It's been five weeks since I got back to New Zealand from a brief conference visit to the UK. Amazing how time flies.
I had some fantastic conversations around attendance at both the JISC Digitisation Conference (Gloucester) http://www.jisc.ac.uk/jdcc09 & European LAMS Learning Design Conference (Milton Keynes)- http://lams2009.lamsfoundation.org/
The UK education sector has invested very heavily in recent years in the digitisation of museum, library and University collections for tertiary teaching and research purposes. Following completion of Phase 2 of the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) Digital Content Conference 2009 discussed what was working with respect to the sustained integration of digitised content. Primarily focussed on UK universities, although other tertiary providers were represented, I would guess some 200 people attended over the two day event. The thematic strands revolved around: Managing Content; Content Development Strategies; Content In Education; User Engagement; Looking Into The Future. Kevin Burden, a colleague from the University of Hull, and myself had been invited to present the results of our Phase I assisted take-up project developing a framework of engagement activities (www.DiAL-e.net). Our 90 minute ‘workshop’, was concerned with mechanism for getting take-up of these rich digitised resources. It's clear that there is till a hige range of practical and logistical issues facing the broad spectrum of users. It's hard in fact to address an audience when some are still unsure 'why' you would use a digital resource and others are concerned with new rich blends of multi-media in immersive environments. A real challenge. But we got some great feedback and there [was] a good write up of the session on the JISC digitisation blog. [JISC severs connections regularly it seems]
The following week I attended the one-day 2009 European LAMS Learning Design Conference at the Open University. As a former employee it was great to see familiar faces in the audience and to be able to identify people by name during Q&A. The conference, attended by less than 100, was a rather specialist affair. My rearranged presentation followed is a series with some really interesting perspectives including one from Diana Laurillard on a large project run by the IoE in London on online learning design tools. My personal highlight was a stimulating insight into the OU’s OpenLearn initiative (what people access and why) from Patrick McAndrew. This gave me a good deal of food for thought. I again presented the DiAL-e framework and current work to make learning designs more accessible to practitioners. The two events demonstrated a strong philosophical move towards freely available open digital content (OER - Open Educational Resources), but a clear recognition that content needed to be interpreted, evaluated and reused effectively if the challenges of the massification of higher education were to be met with quality learning experiences.
Now I just need to work out how to get traction of the academic professional development side of the equation.