Champions, SALT team and a few fellow travellers, perhaps once every few weeks after Christmas in the Training Room next to the SALT offices? I guess it will be a BYO lunch.
A couple of sessions to get us started –
Chris Jobling – ‘Adventures in electronic feedback’ Friday 17th January 1 to 2pm
Chris Hall – “So what: can jazz teach us anything about teaching?” Friday 7th February 1 to 2pm
If you visit the Swansea Learning Lab blog regularly, you may have noticed the Learning Lab on Twitter feature at the right (if you are reading this in a Feed reader, please visit the live blog page now!). At the moment this shows the top 4 “tweets” posted by @swanlearninglab and it is generated from the RSS feed provided by Twitter.com.
Yesterday, a group of us (myself @cpjobling, Helen @HelenMD, and Julia @juliadesigns, where speculating about how to make this Twitter feed a bit more interesting. The basic problem is that only the person logged in as @swanlearninglab can post items to this feed, and although there is more than one of us with the privilege, there aren’t enough to keep the feed active. What would be better, we thought, would be if we were tracking the people in the learning lab rather than the learning lab virtual person.
We looked into Tweetizen and considered setting up a group there, but it would have been limited to 10 users. We thought about using a hashtag#swanlearninglab, but that might require community training. So then, at Julia’s suggestion, we looked into Twitter lists. And this looked like a possible way forward.
A Twitter list is a group of twitter users whose public tweets are followed as if they were a single person. We have set up a community list, called @swanlearninglab/community and added a few selected people to it. Having done this you can access the list directly at http://twitter.com/swanlearninglab/community and send messages to it by including @swanlearninglab/community in a tweet. Twitter also, helpfully, provides a widget that can be used to show the dynamic list:
Now all we need to do is replace the RSS feed by the widget and bob’s your mother’s brother. Instant community. Great if you tweet anyway but don’t want to post a blog posting here.
If you want to be added to the list, just send a direct message to @swanlearninglab or add your twitter handle to the comments.