Upcoming conference on Distance and E-learning

Research in Distance Education 2012

Friday 19 October 2012, 9am-4.30pm. Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House, University of London

This year’s CDE conference, Research and Innovation in Distance Education and eLearning, will be held on 19 October 2012 at Senate House, University of London.  You can now register for a ticket here.

We are delighted to announce that our two keynote speakers for the day will be Professor Diana Laurillard, Chair of Learning with Digital Technologies in the Faculty of Culture and Pedagogy, London Knowledge Lab, and Steve Wheeler, Associate Professor in Information and Computer Technology, School of Education, Plymouth University.  Networking and discussion will be promoted during the seminars and panel discussions that span our three parallel strands: design for learningfuture technology and enhancing the student experience.  The conference in October will also feature extended workshop sessions around the themes.  The conference will be of interest to anyone involved in distance learning research and practice, within the federal University of London and beyond.

Poster session: If you are interested in submitting your own research for the conferences poster session please contact cde@london.ac.uk. 

Last year: To give you an idea of what to expect you can view our keynote presentations access other seminar resources from last year’s conference at the CDE’s website: http://bit.ly/n5TdAI.



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.

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Meeting Mauritza

Cheers! Swedish cider and English beer!

Last week I had a visitor from Chalmers University Library in Gothenberg staying for the week and based in CLT. Mauritza Jadefrid was awarded a scholarship from the Swedish Institute for Information Specialists to spend a week finding out about e-learning and information literacy at LSE, and so along with my colleague Maria Bell in the Library, we devised a week of activities for Mauritza. She observed a number of the classes we were teaching, attended various meetings, including a meeting to review our information literacy course in Moodle and we set up meetings with various colleagues at LSE. We also arranged for Mauritza to visit Imperial College, and we had some time for sightseeing and evenings out in various pubs of London!

I hope Mauritza enjoyed herself as much as we both did and I am looking forward to meeting up with her again at LILAC next month. We also benefited from hearing about the use of LibGuides at Chalmers, the compulsory information literacy courses for undergraduate students and the use of Summon for research discovery.

Are you a reflective practitioner?

Berlin river front

Twice in as many days someone has talked about the importance of being a reflective practitioner. Firstly my colleague Athina who decided to finally take the plunge and start a blog for recording thoughts about her master dissertation research as it progresses. And then today, while I was at the iSchool at the University of Sheffield in Pam McKinney’s lecture on teaching and learning support in libraries. I like to think I am a reflective practitioner, partly through writing on this blog, but also constantly reviewing what I do, discussing with colleagues and making changes to my teaching.

The lecture I gave today at the iSchool was part of the module on Academic Libraries and I was really pleased to be invited. I was given a brief, by Professor Sheila Corrall to talk about information literacy, e-learning and a little about my role at LSE and how I got there. It was quite a challenge in just 50 minutes and as ever I think I prepared too much content (too many slides) and didn’t show as many things as I would have liked. There was also not enough time for any discussion and I know, because Pam had some discussion in her session, that there was some interesting experience in information literacy teaching in the room.

One thing that struck me while talking was how some of the work I do seems to cause a tension. On the one hand I strive to help staff to use library resources in Moodle, create direct links to journal articles and e-books, encourage them to use our popular epack service to request scanned readings for their course. However, this works seems to have created a body of students who now find it difficult to know how to locate material without a direct link. So on the other side I am faced with the challenge of trying to encourage staff to embed information literacy into their course, to ensure our students do have the skills for learning.

But back to being a reflective practitioner. I hope the students today found the session useful and it gave them a insight into my role and the way librarians can work with other learning support staff. I also hope they were interested in the ANCIL work and it might encourage them to think of information literacy as a broader ambition, that contributes to social inclusion and is a basic human right.

What do university teachers think e-learning is good for?

University in Budapest

This is the title of an article by Gonzalez which appeared in 2010 in the journal Studies in Higher Education. We used this reading last year in Module 1 of the PG Cert (LSE’s teaching qualification) in an introductory seminar about learning technologies. I am teaching the technology and digital and information literacy aspects of this course, with my colleague Dr Claire Gordon, who is a Teaching Fellow at LSE’s European Institute and an Educational Developer in our Teaching and Learning Centre. We decided to stick with the article this year, despite my slight concerns that it focuses on what teachers think e-learning is good for, not what it actually might be good for! This year we agreed to take a seminar each and Monday was the first time I had run this type of session on my own.

Seminars are a little scary for me, particularly as they bring back memories of undergraduate days when everyone sat around a professor’s office not daring to be the first person to say something, or admit whether we had (or hadn’t!) done the reading. They are also a quite different way of teaching to my usual session which is a hands-on training session, a lecture or more commonly these days, a workshop, where I present but have some activities for participants. Continue reading

Arcadia outputs

Last week Emma and I presented for the first time on our Arcadia project to develop a new curriculum for information literacy. We had a good reception at the JISC-RSC Yorks and Humberside Learning Resources Conference and it was great to catch up with new and old friends who were attending. Our presentation from the session has now been viewed over a 1000 times and it is on SlideShare.

I’m also excited to report that this is the first in a line of presentations we are doing. Next week we’ll be presenting at LSE at the first NetworkED seminar series that the Centre for Learning Technology are hosting.  I was pleased to discover yesterday that we have funding for this series from LSE’s Annual Fund and so we will have a series of speakers coming to speak about technology in education. LSE staff can book a place are next week’s event via the training system but those outside can watch the session live as we’re planning on live streaming. Further information about how to join the session remotely will be available from the NetworkED web page. I’m getting a little nervous now!

On a different note, tomorrow I am presenting a workshop at the University of London Centre for Distance Education conference. The topic for tomorrow is open educational resources and I’ll be running a workshop with colleagues from Kings College London about the challenges and opportunities that OERs present. This will be based on the DELILA project that I managed.

Copyright and e-learning: do’s and don’t’s

Moodle and copyright guide

It’s the end of the first week of term at LSE and a lot of people seem to have spent the week asking me questions about copyright and Moodle. I was a little surprised by some of the questions. I’ve been telling people for years that the library offer a scanning service for core readings and they should not scan copyright material themselves. And also that they should link to e-journal articles rather than download them and put them into Moodle.So why this should come as news to some people is a little worrying!
We’re seeing record demand for the epack service this year. I’ve also been updating the Copyright FAQs on our website, produced updated versions of our printed guides to copyright and a new one page leaflet on Copyright and Moodle: Do’s and Don’t’s. So no excuses this term! I expect all the courses to be shining examples of good practice.