On following your heart

Jane in RomeSome of you know I’ve been on the Aurora programme since October. It’s a women’s leadership course and I’m enjoying it immensely, not least because of the wonderful women I’ve met, the inspiring workshops and the great readings and resources you get introduced to. I love a Ted Talk and its difficult to know which I’ve enjoyed most, from Amy Cuddy to Hillary Clinton. This week I particularly enjoyed Simon Sinek on what makes for successful leadership and starting with why and Dan Pink on ‘drive.’ What has really resonated with me is focusing on why we do things, not so much what we do when trying to explain it to people.

It became clear to me last year that I love teaching and research and inspiring others to use information and technology for their own and others learning. So I’m delighted to be able to officially announce that from mid April I’ll be following my heart, taking up a new role at City University, as Senior Lecturer in Educational Development based in Learning Enhancement and Academic Development(LEaD). I’ll be focusing on educational technologies, digital literacy and hopefully looking to support and develop open practices. Its going to be a really exciting opportunity as I’ll also have more time to pursue the things that interest me, as the post is 3 days a week. But I’m really excited to be joining such a great team, and of course just moving up the road!

I’m going to be very sad to leave LSE where I’ve worked for 15 years. I have wonderful friends and colleagues and I’ve loved working here. LSE has given me so much, including the ability to have considerable autonomy to learn and develop myself, while providing copyright and digital literacy advice for the institution. But its time for me to do something new and I’m not leaving anything behind, but building on all my experience and networks. Copyright and information literacy remain my passion and I’ll be infusing all I do at City with that perspective. I’ll continue my professional work in both these areas, remaining the Chair of the CILIP Information Literacy Group and staying firmly involved in the UUK Copyright Working group. So it is onwards and upwards for me and I hope you will follow me on my next step in the journey of life!

Teaching in a Digital Age (TiDA) launched

Street art in Georgtown, PenangLate last year and early this year I was seconded to work in the LSE office of the University of London International Programmes team. I developed several new digital literacy workshops for them which I ran out in Singapore and Malaysia. However most of the time was spent working on developing a pilot online course for teachers.

I decided early on to base this on a 23 things model which I’d seen work at Cambridge University Library and at Oxford who ran a 23 Things for Research. There was also a very popular 23 Things for CPD and a 23 Things for Digital Humanities. My course is called Teaching in a Digital Age (TiDA) and it is being piloted over the next 7 weeks in 4 institutions- including LSE. I have around 20-25 students taking the course who are all teachers from Malaysia, Malta, India and London and it’s based on a blog. This week students have to set up their own blog, register it with us and write their first post. I’m really excited to see the blogs being set up and to read comments from all the students. Three of my colleagues in LTI have joined the course so it’s great to have their input! If you would like to follow what we are up to, then it’s all available on the blog, and as this is a pilot I’d be really grateful for any feedback!

Embedding digital literacies: strategies and managing change

Reflecting the learning landscape

Today I attended a workshop in the Changing the Learning Landscapes series. The event was held at the University of Leeds and several familiar faces from HEA projects and from last year’s SEDA Summer School were facilitating the day. The first session was by Lawrie Phipps, from JISC who spoke at the Summer School last year. He made some good points about, when we speak to students, which students do we hear from? Who are representing students, on committees and in surveys? He asked us to collect our thoughts about what digital literacies students need to be effective learner. They are online and he also made the distinction between scholarly practices, information and media processes and socio-technical processes were are evolving at different rates. Lawrie also recognised that a lot of digital literacy work builds on the work librarians have done for many years around information literacy. He asked us about some of the barriers to change and inevitably the reward structure in HE came up. He also urged against putting digital at the start of things as it focuses the mind on the technology, which is not what we want to do. It’s about underlying practices. JISC have a lot of resources coming out of the Digital Literacies Design Studio, including an audit tool and various models such as the pyramid from Beetham and Sharpe.

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Reflecting on the SEDA summer school

FlowerBack in July I attended a three day summer school focusing on digital literacy and organised by SEDA (Staff and educational development association). As it is a few months after the event David Baume who was the key facilitator of the summer school, has reminded us we agreed to write a blog post on the impact of the event. I’ve already written two posts as I got a huge amount out of the event, but it is useful to take stock a few months down the line.

The summer school came at an incredibly busy time for me as I had a seemingly endless number of conference presentations between March and August this year. I was feeling quite overloaded at the time of the summer school and a bit giddy from all the travel. At one point a few days beforehand I was seriously contemplating withdrawing from the event. I am so glad I didn’t. It was undoubtedly one of the best development courses I have done since the Springboard programme around 7 years ago. But why was it so good and what outcomes has the summer school had? Well I’ll try to explain.

Firstly some direct outcomes. 1) Networking and contacts with like minded professionals. Prior to this conference I believed that the profession I felt most affinity with was the library and information world. Despite working in learning technology for over 10 years I often felt the core of my interests fell outside this profession. Sure I’ve been to ALT and heard people talk about digital literacy but the SEDA summer school was full of like minded learning technologists and educational developers and for me I felt like I had come home. I felt the searching to find where I fit was over and I was in the right profession after all. I have now added numerous people added to my network and in fact only one person on the summer school I knew previously! I’ve stayed in touch with people and even met up for lunch with one person since.

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