Goldsmiths LEU Conference: Designing Learning Landscapes (2)

Liveblog notes from the afternoon at Goldsmiths’ Learning Enhancement Unit conference 2014: Designing Learning Landscapes #dllgold14. what seems to be the problem?

Discussion: Contested Territories

A wide-ranging debate on technology and learning and teaching in Higher Education.

  • Alejandro Armellini, Professor of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, University of Northampton
  • Diana Laurillard, Professor of Learning and Digital Technologies, Institute of Education, University of London
  • Belinda Tynan, Professor and Pro Vice-Chancellor, Learning, Teaching and Quality, The Open University

Len introduces the panel. One thing in people’s minds putting the conference together is the idea of design in relation to teaching. Diana, why is design so key to your agenda on teaching and learning. Set some context, 25y in, how would you characterise where we are wrt to TEL.

Diana: 25y in? For me it’s 40y. I shouldn’t say that in public. I try to forget that. Easy to turn in to the curmudgeon who says we did that. Truth is, in the early 70s, teaching maths in a poly, trying to grapple with how to get students to understand the CLT. Happened to see an OU lecture on TV, with computer graphics which did an animation which showed you what that meant. Wonderful to show students the way in which you could think about it while grappling with symbols, make it come alive. That was a real turning point for me. Had to download the TVs on to video tapes, turn the sound down. But that was the beginning for me. When Mrs Thatcher began national development programme in CBL n 1973/4, I joined it thinking I can do this research for a couple of years, we’ll figure it out, I’ll go back to being a maths lecturer. Trying to figure out how to make this work on a large scale. use the technology – it does so many things. The centuries in which education has embraced technologies – print, film, pictures, animation, distance teaching. Now, it embraces all of those. Has hit us in a few decades. For education to figure out how to make the most of them is bound to take us a bit of time. Who else but teachers will do it? The innovations come thick and fast every day. If we leave it to computer scientists who create the tools, we’re not driving it. With MOOCs, it’s an ideal example, have extraordinary phenomenon. Very powerful, VCs are listening to us, which is good. Ask – what problem are MOOCs solving that we had? Difficult to answer. At the moment, seems to be we are able to give highly-educated professionals free education. This is at a time when our UGs are paying huge fees, and have not had the investment in new pedagogies we could be offering. Teachers have not been given the job to to it; also have not seized the opportunity. Drivers of budgets, money flows, curricula, QA mechanisms, assessment – they drive what teachers do every day. Not well designed to make best use of tech. Unless teachers driving it, won’t make the best. One problem we have – creating teachers in sub-Saharan Africa. Hundreds of millions of children without access to primary education. Millennium goal, nowhere near. Need 4m, 10m more teachers. Tech is powerful enough to make some inroads in to helping with that. What MOOCs are doing, reaching lots of people – highly qualified professionals, but they don’t have to be. Started a MOOC on ICT in Primary Education. >40% in it are in emerging economies. That’s professional development, not UG. That audience you could look to to pay a little bit. Could see a business model. Difficult, if online for free, expectation. If you can reach 2,000 teachers in the emerging economies who can understand what ICT can do, can pass on to teachers in their locality, get some inkling of what massification of education could do. Have to think about the problem before going down the line. Suppose you’re improving inclusion. Talk this morning from Penny – pro-actively include people. If you assist people with a range of disabilities, that’ll make a difference to people that nothing else could help. Biggest problem that universities have to face: reducing the cost to students. Huge tuition fees. Universities struggling to grow student numbers. The technology could help that problem, teach more efficiently. If we look at the pedagogies to enable each teacher to support more students. Teaching is more like engineering than it is like science or the arts. Teaching is a design science. Like engineering. Trying to make the world a better place, make things work better. Not trying to explain it (science). Or create things, innovate in an extraordinary way. Bit of those. But emphasis on trying something, doesn’t work, try again. Technology can help. Design cycle – try, test, figure out, try again. But we don’t share it. Develop the technologies to help us. Andrea’s ideas this morning, great, but it’s private to him. Capture that, move it round the system the way we move journal papers, that’s how you move things around. Build the community of knowledge. Essentially, it’s design.


Interesting things there, about effects on access, equalities. The second part will be questions from the floor. The idea of education as a creative alliance is interesting. Elsewhere in HE, academic staff have more problematic associations with learning technologies. Belinda, your view on the impact on academics?


Tricky question about where to start. Simple place is to say what are some of the impacts of technology. Campus-based universities. I’ve worked in dual mode and distance modes. Issues are quite similar. Start with technical ability, and aptitude. Do we want all staff to make movies, podcasts, web creators? Quite often, it’s pushed back to your desktop. You’re in your office, but to use it, you may not have a fabulous central area, you have to figure it out yourself. And that’s before loading it in to a VLE. You’re busy, workload doesn’t account for time to understand and learn, and integrate them in to teaching. That’s time consuming, and not everybody has support to do that. What Diana was mentioning – push and pull of the technology. When we get a new piece of technology, we try to make it do what we’re used to do. We do that with lectures – recording them and putting them online – what’s the problem we’re solving there? PDFs of our materials online, it’s copying standard teaching: is that the right thing? With a new car, you don’t read the manual, you just leap in and try to drive it. How long does it take you to figure out cruise control? Professional development – how to keep up, what to focus on, seminars, conferences. Haven’t really worked on the whole. Run a fantastic session on quizzes in Moodle, but have forgotten it by the time you come to do it. Don’t see the requirement for it, more interested in our discipline. So we do those conferences and experience rather than focus on teaching and pedagogical development. Strategy: every university, college, all have an LMS. Backbone of IT architecture of universities. Very poorly planned, leads to shovel-and-serve. We have more than 20y of research, but still doing the same things over and over again. Recent impacts on the distribution of learning and informal learning. iTunesU, YouTube. What the strategy, what’s that distribution for? Mobile. One device connected? (most) Two? (a few) More than four? (none). HTML5 or content won’t work on mobile. What’s the point of that content on that device, what’s the mobile pedagogy? It’s not just delivering stuff. We keep doing the same thing. Huge growth in tablets, it’s going to grow even more. Multiple devices, they’re going to want to access their learning across a range of platforms. Look at Pinterest, working with peers, collating, building up their own knowledge base. Another impact – seeking a different kind of experience, about the whole person, more learner centric. We’re only marginally successful at that. Local/global community relationships. For 2020, 2030, students are going to want to participate in global grand challenges. At U Southampton, global issues course for 1st years. Only 200 students first year, then 2000. Interdisciplinary. More sustainability. Also from students, Millenial group – very familiar with creating communities online, working with their peers. They’re not going to have the same issues we have with our current academic staff. Probably it’s our walled gardens that’ll hold them back. Academics need to be prepared for that, we’ll see different cultures. Return on investment issue, big in the political space. So long as we’re rewarded for individual outputs – e.g. graduate – miss opportunities for the global good. Needs to correct itself  if we’re to have a less than grim future. Already seeing students learning online on the web in the open which is transparent; already making choices. How do we support staff? No magic bullet. Can’t happen as a byproduct. Change needs to be understood, it’s not going to be obvious. At home, struggling at home – moving to Internet TV, different boxes, controls, it’s a complete mess. I need professional development. They’re not always just intuitive. My experience could be better if I took the time to work on it. Similar for tech with academic staff. If there isn’t a plan, resource, new job descs for academic staff coming in. It should be a joint effort. How workload is calculated doesn’t take in to account learning this stuff. Personal responsibility here too. Nobody said our industry was going to stay as it always was. We should all be responsible for participating in this dialogue. Some people say it’s not what they were hired to do – to teach their discipline. But fundamentally, creating learning experiences requires this. If you think you’ll be replaced by the technology, then maybe you should be. Strategy and planning is essential. Tech is part of our lives, not going away, not separate. Who’s been emailing, surfing while I’m talking? Need to rethink our staff. Competencies, skills, behaviours – and how do we resource that. Raise commitment to T&L alongside discipline. Also social responsibility for creating healthy communities.


You touched on strategy. Our keynote this morning was a talented individual rolling the ball uphill. Ale, could you firm up how we should be strategising at institutional level?


Anyone here from language teaching? (A few) I started as a language teacher, in South American country I won’t mention because of world cup issues. It has a light blue top. Small school, mid-80s/early 90s. Outside the classrooms, we had one computer. It had DOS on. We had purchased some software from the UK, on floppy disks. We ran it for a few years. Students would queue up to make use of that machine. It did wonderful things at the time. That got me engaged in what could be done and what might follow. Fast forward , a few weeks ago. Colleague keynote at conference. New approaches to learning in the light of MOOCs, learning analytics. At the end, question, that’s all very good, we used to ask students to turn off phones, now want them to keep them on. Actually, a person 3 rows in front has booked a flight while you were talking. Is that right? Silence. The speaker was in an uncomfortable position, either to tell them off or debate – did the latter. Should we be strategising for TEL? When we say TEL, we refer to learning that makes use of computers and software suitably networked. Consider whether you or your institutions have strategised for book-based learning, paper-based learning, blackboard-and-chalk-based learning. Pencil-based learning. OHP-based learning, acetates.


I loved those.


I’m sure some of you have those locked away in case PowerPoint goes wrong. These become transparent, part of the landscape. Same is true of devices. Techie conferences, eg ALT-C, 10-15y ago. What you see now with devices – I can see half a dozen or more laptops open. That wasn’t the case then. Some had chunky laptops. Now moved on. I realise that landscape has become the norm, as has been the case with the technologies I mentioned. I invite you to consider whether we should strategise for TEL, or for good learning. If we take the view that we should, we might come across a number of things. Mobile, open, inclusive. I’d like to add two more: connected, scalable. Any strategy around meaningful, effective learning might want to include those. Strategy should take account of benefits, drawbacks. Horizon scanning. Have worked with fantastic colleagues, some at this institution. Spent many hours on horizon scanning, has significantly informed decisions not to adopt things quickly, until there’s evidence, and establish evidence if not there. Research into practice. To innovate you can’t just add and hope for the best. You have to have evidence. Colleagues generally happy to explore new ideas if two things in place: one is evidence, the other is support. Another aspect of a strategy is a culture that encourages calculated risk-taking. That approach is risky. In partnership with students, it can be very rewarding. Small-scale projects. Creating a VLE within Twitter, or Facebook. Those can be very powerful in generating evidence to do better things. At Northampton, we have taken a capacity-building approach. Do not want colleagues to be web designers, learning technologists, media producers. But enable them to not have to depend on someone else for everything they need to do. Have to be independent enough. Capacity-building approach is a bit more scalable. Colleagues who regard themselves as technophobes. We have developed a L&T plan, accreditation by HEA. Points us in the direction of doing business in a different way. A major shift for Northampton, from traditional 3y campus based to dual mode, change happening, if slowly. Another 3-line whip, building a new campus smaller than the combination of the two existing ones, another layer of complexity. Space reduction by pedagogic design. [Parallels with Shirley Alexander at UTS here I think.] Take in to account lessons learned about old tech, transfer to new tech. Literature is littered with over-promises and under-delivery. Remember 3D worlds? Second Life? I looked at papers at ALT-C on 2L 5y ago, and last year. We had 20 then, about 1 last year. A lot of enthusiasm, not that much in terms of delivery. There are very good stories too.


Q: For Diana. How tech can help us be more inclusive, wrt Penny’s session earlier. I got that people have complex and unpredictable needs. Everyone’s different. Is tech the answer? Maybe course teams need dedicated support, personally check in, get in touch with people. It’s not sexy, not exciting. Employment. it’s nice. Not efficient. But may be what people need.

Diana: Always need personal support. Because we’re using tech doesn’t mean we’re going to get rid of human support. Same applies to supporting students with special needs. Don’t take humans away, improve their capacity. Striking what Penny was telling us, we need to be more pro-active about finding out what students need. Should be part of all our strategies. They’re not huge teams, typically. Will need a lot more than just their personal human capacity. But tech lets you gear up what you can do for people. Having a difficult piece of pedagogy thrust on her late in studies, would be true for all. What’s good for students with special needs is good for everyone. That means being pro-active. There will always been a need for more people. Can use tech to improve the capacity of the humans you’ve got.

Belinda: You did a great job on that one.

Simon (!): Always a huge challenge, how you get from the pilot stage, to scale things up. It does seem a long time that colleagues and I have been trying to achieve this. Have been an ILT champion, T&L enhancement. It seems I’m dragging colleagues screaming along, building an environment for a new suite of courses. Have you any advice and strategies that might accelerate that scaling-up process? I can find enthusiastic hobbyists, will come to these events to show off. But to get beyond that is a big strategy.

Belinda: If it’s written in the code of the IT dept that’ll help. Get IT people on board. But no fast fixes. We all struggle with that. Even with that at the OU – innovation to impact, how you scale it. The issue is about an appropriate buy-in to get resources to pilot to scale it. We’ve put in a new system to help our students, have a learning systems roadmap. Everything in L&T has something to do with tech, it does in to the roadmap, lets it be piloted. Written in to the code that IT must support it. Something about establishing the rules of engagement, getting right people round the table to say they want to support it. That’s ensuring the resource pot is the same that everybody that’s looking for innovation is bidding in to. It can be hard being the lone ranger trying to lead something. It would be a pity if you didn’t have the support of your PVC L&T, Deans, HoDs, etc – get the champions saying this is what we’re doing. It’s been agreed. No quick fix from me, btu things organisations can look at to create space. It’s not letting 1000 flowers bloom. I don’t think that works. You might disagree with that (Ale) – the entrepreneurial university does things differently?

Alejandro: Example of a success story. Took blood, sweat and tears, but it happened. Giving you the ending (of the story) so you don’t get worried. Electronic submissions. From September, all submissions must be electronic. Some disciplines may be able to make a very very special case. To get to that point, following what you (B) just said. Extensive debate, discussion, open days. Systems put in place, people we’re trained up. Over about 18 months. Pilots. Problems detected and improved. But there was in the beginning there was a cut-off point. Nobody is kicking or screaming. That happened reasonably smoothly. Other examples were not quite as smooth.

?Meara: Struck by Diana’s point about why can’t designs for learning be passed around the community as scientific papers are? I don’t know many, I’ve worked in institutions that consider themselves research-intensive. Many people I work with, I’m e-learning professional, they don’t routinely read the L&T lit, there’s not much scholarship of L&T. Links to the need for evidence. Can the panel see a way through to educators connecting with these designs, prefarably as producers as well as consumers.

Diana: Connects to previous question as well. It’s how you build knowledge. We don’t know what the next tech is. Can’t imagine the staff development programme that’ll teach everybody, we all have to do it. I’m sure pilots are happening all the time. Crowdsourcing innovation, happening all over the place, but not harvested anywhere. Something elicits your particular learning design, a wizard approach to find out what your approach is, make it findable and shareable. Run MOOC-like events around that. Rather like the academic paper. It’s captured, people can review it. Feeds back to individual, the community. Enabling the teaching community to developing evidence. To become more like design scientists, taking a more rigorous approach. We need better approaches. We devise the technologies that support teachers in doing that. Get beyond the pilot by engaging the whole community at once. The rollout doesn’t take because you’re not working with people. Pilots don’t work. MOOCs say scale first, learn as you go. Coursera, compared to Moodle, is awful. But many things are good, gives you great data analytics. But the pedagogy’s terrible. It’ll get there. It’s got vast squads of teenagers in California making it work better. There’s 7m students on that. Forget about pilots! Scale first. And learn as you go.


Panel 8 Learning Analytics and OER

(8A) Learning analytics and evidence-based learning and teaching

Doug Clow (Open University)

[No liveblogging – presenting!]

(8B) Remix and sing along: open education in practice

Lindsey Jordan (University of the Arts, London)

[Little liveblogging since I’ve just presented.]

Lots of the people she teaches have come in to teaching to fund their artistic habit.

She’s moving away from technology. Too much of a distraction for sustained engagement.

If you work with academics who are resistant to technology, it could be because they’ve been reading too much Heidegger.

Content is responsive. Outputs – they create some open content.

[Nice use of Prezi – not gee-whizz but seemed much more natural than many presenters. Ah, but went seasick when they flipped back and forward.]

Discussions about whether open meant it had to be online. One student – teaches narrative environments. Interested in how memes used to travel openly before the Internet. Music. So pub chalkboard sign: “This week at the GEORGE TAVERN: Narrative Theory.” Environments that are still open but not online. Analysed stuff from Plato to RPGs. Came up with a song about narrative structure, gave out sheets and people signing along to a pub piano. Theory teaching. Participants interact with each other, stuff is memorable, open resource was the song. The night was great fun, could call it a success. But made too much emphasis on him creating it, not the students. Used a template document as  PDF for an event. Summarise discussion as a song, foster a community. Singalong is one example alone.

[This was absolutely great. Very memorable and valuable learning stuff. Not very well captured in text.]

Get people to think about their networks. Is it really open if nobody’s accessing it?

Use Dave White’s visitors and residents framework to think about it. (Hi Dave!)


There was an excellent Q&A session, with the questioners asking some really good questions and making excellent points. My favourites were when they said stuff I would’ve if I’d had more time. But unfortunately I didn’t capture a word of any of it because I was part of it.

Droplets (1)

John Fothergill: Keynote
Integrating Technology to Enhance Lectures and Learning

Professor of Engineering and Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research & Enterprise, City University

Intro: John was a Pro-VC at Leicester. Course with etivities, podcasts, etc. Always concluded podcast with a joke or rhyme. Made it on to BBC East Midlands as the rapping professor. Another example, keynote at 2012 conference. He was in China at the time. With practice, it was a resounding success. Exactly the sort of academic learning technologists love to work with. Hot of THE press – been awarded [something] for advancing dielectrics and electrical insulation.

Worked at Leicester for many years. Told “2nd year Materials. 24 lectures and an exam” when started. In many ways things haven’t moved on.

Three case studies: Online business simulations. Podcasts and online lectures. Online assessment for pacing in 1st year.

1. Online business simulation

Management and entrepreneurship. Taught ‘Management’ – 24 lectures and an exam. Not popular with students, or lectures. He took it over.

Worked on the learning objectives. Hadn’t done any of the ‘personal’ ones. So incorporated it in to the beginning of 2nd year design module. Would work in teams, plan, communicate. Video of design workshop – working on a generator. Practical work in groups – some electrical eng, some materials, some civil, some software. Weren’t well prepared for it. But it was only him running it.

So worked on a business simulation. Had to get a company to help run it. Manage an automotive company trading in the European car market. Work in groups – board of directors of a company. Strategic plan, reporting and reviewing. Then design a poster that communicates it.

Simple personality test ( Not very accurate, but good at making the students think about it, realise people work in different ways.

Worked over 11 weeks. Intro, pilot, then week on week. 30 companies. Defined ‘winning’ criteria – not marking criteria. Didn’t teach them any management – a hand with definitions and web pages. But didn’t teach them how to do e.g. gross profit margin.

Annual business decisions – products (models); people; plant; promotion; finance. Once they’d decided their business plan, decide how many to make of different products, what R&D to do. They could ask advice – in the pilot it didn’t count. All done through Blackboard. But after that, charged them £1m per question from their budget. Engineers found it frustrating – used to finding the right answer in calculations. Here there isn’t one. Can do a what-if analysis, guesses at profit. Doesn’t know, because it doesn’t know how the other 29 companies are going to work. At the end of each one, get feedback. They produce a business report, one-page, how they did, compared to projections; projections for next year. Commentary on last year, and plans for next. And review performance against criteria – clarity of objectives, how well working together. Poster session at the end. To attract staff to the posters, offer them a free lunch.

Most difficult thing was marking it. I think, the  more difficult it is to mark, the more worthwhile it is to teach. Some correlation there. Important that they did this and were motivated. The mark wasn’t terribly important. You can see that some groups were better than others, and some contributing more than others.

2. Online module for campus-based students

Engineering modules, previously 24 lectures and an exam. 2nd/3rd/4th. Some not English 1st level. Some not full e course before. 10 credit module.

New uses Blackboard. Run 10 times. Rationale was lack of availability for 20 lectures – he was PVC. This was a way forward. Students enjoyed it.

Four sections, each ith etivities, podcasts, discussions, summative assignment, learning units, online lectures, formative quizzes, other bits.

Nice thing about this is you can put a coherent amount in to a learning unit, not stuck with the [Procrustean] hour-long format. Summative assignments done at the end online under exam conditions in university computer suite. etivities, final one was the assessment.

eLectures. Not video captures. Works from a PowerPoint. It’s audio over PowerPoint slides, with captions. Nicely interactive with the text for jumping around the presentation. Providing the information. (!)

Engineering students are so used to lectures, this was familiar to them.

A good lecture doesn’t convey just the information, but maybe some other things. Lectures for primary knowledge acquisition. F2f lectures does core knowledge acquisition, but also current events, feedback and planning, humour. Virtual lectures aren’t very good at all of that apart from the core knowledge acquisition. So now does audio podcasts to cover current events, feedback and planning, humour. Audio is dead easy if you want to edit it. Students can listen to it more easily as they move around. Very informal, bit amateurish, that’s their charm, about 10 minutes.

Conventional lectures = virtual lectures + podcasts.

Bit more life to course. eLectures were written years earlier. Complement announcements page. Feedback. And a bit of entertainment.

Thought about the podcast during the week – New, announcements and feedback, fun bit. Took about an hour or so on a Sunday. Fun stuff, like Andrea was talking about. I used to put a different cartoon/joke on the front page every day. Worked out in advance. Students muttering in the lift about it. Called ‘Profcast’.

Made it on to BBC local news.

e-tivities. Gilly Salmon. His rationale – it actually works in getting the students to work online together. I found I knew the students individually wel as I was also interacting with them.

Worked really well. Students accumulating marks faster than on traditional lecture course. Tended to work all over the place. Any time. More students working at 1am than at 9am. And significant work in the evenings as well.

Virtual lectures. Least important thing was photograph/movie of the lecturer – so he dropped it often. [Yes, they may have said that – but did they learn more and/or persist in playing the videos more?] Liked replay/move through it.

3. Online Assessment for pacing 1st years, to improve retention

Low attendance in classes – like 50%. Engineering is linear. Lectures gradually build up on previous material. If you didn’t understand the previous stuff, you won’t understand the later stuff. Also high drop out rate – ~13% didn’t make it to 2nd year. So started to take a register – portable scanner. Main resource was associated with following up poor attenders. First year tutor had a big job once a week with a line of students outside his office. (!)

Wanted to keep them engaged over time.  Subtle change – changed from two 15 credits/12 weeks with exams between in to a 30 credit one, in six-week chunks with a reading and assessment week between. Gave them Blackboard MCQs. Can test skills and knowledge, less understanding. Forced revision at this point. Exam at the end.

Attendance increased – 14% attending less than half the lectures, instead of 50%. Blackboard tests nearly 100% attendance. Pass rate was increased by 16%. Little change in the overall progression rate. But in the second year, significant difference – carried forward better understanding of first-year subjects. Interestingly, the staff started to use Blackboard more for support of their general teaching, since they had to go in their to set the tests.

Caught problems early – e.g. not prepared, not engaging – said first year tutor.


Richard: Fascinating. What you’ve experienced there, what have you taken in to your role as PVC? Or straightforward leading by example?

It is important to lead by example. Responsible for this area at Leicester, not at City. Difficult to sell to your colleagues if you don’t do it yourself. Academics asked to do stuff by people who never teach. Set up with Gilly Salmon, the Beyond Distance Research Alliance, funded research, but also disseminate it amongst staff. Reasonably successful. These days would’ve taken a more strategic approach, insisting on more uptake in certain areas. Had 20-30% using it a lot, others using it a bit, 20-30% not at all. Grew in some areas very well – modern languages really embraced it, delivering audio, listening to students’ audio. Problem was how to get accents in to Blackboard. [! Slightly shocked that this is difficult, but not when I think about it. Blimey.]

Q: Willingness of staff to engage. Common excuse, haven’t got time. How do you address that?

Common misconception that if you teach by elearning you save time. You don’t save an awful lot of time. The initial time to set up a course is important to appreciate. You need to allow that to happen in workload allocation. You can then scale it up quite efficiently. With the management course, had 150 students, did it by myself. Spending 3h a week with them. Not doing that much more; marking about a day every other week. As well as using that simulation, I used the VLE all the time. Only communicated by the VLE. Could also do things remotely, e.g. when in the States. Got up at 3.30am to be online answering questions. Helped credibility with students. We do need to ensure we make time for staff to do it. For larger class sizes, if you get it right, do save time. And you teach better. Taught 1,000 students over 10y, only needed 1 resit exam. Much better than previously.

When you have a forum, reply quickly and enthusiastically, but with a caveat. I did do that for a few years. After 3y, was busy, said guarantee will log on twice a week, and did more. But they were starting to help each other more. So I liked his idea that sometimes you say ‘good question, anybody any ideas?’

Sarah: A lot of what we’ve heard is predicated on teaching science or science-ish subjects. Especially use of online quizzes, etc, work in the context of humanities.

You’re right, especially in a practice subject. Do need to find a way of doing that. The e-tivities work is good in humanities. Work through a process of analysis to construct ideas. Gilly’s Five Steps, can apply to analysis of Henry V or whatever. Groups set readings, asked questions, closed to start up opening it up. I agree you wouldn’t be doing MCQ answers and automatic marking, unless you felt there was basic knowledge they really need to know. At the Open University, scientist, educational expert, talked about Knowledge, Skills, and Understanding, works for engineering. Knowledge is factual stuff. You’re more the understanding end of things, hard to assess automatically. Can assess through groupwork. Doing it online means you can see what’s going on.

Sue Dixon, Len Platt, Michael Young: Plenary


Thanks for waiting until the end. This is a way of pulling strands together. Sharing reflections from the day. Evaluation forms! Thanks for the range of people who’ve come today. Has been a packed day, sorry for moving you about.

Treated to Andrea on how things have moved onwards for him. Struck by his energy, using technology and the VLE. Five types of forum, but mainly the fun and frolics. Engaging students in the process is as important. I feel empowering individuals in their learning is important. His idea of it belonging to the students – we don’t have all the knowledge. Loved lunchtime panel for wider arguments. Workload allocation, giving time for reflection. Creating independence, rather than dependence, among staff. Danger for GLEU becoming the experts, but it’s about how we can help staff become free to do things themselves.


It’s been a funny old day. Never had a chemist and an engineer in Goldsmiths. It’s been good for us. The idiosyncratic chemist, order of the engineer, extremely interesting. One thing, to do with a comment from the lunchtime panel. I work in literature. I go to lectures, seminars, conference. They’re nothing like this. They don’t have people who are plugged in to other things with all kinds of platforms. There’s something important about that. Underneath what we’ve all witnessed, other things have been going on. It’s almost another event. All kinds of things have gone on. That for me is a powerful image of what TEL does. Terribly important in relationship between us and our students. That really gripped me. Beyond that, interested in a thing that came up over and over again. Hugely gifted individual, Andrea, rolling that ball up the hill. But we’re not all like that. The question around individual initiative and college strategy. Important for thinking about how units like ours work, what agendas, tradeoff between work from below, strategy from above. These are important issues. Finally, a political issue. Universities see themselves as radical places. How true that is I don’t know. Universities have capacity for sucking up radicalism and turning it in to different things. That’s possible with this technology. What do we do with these things in terms of equality and access.


All impressed with innovation, good practice. Fantastic turnout. Wish every single module leader at Goldsmiths had been here. How can I translate that in to our practice in art, music, etc. Interesting presentation from Rose, webconferencing, integrated in to performing arts. Fantastic models of individual course leader’s achievements: challenge for managerial level for how we facilitate that and counter resistance, which can be well founded. How do we show what the potential is? Examples today can help.


Share comments from the floor? None. To end: one speaker said about capturing innovation. Hope we’ve had a chance to do that, to meet a diverse body and fly the flag for TEL. I feel like I ought to end with a rap. I’m a Mathematician not an English person. Thank you to the GLEU team, at the front and at the back too unseen. Hope you come back to Goldsmiths, when this building will be the Professor Stuart Hall building.

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Author: dougclow

Data scientist, tutxor, project leader, researcher, analyst, teacher, developer, educational technologist, online learning expert, and manager. I particularly enjoy rapidly appraising new-to-me contexts, and mediating between highly technical specialisms and others, from ordinary users to senior management. After 20 years at the OU as an academic, I am now a self-employed consultant, building on my skills and experience in working with people, technology, data science, and artificial intelligence, in a wide range of contexts and industries.

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