sue watling

baby ipad

My thoughts have turned to a book from my Phd thesis. It’s ambitious I know, in particular as the only place the thesis exists at the moment is in my head and there it’s more like a broken jigsaw than anything complete. But it’s a plan. The title would be – eteaching; pedagogy and practice for a digital age – so I’m laying claim to that now!

Advice on doing this is plentiful. There’s the phd2published site and Pat Thompson‘s blog posts as well as lots of doctoral writing support in general including Patrick Dunleavy’s Authoring a PhD and Kamler and Thompson’s Helping Doctoral Students Write. The key message seems to be a thesis is not a book. It needs rewriting for a different audience. Fair enough. I’ve always thought the strongest point of any research is the narrative which emerges from a qualitative data collection process and I prefer words to numbers. It’s everything else. Like head-space and time constraints which hamper the process. My never ending and never far away twin excuses!

The summer didn’t go quite as planned. Although I read a couple of research books and managed five interviews and transcripts, the dust on NVivo has remained largely undisturbed.

I thought a book plan might spur me on but recognise it could also be an avoidance technique. I’m good at those. I’ve repotted the house plants and my laminate floors are the cleanest they’ve been, even behind the settee and the sideboard. However, a book on e-teaching appears to fill a gap. There are books about online education but mostly either theoretical rather than practical or aimed at primary and secondary school. I had more of a research informed higher ed narrative in mind; one which combined pedagogy and practice of virtual learning environments and followed a number of different academics as they worked through the TELEDA learning blocks. Chapters would include Activity Based Content (ABC) Design, Introduction to Open Educational Resources and Social Media for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.

The framework would be one of educational inquiry and the scholarship of teaching and learning. It will also contain guidance on essential areas like accessibility, inclusive practice and copyright with TELEDA participant comments threaded throughout. All identities would be protected. My data is so anonymised even I’m not sure who said what and when, and I also thought about inventing a hypothetical learning environment so there’d be no worries about corporate branding. All VLEs do the same things and the whole point of educational technology is the generated learning  opportunities rather than the tools which deliver the content and interaction. So eteaching; pedagogy and practice for a digital age. You read it here first.

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image from http://www.icolortype.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Baby-with-iPad.jpg 

 

 

I was asked this week for my top tip for moderating online discussion forums. It reminded me of a conference presentation I gave last year which offered Seven Top Tips for e-teachers. Here is refreshed and revised version.

Tip 1: banish myths of digital confidence

When it comes to digital ways of working everyone has different approaches. Many staff who teach and support learning might be less confident than you think but disguise it well. Incorrect assumptions about digital capabilities lie at the heart of most VLE failures. To teach effectively online requires more than technical competence, there are social , emotional and pedagogical challenges too so avoid making assumptions about attitudes and practices with regard to online spaces.

Recommends. Build in time for an online course induction. Have a draft or practice activity before the real one. Get students to interact. Encourage sharing aims and feelings about working online. It’s helpful for new e-learners to know others might also be nervous about what lies ahead and beneficial for e-teachers to know about these hopes and fears. Avoid seeing social media like Facebook as indicator of  the prerequisite digital literacies required or effective use of VLE.

Tip 2: avoid mis-communication

We’ve all had emails which leave you thinking ‘What do they mean by that?’ The absence of face to face clues makes it easier to misinterpret virtual messages. eteachers need to know how online communication has different rules. You can expect expect silence through reluctance to engage or over-enthusiasm dominating a forum. Be prepared for the possibility of receiving mixed messages and always think before you click the send option in particular if the subject is sensitive or  contentious. Better wait an hour if feasible or ask a critical friend to look over it first. Once online always online.

Recommends. Discuss the advantages of digital text with students, for example how you can practice, reflect, edit, check spelling then paste the finished content into the Text Editor when ready. Have a net-etiquette guide, either given or constructed during induction. Include the standard advice such as  avoid ‘shouting’ with capital letters, using emoticons convey emotions and not being rude or offensive. Make it clear if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face don’t say it online and if you would say it face to face it still might not be appropriate within a learning environment.

Tip 3:  expect identity blur

What do you call an e-teacher? It sounds like a bad joke but is a serious question. You hear tutor, trainer, moderator, facilitator, instructor but never e-lecturer. The status of teaching online isn’t as high as it should be considering the skills required for managing it effectively. e-teachers have a shift in identity from ‘Sage on the Stage’ to the less visible and more silent ‘Guide on the Side’; the loss of accustomed status and practice can take time to get used to.

Recommends. eteaching is complex and challenging but a valuable expertise in its own right. It requires revisiting pedagogies and practices and for some this may require an exploration of the scholarship of teaching and learning . Done well, VLE offer powerful tools for widening participation and enhancing the student learning experience. Be proud of your e-teacher status and take every opportunity to share your new knowledge and skills with others.

Tip 4: use activity based content (ABC)

Online resources have to work hard to guide, motivate, enthuse and excite students as well as retain them through to the end of the course or module. Blended or flipped learning requires a redesign of the curriculum along socio-constructivist principles with lots of opportunities for interaction and activities. Creating opportunities for communication and collaboration are essential for maintaining and completing an effective online learning journey.

Recommends: set up groups with forums, blogs or wikis and offer a choice of activities based on key texts or issues. Get students doing what they do in social media such as searching for and sharing resources. Ask them to comment on the contributions of others and synthesise core ideas. Do this through posters or mind maps. Create presentations with slides, audio and video. Allocate students to groups and ask for peer reviews and feedback summaries.  Avoid replicating lectures with 50 minutes of talking heads, coughs and sneezes. Instead, chunk lecture content into smaller pieces interspersed with formative assessment questions. Be inclusive and always provide multimedia transcripts or text equivalents to suit all learning preferences.

Tip 5: put up effective signposting

eteaching and e-learning are different experiences to being in seminars and lectures. elearning is often carried out in isolation and it’s easy to forget how a VLE like Blackboard might look like to a new user accessing it alone. Without the physical presence of tutors or peers, it becomes easy to misread instructions or get lost and then confused in a mass of links and resources, so effective signposting through content and activities is essential.

Recommends. Be clear about learning outcomes and ways to demonstrate them through formative and summative assessment. Be sure your students know what is expected from them, in particular with regard to their online interactions. Give contact details and appropriate times to get in touch through the VLE. Agree response times. Arrange some synchronous activities. Have a weekly virtual drop-in session.  Check links are not broken. There is nothing worse than seeing a 404 message. when you want to access a key document.   Post weekly summaries which look backwards and forwards. Do this at the same day and time.  Keep everything within two clicks from the Home page.

Tip 6: go do a MOOC

Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) offer free opportunities to see other eteachers at work as well as experience first-hand the loneliness of the long distance learner. You can dip in and out of courses and observe ideas for designing content and enabling communication. Make notes on the diversity of presentation formats and their quality. How important is a professionally produced video compared to the knowledge being disseminated. A webcam might be as effective as a TV Studio.  Open Educational Resources (OER) are also worth investigating. These are educational materials made freely available through a Creative Commons licence.

Recommends.  Build activities around discovery of open educational resources. Ask students to explore MOOC in their subject area, write a short critical review and share their findings. Visit Coursera, Khan Academy, Udacity or FutureLearn for MOOC and JORUM or MERLOT for OER.  JISC offer OER information as well as lists of repositories. Look up Creative Commons licences. Some support re-purposing as well as re-use. Build activities around searching and evaluating free online content. Use social bookmarking like Delicious or Diigo tor a Twitter hashtag to collect links and share them with others.

 Tip 7: experience the Pedagogy of Uncertainty

Sometimes e-teaching can feel like communicating with a big black hole. A major challenge is not knowing what to expect. eteachers don’t always know who their learners are – other than their names – or whether or not they will engage with activities. If not, you have to figure out if they’ve got lost or simply lost interest. Either way you need to bring them back to the VLE. Disengagement might be through miscommunication or misunderstanding. Following the these tips will help avoid common errors. Check out the recommendations below.

Recommends: Be honest from the start. eteaching isn’t an easy option but the rewards are worth it. VLE offer inclusive opportunities to widen participation in higher education, in particular for those with multiple time commitments. They can enhance on-campus experiences through encouraging independent and accessible learning at times which suit individual students.  Revisit pedagogical approaches to virtual learning. Try Salmon’s Five Stage Model and broad range of e-tivities. Look up Laurillard’s Conversational Framework between tutors, students and peers. Consider the Community of Inquiry approach of Garrison and Anderson, built on the Community of Practice model put forward by Lave and Wenger. Explore the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning  through a digital lens. The future of higher education will be increasingly digital and e-teaching a more essential craft and skill, one which is well worth persevering with.

I’m not sure what’s worse. Taking annual leave for your research and not getting any done or spending your annual leave ill in bed. When is a fail not a fail? Maybe when a plan changes trajectory. More research interviews this week. Interviews mean transcription – on average  half a day for each one – but I can’t think of a better way to get research re-engaged.

The challenge of digital competence has concerned me for some time. The sector wants to see technology enhancing student learning. Which is fine. I passionately believe in the affordances of VLE to widen participation and accessibility, but while the literature is full of accounts of elearning and student digital expectations, the eteaching aspect is all too often missing. Decisions around Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) rest on assumptions of digital capability – I call these the myths of digital competence – and like attracts like leaving few opportunities to expose the true diversity of digital practice. TELEDA brought together the sure and the less-sure when it came to learning technologies. It highlighted digital divides on campus where academics have traditionally viewed ICT as a burden and a barrier to practice or  managerialist tools for the 3 e’s – economy, efficiency and effectiveness (Becher and Trowler, 2001:13) but  TELEDA’s stress on reflective practice encouraged deeper approaches to what digital pedagogy and online collaboration really means in unchartered places where theory meets practice face on.

Transcribing the interviews I’m reminded of just how much digital attitudes and practices are as individual as we are. In the way handwriting and fingerprints are unique, so are the ways in which we approach and utilise online environments. This makes a one size fits all approach impossible and with so little common ground, the process of data analysis also gets complex – this is qualitative research in 50 shades of grey compared to the more quantitative black and white binary.

The research is progressing – albeit slowly – and there is a growing sense it is making a difference. The soapbox will soon be travelling again. I’m presenting on the digital university at this year’s SHRE Conference, at the Higher Education Stream at BETT in January and have been invited to give the Keynote at the Making Research Count Network for North West England.  Meanwhile the summer draws to a close and a new academic year is in sight. All over the country digital devices are being purchased and prepared for learning, staff know Blackboard is ready and waiting for them to log on and the inevitable dust is waiting to gently settle on the PhD again.

miserablah from Joe Heller at the Bable Post http://www.cagle.com/2013/01/the-flu/

#Phdfail on massive scale! For four days the laptop stayed shut. I couldn’t face it never mind open a research book. Wot No Internet? Yes, that’s how bad it’s been.

Shivers and shakes with a throat like splintered glass.  The only bonus is there’s considerably less of me than a week ago. I blame the flight home. I’m susceptible to flight flu. I catch it coming back and usually within a week of being home. Going out there’s the excitement of being on the move, new places and people ahead. On the return you’re tired and more likely to succumb to the bugs which thrive in pressurised cabin conditions. I landed on the Sunday and knew the Tef-Talks were in London on the Wednesday so kept going. Once back in ‘ull again, with the research calling loudly – to no avail – the descent was gradual at first – then it got faster – and faster – until the only thing submitted was me to my bed, in a haze of olbas oil and snotty tissue – so glamorous – so much fun – so not what I had planned for a week of annual leave.

I can’t remember when I last was as poorly as this.

I think it was 1997.

Today I’m back downstairs in another unhealthy pose, laptop on knee, feet on coffee table. All around me are the books and papers which have been there all year. Nothing much has changed. Including the research. It’s no further on. I’m another week older with nothing to show for it.

But it has to be done and I’m the only one who has to do it.

Image from Joe Heller at the Cable Post http://www.cagle.com/2013/01/the-flu/ 

image showing impossible can become possible from https://threatpost.com/chertoff-reminds-enterprises-there-is-hope-in-security/109195

Blogging is a bit like therapy. You bring it up and out and in theory leave it all behind. The synthesis of a problem’s component parts is a mix of catharsis and reflection. A mental tidying up of your neural drawers and networks. Drawing a line and moving on. I wish!

It’s day five of the #PhDPlan. Another fail. This is like naming and shaming. A verbal purge.

But stay with me. There is  a happy ending.

I’ve thought this week about keeping a work diary. It’s like I feel guilty; worried it might look like I’m taking annual leave for – well, annual leave. Where does it come from? The continual need to justify my time – prove I really am ensconced with laptop, chasing the consequences of email. When I do stand up, I have to take care to manoeuvre around the paper piles which have reappeared on the floor. I don’t want another accident but am painfully aware (in the literal sense) the last time I made any progress was when my ankle was broken. My ‘trip-slip-snap’ experience was the last opportunity to make progress – sad but true. I haven’t really got back to it since. That was February. This weekend is August. There has to be a way to fit more hours into the day.

smiley face image from http://s3.amazonaws.com/coolchaser.com/thumb-24428211.jpg

But a few more interviews and the data will all be safely gathered in. That’s progress and this is the breakthrough. I realise as I write how part of the problem is I’m looking forward rather than backwards. If you focus on how far there is to go you don’t see how far you’ve actually travelled.

Pat Cryer has good advice in the chapter ‘Keeping going when you feel like giving up’ in the excellent book The Research Student’s Guide to Success.  Apart from the welcome empathy, the chapter helps put my problems into perspective. I’m not bored or disillusioned, I haven’t lost my way. I know good-enough is enough, no one has beaten me to it and – dare I say – there are no external emergency situations demanding my attention.

Pat Cryer book The Research Student's Guide to Success

Best of all this is all in chapter 21 of 25 – that’s 20 chapters I’ve survived. The remaining ones are about thesis writing, the viva and afterwards (love the instruction to take a holiday – travel and disconnection always work well for me!)

So the process and practice of blogging works again. The alchemy of reflection in action. Using words to make the mental shift from where I am to where I need to be. This is do-able after all. I know I’m not on my own and there are others out there who are grappling with the challenge of part time postgraduate study. It will get better. You will survive. At the end of the day you’ll have your own little bulge on the circle of knowledge as Matt Might so wonderfully explains inhis pictorial representation and what’s more, it will have your name on it.

Monday is another week, so good luck to me, and good luck to you all too :-)

 

Second edition (2000) of Pat Cryer’s book is avaialable online http://www.mheducation.co.uk/openup/chapters/0335206867.pdf

digital woodcut

What is the TEF? All we have so far is Jo Johnson’s Teaching at the Heart of the System speech and a mass of speculation – some of the best being the SEDA thread which Sally Brown has developed into a SWOT analysis.

Yesterday I attended a Building the Teaching Excellence Framework Seminar organised by the University Alliance in the Deans Yard precinct of Westminster Abbey. The event was an open TEF discussion. After four activities, three speeches and a contribution from Charlie Roper (politics student at UWE Bristol) we’d surfaced multiple issues but no firm conclusions other than highlighting the difficulty of defining what teaching excellence might look like.

The TEF idea isn’t new. There are references to a renewed focus on high-quality teaching in the 2011 Higher Education Students at the Heart of the System white paper. The issue is more about defining what ‘quality’ means and constructing any model which fits the eclecticness of the higher education experience. Is quality the same as inspirational? If they are linked then the paper by Katherine Jenson at the Learning and Teaching Institute, University of Huddersfield, might be a good place to start. What is Inspirational Teaching? Working Paper 3

In terms of focusing on teaching quality, I’m reminded of the days of the TQEF. Funding was provided to support learning and teaching which supported national areas of priority. These included widening participation, fair access, retention, employability and encouraging and disseminating good and innovative practice in support of high quality learning and teaching. The last point may be worth revisiting in these TEF-ful times. The TQEF at Lincoln was managed by the Teaching and Learning Development Unit and the legacies from the Teacher Fellow awards which emerged from these funds can still be seen today (link to follow).

I think appropriate choices of pedagogy lie at the heart of a ‘quality’ education. The gap between traditional transmissive modes of delivery and constructivist teaching and learning needs to be narrowed and crossed with appropriate bridges. Like digital scholarship. Laurillard’s Conversational Framework (image below from James Atherton’s Learning and Teaching site is worth consideration. It requires interaction and collaboration with content, teachers and peer groups and can be applied to both online and offline environments.

Conversational Framework

Put staff development, digital pedagogies, scholarship and the internet together and you have a way forward. Activities which encourage students to explore OER and MOOC, staff to transfer lecture content via free software like the new Xerte, and peer review practices across both staff and student experiences all offer ways and means of interaction.

Tell me, teach me, involve me proverbs froom http://www.slideshare.net/jgigante/projectbased-learning

The EDEU Sharing Practice videos have ideas for engagement in particular Valeria Carroll on student led assessment. Rather than treat VLE in isolation we should use them to take a fresh look at how teaching excellence might appear. Make or break: the UK’s digital future report notes that the higher education sector “has not responded to the urgent need for reskilling” and calls for institutions to develop courses to give the students the skills they need. This won’t happen unless staff receive appropriate support to get digital in the first place. Digital graduate attributes need digitally competent teachers. SoTL needs an ‘e’ in the way that e-learning already has one and e-teaching should have one!

My suggestion is teaching excellence can’t happen in isolation from the adoption of appropriate and meaningful teaching technologies.

 

Woodcut image from http://oldweb.cecm.sfu.ca/personal/tstanway/MKM/thesis.intro3.html
Tell Me, Show Me, Involve me image from http://www.slideshare.net/jgigante/projectbased-learning 

 

wot no internet

On Day 1 of the PhD plan I wrote a blog and made myself a Don’t Panic poster. It was a start.

Today full panic mode kicked in.

How do people prioritise a part-time Phd when the non-Phd workload is also high?

I tweeted this question to the #PhD community on twitter where there are numerous phd hashtags #phdlife #phdadvice #phd #phdconnect #phdchat

Thank you to everyone who responded to my tweet of despair. This is the power of social media – the linking of strangers through empathy. It’s the realisation of the dreams of early WWW pioneers like Tim Berners Lee who wrote about the potential power and universality of digital connections. I’m not sure about the suggestion I turn off the internet though.

Part of my #PhdPlan was to review how I use social media.  A part-time doctorate is tough. It gets lonely too. You need all the support you can get. I’d thought if I reached out to other postgrads spending their summer with their laptops, I might build up some digital motivation and support. What I hadn’t planned was the panic attack when I realised – in the midst of my post conference blues – the amount of non-phd work I’d come back to.

Prioritising research is not easy. I’ve spent the day trying to create some space, ticked a few tasks off the ToDo list and accepted an invitation to talk at the Learn Live for Higher Education event at Bett in January ’16. Opportunities to disseminate represent incentives so this was a positive – and the closest I’ve got to my research all day – apart from visiting PhD Comics - for inspiration not procrastination you understand.

dantesinferno

Tomorrow is Day 3 of #PhDPlan and I’m in London.

Here’s hoping Day 4 is when it all starts to happen.

Keep Calm and Carry on the Phd Sue

Self motivation!

I had a great time at the Blackboard #BbWorld15 conference last week. Now I’m back ‘ome in ‘ull and this is the plan. I’m taking annual leave to work on my PhD. With no plans to break another bone, and no dedicated space for this since the pot came off in February, the time has come to make some serious PhD decisions. After three years of development and data collection, to withdraw simply isn’t an option so I’m using my leave for getting on with it instead. The whole Phd journey is about so much more than wearing a silly hat – my research is validation of everything I believe in with regard to online education. The TELEDA courses show the value of evidence based digital practice and now I have to show it to the world – or at least those who share my passion for virtual learning opportunities.

So hello laptop – we’re going to get close-up and personal – not to mention the possibility of over-emotional and over-heated again – during the next few weeks.

To keep up the momentum I’ll be blogging and tweeting using the hashtag #phdsummer (and any other one which might be followed by fellow doctoral researchers). I can’t be the only person stuck in the Phd doldrums this summer and it would be great to feel part of a community rather here on my own – with my laptop – and the rain…

What ever happened to Summer? No, don’t answer that Sue – get back to your conceptual frameworks instead.

Our internet enabled lives brings everything to us via the screen. This makes it easy to forget the delight of an original experience.  Delight was a BBWorld word. Not an adjective I’d have associated with VLE but Jay Bhatt used it a number of times in the opening keynote. Does Blackboard delight me? Probably not. Frustrating and at times upsetting maybe – but not delight. I tell myself affordances matter more than appearance.

However the association does reinforce how we’re all in relationships with our technology.  If in doubt, go to work without your phone. Analyse what this feels like. The relationship between you may be more deeply complex than you realised. Today, free public wifi is increasingly available and we take connection for granted but in the convention centre I couldn’t log on (frustrate, upset etc!) so decided to go solo, aware that wherever I was, at least 75% of people were head down in active engagement with the internet, dividing their attention and multiple tasking. I describe myself as having analogue roots, realising as I get older, this is something unique. Soon no one will be able to tell it like it was at the beginning – in the pre internet days. I find this more alarming than delightful.

Conferences are only ever a brief visit to a different place. Your experience of any cultural difference is limited but often there’s a gap between registration and the opening session plus a night flight home gives the best part of a day to get out and about. BBWorld seemed a long distance from Washington DC although maybe through US eyes it was next door. I met people from mid and western states who’d hopped on a plane to be there like we’d catch a bus. The hotel ran a shuttle to Union Station so I did my homework and bought a map.

I tend to believe the real is an improvement on the virtual copies we’re becoming accustomed to in particular with art, for example any painting by da Vinci or Botticelli has a quality which gets flattened out in the digital or paper versions. During a brief sprint around Washington’s National Gallery of Art I looked at Wind from the Sea by Andrew Wyeth and realised the digital copies  I was used to seeing had the opposite effect. The painting looked better online than face to face. I’ve been trying to analyse this ever since.

It’s an image of net curtains blowing in the breeze. Being net they’re translucent making it easy to see the countryside beyond. In the virtual versions I’d been struck by both the simplicity and photographic quality of the image. Seeing it in the real was like gestalt in reverse. The whole was less than the individual parts, in particular the fine, thin brush strokes of the net curtains foregrounded in black lines. As a photograph can focus on what is closest to the lens and blur what lies beyond, so this had the same effect. The virtual gave you the overall the image while in the the real, this foregrounded layer stood out and prevented me from taking in the whole picture; an effect which is completely invisible in the copy.

Virtual environments  widen opportunities for educational participation, student centred choice and life long learning, but making the most of internet enabled education requires sophisticated digital literacies. Not only do we need the skills to authenticate what we find online, we also need to know the difference between the real and the virtual. Both my analogue roots and digital inclusion soapbox keep me grounded  with continual reminders of the socially constructed nature of digital connections. The impact of the internet is a subject we’re all involved in with regard to education but the extent to which we reflect on it is less well documented. Digital capability frameworks are bringing in issues of digital identity and the permanence of digital footprints, but the attention we give to cultural change is still minimal. Few curriculums include critical reflection on the social impact of the internet on their subject discipline or how individual digital practices exclude rather than include participation.

The value of conferences like #BBWorld15 is the time and space they give individuals to engage with their own areas of expertise. What they could do more of is give time and space to the wider implications of teaching and learning with regard to the implications of working with the virtual versus the real. At the National Gallery of Art there was an exhibition by impressionist painter Caillebotte which included The Floor Scrapers, a painting which first showed me how art could substitute photography. This was an unexpected surprise and – to use Jay Bhatt’s word – a total delight – an experience very much improved in the real over its copy in the virtual world.

Washington DC landmarks are iconic to a degree you feel familiar with them. It must be similar for people visiting London for the first time. Using the virtual/real duality I’m reassured that for me (with the exception of the scaffolded dome of the US Capitol) the instances of the real had a more powerful effect than the virtual. The challenge for us all is to ensure virtual learning experiences are equally powerful – with affordances which at times exceed – the experience of learning in traditional environments which are face to face.

This is the end of BbWorld15. My home has been the largest hotel, resort and convention centre I’ve ever seen. It’s a glass and steel bubble. For days I didn’t step outside. Apart from being too hot – in the mid thirties – you didn’t need to. Everything was on the inside including the trees and gardens although the glass lifts were not for the faint hearted! Also outside there wasn’t a great deal to see or do.

But on the inside it was was busy. Over 3000 delegates and dozens of parallel sessions, even going full pace you only scratch the surface. Already the conference is starting to blur but I have the key points loaded into these blog posts. They’re a bit rushed.  Some of the pictures aren’t too good and not all of have alt text but they will be my reminder of the privilege of being here.  Blackboard is one of the few conferences which crosses the boundaries and brings together this peculiar hybrid breed of academic developer, learning technologist and researcher.  What unites us is the value we place on technology to make a difference to the student experience. What separates us is the work we do supporting the late adopters and digitally shy academics whilst promoting the need for inclusive practice so ensure no one gets shut out or left behind.

Adoption was a core feature of many presentations. There was a distinct shift in emphasis from what could be done to how to encourage and support engagement through sequential stepping.

I’ve got some new ideas. Maybe developing a rubric for universal design; capturing the core content of the four TELEDA learning blocks – learning design, open education, social media, working with audio and video –  and releasing them as OER; continuing to find ways to apply the essential criteria of higher education – communication, critical thinking, deeper approaches to reflective practice – and applying them to technology training.

Underpinning it all is the affirmation I’ve received this week how core to all adoption just might be the shift from training to teaching – seeing e-teaching as the corollary to e-learning. While one of the messages of BbWorld  is to put the student first, it’s increasingly clear how some people are starting to consider the changing attitudes towards digitally shy academics. Overall, attitudes to ‘faculty’ were not hugely sympathetic and this is part of the problem. If ever I needed evidence of the digital divides on campus between technologists and teachers there was plenty to choose from. Looking back over the years it’s difficult to find many attempts to rethink how digital support is provided and now we’re in a time where everyone is stretched and squeezed, the suggestion to invest more resources into digital staff development will not be popular. It needs more people to recognise and accept the adoption of digital technology is problematic. What troubles me is how those who promote, support and maintain it are often those who find it easy to use. They forget or have never experienced what it feels like to be digitally lost and confused.

The phone on the hotel room has a button called Consider it Done.

It’s linked to your room so you are greeted with your name and what comes across as a genuinely meaningful-sounding question ‘What can I assist you with today?’ Once I’d experienced this response I actually felt ok about using the service again. It made a difference to how I experienced not knowing something or not understanding how things worked. This is the effect we need to generate and make happen.

 

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