sue watling

On Friday 20th June Scott Davidson, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Teaching Quality & Student Experience), opened the Festival of Teaching and Learning by announcing EDEU. The wheel has turned. From Best Practice Office to the Teaching and Learning Development Office, followed by a period as Educational Research and Development, I’m now in an Educational Development and Enhancement Unit. What’s in a name? Quite a lot because everyone has their own interpretation of what this new Unit represents and the Festival was a welcome opportunity to begin the conversations.

More events like these please!

Sharing practice, discovering what else is happening, putting faces to names all help ensure conferences develop and enhance teaching and learning. Presenting, listening, networking and reflecting on an eclectic mix of information reinforces the reasons for being involved in education. As an educational developer, I appreciate opportunities to identify new directions and themes and festival participants also asked for more events more often.

There was clear interest in developing and exploring the use of multimedia. Following Embedding OER Practice, I used project funding to purchase copies of Camtasia Studio. Entry level software for capturing and editing video, it’s not as sophisticated as Premier or Avid but good enough to record narration over powerpoint, create talking heads, do screen capture and import video. Based on staff experience, I’m confident this is appropriate software to promote across the network and invest in support and guidance.  A single licence copy is @£100. Multiple educational licences are cheaper.  I’m also a fan of the free Audacity recording software which offers edit and export functions rivalling paid-for equivalents. It needs administrator rights to download. I show staff how to run it from a data stick. A request to have it installed on the network was turned down. Between them, Camtasia and Audacity offer ‘do-able’ potential to enhance text with video and audio. Other benefits include increases in transferable digital literacies and opportunities to raise awareness of inclusive practice. I hope EDEU can take issues like these forward.

At the festival I presented on the TELEDA course (now courses!) and the development of online workshops – mini TELEDA experiences which can be customised.  TELEDA is about establishing online communities of shared practice and inquiry based learning, but is also about developing the confidence and competence to teach in virtual environments. Appropriate scaffolding is essential for this and I hope EDEU can take this forward. An online resource supporting digital practices and pedagogies would be useful. During Embedding OER Practice a repository was built for sharing content. OPAL (Open Practice at Lincoln) should still exist in some dusty server corner alongside the OERL (Open Educational Resources at Lincoln) resource centre. How good it would be to revisit and revise these unfinished projects :-)

The prospect of being part of a central resource supporting teaching and learning at Lincoln is exciting. It will be challenging too. On the one hand, it’ll be business as usual. On the other it will take time to embed as a team of old colleagues and new. First, we need to move. I try not to mind how each change takes me further away from the centre. It’s good to walk. The new office space has air conditioning and is above the launderette. A pragmatic mix which will serve us well.  The new Director of EDEU is Dr Karin Crawford. An inspirational choice which will work on many different levels; not least it means we can hit the ground running with no need to explain our history. It’s good to talk and there’ll be lots of conversations about the future for teaching and learning at Lincoln, one which incorporates the virtual as much as the real.

Did I say I was excited?

I can’t wait to begin!

photo last