ALDinHE conference – day two

We awoke on Wednesday morning to a covering of snow in Leeds, which meant Emma, Helen and I only just got to our own workshop on time! We were first up the morning after the conference dinner, so were pleased to get a decent turn out for our session. It was really interesting to present ANCIL to a group of mainly learning developers, although we did have a few librarians in the room as well! We were interested in seeing if learning developers saw any gaps in curriculum as well as their more general reaction to whether it might be useful. We also got into quite a lengthy discussion about terminology – is information literacy the right term – it was clear that actually a lot of the time what we are talking about is learning.

After a really positive reaction to our curriculum we headed into the second keynote, from Paul Andrews, who is the Head of E-learning at the University of Newport. Paul looked a whole range of technologies that can help with logistics and admin – most were familiar to me – DropBox, Skype, Google docs and Google forms. However Join Me sounds useful for sharing your desktop (for example when supporting a member of staff remotely) and running online meetings. Paul also talked about how his team don’t have an administrator and use a variety of tools to ensure they work more efficiently as a team. Paul went on to talk about using technology to communicate and build a community of practice. He used a model from Microsoft of how a community of practice operates and suggested ALDinHE could use technology more efficiently than simply running a mailing list.

Paul finally went on to look at how technology can be used to enhance learning. He was clearly passionate about ensuring you start with pedagogy and what you are trying to teach students, which should inform your choice of technology. He highlighted the Moodle tool guide for teachers, which we have used with staff at LSE. Paul, as well as a few other speakers highlighted the Learn Higher website, which I hadn’t come across until this conference.

I attended 3 final sessions in the afternoon, Lucy Chilvers and Catherine McConnell from the University of Brighton who ran a workshop about engaging staff in learning development. They used some of their flash cards that encourage staff to explore issues around skills support – who’s role it is, whether students should expect this when they arrive at university or how far it is their own responsibility to develop their skills. I then went to Joe Nicholls talk on the Digidol project which is based at Cardiff University. I’m actually the CILIP CSG-Information Literacy Group rep on this project, but it was great to hear how it is progressing. I’m also fascinated to hear that digital literacy seems to be tied up with  changing cultures and attitudes as skills. Staff are also more reluctant to experiment than students. I loved the idea of digital champions and running quite open lunchtime sessions for staff to come and talk about digital literacy broadly. 25 staff came to the first session that Joe ran!

The final session I attended was by Ibrar Bhatt at PhD student at Leeds, who is researching digital literacy as social practice. It is another ethnographic study of several students to capture how they interact and use technology. Ibrar is using actor network theory as a way of understanding what is happening and exploring the role of that out of class activities might have on in class activities. Fascinating!

What a fabulous conference. I really hope to be able to go to next year’s conference. It was great to see how learning developers and librarians have so much in common. I hope that the ANCIL team inspired those learning developers who don’t collaborate with their librarians to seek them out! If you haven’t looked at the ANCIL blog recently, Emma has been busy keeping it up to date. I’ll be taking a short break over Easter and then up in Glasgow next week for LILAC.

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