Durham Day 2

This was the first day of the conference for most, but as I had been there the day before for the content meeting, this was my day 2.

Keynote 1.  Augmented spaces

An at times fascinating keynote but tended to jump around a bit and so could be confusing.

Augmented realities can build in instructions to live areas (ie changing a car engine, doing a chemistry practical).  Provided a few videos of people with headsets overlaying useful info onto reality.

Overlaying 3d models onto real life movement.  best example was a skeletal & veins overlay on a live person showing how the insides move when a person moves.

Nice video on how using video headsets can make you assume you are elsewhere. (your headset shows the view from the person you are shaking hands with and so you think you are wearing their shirt).

If stuff is labeled for you then instead of having to learn then you can just see it – short cut to the deeper learning.  Ie you skip over the basics.

Mobile learning – go into a zone you get info video and tasks etc.  Example pictures of the area in the past.  A good case study done in Eden Grove in north London, nice idea looked like some interesting learning but not sure that the amount of effort involved to set it up is something that your average staff member could do.  (as smart phones become more ubiquitous the ideas around adding geolocated materials will become easier – also possibilities of students adding stuff).

Overlaying building plans on buildings (ie an old church that is semi ruined & make a full 3d model) takes a long time to build the models by scaning in real life views.

In summary there is a lot going on with Augmented reality and it is often in Education that some of the research is going on.

Session 1 – three steps to success (distance learning).  Uni of Leicester

HE is changing (brown, visas for students).

Do distance learner feel lonely and isolated.  Does a filling cabinet in the sky really provide distance learning?

Their unit provides a 3 step approach

Bb taster -> Orientation -> module one.

Taster – one access/guest access which shows them what they will be doing (a subset of the course).  Sent to students when they express interest in a course.  For us we could do this when we get their (online) UCAS application.

Orientation module – students now act as “Live Students” so they get to learn how they will be learning before they start the course proper.   Course design and development unit has designed a distance learning package that covers all the students need for distance learning (it is added into the orientation course).  Held on content system (they use plone not Bb) each support area maintains their own materials (ie library, IT, Registry) and these are all linked into the package (which then updates when support area updates it).

Module One – subject specific materials – gives students access to all the subject specific stuff they need throughout their degree (library, administration etc) this package is added to the Module one by the Teaching staff.

Written guidelines on how to setup a taster have been provided to staff who are planning to do a distance course.

Have a limited copy of the live course for the taster show potential students what they will learn and the kinds of activities they might be doing.

Important – a single taster will not do for all courses (as they are different and may use different tools etc).  So each Program that is involved with distance learning has to create their own taster.

Marketing (and course design and development  unit) have a sign off on taster courses before they go live.

Session 2 – 7 course design models London knowledge lab

Pedagogical templates

These models were drawn from the existing practice at the institution.



Useful if you need models, took them about 1 months worth of staff time to create.  They tend to bring the models to staff to give a starting point to conversations about what type of course the staff member wants to create.

Campus classroom Co-operation Teesside Uni

Teeside wanted to create a Distance course.

Teaching staff had a 1 day training/support/planning session.

Some staff powerpoint with audio over the top.  Made a lot of stuff using softchalk.

Ran into major problems as the responsibility for making the course fell on the elearners rather than the Teaching staff.

Basically this illustrated what can go wrong when there is no clear idea of what is planned.  eLearning staff were seconded to the project to assist and facilitate the lecturing staff with building/designing a distance course.  Some Lecturing staff assumed this meant they handed over their lecture notes and the eLearning staff did everything else.  In one case a Lecturer went off and did research for 4 months leaving just a few powerpoints and not responding to emails.

A course/unit/program belongs to the teaching staff and it is a live thing.  It should not be dropped onto eLearners who have no detailed understanding of the subject matter.

Dr Companion – durham

Giving healthcare students a PDA.  A chip with a bundle of appropriate resourses (3 bundles based on type of student – nurse, doctor, pharmacy)

2nd year students (5 year degree).  Did this with 2 sequential cohorts.

Students did an online evaluation survey.  Students also given a Learning Object blog (they could see each others posts).

Interesting that the 2nd cohort was worse in every trend (responded to survey less, used less, felt was less useful, didnt blog).

Some students want paper resources instead.  Battery issues with some pda’s.

Students wanted more or different resources on the PDA.

Suggested improvements – make it available on mobile phones.

Is now iphone apps (android is in production).  Have a usb version. Cost of an individual app is £25 plus so expensive for students.

For me one of the big questions/problems was that the practice was abandoned after the 2 year project.  If 70%+ of your students say that it helps their learning isnt there a requirement to at least give a reason for not rolling it out to future years?

When and Where is neither here nor there.  Reading

Video – provide to students, for feedback and feedforward etc.  Students want it and want it available in Blackboard.  It also has to be easy (for both staff and students).

Students said that they were getting much more feedback (staff said they were not giving any more than when they typed it – said it took very slightly longer).  Fail rate of the modules dropped when staff started using video feedback.

Feedback was generally for whole class – some did for individuals.  For whole class was much quicker.

Advised staff not to spend any time on editing. (some staff said after a while they were doing faster than typed feedback).

Used an area where staff could drop their videos and have them processed and a url produced they could then stick in their course.

Built a block so the converting area appears in Blackboard.

Portfolio and other widgets

One to help with structure , one to allow people to comment on particular bits (rather than just on whole thing), one to allow export to other ePortfolios systems.

Planning to build blocks for tagging and recommending content on the content system.

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