I WON THE ELECTION – Weeknote #90 – 20th November 2020

Official sources called this election differently

The US election continues to dominate Twitter though seeing less of it on the mainstream news. Saw a number of people on Twitter claiming to have won the election!

Five years ago this week myself and Lawrie were delivering the second residential of the pilot for the Jisc Digital Leaders Programme at the Holland House Hotel in the heart of Bristol. We had spent four days delivering that week. We also had some great cakes and pastries.

Even the coffee was nice. We learnt a lot from the process and spent the next few months iterating the programme, dropping and adding stuff based on the feedback we had from the pilot delegates.

Less than a year later we delivered the programme to paying delegates in Loughborough, again we reviewed what we did and adapted the programme again, before delivering to groups in Manchester, Belfast and Leicester.

Developing and delivering that programme really fed into my own personal development and thinking on leadership and strategy that now feeds into Jisc’s continuing work and stratgegic thinking in this area.

We published a leadership briefing written by myself and Lawrie Phipps. A key aspect is aimed at those tasked with writing strategies, where we argue that in order to get stronger “buy-in” there is a need to apply digital lens to all strategies. The paper proposed the concept of using a digital lens when approaching strategy, practice and process.

With the Covid-19 pandemic and the increased interest and use of digital this is a subject where I will now be returning to.

I have often blogged about my own fibre troubles and though I am now on a 1GB connection I do recognise that I am still one of the lucky ones and that many especially rural areas are still being failed by a broadband market that is exclusionary and focused on the quick wins. The true cost of rural broadband was (again) reported by the BBC this week.

Working from home pretty much exclusively now I am appreciating the reliability and speed of my new connection. A recent report though does warn that this isolation and reliance on video conferencing and e-mail could reinforce workplace prejudice. Though I am not convinced that physical workplaces reduce prejudice, it is important that organisations ensure that new ways of working are fair and equitable.

Tuesday was my Senior TEL Group meeting, in which myself and key senior staff from across the UK discuss learning and teaching and the use of digital. One key message from the meeting was the need for support and help with learning design in this new landscape.  The importance of pedagogy in designing learning for different situations and contexts was also discussed. One recurring theme was language and shared understanding of what terms mean. For example do we have a shared understanding on the term blended learning, and what about hybrid learning?

Photo by Chris Yang on Unsplash

In the US we are seeing more of a backlash against proctoring and inappropriate surveillance of students during teaching and assessments.

Some US Colleges say they don’t need exam surveillance tools to stop cheating.

Companies have made millions selling exam monitoring software during the pandemic, but many universities have adopted less-invasive alternatives.

I thought this from the article was indicative of the challenge.

The pandemic has accelerated existing trends in higher education that will likely impact students long after they return to their classrooms. One of them is the polarization among educators when it comes to the best way to assess students and prevent cheating, Noelle Lopez, assistant director for equity and inclusion at Harvard University’s Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, told Motherboard.

“This is a classic debate between law-and-order—that comes from surveillance and making sure that there’s control, which is what this [proctoring] software offers in some way—and then a kind of model where there’s space for agency and trust” between students and faculty, she said.

The issue with assessment is that if you try and recreate the physical assessment environment online you are either going to fail, or go down the surveillance and control rabbit hole which may have more of a negative impact than you thought. It’s an age old question, but in a new paradigm, do you try and fix assessment or do you think differently and reimagine what you are trying to achieve with assessment.

That appears to be the plan at Harvard.

Harvard strongly discourages the use of proctoring software in its undergraduate courses, instead suggesting that professors who still prefer timed, closed-book exams proctor the tests themselves over Zoom. And as the school’s student newspaper has reported, a growing number are opting to switch to alternate class models. Assessments like group projects, creating podcasts, and open-book tests are “coming up more as people are thinking about the job market that exists, and ways that students can be learning other kinds of skills,” Lopez said.

In the UK the main issues in reimagining assessment in higher education are not just academic thinking, but also the Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRB) requirements which tend to emphasise stability of qualifications.

I had a fair few discussions this week about the use and role of learning resources in higher education teaching, as well as writing a presentation for a colleague to deliver at a relevant CITE event on copyright. The new models of blended, hybrid and online are creating real demand and new challenges for those in higher education institutions who provide resources for teaching and learning. Add in the challenge of how library spaces work in the current landscape and it becomes something that needs thinking and leadership.

We have finalised the draft live programme for Data Matters which is taking place in January 2021. I am now thinking about the asynchronous aspects of the event, on demand content, such as video, podcasts (audio recordings) and downloadable presentations. One of the key aspects of this type of content is to move away from the talking head and think about interview and conversations across video and audio.

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

There were major changes to the lockdown in Scotland this week, so much so that in-person face to face teaching was all but banned across parts of Scotland.

Eight universities and several colleges across Scotland will be all but banned from delivering face to face teaching from Friday.

As a result these institutions will need to move to a online delivery model as they did back in March.

I attended an Advance HE network meeting this week, and it was interesting to hear from colleagues what they are doing for teaching and learning during the pandemic.

One video which was shared was this one from RNCM how they were doing performances slightly differently these days.

Did some thinking and discussing about dual mode teaching and I think I might need to write a blog post on that.

My top tweet this week was this one.

Leave a Reply