ALT-C for me was about digital literacy and OERs

I seemed to attend quite a number of sessions over the past 3 day in Nottingham about either open educational resources (OERs) or digital literacy. I deliberately chose these parallels as they both relate to my new project: DELILA. I’ll share a few thoughts from some of the sessions I went to.

In terms of the keynotes, I arrived just as Donald Clark was starting his opening keynote so had to stand at the back. The Twitter stream suggested quite a few people didn’t agree with Donald, or didn’t like his attitude. He was basically telling us how the lecture as a method of teaching is defunct and not effective – through a lecture!

The first parallel I attended a workshop by Helen Beetham and Rhona Sharp about digital literacies and they asked what are the institutional challenges of having a remit for digital literacies. Learners expect to learn in new ways, teachers have to teach in new ways, but there is a skills gap? This is pushing people towards a digital literacy role – one which I for one would really welcome. However there is still a lot of uncertainly about what to do about digital literacy. Helen likes the EU’s definition of digital literacy which is “@font-face { font-family: “Times New Roman”; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }table.MsoNormalTable { font-size: 10pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }the confident and critical use of ICT for work leisure, learning and communication.” (DigEuLit 2006)

Beetham doesn’t think it’s helpful to define competencies for digital literacy, but thinks it focuses around three areas: ICT skills, information and media literacy skills and academic literacies (learning to learn skills). They referred to both the LLIDA project (which I contributed a case study to) and the SLIDA project, which is about to produce some detailed case studies of 10 institutions who have embedded digital literacies. We heard from several of the case study authors in the reminder of the workshop – Frances Bell from Salford and Hayden Blackey from University of Glamorgan.  Fred Garnett then spoke about the digital literacy framework and how we should read the LLIDA report Thriving in the 21st Century. There was a JISCmail list mentioned on digital literacy, plus a number of events to look out for.

Another parallel I enjoyed was by Tom Franklin and co, and a workshop about When projects fail – looking at what goes wrong. I thought it was an honest account of the problems that you can face when running a project. However the education community (and perhaps community more generally) are not very good at sharing stories about failures. No one wants to admit that projects fail, but the truth is that many IT projects in particularl do fail. I picked up lots of tips for how to make my project successful, and planning and having realistic goals and an appropriate time scale seem to be key, as well as communication and engaging with your stakeholders.

I went to three sessions about open education resources (OERs) including two short papers and a workshop. The first session was from Andy Beggan at University of Nottingham, who was reporting on Open Nottingham and the JISC OER project, BERLIN. This kickstarted Nottingham’s venture into producing and sharing OERs and they have engaged many academics in work in this area. What I really liked was the recognition that concerns about copyright and how to produce OERs were problematic, and so Nottingham now run a Digital Literacy workshop on OERs to cover all these issues. It’s a day long course and has run three times, and Nottingham will be making the resources available for others to use as OERs. They’ve also produced something called Xpert which allows teachers to search for OERs and enable them to find content licensed under creative commons they can use in their teaching. I can see we will be recommending this tool to our staff and I really like the idea of running a workshop on OERs perhaps towards the end of the DELILA project for staff at LSE. Nottingham have done some great work, and Xerte their open source courseware tool is hopefully going to be installed at LSE fairly soon.

The next OER session was from Leicester University reporting on the OTTER project. This was the project that developed the CORRE framework, which we hope to use in DELILA as it provides a model of how to convert content into OERs. It was a really useful session and shows the framework is robust. Copyright clearance can also prove to be a real issue when producing OERs, so I can see exciting times ahead!

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