Developing Academic Staff: Contemporary Learning Design

The SOLE model was presented to colleagues in Zagreb (via Webinar) on December 8th as one possible way to explore staff preparedness for each cohort of learners they must design for.

I am delighted to be continuing my relationship with colleagues in Croatia at Centar za e-učenje and SRCE. I was asked to present Webinar on staff ‘integration’ of e-learning in their contemporary practice. The presentation for the Croatian National e-Learning Event on Wednesday 8th December comes at a rather opportune time as I have been writing about the myth of the ‘net-generation’ and the extent to which we are preparing academic staff adequately to work within contemporary expectations.

I’ve written a draft presentation entitled: Developing existing and new academic staff to integrate e-learning into their practice, that explores the need for each cohort of academic staff to revision, revitalise and reposition their teaching to suit the appropriate context in which they teach. It therefore becomes less an issue of whether there exists such a thing as a ‘net-generation‘ (I think not) but rather whether they have the reflective skills to enable them to position their practice appropriately and whether there exists learning design models that can support that practice. I cite the SOLE model as one possible approach but others certainly exist.

Webinar Image ScreencaptureIt was a great pleasure to work with colleagues at SRCE in Zagreb on Wednesday 8th for the 2nd National e-Learning Day. It’s always interesting to watch yourself but I do feel confident at least about the argument. There is a need to ensure that teaching staff see the process of professional development as one that prepares them to support the learning of each successive cohort of learners in an appropriate way, not as needing to find a technology solution to meet the ‘current’ perceive need.

Digital technologies and their role in Higher Education

I attended a seminar run through the London Learning Lab yesterday focused on the future of education and the implications for ethical research. You can read more about it here. By chance I came across this presentation by Helen Beetham which she gave at Greenwich University recently. It covers a vast range of issues related to digital technologies in Higher Education but a lot of what she is saying is pertinent to what we are interested in achieving with the DiAL-e framework. Have a watch and listen if you get a chance!

Embodied and Embedded Guidance (SOLE v1.2)

Version 1.2 of the SOLE ‘Toolkit’ has been uploaded today and a number of support videos (linked to from within the workbook) have been loaded onto http://www.YouTube.com/theSOLEmodel channel.

The original intention of the SOLE Learning Design model and its associated toolkit was, and remains, to embed academic professional development support ‘inside’ a learning development ‘tool’ and to embody good practice.

This isn’t as simple as it sounds but I have to say I’m enjoying the attempt. The SOLE Model (Student-Owned Learning-Engagement Model) was first mooted at the end of 2009 and previewed at DEANZ in Wellington, NZ in April 2010. In July 2010 it was presented as a work in progress at the LAMS European Learning Design conference and a cloud floated on www.Cloudworks.ac.uk.

The response has been interesting, such a simple tool (Excel!) but an easy one to use, and for some, well suited to their approach. For me, the issue has been about producing a tangible product that the student will see, and potentially manipulate. That the student can see, and engage with the learning design is, I think, significant.

Screenshot
Comments within the Worksheets provide advice and guidance

Version 1.2 of the SOLE ‘Toolkit’ has been uploaded today and a number of support videos (linked to from within the workbook) have been loaded onto www.YouTube.com/theSOLEmodel channel. The inclusion of student feedback on time spent, the inclusion of Intended Learning Outcomes on each student view, and the development of significant guidance and advice on each element of the model make me feel Version 1.2 is ready! But, there is more work to be done on the advice and guidance in particular and I am considering how that may link in time to pages here on WordPress. I would like if possible to keep it very much ‘self-contained’ within the toolkit but user feedback may change that.

 

Must learn to focus…

My own writing has been the focus the last couple of days. I’ve been struggling with a personal tendency towards the theoretical and philosophical ramblings of a prematurely ageing ‘whatever I am’ and the need to develop something more substantial. I have memories of my primary school teachers telling my parents “Simon would do well if he could just focus”, so here I am still very unfocussed and just too damn interested in everything! In recent days I’ve been codifying the DiAL-e learning designs in PowerPoint with a view to sharing them through Slideshare and through the DiAL-e Wiki.

It’s an interesting process trying to establish how much guidance and support each individual teacher is likely to need. Can we assume that they can deconstruct a learning object for themselves or should we give it them in a form which essentially lists the manifest like a contents page. I’m thinking about how this relates to the professional development (PD) programmes I need to run here at Massey to support the uptake of the institutional Moodle implementation. How does one walk that fine line between patronising the insightful and leading the blind? I’m still inclined to give individuals a toolkit, some kind of ‘take-away’, but one still has to make sure ‘they get it’. My concern today is ‘how do I get staff to think about using Adobe Presenter effectively when I’m not sure their PowerPoint is up to the task’.

Anybody Out There?

Re-engaging with Second Life

I’m re-engaging with Second Life. Why? Well partly I like torturing myself in a slightly masochistic sense by visiting all these mammoth University Campus islands with their beautifully designed (empty) lecture theatres and marvel at the idea that so many bright people could have so spectacularly missed the point. But I also feel that I should be giving Vision FLux (yes, that’s my SL name) a little bit more of a run. I fancy Vision is getting somewhat wide around the waist and needs a little more exercise. I have been in SL on and off since 2006 and I still don’t think I’ve quite come to terms with that identity. Needs work.

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