Friday, 19 August 2011

Engaging staff critically and creatively in technology-enhanced learning’ Webinar

To day I attended  a webinar organised by Technology-Enhanced Professional Learning (TEPL sponsored by HEA) featuring Dr Keith Smyth. 

The website says the webinar is about:
Exploring technology-enhanced approaches to staff development, and inviting participants to discuss where we need to rethink current staff development provision, including Pg Certificates in Learning and Teaching, to encourage educators to engage critically and creatively with the place of technology-enhanced learning in the current HE landscape and their own teaching practice.

There are for challenges which help to frame engaging staff critically and creatively in TEL through technology-enhanced staff development opportunities.
  1. Lack confidence, not sure where to start not sure what might work.
  2. Lack good understanding of how the students experience blended and online. If they did they would be able to make more informed choices, however staff have limited time to engage.
  3. Reaching staff who do not engage in attending staff development.
  4. By providing a PG Cert related experiences of online learning (provides safe collegiate environment).
Suggested Solutions:


  • Examples of low risk and easy to implement approaches in a safe way (does not detract from student experience)
  • Students as creators, co-creators collaborating on class glossaries/bookmarks, wiki, Google Doc, delicious
  • Question forums for general queries - this years problems into next years FAQ
  • Online guest expert sessions - student driven (used within staff development session)

Bite Sized online staff development 
Online taster course 15-30mins hands-on in particular areas of TEL Can do it at any point in the day
  • Podwhating (learning about podcasting) 10 working days 22 signed up 18 completed it Introductions, readings, exploring a post cast directory, use them themselves, explain technical aspects, gradually working towards making their own.
  • Web 2.0 course (ELGG) get a chance to experience social networking for professional reasons at uni

Easy availability of subject specific examples

TEL in staff PGCer 

  • Engaging reflectively in teaching practice
  • Group Work - co-creation
  • Practice based (trying in own teaching then reflect)
  • Experience of creating online and classroom based resources
  • Learning through enquiry and activity design
  • Web quest
  • Ideal place to start developing skills online
  • Deliver web-seminar to others on course
  • Course as critical focus
  • Problem based learning - modelling formal and informal learning

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Open Learn H807 - Accessibility in eLearning

I am reading through the Open Learn course on accessibility in learning design. The first activity is asking me to list the types of activities a learner might be asked to do as part of a distance learning course and to note next to these any which might be a problem for students who have a disability. Also whether there are any in the list which are made easier via distance than face-to-face.

  • Online Discussions
  • Search for resources
  • Write and read blogs
  • Write assignments
  • Elluminate session
  • Watch videos
  • Listen to podcasts

Whether the activities are difficult for disabled students is all dependent upon their disability. Anything involving sound could be a problem for hearing impaired users, anything with visual information is difficult for visually impaired users, anything that is text based could be a problem for dyslexic students. It also depends upon the technology being used to access the systems. Some technologies do not work well together.

Some of these systems may make access to learning better allowing students to have technology read text allowed. This can also help with spelling and grammer as systems can help to correct these.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

ALT Webinar - What's New in Digital Learning Notes

Neil Slater
  • Gartner New Techs for 2011
  • Cloud Computing
  • Mobile Learning
  • eBooks - eBook readers, interactive books, media, ownership LMS need to interact with these and devices
  • Social Networking - most do not want to include Facebook in studies, for privacy would not move soley to social and no LMS.
  • Annotation facility for webpages, can share with others, and build community, build a reputation for good annotations
  • iSpot - learning informally around the world sharing photos and others identify what they are
  • Personal - services more tailor-made to individuals
  • Push LMS to iGoogle - shouldn't force students to go into LMS but others would prefer to go into university based world
  • Meeting study buddies online to work through course material
Michael Fieldstein
  • Mindtap - text book replacement
  • Organised into learning activities, quizzes, readings, flash cards

Monday, 27 June 2011

Adding Audio and Video to Microsoft PowerPoint Presentations Clifton 24/06/2011

This one was a disaster! I had technical problems which meant that trinees were not able to try out some of the techniques being taught during the session.

One of these I was aware about before the session ran. This was to do with the narrating the presentation. I could not get the microphones to work on the Student PC's. I checked all of the setting were the same as the presenter PC but I still could not get this to work.

I also had a problem with the cpomputers recognising the MPEG4 format that the FlipCams record in. I did not test before the session so this meant that I was not aware that this was an issue until the trainees started to try and add their video to PowerPoint.

The trainees left early because they were not able to try out the techniques that were taught during the session other than adding video from the web.

I have reported the issues to IS and we will see if they are able to resolve them. If not then I will need to find an alternative room to use over at the Clifton Campus

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Reflections on my training

Enhancing your presentations Microsoft PowerPoint City 20/06/2011

I thought that the course went well again. There was a problem with one computernto being able to access the h drive but I am in the process of reporting this to IS as I still need to get the computer number. Luckily there was another computer so the trainee was easily able to move to that one.
There were a couple of questions about the master slide and although I was not covering this in the course I was able to show them where it was in 2010. I also referred staff to the interactive guide on PowerPoint as this will help them to see where some of the tools have moved to in 2010. I am going to include this within the training in the future.

I felt that even though I had tried to change the slide layout section of the training it is still a little flat and uninteresting. I think that this needs to be changed to become more engaging around some of the key principles of layout.

I also need to look into the copyright of the images you can get from Office ClipArt. Are these free to use in presentations or should ackowledgments be made?

One number of the trainees were interested to know whether it is possible to have the projector display the presentation but to have the notes display on the computer. I plan to ask some colleagues if this is possible so that I can answer this question if it comes up again.

Another question that arose during the session was around exit animation and whether there is a way of have one item in a list appear then disappear before the next item appears on the same slide.
Someone also asked me about merging PowerPoint presentations together where many of the slides are the same but a few are different. Is there a way of doing this?

After finding out the answer to these questions I am going to send a message to all the attendees on the session to show that I have followed up on the queries that I could not answer during the session.
Over all I still think that the session runs well and the attendees seem pleased with what has been covered.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Reflections on my training

Enhancing your presentations with Microsoft PowerPoint

The session went a lot better than I expected. I was worried that as I had run it previously with only 2 staff members it might not work as well with a larger group. In the end only 8 of the 11 booked candidates turned up.

The session flowed well and the participants liked the good examples provded at the beginning as well as some of the tips provided during the session. The only area where I want to add an activity is around the slide layout. After the recommendations were given I felt that there needed to be an activity around having a go with this one one of the slides they brought along.

I have also added a few other things to the session:

  • Background colour recommendations from Jisc Techdis and the British Dyslexia Association. Using cream with dark blue text although this can be a preference thing.
  • Advising adding hyperlinks by linking text rather than copying in url
  • Using alt and tab to navigate to another window during the presentation
  • The sounds that are subtle to use with transistions
One of the problems that did occur during the session was around some computers not loading the clipart photos. However I suggested that this was related to the computer and they could use their own or a sample image from the My Pictures file instead. I have added this to the plan.

Another problem occured around changing the colour of the hypertext link. I think this is created by some default styles as you are not able to change the colour by simply trying to change the colour of the text. I will have to look into how to change this.

Overall I was very happy with the way that the session went.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Completing my CMALT portfolio

So I have now completed my CMALT portfolio. But how did I do this?

I had a little bit of motivation as a co-worker had recently completed theirs and by looking at it I had a much clearer idea of how I could put mine together. I started by looking over some further information documents I had recently put together for job applications. I was able to pick out which parts of these could be replicated within the sections of the portfolio. I also brainstormed the various evidence I had for the sections picking out examples which best exemplified the section names.

I created my Google site as described in my previous post and I began with converting some of my evidence to be available online using SlideShare and Google Docs. I then considered whether it might be better to try and focus my ideas for the sections on one topic rather than trying to use every example that I could think of. This helped to direct my thoughts and reflection so they flowed from one area to another. After completing sections 1-3 I came a bit unstuck on section 4.

In this section you are only required to complete one area (a or b). I chose to look at section 4a Working with Others. I found it difficult to focus my ideas on this area as throughout my career I have worked with others in teams or on specific projects. I decided to try and group some of the things that I have done into subheadings, give a general overview couple of sentences and then describe a couple of examples.

I then moved on to section 5. This was the section that I struggled with the most. I found it difficult to identify a specialist area. I am a trainer but what is special about the training I deliver. What is unique about it? Well the only thing that I could come up with was that I train on the Desire2Learn VLE here in the UK. Not many people can say that they do that especially at a University. I do hope to change my specialism in the future but for now this one will do. I used text and examples from the other parts of the portfolio but I focused them around the topic that I had chosen.

After completing all the sections I re-read all of them to make sure that they made sense and there were no glaring spelling errors. I also reviewed the sections for the amount of reflection I had included. I am not reflective by nature so I wanted to make sure that the sections included areas where I had considered what I had gained from the work and examples I described.

So what now?

Well I need to find out what the status is with my registration and how I go about sending in the portfolio itself.