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.
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.
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).
Now we've hearing about the future of leadership according to @jamesclay. Great that he appears to be presenting without any slides at all. And he's on a pier. #digifest21
It appeared to go down well with a few comments on the Twitter.
Fantastic talk and answers @jamesclay I am really inspired and motivated about what you have spoke about I need to get more involved I think – thank you for helping me realise this.#Digifest2021#Digifest21
I had a week of meetings which was exhausting and quite tiring. Spent a lot of the week working on Jisc’s HE Teaching and Learning Strategy. I had meetings with key stakeholders within Jisc, as well as digging though university needs and ambitions.
I wrote a blog post for Advance HE on digital leadership, which will be published in a couple of weeks. It was based around the concept of the digital lens.
A strategic digital lens allows universities to better understand how digital and technology can enable them to achieve their core strategic priorities. It can help inform staff how they will use digital in their work to meet the institutional priorities.
Lawrie published a blog post, Stop normalising pandemic practices! There are some out there who think that what we are doing is what we want to do when the pandemic ends. However Lawrie reflected “I do want people to remember that pandemic technology practices don’t have to be everyday practices when we are out of this.”
What we are doing now is not normal and I don’t think we will be going back to what we had before.
We are reviewing the concept of the Technical Career Pathway within Jisc, I worked on the Learning Technologist pathway, but we’ve had little take up, but I think one key factor has been we don’t really employ dedicated learning technologists. I had a meeting this week to review on what we might need to do in the future.
We have been reviewing Data Matters 2021, which was a charged for online event. Some individuals have been challenging the concept of charging for online events, but would be happy to pay for an in-person event. Despite being online there are costs in organising and running online events. Having said that do we need to have events, could we achieve the same impact via different channels or medium? There are other online channels that could be used instead of an online event using a dedicated platform. An online event which is mainly about the transmission of content, probably shouldn’t exist, just use a YouTube channel! My experiences of the Jisc e-Learning Conferences back in the late 2000s was that these events could be (and were) highly engaging and interactive. There was conversations and discussions, as well as presentations. These events were value for money and people, though questioned the fee, did feel they were value for money. People don’t always value free events.
Had a fair few meetings with universities this week talking about blended learning, digital strategy and embedding digital practice across an organisation.
So what are some of the key issues and challenges when it comes to learning analytics and ethics in higher education.
This was the challenge I was set for a presentation at the University of Hertfordshire Teaching and Learning Conference on the 10th July.
When this was originally planned I was going to travel over to Hatfield and deliver the presentation in person, however with the Covid-19 pandemic, it was soon apparent that this wasn’t going to happen. The conference was going to go ahead, but using Teams, and presenters such as myself would deliver their presentations online.
I have done this a fair few times, so I know what to expect, however it’s still a little weird delivering a presentation in front of my PowerPoint slides and not seeing the audience, nor any kind of audience reaction. At the end their were a fair few questions in the chat pane, so got to answer more questions than I would at a face to face event.
@jamesclay is taking us through the ethical issues of using student data & analytics. Privacy & consent is so important. Consent of the processing of data and what we do with it. Can we understand how data tells us story? how does this lead to action if any? #UHLTC2020pic.twitter.com/FSqbmj8SOF
This week I have spent a lot of time looking at assessment, but also reflecting on the Plymouth e-learning conference where ten years ago I chaired a debate about closing the physical campus in times of crisis and disruption.
It could be floods, high winds (remember 1987), flu or similar viral infections, transport strikes, fuel crisis, anything…
I was supposed to be on leave this week, we were heading off to London for a few days, as we had tickets for the Only Fools and Horses musical at the Royal Haymarket. I had bought tickets for my wife as a Christmas present and it was something we were all looking forward to. Then all this lockdown happened and the theatre cancelled all the performances as required by the Government.
I did consider keeping my leave, but with leading a taskforce, it was apparent that I might not have the time to take some (and where would I go).
With the current situation impacting on conferences, events and teaching, there is a lot of talk and posts out there on how to deliver online teaching, as well as moving conference to online events.
Ten years ago or so, Jisc ran for a few years an online e-learning conference. I participated in these as a delegate, a keynote speaker and for some of these I was the conference blogger and wrote a blog called “Letters from the Edge”.
It can be useful to have an online space (a blog) where someone addresses what is happening in the conference (and elsewhere).
I also published some ramblings about the advantages of an online conference on my blog about advantages of online conferences, many of which still stand up today and are also useful potentially for those who are planning some online delivery.
In this post I discuss some of the challenges, but also many of the advantages of an online conferences.
This post talks about the discussions that are possible in an online conference. You will find much more discussion and debate takes place than at a traditional conference. Not only that, the conversations happen over time, allowing for reflection and checking sources. It’s also all written down. This makes it very easy to check back and see what someone said before making a different point. Sharing links and ideas is also so much easier too.
Online conferences can facilitate more in-depth discussions than at traditional conferences.
Due to the textual and asynchronous nature of an online conference discussion it is possible to engage in the conversation either immediately or after a period of reflection over the two days of discussion for each of the themes. it’s a real opportunity to take the time to debate the issues that arise out of the presentation with fellow practitioners and experts.
I am sure if you ask a lot of people why they attend conferences, in addition to the keynotes and sessions, one aspect that will come out is the networking and social aspects of the conference. So isn’t all this social and networking all lost with an online conference, I hear you cry! Well in a way, yes! And in a way, no!
Today I am attending the TNE 4.0 UUK event. It’s about the challenges of international education in higher education and the potential impact of digital and technology on the process of TNE.
At the TNE 4.0 event at the Jisc offices in Bristol I did a sketchnote of the opening talk by Paul Feldman.
In his talk Paul spoke about the challenges that face the university sector with the changes brought about by the fourth industrial revolution, but also about the positive response that is Education 4.0.
In the afternoon I did a second sketchnote on the session entitled “Five Steps to Launching a Successful Digital Content Program Included in Tuition for Under-Represented Students“
In this post, Dr Michael Gallagher, a Lecturer in the Centre for Research in Digital Education, describes how he and colleagues drew on current expertise and research within The University of Edinburgh to inform and design a new online course…
It was an interesting read, but I find it equally interesting that we are still having difficulty with delivering and teaching online that we still need to run pilots.
There has been substantial amounts of research and practice in this space, this is reinforced by the forthcoming A Manifesto for Teaching Online which, as indicated in the article on the ‘Edinburgh Model’ was a source for the course, much of what is distilled in the course comes from the outcomes of the Near Future Teaching project and the Manifesto for Teaching Online.
This isn’t though a course which is delivered online, this is a course for teaching people how to teach online and it wasn’t initially delivered online.
This first pilot of the course was run face to face to allow the team to focus on specific areas and get rapid feedback from participants.
In my reading and experience, people really get to understand the challenges and affordances of delivering online if they have first hand experience of being taught online, both bad and good. A similar thing can be said for non-online teaching (or what we sometimes call traditional or face to face teaching. This is something that all teachers will have experience of, being taught in a face to face or traditional manner before they start teaching themselves. Though I wonder can we teach online if we have never been taught online? Should be said though the team are planning to run the course fully online in early 2020.