Category Archives: conference

What, still no slides? – Weeknote #123 – 9th July 2021

beach ball
Photo by Raphaël Biscaldi on Unsplash

Slightly disappointed to see that the Microsoft’s Windows 11 blue screen of death is to become a black screen of death. Not that I see it that much these days as I usually have the spinning beachball of death on my Mac.

Actually my iMac fusion drive died at the weekend, luckily no data loss, but frustrating all the same. Attempts to fix it through software failed so I booked it in for a repair with the Apple Store.

After dropping off my iMac for its repair I headed into our Bristol office at Portwall Lane.

We had a review meeting about our Leeds programme and there was some good and interesting feedback.

Rochdale Canal in Manchester
Rochdale Canal in Manchester

The BBC reported how the University of Manchester remote learning plan was being criticised by students.

A university’s plans to continue online lectures with no reduction in tuition fees has been criticised by students. The University of Manchester said remote learning, which it has used during the Covid-19 pandemic, would become permanent as part of a “blended learning” approach.

What is interesting is that most (if not all) universities are going down a similar road.

Later there was an update, the University of Manchester remote learning plan ‘was a misunderstanding’

UoM vice-president April McMahon said the use of the term “blended learning” had caused the confusion. She said most teaching would return to normal once restrictions were eased. Ms McMahon, UoM’s vice president of teaching, learning and students, said it had “never been our intention” to keep teaching online and any such suggestion was “categorically untrue”.

Once more shows the importance of a shared understanding  of key terms such as blended learning.

Lake District
Cumbria by James Clay

On Wednesday I delivered the keynote at the University of Cumbria Annual Learning & Teaching Fest 2021. My presentation, Moving from Translation to Transformation, was delivered without slides and was similar to the one I delivered at LJMU last week.

James will describe how many universities who translated their practice are now reflecting on how they can transform their practice to enable an enhanced approach to digital teaching and learning.

I did another session for Leeds on digital leadership which went down well. We covered digital capability and was a chance to bring back Boaty McBoatFace and discuss what we understand by the term digital capability, once more a shared understanding is critical in ensuring that everyone knows what you are trying to do when you build capability (in that it is more than skills and more than just training).

In the afternoon I had a really useful and interesting meeting about the production of training materials and the cultural differences of teaching through the medium of Welsh.

Jisc's Portwall Lane Office, Bristol
Jisc’s Portwall Lane Office, Bristol

Thursday I was in the office. I didn’t have any in-person meetings, but have started the process of using the office more, in the main for a change of scenery, meeting people and generally changing my routine. With the school holidays imminent I will probably be spending more time in the office. I have also planned my first trip to the London office for an in-person meeting.

Friday I was working from home, another session for Leeds and some discussion on strategy and targets in the afternoon.

My top tweet this week was this one.

Video of shaping our future campuses

Back in May I was presenting at the QAA Conference, my presentation was entitled: How will the growth in online learning shape the future design of learning spaces and our campuses?

The physicality of online learning is an issue that will impact on university campuses as more institutions move to a blended programmes containing elements of online and digital learning and physical in-person learning. In this session James Clay from Jisc will explore the challenges that growth in online learning will bring to learning spaces and the university campus. He will explore what is required for, in terms of space for online learning, but will also consider the space and design implications of delivering online teaching as well. He will discuss what some universities are doing today to meet these challenges and requirements. He will reflect on a possible future where we are able to maximise the use of our space as students have the flexibility to learn online, in-person and across a spectrum of blended possibilities.

The video of my presentation is now available.

Ensuring excellence – Weeknote #121 – 25th June 2021

A rather busy week.

Had a few meetings about Jisc’s HE bespoke consultancy offer and next steps.

On Tuesday I did originally plan to go into the office today, but according to the desk bookings there were very few people in, so in the end I worked from home.

I delivered a presentation to the IHE Heads of Finance Network on LTR, Powering HE and how Jisc can support and help Higher Education with a particular focus on investment in digital.

Wednesday saw myself deliver the second session of an online Digital Leadership programme to a cohort of university staff. Despite the fact I had to do most of the session by myself, it did seem to go well.

On Thursday I did go to the office in Bristol. There was a lot more people in the office than normal, however as I had a fair few online interviews and meetings, I spent most of the day in one of our meeting rooms. However I did enjoy the change in routine and scenery, and I had a few happenstance conversations, which I don’t generally have online.

We had a debrief about the Advance HE/HEDG shareshop we did on transition. We also thought about future ideas, including dual mode delivery and curriculum planning.

Friday saw myself deliver a repeat of the second session of an online Digital Leadership programme to a cohort of university staff. It was a slightly shorter session as I had a conference to present at later that morning.

The conference was a Westminster Higher Education Forum policy conference: Next steps for reforming the TEF and ensuring teaching excellence in HE. My session was entitled Driving up standards and supporting teaching excellence in remote and blended learning.

I talked about definitions, background, the emergency response and the implications of differentiating between translation and transformation. I also discussed the topic of digital poverty.

meeting
Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

In the afternoon I did some analysis of the planning that universities were taking in respect to transition that came out of the shareshop we did on transition.

The main themes that came out of the online padlet discussion were:

  • Building online communities
  • The importance of student (and staff) wellbeing
  • Supporting and developing academic skills
  • Developing inductions and planning welcome weeks
  • Building digital skills
  • Returning to on campus delivery

One of the key themes that came out of the padlet discussion was the value and importance of building online communities. As one delegate pointed out in their planning, they felt it was important in supporting them to socialise and feel part of the community. One university wanted to increase connectedness and a sense of belonging to the university community.

As with academic skills (but slightly less commentary) the disruption to both new students and returning students, many comments were made about supporting and developing the digital skills of students. There was a recognition that many students did not have the (academic) digital skills to successfully engage with online and blended learning. As one participant said there was a need to be supporting the digital skills needed to access the course and related services. Another said we overestimated the students ability to use and engage with online content.

My top tweet this week was this one.

Day23: Best conference merch

This post is part of the #JuneEdTechChallenge series.

I could say the iPad I got, but it was a prize, so guessing doesn’t count.

I really loved my Cambridge University Press mug I got at UKSG in 2011. I used for many years across three jobs and then it got smashed.

I’ve always liked the pick and mix, or jars of sweets I have managed to swag at various conferences. They were always very much appreciated by the children at home, well those bags that managed to make their way home.

sweets

The really nice notebooks that seem to be the order of the day in the last few years have been useful as well.

I also liked the Canvas t-shirts which they use to give away.

The downside of online events over the last eighteen months has been that there has been no chance or opportunity to get some swag or merch. 

Though I didn’t post these posts each day in June (and to be honest I didn’t post it each day on the Twitter either) except the final day, I have decided to retrospectively post blog posts about each of the challenges and back date them accordingly. There is sometimes more I want to say on the challenge then you can fit into 140 characters (well 280 these days).

Day 16: Inspiring keynotes of the past

Martin Bean's Keynote at ALT-C 2009 in Manchester.

This post is part of the #JuneEdTechChallenge series.

Despite the fact he used made up quotes I did find the Martin Bean keynote from ALT-C 2009 inspiring and did influence many of my own presentations.

The quotes Martin used, however weren’t real.

Before I knew that I used the quotes to remind the audience that scepticism and concerns about the introduction of new technologies or new ways of thinking are not new and that it is “normal” to be concerned about change.

Now I’ve always had my doubts on the validity or authenticity of the quotes as my brief internet research showed that lots of people used the quotes, but there was very little real “evidence” on their authenticity. However in terms of the message I was getting across the essence of the message was much more important than the content of the message. Audiences related to the essence of the message and the scepticism that they had encountered. In more recent messages I have used actual quotes and newspaper headlines about the “dangers” of technology to reinforce the essence of the message.

I used the quotes in a presentation at an ebooks event at UWE. I posted the slides online and I’ve had a couple of comments plus a really useful link that once and for all casts doubts on the quotes and pretty much says that someone in the 1970s made them up!

This set of statements was printed in the Fall 1978 issue of “The MATYC Journal”, a publication that focused on mathematics education. The quotes were assigned the dates: 1703, 1815, 1907, 1929, 1941, and 1950. But they may actually have been created in 1978. Copies of these quotes have been widely distributed and posted on many websites. They also have been published in multiple books and periodicals.

Ah well…. I knew it was too good to be true.

Though of course if you have listened to my presentations at the time you will realise that the quotes were a theatrical device to make the audience to stop and think about change and people’s reactions to change. This is still valid, the quotes merely add a bit of dramatic licence!

Now later I found some real quotes about the pace of life from XKCD. Continue reading Day 16: Inspiring keynotes of the past

Day 7: My favourite talk or event

This post is part of the #JuneEdTechChallenge series.

Dave White

Probably this one by that Dave White at ALT-C 2010 

Dave with his extensive experience with TALL was certainly well qualified to understand the benefits and limitations of online delivery. However he discussed during his talk the importance of the social benefit that physical lectures provide for a community of learners. This is though not impossible to recreate online, is very challenging. Dave demonstrated through his delivery and content that the lecture in itself can be a useful way to stimulate discussion and debate.

This talk followed the keynote by Donald Clark who had opened the conference with his keynote, and riled people and annoyed them with a blanket attack on the lecture.

What Donald Clark did was to challenge our perception of the lecture, and it appeared to me that the over-whelming consensus of the audience was that the lecture still had some place in the delivery of education. This was reinforced for me by Dave White who gave a wonderful (unplanned) response to Donald’s lecture, with an invited talk on the eventedness and social impact of coming together to learn. 

The phrase “eventedness” has stayed with me since that talk back in 2010.

This talk was probably the highlight of the conference for me and is still a highlight now, ten years later. It has made me reflect more on my personal view that learning technology doesn’t always have to be a choice, but what it can do is provide choice. 

Though I didn’t post these posts each day in June (and to be honest I didn’t post it each day on the Twitter either) except the final day, I have decided to retrospectively post blog posts about each of the challenges and back date them accordingly. There is sometimes more I want to say on the challenge then you can fit into 140 characters (well 280 these days).

Day 3: Never go to a conference without…

This post is part of the #JuneEdTechChallenge series.

Across the many conferences I have attended one of the things I would usually take with me was a six way power gang!

Instead of fighting people for the power sockets, you can immediately make five friends! Also useful when you are back in your hotel room and need to charge the laptop, the phone, the iPod, use the hairdryer, etc…

More on that from 2010.

If I am attending a one day event, I might bring a two or three way adapter instead.

I usually find that I take too much stuff to conference and as a result I am always carrying a heavy bag. Sometimes this is because I want to work on the train as well as using a device at a conference itself.

Though I didn’t post these posts each day in June (and to be honest I didn’t post it each day on the Twitter either) except the final day, I have decided to retrospectively post blog posts about each of the challenges and back date them accordingly. There is sometimes more I want to say on the challenge then you can fit into 140 characters (well 280 these days).

EUNIS annual Congress

Kefalonia by James Clay CC BY-NC 2.0

EUNIS annual Congress takes place from the 9-11 June, with pre-Congress workshops 1-4 June and a (virtual) Greek island.

I am presenting about Learning and Teaching Reimagined on the 10th June and will also be a panellist in another session.

Join us to discuss digital transformation, find out how universities internationally have delivered innovative learning experiences during the pandemic and reflect on what happens next. An inspiring schedule of presentations, roundtables and workshops.

As ever, EUNIS brings a local flavour even when virtual. Relax and meet others on our own Greek island: a totally new experience in virtual networking.

Registration is free and open to all.

 

Shaping our future campuses

I was presenting at the QAA Conference, my presentation was entitled: How will the growth in online learning shape the future design of learning spaces and our campuses?

The physicality of online learning is an issue that will impact on university campuses as more institutions move to a blended programmes containing elements of online and digital learning and physical in-person learning. In this session James Clay from Jisc will explore the challenges that growth in online learning will bring to learning spaces and the university campus. He will explore what is required for, in terms of space for online learning, but will also consider the space and design implications of delivering online teaching as well. He will discuss what some universities are doing today to meet these challenges and requirements. He will reflect on a possible future where we are able to maximise the use of our space as students have the flexibility to learn online, in-person and across a spectrum of blended possibilities.

Update 2nd July 2021

The video of my presentation is now available.

But the coffee was so much better… – Weeknote #106 – 12th March 2021

In other years I would have been in Birmingham this week as it was Digifest, as it happens and not entirely unexpectedly, I find myself at home staring into a webcam instead of standing on a stage and siting down in my chair to watch presentations on a screen. Not quite the same experience, but the coffee was so much better….

I was chairing a series of sessions on the Monday, which was interesting and I had to chair the Q&A, which was challenging in an online environment, as questions were often posted without the context or needed clarification, which resulted in some confusion on the part of the speakers.

Wednesday I was delivering a 30 minute session on the future of digital leadership, in which I stared at my webcam. I have no idea how many people were watching the session, was it a thousand people, or was it just three people.

I have blogged many times in the past about the advantages of an online conference, and of course the main one is that the coffee is so much better.

I do think that this conference missed a trick by not having either a chat function, or a space to discuss the presentations. Yes some of us uses the Twitter, but it’s not quite the same (and it’s public as well).

It appeared to go down well with a few comments on the Twitter.

The thing is how would I know. It was really hard to get any kind of feedback from the audience, in the main as I couldn’t see them.

Going through an old USB drive and found a funding proposal about using tools such as Jaiku and Twitter with HE students studying in FE Colleges.

The proposed name of the project

Mmm Coffee

Which was an acronym of…

MiCrO blogging For he in FE made Easy

We didn’t get the funding, in case you were interested….

Tried out the transcription feature of Zoom, I love transcription

“yeah yeah you know, yes, so I joined a piggy bank robber host and therefore you’re talking child”

I can’t even remember now what I actually said!

My top tweet this week was this one.