@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
UK universities are testing a new online teaching link for students in China – which will require course materials to comply with Chinese restrictions on the internet.
The pilot project involves four Russell Group universities – King’s College London, Queen Mary University of London, York and Southampton – and is run by JISC, formerly the Joint Information Systems Committee, which provides digital services for UK universities.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is to scrap a commitment to get 50% of England’s young people into university, which was reached for the first time last year.
He is also promising a German-style further education system with a focus on higher technical qualifications.
Tony Blair set the target over 20 years ago to boost social mobility.
Friday I delivered a presentation at the University of Hertfordshire Teaching & Learning Conference. Originally when planned I would have travelled over to Hatfield to deliver the conference in person. With everything that has happened since March, I did my presentation via Teams. My presentation was on learning analytics and ethics.
My top tweet this week was this one.
On this day in 2009. I led some staff development at Gloucestershire College on mobile learning. In the evening myself, Lilian Soon, Dave Sugden and Dave Foord went to La Tasca for some tapas in Cheltenham pic.twitter.com/0C9UONMGV8
The 20-year crusade to get more young people into higher education appears at an end, after the universities minister accused England’s universities of “taking advantage” of students with dumbed-down courses that left them saddled with debt.
In a significant shift in policy, Michelle Donelan declared it was time to “think again” about the government’s use of higher education to boost social mobility.
Though wasn’t her government in charge for half of that time? What it appears this will mean is that courses which result in high paying jobs will take priority over those that don’t.
I have always felt that education was so much more than getting qualifications and as a result getting highly paid jobs. Some courses are useful to society, but not from a financial perspective. The question is though who pays for those courses, is it government or someone else?
I have been working on some vignettes about the future. They provide ideas, concept and inspiration on the future of higher education. They are not detailed plans of what is going to happen, but will stimulate discussion amongst leaders, managers and staff in universities on what might happen and what could happen.
Here is an early example:
The localised university
We have become so accustomed to young people leaving home to go off to university that the concept of not leaving home to participate in higher education, though common to many, was seen as a somewhat alien concept.
However with the cost of travel and housing rising, as well as concerns about climate change and the impact of travel and commuting on the environment. Many universities decided to take the university to the community.
Some of the delivery would be done individually online, it was also apparent that the connectedness and social aspects of learning would require students coming together.
In small towns across the country, groups of students would come together to learn. Even though the teaching was delivered remotely, the learning was done together. Core aspects of the course would be delivered to larger groups, whilst more specialised teaching would be delivered to smaller cohorts or in some cases individually. The university would either build, convert or hire spaces for teaching and would use the internet to deliver live high quality video to groups of students from subject experts from across the country and in some cases globally.
The students would be supported in person and locally, by skilled facilitators who would ensure that the students would get the appropriate help as and when required.
Content would be delivered digitally, using online resources as required, or even 3D printing of physical objects in the home.
Specialist and practical subjects would be delivered at regional hubs that could be used by students from any university. This would mitigate the need to travel regularly or commute to a campus everyday.
It became apparent early on that much of student support could be delivered remotely, however local specialist support providers working for multiple universities could easily work with students in their catchment area.
Some bemoaned the decline of the “student experience” on campus, but what was discovered early on, in the same way has had happened on physical university campuses in the past, students would, using social networking, create their own local groups and societies, and then would arrange their own social and networking events. Some of these would be online, by many would happen at local social spaces.
So what do you understand by the term blended learning? What about an online course? A hybrid programme? Could you provide a clear explanation of what student wellbeing is? At the end of last week I published a blog post on language.
Last week I delivered two presentations, one was a planned presentation for a QAA workshop, the other, well it wasn’t supposed to be a presentation, but due to a lack of response from the audience in the networking session I was in, I quickly cobbled together a presentation based on the slides I had used for the QAA.
I pulled together the idea into a single blog post. It is a combination and an expansion of the presentations I delivered about my thoughts of what happened, what then happened, what we need to think about and what we could do.
So we know many universities are planning for blended and hybrid programmes with some aspects of courses delivered physically, but socially distanced. My question is this, where (physically) are those universities expecting their students to access those online aspects of their programmes, especially those which are synchronous? They will need a device and an internet connection, but they will also need a physical space to participate as well. This was the question I asked in another blog post I published this week. Though as the week went on we saw the government start to ease the lockdown restrictions. I suspect we will see some (or even most) universities follow suit.
I spent the best part of Monday preparing, planning and rehearsing for the QAA online workshop on Maintaining quality in an online learning environment I am participating in.
An article I write was published in University Business this week. Regular readers of the blog will realise that this was a reworked (and polished) version of a blog post I published a few weeks back.
Throughout the pandemic, universities have done their utmost to make sure continuity of learning has been maintained as much as possible, and the pace at which the sector has moved is amazing. But now that the initial period of response is coming to a close, and universities are starting to look at more long-term options, a consideration of online pedagogy and strategy will be important.
On Tuesday I had another article published, this time in The PIE News.
As coronavirus turns the traditional university experience upside down, changing the ways we design and deliver teaching, are contact hours still a valuable mark of quality?
I spent most of the day in my Senior TEL Group meeting where we discussed the group’s current challenges and what potentially kind of support from Jisc they need. Issues that did arise included workload planning, curriculum scheduling and timetabling.
On Wednesday, UUK published the results of a survey on how universities will deliver teaching and learning this autumn.
97% of universities surveyed confirmed that they will provide in-person teaching at the start of term this year, with 78 universities (87%), also stating that they will offer in-person social opportunities to students, including outside events and sporting activities, all in line with government and public health guidance.
Thursday I did two online presentations, one was part of a QAA workshop on Maintaining quality in an online learning environment in which we will look at some of the key quality assurance issues that universities will face in the new academic year.
This session will include an update on COVID-19 before moving to a focus on the pedagogy of online teaching and learning and how this underpins quality. We will discuss key messages from a range of sources regarding maintaining quality in an online environment, before hearing applied examples from providers.
I also ran a session at Jisc’s Connect Morewhich I have called What of the future?My session was asking delegates to think about what happens next? What they think they need to do? As well as what they want support and help with to make it happen? This was a challenging session, despite having 80+ people in the Zoom session, there wasn’t many contributions from the delegates. I am not sure if it was my session, or the fact that it was the last session of the day, or the platform (we were using the Zoom webinar platform) didn’t necessarily facilitate engagement that well. In the end I did a quick presentation about my thinking of what the short term future means for universities and colleges.
I have been thinking following conversations earlier this week about scheduling of hybrid and blended programmes on a socially distanced campus.
So we know many universities are planning for blended and hybrid programmes with some aspects of courses delivered physically, but socially distanced. Some parts will be delivered online through tools such as Zoom, Teams and the VLE. Some will be asynchronous, but some won’t.
My question is this, where (physically) are you expecting your students to access those online aspects of their programmes, especially those which are synchronous? They will need a device and an internet connection, but they will also need a physical space to participate as well.
Imagine a commuter student (or a student who lives some distance from the university) who has arrived on campus for a physical face to face seminar and then needs to attend an online session. Where are they expected to do that? If they are to be on campus, where would they go? Would they know where they could go? Are they expected to go “home”?
My top tweet this week was this one.
Not sure if it is the worst…. it is bad! The Sovereign Centre in Weston-super-Mare. It has a food court with NO food outlets to buy food from! Loads of empty shops and plans to turn it into a health centre. pic.twitter.com/us5RAJwCIS
At the weekend, in Bristol, the statue of Edward Colston was pulled down by protesters and dumped into the water of the Bristol Docks. There was real anger about the “celebration” of a man who made his fortune by buying and selling people. It’s vitally important that as a society we learn from the lessons of history, but my opinion, aligns with David Olusoga, statues do not teach history, they celebrate the lives of those they represent. If we want to retain such statues, then we should put them in a museum and put them in context.
Fish Colston out of the harbour. Put him in a museum. Dented and spray painted – memorialise him alongside what happened today. The existing plinth can be used for artists. Featuring those making art about unity & solidarity. Especially artists of colour who have been overlooked.
Though the R factor for the coronavirus is decreasing elsewhere in the UK, here in the South West it’s 1.0 which means that though the rate of infection is not rising exponentially, it also isn’t declining. In theory I can go to the office in Bristol next week, if I really need to work there and can get there easily by foot or cycle. Well I think I will be working from home again next week.
So after a lovely week off, taking a break from work including a lovely cycle ride to Brean, I was back in the office on Monday, well not quite back in our office, more back at my office at home. So it was back to Zoom calls, Teams meetings and a never ending stream of e-mails.
My week started off with a huge disappointment, I lost the old Twitter…
Back in August 2019 I wrote a blog post about how to use Chrome or Firefox extensions to use the “old” Twitter web interface instead of the new Twitter interface. Alas, as of the 1st June, changes at Twitter has meant these extensions no longer work and you are now forced to use the new Twitter! When you attempt to use them you get an error message.
I really don’t like the “new” web interface, it will take some time getting use to it, might have to stick to using the iOS app instead.
Most of Monday I was in an all day management meeting, which as it was all via Zoom, was quite exhausting. We did a session using Miro though, which I am finding quite a useful tool for collaborating and as a stimulus for discussion. At the moment most of the usage is replicating the use of physical post-it notes. I wonder how else it can be used.
The virtual nature of the meeting meant that those other aspects you would have with a physical meeting were lost. None of those ad hoc conversations as you went for coffee, or catching up over lunch. We only had a forty minute late lunch break, fine if lunch is provided, more challenging if you not only need to make lunch for yourself, but also for others…
Some lessons to be learned there!
Monday was also the day that schools (which had been open for the children of key workers and vulnerable children already) were supposed to re-open for reception, years one and six. However in North Somerset with the covid-19 related closure of the local hospital in Weston-super-Mare, this meant that the “re-opening” was cancelled at the last minute, with some parents only been informed on Sunday night! Since then the plan is to go for re-opening on the 8thJune, now that the covid-19 problem at the hospital has been resolved. Continue reading What should we do, what can we do? – Weeknote #66 – 5th June 2020→
I have decided to take next week as leave, not that we’re going anywhere, but apart from the odd long weekend (bank holidays) I’ve not had any time off working since the lockdown started, actually I don’t think I’ve had leave since Christmas! I had planned to take some time off at Easter and go 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).
So this week I was winding down slightly as I wanted to ensure I had done everything that people needed before I was off.
I published a blog post over the weekend about making the transition to online and to not make the assumption that though there are similarities in delivering learning in classrooms and online, they are not the same.
If we are to make the move a combination of online, hybrid and blended than we need to ensure that the staff involved in the delivery of learning have the right capabilities and skills to deliver effectively online.