A snapshot of Trinity Saint David TEL activities Jan – Oct 2010

This post contains a summary of a range of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) related events and activities that took place between January and October 2010. It covers conference reports from:

  • JISC RSC Wales Roadshows: Jan – April 2010
  • Blackboard Northern Europe Teaching and Learning Conference April 2010
  • SALT Conference: May 2010
  • The JISC Innovation Forum: July 2010
  • The Gwella CAMEL series: Aug – Nov 2010

……and a brief look forward to forthcoming events during the new academic year 2010/2011

Conference Reports:

  • RSC Wales Roadshows: January – April 2010

    Background Information:

    “RSC Wales is going on the road in 2010 bringing a series of free, cross-sectoral, hands-on ‘roadshows’ to a venue near you. We will be covering a number of themes including learner experience, inclusion, personalisation and quality. Our objective is to bring people together to focus in a practical way on how technology can support educators to address the issues associated with these themes. Our roadshows aim to provide an enjoyable and effective experience that will benefit learners, staff and the organisation in a variety of ways”


    Julia Ault, Alison Harding and Ellen Harris from the LRC attended this series of events held in the Village Hotel, Swansea:

    Barrier Busters: to identify and discuss barriers to increased accessibility and inclusion and how these could be broken down or ‘busted’. Access Apps, the JISC TechDIS service and making your documents and resources more accessible were all covered during the day.

    Learner Voice, Learner Choice: to identify and discuss methods of understanding learner experience and to investigate ways of empowering learners to express themselves and manage information. We explored a range of technologies including mobile and handheld, mind-mapping, online collaboration using a text wall, wikis, eportfolios and http://typewith.me/ which allows you to collaborate seamlessly online in real time with colleagues/students etc

    Small Steps, Great Strides: This particular event was aimed at Managers and focussed on how the innovative use of technology can change an organisation for the better in line with greater expectations from both learners and policy makers. Some of the technologies used in the previous session were again deployed but this time with the aim of Management and Team collaboration as well as interaction with learners. eSafety, conducting a training needs analysis and evaluating the effectiveness of your change management methods were all covered during this event which also offered the opportunity for hands-on practice with some useful tools and resources as well as timely and sensible advice.

    Information and Resources from all 3 conferences and other RSC events can be accessed on the RSC Wales Moodle site – under Event Resources and more information on all JISC services can be found on the JISC Advance website.

  • Blackboard Northern Europe Teaching and Learning Conference: April 2010

    This conference was held at Swansea University from 12th – 14th April (the first time a full Blackboard Conference has been held in the UK) and was attended by Julia Ault for the full 3 days and Sally Wilkinson on 13th April.

    Blackboard launched the latest version of their VLE (virtual learning environment) Blackboard Learn Release 9.1 at this event and we were able to attend several sessions where information and training was provided on the changes, increased functionality and improvements to the interface. I have also since attended further meetings in Swansea University with Blackboard staff to discuss this in more detail.

    This updated version will be particularly useful to us in Trinity Saint David because a fully supported Cymraeg Language pack is now included at no extra cost and the addition of a lower level of ‘sub-tabs’ or pages will enable us to provide an ‘easily switchable’ bilingual interface for our users without the clutter and confusion of multiple navigation ‘tabs’ stretching across the screen.

    The SWWHEP eLearning Team gave a presentation on the SWWHEP eLearning Project as a whole at this event and I was able to highlight our innovative bilingual portal in my section of the presentation. Other notable improvements include a drag and drop facility for modules, a notification dashboard which can be customised so that students can see assignment hand in dates, announcements, important information and so forth at a glance, a more intuitive control panel for instructors and fully integrated rich media tools such as YouTube, Flickr and SlideShare – known as ‘Mashups’.

    We upgraded to this new version in Trinity Saint David during the summer break 2010 and the initial response from staff has seemed positive and enthusiastic. More information on Blackboard 9.1 can be found on the Blackboard website.

    It proved to be a very enjoyable and informative conference generally, affording us the opportunity to network with colleagues from all over the globe and hear about eLearning (TEL) in places as diverse as Saudi Arabia, Ormskirk, Alberta, Galway and the Netherlands! Interestingly, despite the obvious differences in location, the same issues/problems re user training and support seem to arise wherever you are.

    The sessions on Mobile Learn – which is being developed by students at Stanford University, California – (Blackboard bought their company for their talents and expertise) – were particularly fascinating and were demonstrated on an iPad simulator on a Macbook which was very realistic and exciting.

  • SALT (Swansea Academy of Learning and Teaching) Conference: May 12th 2010

    Julia Ault and Jeni Williams from the Faculty of Arts attended the second annual Excellence in Learning and Teaching Conference at Swansea University.This event was very engaging and interesting, but also rather thought-provoking too. A recurring theme began to emerge throughout the day as many of the presenters recounted the difficulties they had encountered – not so much in the initial set-up of a new project or idea – but in retention of participation after the initial enthusiasm had died away.

    ‘If you build it, they will come’ was generally held to be true if the project is suitably marketed to the intended participants, but ‘getting them to stay’ is often quite another matter. It was also agreed that encouraging voluntary participation in collaborative activities in particular was something of a challenge and that an incentive – often taking the form of setting collaborative tasks as part of compulsory module assessment – needed to be offered for such activities to be deemed successful.

    This may be something that we need to take onboard ourselves and prepare for when planning our own technology enhanced learning projects within the university.

  • Gwella CAMEL Project Aug – Nov 2010

    The University of Glamorgan CELT (Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching) – together with colleagues from other Gwella member institutions – has established four CAMELS focussing upon sharing Best Practice with respect to four major themes which have emerged as part of Gwella: the Learning Environment Review, Online Assessment, Social Software and ePortfolios/PDP.The JISC Collaborative Approaches to the Management of eLearning (CAMEL) model will be used to build a community of practice and each CAMEL will be hosted by a different member Institution.

    The CAMELS will be about showcasing and sharing both positive and negative elements identified during the Gwella programme in an open and honest environment.Each event will be arranged by a member of the Glamorgan CELT staff in collaboration with the host institution. Follow-up events could be arranged if desired and a record will be kept via photographs, twitter feeds and blog entries made by the participating institutions. As the institution organising all the events, an overall evaluation will be completed by Glamorgan and presented to the HEA.

    Trinity Saint David was invited to host one of the events on the Trinity Carmarthen Campus – the Social Software strand – with a team of Gwella colleagues including Julia Ault (Trinity) Chris Hall (Swansea University) Allen and Geraint (Newport) Mary Jacob (Aberystwyth) and Steve Woodward and Jacqui (Glamorgan).

    This CAMEL was the first in the series and took place in Y Cwad in early August. It was judged to be a great success by all who attended and it was felt that it set the right positive and enthusiastic tone for the series. We were joined over lunch by Chris Cardew from Swansea University for a chat about Pebblepad which whetted colleagues appetites for the second CAMEL which was held later that month in Aberystwyth University on ePortfolios.

    Julia Ault will also be attending the Learning Environment Review CAMEL at Cardiff University in November.

  • Gwella Shared User Support Online Resources Repository

    Following on from recent discussions in the Blackboard Wales User Group about sharing user support resources, colleagues in Aberystwyth University intend to use the £1000 Gwella collaboration fund to further this project. They have agreement in principle from the PVC for Learning and Teaching and HEA Critical Friend for a day in Aberystwyth to plan the organisation of an online repository for resources and actually start the process of putting in content. Gwella would be used to pay expenses for one representative from each interested institution. Julia Ault will be attending from Trinity Saint David.

  • JISC Innovation Forum July 2010

    This was held at the Royal Holloway (University of London), Egham, Surrey.The purpose of the JISC Innovation Forum 2010 (JIF2010) was to bring together over 200 JISC funded projects for a networking, sharing and learning event. JIF2010 provided a forum for projects and programmes to meet, engage, share ideas and form useful relationships.

    Trinity Saint David was invited to participate in this event because it is currently engaged in a JISC Building Capacity Project.

    Julia Ault attended on behalf of Trinity Saint David. Again, this was a most enjoyable event, offering many opportunities for networking, making new friends and learning more about a diverse range of JISC Projects being undertaken across the UK.

Forthcoming Events:

  • Gwella Conference at Gregynog Oct 2010

    Julia Ault, Kathryn James and Kevin Matherick will be attending this event ( Gwella Agenda Oct 2010 ) as the Trinity Saint David Gwella Team this year and we look forward to a stimulating round up of Gwella activities throughout Wales over the past 3 years plus a hopefully optimistic look forward to an uncertain but undoubtedly challenging, future in Higher Education in Wales over the coming few years.

  • Trinity Saint David TEL Dissemination Conference Jan/Feb 2011

    The new University of Wales: Trinity Saint David was formed on 1st September 2010 and our Learning and Teaching Strategy focuses on providing a supportive environment that maximises learning opportunities for all our students.

    The development of technology enhanced learning (TEL) is seen as a vital element underpinning our strategy – both within the university itself and in collaboration with regional partners – and therefore a full one day TEL Dissemination Conference – including lunch and refreshments – will be held at Y Llwyfan on the Trinity Campus in late January / early February 2011 – final date to be confirmed.

    This will be an ideal opportunity for colleagues from both campuses to come together with like-minded people from other institutions across the UK and others for what we hope will prove to be an interesting and engaging event that will ‘whet the collective appetite’ for a program of TEL – themed staff development activities planned for current and future academic years.

    There will be a varied programme of presenters from Higher Education Institutions across the UK – plus a number of exhibitors showcasing new technologies – who will discuss a range of approaches to learning, teaching and online collaboration through the imaginative and effective use of technology.

    The full programme of workshops/exhibits will be circulated nearer the date and we envisage that topics are likely to include the following and more:

    * eAssessment* iTunesU – University of Glamorgan are the first university in Wales to have a presence on iTunesU providing podcasts of learning materials to subscribe to and download

    * eCopyright – Data Protection and Copyright Manager, Aberystwyth University

    * Developing a bilingual VLE – Bangor University, Y Porth

    * SALT – Swansea Academy of Learning and Teaching – discussing the conference in SU on May 11th and their aspirations etc

    * JISC RSC Wales Roadshow – Accessibility and Inclusion – Learner Voice / Learner Choice – Small Steps / Great Strides….

    * Learning Objects Campus Pack – personal learning spaces and more

    * Elluminate – desktop web conferencing and virtual classrooms

    * Gwella – eLearning fund, online learning, resources portal, lecture capture (Panopto) Aberystwyth University, University of Glamorgan

    * SWWHEP – a look back at the eLearning Project 2008 – 2010

    * Learning Resources at Trinity Saint David – what we can offer you and your students – focusing particularly on new technologies