Spotlight on Digital Capabilities 2023: Blended learning – are we getting it right? is an event put on by UCISA. I did a keynote at this event back in 2016.
At Spotlight 23, Melissa Highton, Director of Learning, Teaching and Web Services, University of Edinburgh gave a talk on The Office for Students Review of Blended Learning, 2022.
Dr Highton was part of the panel who met with staff and students in a number of universities of varying size, shape, age and mission. They developed a set of questions to collect the data necessary to get a clear understanding of blended learning approaches being taken. The technology context was different in each provider, and this technology context was essential for understanding how blended learning provision was enabled, quality assured and available equally to course leaders and students across their institution. This presentation will tell the story of how the review was done and highlight practical suggestions for moving forward.
Last week I was attending the LILAC 2023 conference in Cambridge. I was last at LILAC delivering a keynote on digital capability when it was in Dublin in 2016.
One session I enjoyed in Cambridge was the session on podcasting.
Podcasting is a widely used medium for communicating with an audience. Librarians are often innovative teachers however, the number of podcasts about aspects of information literacy is relatively small. This panel discussion is hosted by the creators of the new IL podcast “Chatting Info Lit” and will discuss what makes an effective podcast. This session is an opportunity to discuss the role of podcasting for teaching and learning and to compare it to other approaches to teaching information literacy.
Our panel of seasoned podcasters believe that learning how to create a podcast is a great way of developing your own and your student’s digital and information literacy skills to shift them from being consumers to content creators. The medium can also help disrupt exploitative power relations in universities by allowing the “next generation of researchers to think beyond the confines of our current academic structures” (Brehm, 2022). Podcasting is an accessible way of conveying your passion for a subject and can be applied to a wide range of disciplines – it’s not just about media studies or journalism. Not only is it a flexible medium for the listener, it’s also a great way of engaging your audience through conversation and storytelling (Carrigan, 2022).
The panel run the podcasts Copyright Waffle and Pedagodzilla, both focused on making complex subjects accessible and engaging. They will share their approach and some tips and tricks learnt along the way that help make a great podcast. We will also reflect on some of the approaches that have helped make us better teachers. During the workshop you will witness the recording of a podcast episode and get an insight into how the raw material gets turned into gold dust; and after the session the New Professionals will share an edited recording of the session as a podcast.
We will offer also you some ideas about how to get started with your own podcast and share some resources for those looking to teach podcasting to others (e.g. Copeland & McGregor, 2021). We’ll provide guidance on the equipment that you need, the platforms to use and some techniques for recording some high-quality audio.
I did a sketch note of the session.
I was name checked, mainly down to the podcast I had done with Jane and Chris back in 2016.
Having spent most of last week, I spent time on Monday clearing my inbox. I realised that my email address is on lots of mailing lists, and I did some unsubscriptions or added rules to my inbox.
Had a meeting with SURF discussing the smart and intelligent campus space. They are working in this space, and we have agreed to continue to discuss and share what we are doing. SURF are the NREN for the Netherlands. They had seen the guide we published.
Attended HEAnet Group Advisory Forum meeting. Their new strategy has many similarities to Jisc’s (new) strategy. Useful insightful meeting with Irish universities (and colleges) facing many of the issues that the UK is facing.
Spent some of the week in Cambridge at the LILAC 23 Conference.
No I didn’t go punting.
I was last at LILAC delivering a keynote on digital capability when it was in Dublin in 2016. This did make me think why I hadn’t been since then. Part of it was in 2017 and 2018 I had moved away from digital capabilities into the intelligent campus landscape, and the apprenticeship space. Delving into the LILAC community wasn’t a priority in those areas. In March 2019 I got a new role, part of which was looking at the HE sector. Of course the following March we went into lockdown, LILAC 2020 was cancelled. LILAC 2021 was online. I was on leave when LILAC 2022 was happening in Manchester. So when I was looking at events and conferences to attend in 2023, LILAC was on my list. I did manage to find the time to attend.
LILAC 23 was an excellent conference, and really useful to see the library and information professional services view and perspective. AI was certainly the elephant in the room.
Discussed the publication process for the forthcoming Guide to the Intelligent Library.
Continued the planning for the Intelligent Campus Community Event.
Continued research into AI specifically AI imaging and voices.
On Friday I was in London for the third of the Senior Education and Student Experience Group meetings, this was a meeting to accommodate those who had been unable to make the previous Monday meetings. We had an expected lower turnout, but still had some excellent, useful, and interesting conversations.
My top tweet this week was this one.
Why do you think universities focus on a deficit model for accessibility? Why don’t they create an equitable environment for all students, rather than the “wrong” environment which then requires additional support to be added? #lilac23
I am attending the LILAC 2023 conference in Cambridge. I was last at LILAC delivering a keynote on digital capability when it was in Dublin in 2016.
The keynote on the second day was Accessibility – what does it mean for libraries and education?
Interestingly the session was pre-recorded in advance and the session on the day was a fully fledged Q&A session.
When you hear the word accessibility what initially comes to mind? What about accessibility in relation to libraries and education? How about how neurodivergent users in particular are impacted by accessibility, and their accessibility needs? Accessibility is a broad area that in relation to education and libraries can cover access to and use of spaces, service design, access to and use of resources, digital accessibility and technologies, document design, and accessible approaches to teaching. Neurodivergent is a term that can be defined to mean people whose neurotype differs from those considered to be neurotypical, with all neurotypes sitting under the umbrella term of neurodiversity (Verywell Mind). Neurodivergent is an umbrella term itself that can be used when referring to, but not limited to, autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, Tourette’s, OCD and more. This keynote speech will touch on some of the key accessibility issues impacting educational settings and libraries, with a particular focus on accessibility in the context of neurodivergency. It aims to encourage attendees to more consciously assess and explore your own personal accessibility practices and those of your workplace, in order to improve accessibility practices.
I did a sketchnote of the Q&A session.
I was a little depressed to see that accessibility is still an issue, despite years of discussion about this topic and how universities can make what they do more accessible. In many ways technology has made some of this much easier.
Attended the Wonkhe and Adobe Education Espresso online event – Curriculum for the whole person. There was an excellent presentation from Hull University.
I spent most of the week in London working in our London office.
Wrote up notes for internal and external use on the Senior Education and Student Experience Group meeting. I also updated CRM for those that attended the Senior Education and Student Experience Group meeting. Spent time planning logistics and informing for (next) Senior Education and Student Experience Group Meeting on 21st April.
Had a meeting on a possible Learning Spaces session for Connect More. In the end I recognised what I wanted from the session and how I would like to run it, wasn’t aligned. So, I dropped myself from the session. From a strategic perspective, I want a learning spaces session at Connect More, this doesn’t mean I need to deliver such a session.
Planning a meeting with SURF sharing notes on the concepts of the Smart Campus and the Intelligent Campus.
Went down to Portsmouth, to look at a city campus. I am planning some reports on the smart city, civic university, belonging. I wanted some inspiration for a place I had not visited before.
Spent time planning and inviting colleagues to some internal personalisation workshops. This will be followed by some external workshops. We are doing this as part of a strategic target that we will undertake and publish research into the concept of personalised learning and what it could mean for higher education.
I was supporting our events team with invitations for people to present at Connect More.
Thursday, we had our monthly sector strategy leads meeting.
Had to spend some time planning travel and accommodation for April and May. I am off to LILAC 23, UCISA’s Spotlight 23, as well as some internal training in London.
My top tweet this week was this one.
Sadly the IFTTT recipe for posting from Instagram to Twitter no longer works. Looks like my personal stream is about to get much more textual…
I spent much of the week undertaking research and development in the intelligent campus and learning environment spaces. This is part of the planning for next year on what reports and guidance we might want to work on. Well, more what I might want to work on.
I have been planning pre-recorded video following invitation by IGPP Institute of Government & Public Policy and University of East London to talk at their event on Advancing Blended Learning in Higher Education.
I have been writing up notes for internal and external use of our recent Senior Education and Student Experience Group meeting,
Spent some time reviewing our directorate planning priorities and budget proposals.
Planning a meeting with SURF sharing notes on Intelligent Campus.
Developing session ideas and contributing sessions ideas for Connect More 2023.
Wrote a blog post on using tools to combat plagiarism.
With the imminent release of AI detection tools within Turnitin, I am reminded of an incident over ten years ago after we introduced a plagiarism checker tool into the college I worked at
Working on and planning Personalisation workshops and online information sharing.
Attended Wonkhe and Salesforce webinar on Building a more sustainable future
Reading and reflecting on Department for Education (DfE)’s policy paper setting out its position on the use of generative artificial intelligence (AI), including large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT or Google Bard, in the education sector. TL:DR be careful how you use AI.
Reading and reflecting on the Government white paper on AI (artificial intelligence).
I wrote and submit an intelligent campus session for Learning Spaces Scotland 2023.
Reading a university perspective on digital capability.
My top tweet this week was this one.
The Department for Education (DfE) has today published a policy paper setting out its position on the use of generative artificial intelligence (AI), including large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT or Google Bard, in the education sector.https://t.co/hcz2pocSSf
A story of a personal perspective and recollection.
With the imminent release of AI detection tools within Turnitin, I am reminded of an incident over ten years ago after we introduced a plagiarism checker tool into the college I worked at. I was responsible for a lot of the initial training in the tool. For each training session I would create three pieces of content to be put into the tool to check for originality. One was a straight copy of something from the web, usually a blog post of mine, or wikipedia. The second was an original piece would contain (and correctly) quote third party content. For the third piece I would always create a new original piece of content.
So, there I was delivering the training and I put the first piece into the plagiarism checker tool. It straight away identified that this was copied from the web, and showed the original source.
The second piece went in, again it identified there was non-original content in the submission. However I used this piece to demonstrate the limitations of the tool, as the academic would need to check the submission themselves. They would then see that no plagiarism had taken place.
I always had to create a new piece of content for the third (original) submission so that it would be identified as original.
However one time I did this, the plagiarism checker tool, identified the third original submission has having been copied. I was astounded, as I knew I had only written it that morning.
Upon further investigation I found out what had happened. The originality report indicated that my original piece of work had been “copied” from a university website. Well I hadn’t done that I had written it that morning.
Doing some more Google searching, what I found out, was that the university did indeed have some content on their website. They had in fact “lifted” it from an article I had written a few years previously.
So what had happened was that. Back in the 2000s I had written an original piece of content. The university had taken and used that content.
I in the 2010s had then written an original piece of content, well so original that it was very similar the content I had written years earlier. Obviously I based my new original writing on something I had forgotten I had written about before.
Putting this “new” content into the plagiarism checker tool resulted in the “new” work been seen as a copy of the earlier work. The plagiarism checker tool only checked originality, so didn’t know (or realise) that the university had copied me. The plagiarism checker tool doesn’t tell you the source.
The key lesson here though was that the plagiarism checker tool was insufficient on its own. It only told part of the narrative. Further investigation was needed and further checking was required to get to the actual truth, and not the perceived truth of the plagiarism checker tool.
What does this mean? Well if your plagiarism checker tool has AI detection in, then you will need to recognise that whatever the plagiarism checker tool tells you, this isn’t the end of the story, it is only the beginning.
The other thing I learnt was that I needed to be more creative in my writing going forward…
Monday I was in London at the Jisc offices in Fetter Lane. We had our Senior Education and Student Experience Group Meeting with 12 PVCs (including a VC and DVCs). As you might expect ChatGPT and AI was a hot topic of conversation in the meeting.
After the meeting I was heading up to London for the UCISA Leadership Conference in Liverpool.
I did enjoy the conference, not sure if I enjoyed it as much as the previous year, but it was still an excellent conference. Various sessions got me thinking, and I am contemplating writing some of my thoughts up from the conference.
The equality, diversity, and inclusion sessions were interesting and useful. Why don’t universities try and be more flexible in their recruitment practices, for example how many offer term time only contracts (reduced hours) to attract working parents. Family friendly policies can widen the talent pool. Why are so many jobs 37.5 hrs 52 weeks? Also why is it so often that recruitment for an individual, rather than recruiting for the team. A more diverse team is often more effective.
Was a little disappointed that one of the opening sessions talked about digital natives. They don’t exist, never have.
When I was young we had a Commordore Vic-20, I had a Casio electronic calculator, does that make me a digital native? According to Prensky yes it does.
Wondered if any university was looking at implementing a four day week?
This BBC news article reflects on the experiences of those involved in a four day week trial.
The scheme, organised by 4 Day Week Global, took place between June and December 2022, and involved organisations across the UK, including some non-profit organisations, as well as private firms in recruitment, software, and manufacturing. A report assessing its impact has found it had “extensive benefits” particularly for employees’ well-being.
I spent time reviewing the Connect More 2023 themes and topics with others across Jisc.
Started reflecting on possible ideas for ALT-C 2023 now that the call for papers is out. In 2021 I did a blog post about the digital lens, based on earlier work, so looking at possibly revisiting this.
Continued my researching AI in education. Have had early access to Bard, which looks very good.
I have been given access to Google’s Bard AI and after using ChatGPT for a few months now, I gave Bard a try with a simple prompt.
Write me a 1000 word essay on AI in education
I did like the fact that it created a structure for the content. Looking over it, it is rather lightweight, but then it’s not supposed to be a detailed report.
Going to continue to try things out with it.
AI in education
Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming the education landscape. From personalized learning platforms to virtual tutors, AI is being used to create new and innovative ways to teach and learn.
In this essay, I will discuss the potential benefits of AI in education, as well as the challenges and risks that need to be considered. I will also explore some of the ways that AI is already being used in education today.
The potential benefits of AI in education
AI has the potential to revolutionize education by making it more personalized, efficient, and effective.
Personalized learning: AI can be used to create personalized learning experiences for each student. This means that students can learn at their own pace and receive the support they need when they need it.
Efficient learning: AI can automate many of the tasks that teachers currently do, freeing up their time to focus on more important things, such as providing one-on-one support to students.
Effective learning: AI can help students learn more effectively by providing them with feedback and suggestions. This can help them to identify their strengths and weaknesses and to improve their learning skills.
The challenges and risks of AI in education
While AI has the potential to improve education, there are also some challenges and risks that need to be considered.
Privacy and security: AI systems can collect a lot of data about students, which raises concerns about privacy and security. It is important to ensure that this data is collected and used in a responsible way.
Bias: AI systems can be biased, which can lead to discrimination against certain groups of students. It is important to ensure that AI systems are designed to be fair and impartial.
Unemployment: AI could lead to job losses in the education sector. It is important to ensure that workers are prepared for the changing job market and that they have the skills they need to succeed in the new economy.
The use of AI in education today
AI is already being used in education in a variety of ways. For example, AI-powered chatbots are being used to provide customer service to students and parents. AI is also being used to create personalized learning experiences for students.
In addition, AI is being used to automate many of the tasks that teachers currently do, freeing up their time to focus on more important things, such as providing one-on-one support to students.
AI has the potential to revolutionize education by making it more personalized, efficient, and effective. However, there are also some challenges and risks that need to be considered. It is important to ensure that AI is used responsibly and that the benefits of AI are shared by all students.
news and views on e-learning, TEL and learning stuff in general…