ALT-C 2010: day one

I’m trying to recall the last time I went to ALT-C, the annual gathering of UK learning technologists. I seem to recollect it was in Edinburgh about 4 years ago. Although I also recall going to ALT in Exeter one year as well in fairly recent history. I’ll need to check the website to establish when it was, but what I do know is it was several year’s ago and I’ve certainly not been for at least 3 years since LSE was using Moodle.

My colleagues headed to Nottingham yesterday, lured by the prospect of free drinks last night provided by Blackboard. Ever the sensible I decided to head up on the train first thing this morning timing my arrival hopefully for just before the first keynote. I hadn’t planned on there being a tube strike though, so it was an early start and a packed Thameslink train was the only option to get me to St Pancras on time.

My main focus today has been on our presentation which is helpfully timed for 5.20 this afternoon. As I’ve not seen Steve and Sonja my co-presenters for over 2 weeks we’ll need to get together to run through what we are doing. We’re presenting some interim results from interviews with LSE academics about lecture capture. Last year we discovered in our annual department staff survey that the introduction of lecture capture had rather divided opinions amongst the academic staff. When asked to comment on the new system in a free text comment box in our online questionnaire, we got an outpouring of opinions, which were clearly sharply divided. Thus it was decided we needed to find out a bit more about this, by carrying out some qualitative research. I offered to be involved in the research helping to devise the interview guide we used and carrying out some of the interviews with academics. In total we carried out 24 interviews with staff, deliberately choosing 12 academics who identified themselves as ‘pro-lecture capture’ and 12 who were against it. We tried to be an open minded as possible when talking to lecturers, some of whom immediately thought the LSE Centre for Learning Technology had a ‘position’ on lecture capture (ie we were trying to push it) and this was the agenda behind us wanting to talk to them. Genuinely this was not the case, and the interviews were carried out by 5 of us in the team who held mixed opinions about the value of this technology.

I offered to help inform our research by carrying out a literature review to identify any previous studies in this area. In fact, although lecture capture has been written about quite a lot, mainly the research has investigated students attitudes towards this technology, and tried to establish how it might help in the learning process. Very few studies have examined the attitudes of academic staff and we literally found just one significant study which had interviewed academics about their attitudes in the same way we did. That’s not to say that people haven’t written about the attitudes of staff, because they have, although this is often based on anecdotal evidence, for example discussing the common concern that staff have about lecture recording having an impact on attendance at their lecture. While it was slightly an aside to our paper at ALT about our findings, I have written up the literature review in its own right and put the paper in LSE Research Online if you want to find out more.

If you’re coming along to our presentation later today I look forward to seeing you. I’ll be blogging about the conference some more as well.



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