ALT-C 2009 Blog Innovation

Blog innovation
2 short paper(s)
36 Developing reflective practitioners through the use of blogs: a collaborative approach to learning communities
Alison Hramiak, Helen Boulton

  • reflective practice entry variable
  • evidence of development as professionals within transcripts
  • builds up through both placements – a definite progression seen
  • very few using blogs for teaching (these were ict teachers!!!) – sometimes firewalls were a problem in schools preventing the use of blogs
  • one who did use it with students, said that students did not find reflection easy

Inhibitors during NQT year:

  • real life
  • access
  • lack of training

103 Blog-it and they will come’: Challenges for engaging teachers and learners with wikis and blogs
Megan Warin, Jan Metcalf, Martin Edney, Mike Cameron, Steve Lyon
we are not creating learners, not creating enquirers any more… they will think what you tell them to think.
wikis are trying to shift the way that learners relate to education
students don’t necessarily agree with us about how the best way to learn is
some students don[t like everyone seeing their work, or see it as an excuse for less face-2-face teaching.
looking at academic first contact with new tech

  • academic practice
  • academic community
  • learning

good practice:

  • german language students, journals. keeping track of learning and reflecting on what went well.
  • wikis as a bank of knowledge where students can share experiences, review and critique papers
  • project management blogs – students from business course and compsci teamed up for a project, they documented their activities and shared best practice

Engage, Empower, Embed

ALT-C 2009 Day Two Roundup

Pedagogic Innovation

I didn’t really see much pedagogic innovation (boy, that phrase is difficult to type on an eeepc 1000 keyboard on a rocking train), but there were a few nice things.

QR codes. I can’t see our lecturers using them in lectures to relay information to students, but the idea of a library book/journal/etc search spitting out a QR code is interesting. Student can then snap it with their mobile, walk to the shelf with all the info they need and more converted into text form on their phone. No need to scibble down location onto a scrap of paper.

Visitor/Resident principle. Kinda like Prensky’s Native/Immigrant idea, but trying to get around the negative connotations of being a digital ‘immigrant’, trying to separate it from being a generational thing. There still seems, to me, to be connotations that being a resident is better than being a visitor, but that’s my own bias, seeing myself as a resident. This distinction however isn’t about competency, but about the use one makes of online systems. You could be as ‘power-user’ fully knowledgeable aboutt using online systems etc, and dip in and out where necessary to ‘get the job done’ without maintaining an online persona, without ‘leaving something of yourself behind’ in the sense that a resident does.

But what’s the point? It isn’t about identifying yourself and feeling smug if you fall into the bracket you wanted to be in, and them pitying those that fall into the other. The point is to identify and categorise your students, your target audience, and make sure thst they way in which you present your learning doesn’t exclude them. If they’re all residents, that would allow you to embrace, perhaps, a different teaching style. if you have a half/half audience, that doesn’t necessarily exclude you from a new style, as long as there is sufficient differentiation to benefit all, and you ensure your implemntation doesn’t exclude anyone. If you’re looking for me to tell you how, tough luck.

The paper (271) on flexible working (nothing to do with gymnasts) seemed more like a sales pitch for the beyond9to5 ‘platform’, I wasn’t too impressed with the paper. Though I should make sure I am on record saying I fully support the principle and ideals of flexible working. If we want to embrace the new technologies to teach in new more flexible ways, what’s stopping us working in new flexible ways? Nothing.

Being the fourth paper of the session, I may have been in fatigue-land. Something about drawing pictures, pencil on paper, in order to design stuff. Truly rocket science!

Redesigning Teaching

No Frankenstein-monsters being created by grafting technology and teacher together, although making a campus fully covered by wireless (802.11) and bluetooth sounds like it’ll mutate staff and students (or just insta-cook them!).

But seriously, the little mobile apps zapped out to every phone in the room was pretty cool. Yes we had to be in discovery mode with security off. Yes, we’re naively trusting of the man that told us we could trust him. I seriouslly hope a campus full of students has more sense! If not, they deserve everything they’re going to get from their less scrupulous colleagues.

Tony Lowe’s drag’n’drop apps were also really cool. Needing everyone in the room to have a laptop to participate, I think we’re not there yet for class work. For work at home, awesome. Great tie in to last year’s keynote from ummm.. that guy tottering around on a ladder regurgitating his TED talk, yeah, Hans Rosling.


Martin Bean’s keynote. How to make a keynote fun, take the p out of Americans. No, seriously… yes! Best. Keynote. Ever. (ALT-C 2009 anyway)

I was concerned at Martin’s background working for the great enemy of societ. Yes, I mean Microsoft. An ex-Microsoft guy moving to the OU? Surely a sign that the OU is about to reach singularity, and not in a good way. But once you listen to Martin speak, either he’s a very good Trojan-horse, or his enthusiasm and ideals managed to escape Microsoft unscathed. Freedom of information, or resources, of education. Very inspiring. Best thing I can say is, go watch it for yourself! (I may even remember to come back here and provide a link).

Infrastructure Technologies

Hyperlinked information. And we’re not talking about twenty pages of content neatly linked back and forth. We’re talking aboutsufficient hyperlinking between different bits of information that lets a user choose their own path, rather than have a path chosen for them. Is it really beneficial? Probably not for everyone, possibly for only some. Is it worth going for this approach when designing e-courseware? I find it very difficult to advocate such a seemingly disorganised approach. When it comes to designing e-courseware, should we even be doing so? Or letting students freely search and discover their ownwas materials as suggested elsewhere! educational use

Lecture capture systems, on a large scale, sound grand and appealing. I don’t think there was really anything in that paper that really challenged though, and no reason should. It seems to be working well for them, and I wish we had similar funds to be able to invest in this. What I would take from this, is the approach theyto have two groups, one on raw implementation from the technical perspective, and one one the educational use, to make sure that educational use was being considered at every stage in the wider context without being consumed/distracted by the technical implementation. Of course this does assume that those implementing a project have a clear vision from the educational use group, a vision that isn’t going to change and undo all the worrk of the implementors.

So, finally, Huddle. This was just a sponsor session, trying to flog their product. As such I wasn’t put off it, which I guess is a small victory for them. I wasn’t however wowed by it. Especially in context of so many other sessions where the concept of a single University-owned product is seen as out-dated with a move to a more open approach letting students choose what they want to use.

ALT-C 2009 Infrastructure Technologies

Infrastructure technologies
2 short paper(s)
92 Effective Technology for Effective Reading: Innovative use of hyperlinks in online readings for low prior knowledge learners
Jon Loose

If a learner is able to navigate their own way, they can facilitate a representation of the information as they take their own path through the text, so hypertext is good.


  • non-linear structure is beneficial to learning


  • not directing the user can inhibit knowledge construction
  • can be disorienting
  • lack of coherance
  • need for prior knowledge
  • metacognitive demands

Reading Styles:

  • Linear Readers:
    • fast
    • slow
  • Lookback Readers:
    • Non-selective reviewers
    • topic structure processors (best comprehension)

(Hyona & Nurminen, 2006; Hyona, Lorch, & Kaakinen, 2002)

Can hyperlinked text facilitate low-knowledge learners?

152 Large scale implementation of a lecture capture system: a value added initiative?
Philip Bradley, Carol Summerside, Mark Agar, Phil Ansell, Robin Humphrey, Julian Knight, Az Mohammed, John Moss, Carys Watts, Janet Wheeler, Dave Wolfendale

Top down approache, decision to roll out across site

2 groups. implementation group, educational-use group

used lectopia rebranded as ‘ReCap’ to get across that it was in addition to lectures rather than replacement –

Videos behind password protected site, available only to University members – not open

Book system in advance, then when mic picks up sound (as long as it is turned on), it starts recording, and afterwards you are emailed a link.

Educational uses

  • lecture recording
  • supplementary information
  • reprocessing of support materials
  • staff training materials
  • conferences and public lectures
  • recruitment and marketing
    • i.e. open day videos for overseas students
  • administration
  • research seminars

Institutional Implementation

  • ReCap Education Steering Group

Feedback and Evaluation

  • overwhelming student positive response
  • 92% of students said it didn’t affect their attendance of lectures
  • staff disagreed

Main staff issues are training and getting them to accept that it records the performance of the day, no editing, warts and all.

5 year vision

  • Ubiquitous, all locations allow
  • increase ease of use to
    • editing
    • lecture room control
    • desktop capture
  • integration with VLE
  • transition from pilot to production service
  • searchability

Costs: 2-5K per lecture theatre

ALT-C 2009 Pedagogic Innovation

Pedagogic innovation
4 short paper(s)
119 Using QR Codes in Teaching and Learning: Delivering the dream
Andy Ramsden

QR codes. Mobile/webcam scannable images (2D barcodes) that with the right software will translate into defined pieces of information/tasks. i.e. URL, some text, a pre-defined SMS message.


Library dynamically generates QR codes, their code is free and they can send it.


125 It’s a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there: using the ‘Visitor-Resident’ principle to guide approaches to the participatory web.
David White, Marion Manton


Is it like Natives and Immigrants? Which basically meant old people don’t understand stuff.

Visitor/Resident isn’t the same sort of thing. It’s a sliding scale, but best described as 2 distinct things.

Visitors, when they log off, leave nothing behind. Residents partially live online, they have a persona online which partially remains behind when they log off.

Resident likes being communal, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are collaborative. Can workk autonomously as part of a collective. Not a hive mind. Micro-celebrity, the individual as a brand.

Being adept at one technology doesn’t necessarily translate to being good at another.

Visitors want to use the internet for s specific task, but won’t go beyond that. Goal oriented.

Educational culture isn’t a skill.

need to understand how/why to use something in order to /use/ it. teaching someone how to point/click use it doesn’t mean they ‘get’ it.

Need to understand which of your students are visitors or residents, proportional, and then understand the technology, is it a tool or is it a space?

Not about academic or technical skills, but about culture and motives.

271 Beyond 9 to 5: Learning and community design to support flexible working
Helen Whitehead, Liz Cable


203 Sketching interviews: a method to elicit internal representations for the design of learning support systems
Brock Craft

Attributes/elements of learning design.

A lot of interpretation of drawings/sketches and translating it into implementation in order to design ‘good’ UI for learning.

ALT-C 2009 Day One Roundup

Well, I am exhausted! It has been a busy day. I don’t feel like I’ve done anything, and yet it feels like I haven’t stopped.

Mike Wesch’s keynote this morning was very interesting. I’ve seen his youtube videos before and the content of his talk seemed very familiar. I don’t think I’ve attended one of his talks before, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I have.

While I don’t necessarily agree with any conclusions he may make, I did find his research fascinating. I’ll go so far as to agree that technology and media do shape how we see the world and how we let the world see us.

There did appear to be the insinuation that the lecture theatre will always limit, to some extent, how far we can change learning and teaching. I suppose it is inevitable that every part of the learning environment imposes a limit of some kind, but does the lecture theatre impose a harsh enough limit that we need to break free of it? He didn’t necessarily say that, and I wouldn’t necessarily say that. ut at times like this (end of a long day at conference) I am reminded of my student days and I now (as then) don’t want to see a lecture theatre for a long time. However, two more days to go, so I’ll have to grin and bear it 😉

As for the rest of the day, there are a few things I want to pick up on.

Last year I attended an ‘audio feedback’ talk, and was very much taken with the idea. This year’s feed-forward paper renewed my interest in forms of feedback that differ from ‘boring’ text. There was, however, an important caveat that I had not thought of before. Audio feedback is a different medium from textual feedback, and therefore does (after the paper today I believe it does) require a slightly different set of rules to go with it. A different way of communicating is needed. Critical audio feedback delivered in an un-careful (so much feedback to record, recording teacher is getting bored/impatient) tone of voice can be very damaging for the receiver to the point of destorying their confidence rather than helping them improve. Speech is a much more powerful means of communicating than text. While there are dangers with text (difficult to deliver a tone of voice which can totally change the meaning of words) there are similar dangers with speech if you aren’t watching your tone or are more critical than you are positive.

When it came to the video feedback, video footage recorded live in the Biology lab of instructors walking around talking to students, asking and answering questions, I saw much potential. Such students did not recognise the value of the feedback at the point in which they received it, but looking back got the benefit of the feedback to themselves, as well as all the other feedback to colleagues. In addition the video played a valuable role in providing instructors lab instruction best practice (where done well) and opportunities to see where improvements could be made (where they see flaws).

Paper 132, the two year switch to Moodle was a very rewarding session. Many, if not all, of the experiences spoken of, could easily have been Kent’s story. One other member of the audience raised his hand at the end to say that he could hhave given the exact same talk, so similar was it to his experience too. One flaw in the project plan was that training had been given too early to their staff. Training that had been mandatory and unavoidable, with the result being that refresher courses had to be run by the time Moodle arrived. Looking at Kent’s Moodle project, we planned similarily early training sessions (although not mandatory) and as a result of poor attendance we have had to run more and more training sessions running into September (the month we said we would not run any!). The result is

  1. an absolutely insane (approx 6 hours a day, every day, 2 weeks straight) training workload for us (grrr!!) at a critical point of the year when we should be free to deal with day-to-day VLE queries (of which there are so many before a new year)
  2. staff that receive training very close the the point at which they are putting it into practice and, hopefully, not needing refresher courses.

Is (2) the silver lining or everything working out for the best? I’ll let others be the judge.

Paper 306, the SLE. It’s interesting to see people looking at the big picture. After implemennting Moodle it would be easy for them (and would be easy for us) to see Moodle as the final and sole product. But instead they are only looking to Moodle as a core set of tools, and specifically relying on a range of other tools to fill in where Moodle may have a feature, but doesn’t do it best.

This is just a very shallow scratch in the surface of Day One, and I am sure that by tomorrow I’ll have forgotten more than I will remember.

ALT-C 2009 More VLEs and Design

More VLEs and design
1 short paper(s)
306 From Virtual Learning Environment to Strategic Learning Environment: Evaluation an institutional VLE to meet new strategic priorities
Susannah Quinsee, Anise Bullimore

Snakes and ladders, ups and downs. Pilots .. or phased implementation.

Review process, and finally decided on moodle. How dooes this relate to the portal which also includes collaborative tools?

Strategic learning environment evaluation vision.

People realy wanted the core functionality of a VLE. But want to use other things around it too. Most L&T occurs in the VLE, some happens outside. Want to use VLE just for core functionality, with increasing use of additinal technologies too.

core experts group from across the university defining the vision and articulating requirements – helped rethink realistically what they wanted to achieve

worked with Moodle consultants and found it easy to get moodle to do what they want and to meet their needs

using new ‘system’ as an excuse to use the ‘system’ better

ALT-C 2009 VLEs and design

VLEs and design
3 short paper(s)
132 We had a dream of replacing our VLE, now begins the responsibility of using these tools to enhance the teaching, learning and assessment experience.
Catherine Ogilvie, Jacqui Nicol, Emma Kennedy

Two year project to design and implement Moodle.

One year on from going live, a lot of use of static pdf/ppt content. But increasingly more interactive content.

Integration of other tools

  • portfolios
  • Turnitin
  • QuestionMark Perception

All new staff do PgCert HELT (similar to PGCHE) that uses Moodle as part of it’s delivery.

Other support available

  • elearning sessions
  • helpdesk support
  • one-2-one support
  • sharing ideas and best practice
  • online sessions ‘facilitating online learning’
  • promoting interactive tools

Lessons Learned:

  • don’t over-rate communication
  • flow of information and data integrity
  • regular meetings and updates


  • staff training delivered too early – when they came back to start teaching, they had forgotten their march training
  • inevitable change in core features
  • migration and structure of content not straightforward
  • clear understanding of departmental needs
  • lack of appreciation of administrative processes
  • desire to have similar tools to the old VLE
  • better communication
  • need for clear processes and procedures
  • scalability issues
  • content management problems


169 When Harry met Sally: can a ‘bricolage’ approach integrate with a systems-informed modular design?
Carmel de Nahlik, John Beech

‘You are encouraged to strive to be an internationally recognised scholar, but your day-to-day working life is dominated by bureaucratic procedures designed by people who sometimes fail to be recognised on their own corridor.’

Last week’s THES –

Object reuse, research methods, learning objects


279 Pedagogy meets Ontologies: Knowledge Representation for Creative Learning Design
Patricia Charlton, George Magoulas, Diana Laurillard

Design of LDSE ontology

  • share concepts and meaning within the project
  • enable others to build on our work
  • first attempt to create a model about theory and practice
  • first attempt to address inclusion of multiple theories
  • definition and use about what we mean by theory in learning design

Visual example of an ontology (using blooms taxonomy)

Core design to include theory and practice.

ALT-C 2009 Infrastructure Innovation

3 short paper(s)
237 Dream on: Slow progress in developing digital media infrastructures
Susannah Diamond, Andrew Middleton
Where are we?
We know we want to be learnered centric, but the physical environment determines soething else. The technology around us has changes significant.y, it is now affordable, and simple to use. We don’t need production teams, central provision. Awareness of this new age. But where is the ‘glue’ or infroastructure that ties the pedagogy with the technology?
‘We believe the institutional infrastructure should allow staff and st to easily…u
User-generated digital media learning landscape. A user is anyone who ‘needs to say something’. Screencasts, podcasts, audio notes.
Motivation through student publishing. Real user generated channels.
Reality, example: getting media onto uni streaming server, via X, Y, and Z, getting the run-around being directed to different people.
What infrastructure for digital media production?

  • student support
  • ict literacy
  • educational development
  • access to kit
  • robust networks
  • storage
  • institutional drivers
  • academic support
  • production team
  • drop-in help
  • co-ordination

Do all these different people have the same perception of digital media? All alligned to the same plan?
Small national study – 10 UK universities, what they to to enable digital media.

  • lack of cohesion and strategic investment
  • legacy systems
  • piecemeal availability of equipment
  • ad hoc support
  • fragmentation and gatekeepers
  • user-generated content is considered exceptional, not main-stream
  • lack of infrastructural co-ordination

spectrum of institutional responsibility and individual responsibility??
we have

  • the ideas
  • the technology
  • a growing awareness amongst staff/students.
  • we are developing critial digital fluency

but we don’t have the glue to transform to mainstream
126 Socialising learners through on-line induction: Reflections on the transition to higher education
Richard Walker, Wayne Britcliffe

  • engaging a new generation of students with preferences for interactive & exploratory learning
  • famliarity with popular social technologiies
    • facilitating students to acquire good scholarship/information literacy skills
    • discipline and course level best practices
  • techniques to cope with information overload
  • socialising students into institutional discipline and peer group communities


  • provide incoming students with information about the uni/dept
  • provide academic support materials
  • facilitate interation with peers and between new students and the department
  • support thhe online registration pprocess


  • induction site set up over summer
  • runs september to end of autumn term
  • publicised through welcome pack
  • accessible only to registered students
  • vle access optional


  • Online tasks prior to arrival on campus
  • reading lists, timetables, catch-up material (catchup on a level materials form maths, chemistry, biology)
  • links to society (dept) page and student union
  • video clips


  • log-in peaked mid-september
  • limited access once term began
  • catch-up materials most popular
  • facebook preferred for social chat over the vle blog
  • questions focused on general information rather than subject/dept specific


  • Improve student voice within the module
  • students weren’t as aware of support services as they could have been – needed to be made clearer
  • more info on tutorials and practicals wanted
  • get 2nd/3rd yr students to post helpful info for 1st yrs

234 Appropriate and Practical Technologies for Students, Teachers, Administrators and Researchers
Sarah Sherman, Caroline Bell
Lovely photo of bloomsbury ( ahh nostalgia from having studied/worked there)

  • 90% comfortable using desktop tools
  • only 6/7% comfortable with online editing tools
  • 1 person hadn’t heard of e-mail

Created some Bloomsbury Personas, a generic student, generic teacher, generic administrator.
Stick-figure picture. APT model.
google docs bridging a gap
STAIRS – getting people to take incremental steps
using google docs for collaborative editing with immediate access of data to others then-and-there in class, eeepcs used to ‘network’ an otherwise computer-less room/lab.
plans: applying APT techniques in africa