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SOLE and DiAL-e Sites August 2011

The  27th Annual Distance Learning and Teaching Conference at Madison-Wisconsin this August was a diverse and varied programme attended by some 900 distance educators from all sectors, from K-12 to professional education. My contribution was a half-day  DiAL-e Workshop with Kevin Burden (University of Hull) attended by some 24 people. The workshop went relatively well but also gave us an insight into a variety of cultural differences in such settings. I was able to learn from this and the 45 Minute Information Session on the SOLE model the following day definitely had a better 'buzz'. In addition I contributed to a new format this year, a 5+10 Videoshare session where participants had (supposedly!) produced a 5 minute video and then made themselves available to discuss it for 10 minutes.

All the sessions went well but the SOLE model and toolkit seemed to grab some serious interest and I will hope to have the opportunity to go back to the States and work with colleagues on learning design projects in the future.

Simon and Russell
Simon Atkinson and Russel Gurbutt (University of Leeds) discussing e-learning adoption strategies

ALDinHE 2011 was a relatively small professional conference with some 120 colleagues from across a diverse range of UK Higher Education institutions. The theme was "Engaging Students - Engaging Learning" although, with some noticeable exceptions, much of the conference was concerned primarily with the challenges we face as educational (or academic) developers.

There was a lot of discussion about 'teaching' to engage students but too little emphasis for me on the designing in to the learning the engagement we say we expect. Still it was a useful and interesting opportunity to get reacquainted with some former colleagues form the Open University and for the University of Hull.

I had two posters at the conference, a solo effort with the SOLE model (see and download the poster from http://www.solemodel.org) and a joint effort with Kevin Burden from the University of Hull featuring the DiAL-e framework work we have been doing since 2006. Details of the that poster and the workshop that I ran on Wednesday 20th April are available at the www.dial-e.net website. The workshop ran using a single webpage on the wordpress site so you are welcome to access the workshop resources. The post conference requests for "your PowerPoint" leave me frustrated!

Back in 2007, Kevin Burden at the University of Hull and myself (then at Hull) were writing a chapter for a book by John O'Donoghue called 'Technology-Supported Environments for Personalized Learning: Methods and Case Studies' (2010).

o'Donoghue (2010)

The chapter was based on earlier work, mostly by Kevin and Theo Kuechel, with the (then) QIA and a variety of colleges in Further Education. The project explored the synergies between the DiAL-e Framework and the GloMaker. We haven't followed that work up but the GloMaker tool caught my attention again with conversations at the 2010 European LAMS and  Learning Design Conference in Oxford last month and I've been exploring. I have created a new DiAL-e 'pattern' file for GloMaker2, editing the XML template to provide a DiAL-e 'process flow' to GloMaker. I'm impressed by the ease of use of the tool now, but less so by the two existing default patterns. Will be interesting in the coming weeks to see if DiAL-e patterns make sense to others. Will share them here and at the GloMaker community wiki in due course.

It's been a rather hectic summer personally. Arriving back from New Zealand in mid July I have been organising all the personal issues that go with a 12,000 mile move and starting a new job. My new role at the London School of Economics and Political Science is with the Teaching and Learning Centre and is concerned primarily with helping to support, develop and deliver of the in-house PGCertHE.

I'm looking forward to getting into my own research, and writing again with Kevin Burden as well as extending the work of both  the SOLE Model and the DiAL-e framework over the next few years. The LAMS Learning Design conference in Oxford in July was inspiring but there is a lot to do to reorient my own understanding to fit the work of the UK sector. I have had a lot of interest expressed in SOLE since Easter, and have begun exploring the opportunities of the GloMaker tool to provide DiAL-e framework learning patterns so there will, once I'm settled be more resources and more activity here on WordPress.

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