Tag Archives: josie fraser

A blast from the past #altc

University of Nottingham

On this day in 2007 I was at the ALT Conference in Nottingham. This was the fourth ALT conference I had attended. What I really remember about this conference was how blogging became really big and important at the conference. We were blogging about the conference sessions, we were blogging about people blogging and lots of other stuff too. I think we were blogging because we didn’t have other tools that we could use, Twitter was just over a year old and most people were not using it (we didn’t have hashtags back then), so blogging was the only real online platform we could use.

I believe that people were blogging at previous conferences, but it was the first time that we had an RSS feed of all the blogs in one feed. This made it much easier to find blog articles on the conference and as a result the bloggers themselves. Importantly and this is why I think ALT-C 2007 was a sea change (and especially a sea change for me) was that these social relationships continued beyond the conference.

One of the sessions I attended at the conference was the Web 2.0 Slam – ‘Performing’ Innovative Practice workshop run by Josie Fraser, Helen Keegan and Frances Bell. This was (probably) the best session at the conference, certainly was for me and influenced a lot of stuff I did at later conferences.

Web 2.0 Slam - 'Performing' Innovative Practice

They started off with the classic Web 2.0 Machine Video, which was shown at a lot of conferences I had been attending.

I think it still resonates today.

One of my early comments on this (and this was before Twitter really took off, so I did it on my blog) was

Josie Fraser is now giving an overview of Web 2.0, “think of it as a wave”.

Did Josie predict Google Wave, two years before it was launched?

As we were in Nottingham and we were put into groups to prepare something, I was in a group with Andy Powell, Agnes Kukulska-Hulme and Kath Trinder. We decided to create a Web 2.0 movement. We created a blog, a Facebook group and probably other stuff lost to time…

We called our idea Hood 2.0 (well we were in Nottingham, with Robin Hood) and are vision statement was:

A group that looks at how Web 2.0 services can be used to take from the “rich” and gives to the “poor” in terms of user generated content, advice, guides and case studies.

There were lots of familiar faces in the room. We did a fairy bit of arm waving if I remember correctly.

I was certainly one of the few people using Twitter, so I did a few tweets from the workshop.

and

You can see these were limited in scope and content. We didn’t do images or hashtags back then.

Though we didn’t win (we was robbed) we certainly enjoyed the session.

I can’t remember who won, but hopefully someone can remember and put it in the comments.

Having said that we didn’t win, the website we created for the session still lives….

The VLE is still dead… #altc

Arnos Vale

Can you believe it has been ten years since we had The VLE is Dead session at ALT-C.

It was Tuesday 8th September 2009 at 13:40 at Manchester University that The VLE is Dead symposium was kicked off by Josie Frasier.

2009 was also the year that delegates at ALT-C discovered the Twitter! In 2008 there were roughly 300 tweets and about forty people tweeting, in 2009 the amount of tweeting went through the roof!

I personally remember 2009 as the year I won Learning Technologist of the Year. I was well chuffed to receive this prestigious award.

Most people though remember that year as the year I allegedly said the VLE was dead! We had certainly over the months leading up to the conference trailed the debate with blog posts, tweets and even a trailer.

The debate was huge, with hundreds of people in the room, sitting on the floor, standing by the walls and we also live streamed the debate over the internet (which was quite revolutionary at the time). Overall an amazing experience and an interesting debate that still goes on today.

If you watch the video of the debate and discussion you will see that my view was that the VLE was more of a concept a place where a learner starts their journey and other technologies could be plugged into the institutional VLE to enhance and enrich it.

I still hold that viewpoint that the VLE is a construction of different tools and services.

The abstract for the Death of the VLE Symposium was about the future of e-learning.

The future success of e-learning depends on appropriate selection of tools and services. This symposium will propose that the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) as an institutional tool is dead, no more, defunct, expired.

The session was chaired by Josie Fraser and as well as myself, we had three panellists.

There respective viewpoints were described as follows

The first panel member, Graham Attwell, will argue that many VLEs are not fit for purpose, and masquerade as solutions for the management of online learning. Some are little more than glorified e-mail systems. They will argue that VLEs provide a negative experience for learners.

The second member of the panel, Steve Wheeler, believes that the VLE is dead and that the Personal Learning Environment (PLE) is the solution to the needs of diverse learners. PLEs provide opportunities for learners, offering users the ability to develop their own spaces in which to reflect on their learning.

The third panel member, James Clay, however, believes that the VLE is not yet dead as a concept, but can be the starting point of a journey for many learners. Creating an online environment involving multiple tools that provides for an enhanced experience for learners can involve a VLE as a hub or centre.

The fourth panel member, Nick Sharratt, argues for the concept of the institutional VLE as essentially sound. VLEs provide a stable, reliable, self-contained and safe environment in which all teaching and learning activities can be conducted. It provides the best environment for the variety of learners within institutions.

The symposium began with an opportunity for attendees to voice their opinions on the future of the VLE. Each member of the panel then presented their case. The panel, with contributions from the audience, then debated the key issues that arose from the presentations.

So where did the whole concept of the debate come from?

Well it was an idea that had been around for a while

Martin Weller published a blog post in November 2007 “The VLE/LMS Is Dead”

Well there was a paper published a couple of years earlier by Mark Stiles, called “Death of the VLE – a challenge to a new orthodoxy”.

The VLE has become almost ubiquitous in both higher and further education, with the market becoming increasingly ‘mature’. E-learning is a major plank in both national and institutional strategies. But, is the VLE delivering what is needed in a world where flexibility of learning is para- mount, and the lifelong learner is becoming a reality? There are indications that rather than resulting in innovation, the use of VLEs has become fixed in an orthodoxy based on traditional educational approaches. The emergence of new services and tools on the web, developments in interoperability, and changing demands pose significant issues for institutions’ e-learning strategy and policy. Whether the VLE can remain the core of e-learning activity needs to be considered.

A year later, Lawrie Phipps, Dave Cormier and Mark Stiles published a paper in Educational Developments – The Magazine of the Staff and Educational Development Association Ltd (SEDA) entitled “Reflecting on the virtual learning systems – extinction or evolution?”

What is the role of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) in the modern university? How are students using them? And are they as important as we once thought they would be? These are questions that a lot of people are now asking, given the rapid developments that can be characterised as the read/write web or Web 2.0.

So this wasn’t a new idea, it built on the shoulders of those who went before us.

One aspect of the debate was the publication of blog posts before the conference, the use of Twitter and even trailers…

One of my blog posts from August 2009 gave an insight into my viewpoint.

Using an institutional VLE does not preclude using other Web 2.0 services and tools, on the contrary, a VLE and web tools can be used together. For example this blog has an RSS feed which feeds directly into my institutional VLE.

It was certainly hyped up in a way that I hadn’t seen before at ALT conferences, and to be honest not since either.

Today though I see many people using their blogs and the Twitter to promote their sessions at conferences, so maybe we did start something.

I was planning to run a session at this year’s conference, but alas circumstances were against me, so a follow-up session never materialised.

So ten years later is the VLE dead?

It’s still here and still being used and people are still trying to get people to use it.

Will it still be here in another ten years?

Who knows!




Going down the #altc road again

This is an updated version of this blog post from 2016. It now includes details of the 2016 and 2017 conferences.

#altc in Liverpool

Reading Maren Deepwell’s recent post about her #altc journey, it reminded me of the many conferences I have attended and like her the impact that they had on my life and professional practice. Going back to my experiences of my first ALT-C I was surprised I even went again!

Continue reading Going down the #altc road again

Privacy has gone…

Do we have privacy anymore, do we have privacy with the internet now being so much part of our lives?

The opening keynote at the Plymouth e-Learning Conference 2010 was by Josie Fraser. She delivered an inspiring thought provoking keynote covering many different issues including digital identity, digital communities and communities of practice.

One of the key discussions was on privacy and the ability to control what I put online on services such as Twitter, this blog, Flickr or even (now and again) Facebook.

I can do lots to protect my identity.

I can decide what photographs I post to Flickr.

I can decide whether to include geo-data when I post to Twitter or use Audioboo.

What about the issue of other people infringing my privacy and putting details of my life online.

I can’t stop other people from broadcasting what I am doing…

I can’t stop them taking and posting photographs on me online.

I can’t stop them writing about what I am doing on services like Twitter and Facebook.

I can’t stop them uploading videos of me to YouTube.

I won’t be able to stop them adding geo-data to images or videos of me.

These services that people have used have take down policies, but unless the images, video or text are “not nice” then would the services taken them down because I don’t like them?

Of course I can ask, but they don’t need to say yes!

We seem to be at a stage where privacy is almost impossible to maintain if you go anywhere that others will be using cameras, online services such as Twitter or Facebook; even if I don’t use any of these things myself.

Josie in her keynote showed us the Ungooglable Man.

Does he exist? Probably?

Does he exist online? More than likely!

Even if he doesn’t use Myspace or Facebook, it is likely that friends and family do. They may place photographs of him online, they may talk about him, they may have videos of him. As a result he may be found online despite the fact that he is not online himself.

There are implications for those who have concerns about their own online identities that they may well have no power to stop others posting “stuff” about them online.

At the moment, many colleges are looking to work with learners on the concept of e-safety, part of which is digital identity. Colleges need to remind individuals that they are not the only person who needs to be concerned about what they post online, but that their friends and family need to be aware of the issues too.

Do you worry about what is posted about you online?

Do you know what others have posted about you online?

Should we care?

PELC10 – Day 1

So it’s the start of the Plymouth e-Learning Conference down here in, well… Plymouth.

A packed day with an excellent keynote expected from Josie Fraser.

The use of social media platforms, tools and practices are increasingly recognised as a critical way to facilitate learning and teaching and staff development. Josie Fraser explores how the shift towards more informal and less centrally controlled forms of communication and activity has come about.

Focusing on two critical concepts – digital identities and digital communities, Josie will explore the opportunities and issues that these present the education sector with, and the role they can play in designing and facilitating learning.

I am after the coffee break tempted by a couple of sessions. One of these is Twitter is dead: Reflections on student resistance to microblogging by Tony McNeill from Kingston University.

This paper will argue that Twitter occupies an awkward space: neither part of the institutionally supported digital environments and toolset accepted by students and used within their ‘curricular sphere of practice’ nor currently part of the digital services used in their ‘personal sphere of practice’. As such, Twitter initiatives risk being marginalised, falling outside the repertoire – both ‘imposed/top-down’ and ‘vernacular/bottom up’ – of the technology-enabled communicative practices of the students we wish to engage.

The other is Technologies Are Bad News for Adults Who Work With Children with Simon Finch of the Northern Grid for Learning.

Not so long ago if a teacher wanted to communicate with a student they would either speak with them or write a note in the learners’ book, or on their assignment. If they wanted to communicate with the learners’ parents, they would phone or write. Today, with increasingly accessible, affordable and usable social media, teachers and learners can communicate anytime, anyplace and anywhere. Digital cameras, mobile phones, micro projectors, and internet access can all be powerful tools to support learning and yet increasingly teachers struggle to manage their digital identities and interactions – sometimes with serious consequences.

As with many conferences there is another session on at the same time that I would also like to go to – ASSET: Enhancing feedback provision using video.

ASSET is a JISC-funded project led by the University of Reading which aims to tackle the sector-wide issue of improving feedback provision for students. ASSET uses Web 2.0 technologies to support staff in providing ‘feedforward’ and timely, quality feedback to students, via video and audio casts.

Another session I will go to, The Sage on the Video- Recorded Stage by Fiona Concannon and Sharon Flynn of the National University of Ireland.

This paper outlines a case study of the use of an automated lecture capture within an Irish university. It considers students’ reported experiences in using and viewing lecture recordings, and the implications of rolling out the service campus-wide.

Over lunch I hope to record (and stream) a live episode of the e-Learning Stuff Podcast as part of the Fringe.

Following lunch there are a couple of sessions that I quite like the idea of, the Learning Cafe which is looking to the future of learning. There is also an interesting sounding workshop, How to use social software to boost learning.

There is no doubt that web 2.0 and the use of social software has changed the way people use the Internet. The majority are familiar with tools like social networks, blogs and wikis. The fact that social software can support students while they are using an e-Learning environment or a personal learning environment is widely accepted.

But how exactly does social software support users? Which social software concepts should be used, and which should not? What can they be used for? And how can technologies, available today, help us to design a better education?

The goal of this workshop is to raise awareness that social software has to be integrated intelligently and as a form of connection between different techniques. It is not enough to add a specific gadget, there has to be a particular benefit. Educators have experiences on how to design lectures and computer scientists know what technologies are available to support learners. Interactive tasks will involve the audience to exchange experiences from a technical and an educational perspective.

Hmmm, choices, choices.

Later on, after the tea break, I think I will go to Fleur Corfield’s session, entitled, Supporting an Innovative Curriculum in a Traditional HE Environment.

Universities have a recognised need to react to a changing environment, from changes in the economy to government initiatives with a focus on widening participation. There is acknowledged need for them to fit this changing environment by taking a new approach to course/ product development.

There are a couple of sessions later that sound good, including Zak Mensah’s Methods and merits of good design practices for digital media.

Digital media: where to start? In this session we explore why you may wish to consider digital media, and how appropriate preparatory design of digital media supports the creation of good resources for teaching and learning. We focus on the challenges of using digital media, and offer suggestions for meeting these challenges.

Tonight is the conference dinner with Snorkel the Turtle, who is not on the menu, but will be swimming around the tanks of the National Aquarium.

To Retweet or not to Retweet

So what do I mean by “retweeting”. Well if you don’t use Twitter or don’t like Twitter, time to move on to the next blog post or the next thing in your newsfeed.

Twitter for me is becoming more and more a useful tool to support me in my day to day job. It is my community of practice. From Twitter I gain useful links, advice, ideas, events; I build relationships which allow for collaboration, projects, conferences and more.

Twitter is slowly replacing a lot of my e-mail communication as it is faster and more useful.

One of the strengths of Twitter has been the RT or re-tweet, the way in which you “forward” tweets from someone in your network to others who follow you. Not everyone who follows you follows all whom you follow. Make sense? Well look at it this way, at the time of writing David Sugden @dsugden follows me. He follows 74 people. I follow 421 people.

So I see something that I think is worth sharing from one of the 421 people I follow, so I retweet it, this way David sees it as there is a good chance he won’t have seen it. Likewise the 1309 people (minus spammers) who follow me will also see it.

So why do people do it? What content do they want to share?

Well I do it and I do it for a variety of reasons.

Here’s one…

zretweet004

RT @josiefraser The VLE: Dead Again? Come to the debate 16 Dec with @grahamattwell @timbuckteeth @jamesclay @nicksharratt http://u.nu/8smt3

I RT’d this Tweet as I thought my followers would be interested in knowing that there was to be another dead VLE debate. Not everyone who follows me follows Josie Fraser.

I also RT stuff I have posted, as a way of re-broadcasting a Tweet, because though people follow me, I know (as I do) don’t read every Tweet I post all the time.

One of the attractions of Twitter for me has been the simplicity of the interface and concept. Despite numerous tools available for Twitter, on my desktop I have stuck with the web interface.

One of the (many) reasons I don’t like (and as a result don’t use) Facebook is the complicated interface and features – well that and all those annoying bits like poking, zombies and farming…

Twitter though has started to add extra functionality and features to the service.

Some of these have come from the community, for example using @ to reply to someone was something the community brought to Twitter and was added to the system, as was the # hashtag to allow users to easily search for tweets about events, places, conferences, coffee, etc…

Now something new has arrived from Twitter, they have integrated retweeting into the web interface.

zretweetnew

Unlike the simple RT @name and then quote they have used a very different system. What happens is if I retweet somebody’s tweet, that tweet in it’s entirety appears in my followers Twitter stream with a little note that says that I retweeted it.

Now I know some may get confused with this, thinking I don’t follow that person why has their tweet appeared in my stream… Twitter have come up with a pop up box that may allay that confusion.

retweet006

Likewise the system doesn’t allow you to edit or add a comment. However though Twitter have added this functionality, you don’t need to use it, you can as I am sure I will continue to add RT and edit the retweeted post.

This though has some issues, especially in the way in which some people edit the post or add extra content.

Back on the 22nd October I posted the following tweet about the Windows 7 Burger.

retweet005

OMG! http://bit.ly/2o317H oh dear….

I got retweeted by Stephen Hodge.

retweet002

RT @jamesclay OMG! http://bit.ly/2o317H oh dear…. I really really want a BurgerKing now!

Now it would appear that I said I really really want a BurgerKing but I didn’t, I don’t even go to Burger King!

I did think about correcting Stephen, but didn’t really think it would change anything, so just left it. But I am guessing some people may have thought I wanted a burger!

The new way of RTing from Twitter will stop that happening, but also means that things like this won’t happen!

retweet003

People use Twitter in many different ways and that’s always going to be a part of the issue of whether to RT or not to RT. You may want to have a look at my previous blog post on Ten things people say about using Twitter, but really they shouldn’t that looks at the way in which many people tell you how to use Twitter.

The problem with RTs is that yes you may see the same thing a few times, but remember the one time you see something once and then you will value the RT. Don’t ask people not to RT, if you don’t like what they’re doing, don’t follow them, others may value their RTs.

e-Learning Stuff Podcast #028: The VLE is Dead

vleideadterrywassal2

The VLE is Dead!

A recording of the symposium run at ALT-C 2009 in which Steve Wheeler, Graham Attwell, James Clay and Nick Sharratt, with Josie Fraser in the Chair; discuss the if and how we should be using VLEs to enhance and enrich learning.

This is the twenty eighth e-Learning Stuff Podcast, The VLE is Dead.

Download the podcast in mp3 format: The VLE is Dead

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

Shownotes

vleideadterrywassal

The future success of e-learning depends on appropriate selection of tools and services. This symposium will propose that the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) as an institutional tool is dead, no more, defunct, expired.

The first panel member, Steve Wheeler, will argue that many VLEs are not fit for purpose, and masquerade as solutions for the management of online learning. Some are little more than glorified e-mail systems. They will argue that VLEs provide a negative experience for learners.

The second member of the panel, Graham Attwell, believes that the VLE is dead and that the Personal Learning Environment (PLE) is the solution to the needs of diverse learners. PLEs provide opportunities for learners, offering users the ability to develop their own spaces in which to reflect on their learning.

The third panel member, James Clay, however, believes that the VLE is not yet dead as a concept, but can be the starting point of a journey for many learners. Creating an online environment involving multiple tools that provides for an enhanced experience for learners can involve a VLE as a hub or centre.

The fourth panel member, Nick Sharratt, argues for the concept of the institutional VLE as essentially sound. VLEs provide a stable, reliable, self-contained and safe environment in which all teaching and learning activities can be conducted. It provides the best environment for the variety of learners within institutions.

The session was chaired by Josie Fraser.

Photo source

ALT-C 2009 Day #3

It’s Thursday and it’s day three of the ALT Conference 2009 here in Manchester. It’s only a half day, but quite a busy half day at that. Back home tonight though.

An early start for me as I am supporting the Distribute This: online identity, presence & practice workshop with Josie Frances, Helen Keegan and Frances Bell.

This practical workshop will engage participants in an overview and discussion of digital or online identity, particularly in relation to developing, connecting to and participating in distributed learning communities. Participants will be introduced to and supported in using a range of online tools and services to establish an online identity. Participants will be supported in using and syndicating micro-blogging, social bookmarking, photo and video sharing sites. The wrap up session will allow us to raise issues including privacy, professionalism, search engine optimization and folksonomy (Van der Wal 2006) in the context of their own examples. Participants will explore the most effective approach to building presence and networks.

By the end of the session participants will have a practical and strategic appreciation of online identity and presence management that can be used to support individuals, projects or organisations.

If it is anything like the last two workshops run at previous conferences, it should be great fun.

You may recall the “It’s not for girls” video we made last year on the digital divide.

A couple of short papers and then the final keynote before heading home.

The VLE is Dead – Symposium Abstract

Death of the VLE Symposium at ALT-C 2009.

graveyard

Background

The future success of e-learning depends on appropriate selection of tools and services. This symposium will propose that the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) as an institutional tool is dead, no more, defunct, expired.

Ideas to be explored

The first panel member, Steve Wheeler, will argue that many VLEs are not fit for purpose, and masquerade as solutions for the management of online learning. Some are little more than glorified e-mail systems. They will argue that VLEs provide a negative experience for learners.

The second member of the panel, Graham Attwell, believes that the VLE is dead and that the Personal Learning Environment (PLE) is the solution to the needs of diverse learners. PLEs provide opportunities for learners, offering users the ability to develop their own spaces in which to reflect on their learning.

The third panel member, James Clay, however, believes that the VLE is not yet dead as a concept, but can be the starting point of a journey for many learners. Creating an online environment involving multiple tools that provides for an enhanced experience for learners can involve a VLE as a hub or centre.

The fourth panel member, Nick Sharratt, argues for the concept of the institutional VLE as essentially sound. VLEs provide a stable, reliable, self-contained and safe environment in which all teaching and learning activities can be conducted. It provides the best environment for the variety of learners within institutions.

The session will be chaired by Josie Fraser.

Structure of session

The symposium will begin with an opportunity for attendees to voice their opinions on the future of the VLE. Each member of the panel will then present their case. The panel, with contributions from the audience, will then debate the key issues that have arisen.

Intended outcomes

By the end of the debate, participants will be able to have a greater understanding of the evolution and possible extinction of the VLE and the impact on learners.

A summary of the key points of the discussion will be syndicated on several blogs and other online spaces, and delegates will be encouraged to tweet and live blog the discussion as it happens in real time.

Photo source.