Digital is the convergence of a variety of technologies and social changes that have led to a new way of living our lives. Our students are the epitome of this new digital reality – they create and consume content in a very different way to previous generations.
“The integration of digital technology into all areas of a business resulting in fundamental changes to how businesses operate and how they deliver value to customers.
Beyond that, it’s a cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment often, and get comfortable with failure.
Digital transformation is not solely about technology. In fact technology is only one part of the puzzle. Digital transformation is about meeting the needs of the new digital consumer – be they staff or student. It involves new understanding and cultural change. For more on this see Paul Boag’s Digital Transformation: The six questions you need to answer.
At the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) we are at the beginning of this transformation process. There is a commitment to develop and a will to act, but so far efforts have not been as co-ordinated as they could be.
However this is about change. We are working on a new digital-focused strategic approach to be integrated in our IT strategy and Learning and Teaching strategy. It will form the backbone of our digital activity and allow progress to be made in a comprehensive and integrated manner.
We want to share our transformation with you and intend to blog about the journey, bumps and all.
Zoom has played a significant role in the pivot to online learning and the emergent ‘pandemagogy’. Zoomtopia took place on 13th-14th September 2021. A part of Zoomtopia was the opportunity to explore the Imaginarium. It was possible to customise the Imaginarium and download the creation. This involved an interactive map including Global Stage, Pavilion of Progress, Product and Industry Showcase, World of Creation, Hall of Sponsors and the Gallery of Stars.
Zoom identify the following capabilities of its platform for education:
Manage your classes
Customise the learning experience
Enable security and compliance
Support flexible learning environments (Zoom Video Communications, 2021)
It might be a surprise to find out that Zoom is celebrating its ten-year anniversary (Zoom Video Communications, 2021). For many of us, our perception is that it was a tool that was heavily used in 2020. Before that, Zoom was used but not as well known. Since 2020, Zoom has been used as a core tool on which interactive sessions for both the SDAU and QAU projects to take place. Reflecting on the tools we have used to adapt face-to-face teaching to online contexts is important. A presentation was delivered at the University of Kent’s Digitally Enhanced Webinars in February 2021 exploring the use of zoom entitled Indiana Jones & the Temple of Zoom. Learning Technologists as ‘Digital Archaeologists’ & Online Classrooms as ‘Digital Temples’. If a metaphor for an online classroom can be a ‘digital temple’, could we ask when does video conferencing meeting become an online classroom and vice versa? Over the past year, it is possible to see how it has improved and evolved in a variety of ways. It is possible to acknowledge new vocabulary entering popular culture. Who has not heard of “You’re on mute”, “zoom fatigue” and “zoombombing?”. Critically, the “Zoom gaze” has become entrenched into everyday work practices (Caines, 2020). Autumn Caines, an Instructional Designer from University of Michigan (@Autumm), led a webinar exploring Zoom in terms of digital power hierarchies (Caines, 2021).
Some of the most innovative product developments included the Zoom Phone with bring your own carrier, the hot desking tool to support hybrid working, a Smart Gallery with artifical intelligence, and the use of virtual reality with the Oculus headset to create an immersive experience. There was an emphasis supporting remote workers in terms of an inclusive approach to hybrid collaboration. Some of the key words and phrases from the presentations were ‘frictionless’, ‘seamless”putting the video back in videogame’ and ‘Zoom fidelity’. Additionally, I attended an education specific session ‘From Classroom to Computer Screen: Redesign In-Person Training for Virtual Audiences’ which was really useful in terms of improving the interactive RAU delivers using Zoom. For example, the presenter, Sandy Masters identified the ‘90 20 4‘ model: provide a break every 90 minutes, activity or assessment very 20 minutes and finally provide an interactive opportunity every 4 minutes.
Zoom Literacy has almost become a fundamental 21st-century skill for the modern workplace including working from home. How has a video conferencing tool been transformed into an educational tool we do not seem to able to live without? From Zoom, doom and gloom to Zoom, boom and Bloom?
During the Association for Learning Technologists (ALT) Winter Conference in 2020, one of the sessions entitled ‘To Be And Not To Be: Physical Absence and Virtual Presence in Online Learning’ led by Dr. Stuart Taylor, University Tutor at University of Glasgow (@SJamesTaylor), and Dr. Ingeborg van Knippenberg, Lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University (@icvk) explored the idea of of “hauntology”, “spectral presence” and the “haunted subject” (Henriksen, 2016: p37). To what extent is the Zoom experience haunting? Are hosts digital ghosts? What are digital monsters? (Henriksen, 2016: p37). We are familiar with the idea of the ghost in the digital machine. But what if the machine is the ghost? We need to be more concerned with the machine in the ghost (Kirwan, 2021). Is Zoom a digital zoo? If it is a haunting experience, then is it like a night at a digital museum? To what extent is digital dysmorphia a real threat? (Dalva, 2021). Are we experiencing zoom nihilism? Perhaps we need to ‘curb our digital enthusiasm’ of using video conferencing platforms. If Sartre re-wrote Being & Nothingness for the 21st century, would the “phenomenological ontology” concern Being & Digital Nothingness (Sartre we do we dissolve into Zoom? If we stare too long, do no the ‘Zoom abyss’? – “He who fights with [digital] monsters should be careful lest he thereby becomes a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.” (Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil. Aphorism 146).
Having trained staff and supported students on how to use Zoom effectively, I was keen to find out the latest product developments at Zoomtopia such as On Zoom (Beta) and Zoom Rooms. Over the past year, we have seen some significant improvements to the platform itself. For example, security improvements and immersive view which provides a visual reimagination of a meeting for participants. Truthfully, Zoom is a multimodal platform with a range of pedagogical affordances that can be used successfully in an interdisciplinary capacity.
It is important to acknowledge that Zoom can be used in conjunction with other tools to provide a positive digital student experience. Perhaps an over reliance on Zoom exclusively might not be sufficient. For example, we used Panopto as a platform to allow lecturers to pre-record their lectures and Zoom for interactive sessions for the SDAU project. Comparing tools and approaches may not help us in the way that, we may need to both combine and curate the use of tools to meet the unique needs of our students as a commitment to digital differentiation (Islam, Kim & Kwon, 2012). In the same way that we might be concerned by the term “technology determinism”, perhaps we are experiencing ‘Zoom determinism’ (Edwards, 2012: p8).
The blog post title draws explicitly on the well-known book by Robert Pirsig Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. In the Afterward, Pirsig asks “Who really can face the future? All you can is do is project from the past” (Pirsig, 2004: p393).This is a powerful question when we frame it in terms of the future of teaching, learning and working. Is the art of hosting a Zoom meeting a bit like the art of motorcycle maintenance. Perhaps it is. Here’s to the “hybrid workforce” (Zoom Video Communications, 2021). Zoom is undoubtedly bound up in our pedagogical consciousness “The phenomenon of being and the being of phenomenon (Sartre, 2003: p4).
Moving forward and reflecting on post-pandemic pedagogic realities, Zoom will still play an important role in the “brave new digital classroom” (Blake, Guillén, & Thorne 2013). For example, on their dedicated Zoom for Education website, they refer to hybrid learning and talk about an “education ecosystem” (Zoom Video Communications, 2021). Zoom sent me a an official Zoomtopia mug, pin badges and stickers which was a nice touch! Zoom acknowledged the creative ways the Zoom has been used. Zoom provide the tools and the platform, and it is up to us to bring the agency to Zoom. Here’s to the hybrid ecosystem!
Islam, M., Kim, Dan-A. and Kwon, M. (2020). A Comparison of Two Forms of Instruction: Pre-Recorded Video Lectures vs. Live ZOOM Lectures for Education in the Business Management Field. Sustainability, [online] 12(19), p.8149. Available at: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/12/19/8149/htm
Kirwan, C (2021) The machine in the ghost: An Educational Design Research study that explores the teaching of Computational Thinking of Irish second-level students. Dublin City University (DCU). Dublin
Sartre, J, P (2003) Being & Nothingness (Lonodn & New York: Routledge)
Masters, S. “From Classroom to Computer Screen: Redesign In-Person Training for Virtual Audiences”, in Zoomtopia. Online 2021. Accessed on:September 13 2021 [Online]. Available: https://zoomtopia.com/
Yuan, E “Zoomtopia Vision and Product Keynotes” in Zoomtopia. Online 2021. Accessed on:September 13 2021 [Online]. Available: https://zoomtopia.com/
van Knippenberg, I & Taylor, J. “To Be And Not To Be: Physical Absence and Virtual Presence in Online Learning”, in Association for Learning Technologists Winter Conference. Online. 2020. Accessed on: September 9 2021 [Online]. Available: https://eu.bbcollab.com/collab/ui/session/playback
We have now advertised for a Junior Learning Technologist to work in the Digital Innovation Team at the RAU.
Salary details: £26,341 – £31,406 per annum (DOE)
Location: Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, Gloucestershire
What will you do?
You will work with and support the Learning Technology team in providing technical and creative expertise, in the areas of online and blended learning, particularly in transnational education. You will support the team in designing and developing a wide range of digital resources to enhance teaching and learning and make the RAU the leading specialist University in land, agri-food and rural enterprise sectors.
You’ll have an innovative and creative approach, practical instructional design expertise (both online and face to face). With excellent communication and organisational skills, you will work with academic and professional staff, designing and delivering innovative and engaging training resources.
This is an opportunity to make a real and lasting difference to the learning experience, that will benefit both our students and staff.
Join us in developing a wide range of new digital learning experiences.
The role will be full-time(35 hours per week) in a permanent capacity. The University is currently trialing a hybrid approach to work and as a result there will be some capacity for working remotely.
The closing date for the Junior Learning Technologist is Monday 11th October 2021. Interviews are expect to take place on Wednesday20th October 2021.
On Monday 6th September, teaching started with the students based at Qingdau Agricultural University (QAU). For the last six months, the Digital Innovation team has been preparing for September. For the Learning Technology team, (@husnaahmed @chantalschipperraut and Peter Tolley) this took a variety of forms:
Creation of a dedicated SharePoint to act as a document repository for staff
Setting up of assessment and feedback workflow using Turnitin
Creation of pre-recorded lectures using Panopto
Scheduling of interactive sessions using Zoom with dedicated Zoom Pro licences
We also welcomed new staff from China to the team who have provided support for the preparations for September. Khloe, Hayley, Kara and Sherry for SDAU and Leah and Amber for QAU. One member of the new China team, Leah introduces herself and shares her ideas about teaching and learning:
“My name is Leah and I was born in a small city of Yantai, Shandong Province. I had an experience of studying in the UK for two years. I have a Master of Science in Project Management from the University of Sussex in the UK. I have deep affection for the UK, and I am honored to have this opportunity work for RAU. About teaching, I think one ofthe significant differences between British education and Chinese education is that it is that the British apprach is highly interactive. I learned that the function in zoom called poll is a good way to achieve it. At the same time, it is good to could check the students’ understanding of the main points and to encourage students to pay more attention on learning“.
At RAU, we welcomed new staff to teach the modules. Michael Heasman, International Teaching Fellow in Agri-Food Studies is teaching Principles of Marketing and Introduction to the Agri Food Industry. Michael Morris is teaching Species & Ecosystems. Stephen Chadd is also teaching Introduction to the Agri Food Industry and Maxwell Mutema is teaching Principles of Marketing. Michael Heasman co-authored a a book entitled Food Warsthe Global Battle for Mouths, Minds and Marketswith Tim Lang.
A range of induction sessions for students were delivered using Zoom where an example lecture in Panopto was played and a poll was used to engage the students. Additionally, Lecturers talked through how the modules would work and there was an opportunity for students to ask questions at the end.
During his induction presentation, Michael Heasman referred to the television programme The Great British Bakeoff as an example of British food culture. Check out the #EdTechBakeOff on Twitter where the Learning Technology community came together to share their creations. Perhaps a virtual bakeoff would be a creative way to engage students. A Thousand Gateaux?
Preparing for teaching for the QAU project enabled us to reflect on our other transnational projects particularly in terms of workflow, assessment, feedback and processes. For example, developments in exploring automated marking of multiple choice questionnaires (MCQs) for QAU could help us with improving teaching and learning with Shandong Agricultural University (SDAU). With regard to the interactive sessions in Zoom, it was important to reflect on enabling both co-hosts and alternate hosts in case the meeting host was not available.
Ensuring the interactive sessions on Zoom are really interactive is an ongoing problem particularly in virtue of Leah’s pedagogical reflection on interaction being one of the core differences between education in the UK and China. What is the relationship between interaction and engagement? Independent of the learning context, whether it is face-to-face or not, it is always important to ask ‘are students engaged?’. We must never “…confuse online engagement with logging in” (Headleand, 2021). We should also aim to ask the question “What does ‘student engagement’ mean to you? And you? And you?” (Headleand, 2021). Chris Headleand is also organising a Practical Pedgogy conference in September 2021. It is possible to find out more and sign up here. One of the most powerful tweets from the conference itself was:
Perhaps we need to reflect on our expectations of what we consider good teachers do in a wider sense and also what good teachers do in online settings? If good teachers differentiate, do Lecturers who teach in an online capacity provide opportunities for digital differentiation? What could digital differentiation mean? How is it different to non-digital differentiation? Do we need to be aware of trying too hard to provide engagement activities or ‘over-engagement?’. Perhaps the majority of conversations about learning technology are really just about learning. When does (digital) teaching become (digital) learning? The blog post title makes explicit reference to “expectations” drawing on the Dickensian narrative (Dickens, 2016). Managing expectations has been a significant part of the transnational projects. A Dickensian digital Journey?
Dàjiā hǎo yùn
Good luck everyone
Dickens, C (2020) Oliver Twist (Ottawa: East India Publishing Company)
Dickens, C (2016) Great Expectations (Los Angeles: Enhanced Media Publishing)
Shandong Agricultural University (SDAU) (n.d.) Shandong Agricultural University (Online) Available at: http://www.sdau.edu.cn/ [Accessed 7 September 2021]
Sidebottom K. (2021) A Thousand Gateaux: Rethinking Deleuze and Guattari Through The Great British Bake Off. In: Barnes N., Bedford A. (eds) Unlocking Social Theory with Popular Culture. Critical Studies of Education, vol 15. Springer, Cham. (Online) Available at: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-77011-2_12 [Accessed 7 September 2021]
The Association for Learning Technologists annual conference took place in September 2021. In addition to the main academic events, the conference also offers other activities including an opportunity to use the Discord server, to participate in a quiz, to enjoy the CMALT ceremony and the #altc21 Radio Show broadcast live on the Thursday Night Show on Monday 6th September. The Thursday Night Show is an internet radio live show coming up to its 10 year anniversary. Throughout the pandemic, the station played an important role in bringing people together in a remote capacity for example socially distancing dance parties (SDDP). Check out Dom Pates’ blog post The Party at the Pandemic.
Last year, I took part in the radio show for the online Summer Summit and also for the Winter Conference radio show. I blogged about these two experiences here and here respectively. A call for new DJs is shared and it is possible for participants to sign up through a simple Google doc. Dominic Pates, Senior Learning Educational Technologist at City, University of London one of the creators of the Thursday Night Show, supported new DJs in terms of using software such as Mixxx microphones, using the Discord server, and live broadcast preparations with a live onboarding Teams meeting to avoid any Panic at the (Digital) Disco.
The first set was by Darren Gash (@gashnois) from University of Arts who played tracks with only one chord including a great song by Bo Diddley. Bring on the #onechordwonders. Next up was Dom Pates (@dompates and D1 Radio) with a series of tracks relating to the ‘learning’ side of ‘learning technology’ such as Pink Floyd’s We Don’t Need No Education and Hey! Student by The Fall. Dom’s set will be made available on Mixcloud.
The third set was by Coco Nijhoff (@cocolibrarian) from Imperial College London with the theme of handclaps including My Boyfriend’s Back by The Angels. Her set list can be accessed below:
The final slot was my set.Techspotting was both a remix and reimagination of Choose Life by PF Project and Ewan MacGregor from the film Trainspotting. Drawing on the iconic film poster, I adapted “McGregor’s famous choose life monologue” to make the content to Learning Technologists, particularly over the last two years (Suskind, 2017).
Audio stings were created specifically for the #altc21 radio show or “short musical phrases (or stings) are used in film and TV production as a form of short-hand or punctuation” (Audio Network Limited, 2021). I recently saw Tubular Bells. Live in Concert at the Southbank Centre in London. Drawing on Tubular Bells Pt 1 as a “template for innovation” and the ‘repeated motif”, Technology Bells is a remix and reimagination of Mike Oldfield’s epic piece (Bennett, 2021). What if Mike Oldfield was a Learning Technologist?
In future, perhaps Association for Learning Technologists (ALT) could have a regular radio show exploring a range of different ideas. In the same way the ALT have a blog and guest posts for their conferences, guest speakers and interviews could work well in a live show format. One suggestion in the Thursday Night Show Discord chat was the have an ALT record label! With the challenges of the pandemic and pivot to online learning, internet radio is a positive way to engage others in a virtual capacity. Pedagogically, students could create their own radio show as a creative, collaborative and interdisciplinary assessment method. In addition, a student led record label could have a range of pedagogic benefits.
To the ALT community, shine on you crazy (digital) diamonds.
“It is important to acknowledge that “Globalisation is affecting the rise of the quality industry”
(Morley, 2003: p1).
The Society of Research into Higher Education (SRHE) hosted an online event entitled Qualifying the debate on ‘Quality’ on the Zoom platform in June 2021. Quality presents a series of complex challenges in igher education. Given the challenges of the pandemic and emergency move to online learning, the critical question is how to ensure we provide a good quality digital experience. In what way(s) is a transnational pivot different from a non-transational pivot?
During 2020, discussions took place exploring observation of the interactive sessions for the SDAU project. We explored a range of approaches used for this purpose including the adaption of an existing form designed for the observation of face-to-face teaching for online learning. It is important to acknowledge how face-to-face and online teaching can be different. To an extent, delivering interactive sessions in Zoom involves the development of ‘Zoom Literacy’ in terms of how to share screen, use the chat function, setting up polling and breakout rooms. Can peer observation of interactive sessions in Zoom help us to improve what we do?
When I completed teacher training, observations were an important part of the pedagogical journey. Being observed by peers can be a powerful way to share best practice, build up a range of tools and approaches to support student interaction and also to help us to identify and respond to areas of development in constructive ways. In the long term, perhaps we could build up a community of practice to explore technology-enhanced transnational learning (TETL) (Lave & Wenger, 1991: p30). Starting a conversation about quality opened up a variety of pedagogical doors and started a a unique learning journey.
The quality project pilot was carried out in three ways. Firstly, Lecturers delivering interactive sessions were invited to attend online lessons delivered by another Lecturer and then filled in a short online questionnaire. This was helpful if a module was shared by more than one Lecturer. Secondly, the RAU’s Teaching Fellow was invited to observe two interactive sessions followed by an online interview with semi-structured questions. Finally, our colleague in China, Bonnie Wang was invited to fill in an online questionnaire to capture perceptions of quality in the transnational context.
It can be argued that metaphor can be used effectively in “intercultural education” (Hanne & Kaal, 2019: p149). The metaphor of quality was a cocktail can be a useful way to understand how it is made up of multiple aspects, is complex and dynamic. What ingredients make the perfect quality cocktail? Digital differentiation, inclusion and accessibility? Perhaps pivot quality can only understood as work in progress, something to be ‘brewed’.
One of the highlights of the event was the lightning presentation delivered by Dr Michelle Groves, Director of Education, Royal Academy of Dance (RAD). She presented an autoethnographic monologue about her perceptions of teacher trainees and their reactions to the online pivot. This linked to the idea of ‘techno-autobiography’ in an earlier blog post. What would ‘techno-autoethnography’ look and feel like?
It can be argued that the online pivot has caused professional identities to change. Building digital capacility has accelerated. Have we witnessed the “death of the Lecture(r?)” (Matthews, 2021). Perhaps new identities are being constructed, postdigital professional identities?
“An uneasy relationship is playing out in education between humans and technology”
The title of the lightning presentation I delivered explicitly used the well-known phrase from the James Bond films. We need not be shaken or stirred by the challenges quality present. It is an opportunity to share best practice, develop community of practice and ultimately improve what we do (Lave & Wenger, 1991: p30). Pivot Royale, A View to a Pivot or Live and Let Pivot!
In terms of the future of transnational pivot qualities, perhaps we have arrived at a ‘pivot precipice’. New territories or ‘digital parishes’ can The QAA recently announced TNE enhancement (QE-TNE) in March 2021 (QAA, n.d.). The definition of TNE by QAA is:
‘The delivery of higher education level awards by recognised UK degree-awarding bodies in a country, or to students, other than where the awarding provider is based.’
What sort of technology-enhanced transnational artifacts could be used as an indicator of quality? How can ‘transnational actors’ use those artifacts in a ‘transtional theatre?’. Revisiting the use of metaphor as a way to understand the complexity of both the pivot and quality could help us to make sense of the future. A digital rubix cube?
Hanne, M & Kaal, A, A (2019) Narrative and Metaphor in Education: Look Both Ways (Oxon & New York: Routledge)
Lave, J & Wenger, E (1991) Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation (Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)
There are a variety of online conferences that take place on Twitter using hashtags. For example, the annual PressEd conference exploring Education, Pedagogy and Research using WordPress #pressEDconf21. Another popular weekly Twitter event is #LTHEChat run by @LTHEchat which has been running since 2014 every Wednesday evening from 7pm with new guest curator(s).
On Thursday 29th April, I had the opportunity to curate an hour’s worth of tweets for #ukfechat organised by @theukfechat and @MrsSarahSimons. Drawing on the popular television series Line of Duty, the title of the session was Line of (Digital) Duty. Interrogating Drone-Enhanced Learning. Division, Disruption, or Digital Learning? The tweets are structured with a question and those who respond start their tweet with ‘A’ plus the question number.
The benefit of online events on Twitter organised in this capacity is that it is possible to reach audiences that perhaps events organised in physical space would not be able to. There is an online pool of knowledge, practice and ideas from which to draw on. The Twitterverse and #edutwitter can be argued to be valuable online learning resources. A hastag could be understood as a rhizome, a bit like a root from which other ideas stem.
Some of the questions I asked explored ‘drone literacy’, surveillance, privacy and the extent to which drone-enhanced learning (DEL) can be used for project-based learning, to embed Functional Skills, and to provide opportunities for STEM learning. How could a drone be used in agri-business as a technology-enhanced agriculture (TEA) approach?
For each tweet with an image of gif, alternative text or alt-text was provided by clicking on ‘Add Description’, typing a description inot the box then clicking ‘Save’.
If you would like to contribute to a #ukfechat event, sign up here.
McDonald, P [@PipMac6] (2021, April 23) ‘NEXT THURSDAY 29TH APRIL FROM 9PM-10PM #UKFECHAT ‘LINE OF (DIGITAL) DUTY. INTERROGATING DRONE-ENHANCED LEARNING. DIVISION, DISRUPTION OR DIGITAL LEARNING?’. [Tweet]. Twitter. (Online) Available at: https://twitter.com/PipMac6/status/1385617727403008006
PressED (no date) A WordPress and Education, Pedagogy and Research Conference on Twitter (Online) Available at: https://pressedconf.org/ [Accessed: 25 April 2021]
The Royal Agricultural University (RAU) is part of the UK-China Joint Institutes. The organisation has set up an online symposium series exploring student experience.
“This series of workshops seeks to bring together members of the UK-China Joint Institutes to share best practices in assessing student learning and experiences. As Joint Institutes we have a range of issues unique to our situation: portability of content from one campus to another, quality and consistency of content, high staff turnover, teaching students whose native language is not English, and cultural differences between Western and Eastern thought. How are our students doing? How are they learning, and what is their experience? And how do we know?”
UK China Joint Institute (2021)
Attending the sessions every Monday to explore how other institutions were navigating their technology-enhanced transnational learning (TETL) journeys was very helpful.
On Monday 15th April, I presented a short 10-minute presentation exploring the development of a technology-enhanced transnational learning (TETL) toolkit. The recording can be accessed here.
The emergent toolkit included a range of dimensions including research-informed practice, testing, demo sites, digital accessibility, capturing the range of pedagogic actors and their voice, and this blog particularly the China series. The presentation also explored the Transnational Education Toolkit created by AdvanceHE here.
Perhaps it is the case that the use of toolkit, is “…few and far between” in Education (Reinking, 2019: p2). Transnational education is not just an activity exclusively for teachers; other roles are involved too (Smith & Jarvis, 2020: p2). Roles can experience a different “Transnational reality” (Roldán Vera & Fuchs, in Roldán Vera & Fuchs, 2019: p4). An online questionnaire was used to capture the perspective of the different ‘actors’ involved with RAU’s transnational activity. As transnational education evolves, our toolkits will change too.
Jonciano, J (2021) Using Digital Badges in Monitoring and Student Engagement. UK-China Joint Institute Symposium. 13 April, Online.
Reinking, A (2019) Difficult Conversations: A Toolkit for Educators in Handling Real-Life Situations (Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield)
Roldán, V, E & Fuchs, E (eds) (2019) ‘Introduction: The Transnational in the History of Education’ in The Transnational in the History of Education Concepts and Perspectives (Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan) pp1-49
Smith, K & Jarvis, J (2020) Engaging in Transnational Education (Critical Practice in Higher Education) (St. Albans: Critical Publishing)
Exploring ‘Open Education & Pivot Choreography’ through Speculative Virtual Dance at the OER Conference 2021.
The Open Education Resources (OER) Conference is an annual event organised by the Association of Learning Technology (ALT). Responding directly to theme 4: Shifts in agency and creativity as empowerment of learners and educators, I presented an alt-format, 7 Minute GASTA presentation which was pre-recorded using StreamYard. A big thanks to Maren Deepwell (@MarenDeepwell) and Tom Farrelly (@TomFarrelly) for their support with this.
Strictly Come Dancing is a popular television show on BBC 1 where participants work with professional dancers in a weekly dance performance competition. A panel of judges score the dancers. Can we score a ten? We see a range of dance genres are performed including jive, tango, waltz, and paso doble.
Drawing on dance as a way to explore open pedagogy issues, the presentation explored the Open Covid Pledge and the OER Commons. How can open education be compared to the Cha Cha Cha? Dance has been used in education before, for example Further Education and the Twelve Dancing Princesses (Daley, Orr & Petrie, 2015).
Getting involved with the OER Committee by attending regular meetings using the Blackboard Collaborate platform to find out how the event is organised was a helpful experience and to reflect on the issues arising from open pedagogy. Part of this involved writing a guest blog for the OER conference website here.
Often the conference experience can involve a range of formal and academic presentations. This presentation was a conscious effort to provide a fun and alternative event. Dance can be argued to be an interdisciplinary and joyful shared act. How do you dance to the online pivot? How could we dance to open education?
Part of the preparation for the event was to watch episodes of the television programme and purchasing the official board game. Research was also carried out on the different types of dance.
Perhaps it is important to acknowledge that technology can be argued to have a negative impact on the body (Selwyn, 2021). Perhaps digital dancing can stop us from “seeing digital technology in terms of embodied discomfort” as a default way of thinking (Selwyn, 2021).
The idea of digital body language has become more important. For example, “digital body language” and “telehealth” are emergent practices (Dhawan, 2021). (Digital) dancing and technology can work together. Using Power BI, Strictly Come Dancing results were shown:
The recording of the presentation can be accessed on YouTube here or it is possible to play the YouTube video below.
One of the presentations explored co-creating a ‘zine’ entitled Collective Hope by Sarah Honeychurch and Wendy Taleo. Contributors were invited to respond to a range of prompt for example ‘What was your favorite conference presentation and why?‘. One of the highlights of the conference was the session by Eamon Costello and Prajakta Girme entitled ‘University V is alive! Now open to the closed, the cruel and the Dead’. What was really interesting was the idea aof the ‘pedagoganym’ and Eamon’s speculative performance.The zine can be accessed here.
Association of Learning Technologists (ALT) ‘Strictly Come Digital Dancing Exploring ‘Open Education & Pivot Choreography’ through Speculative Virtual Dance’ OERxDomains2021 Conference. Online. 21-22 April. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8aag5JF9ec&feature=youtu.be [Accessed: 21 April 2021]
Association of Learning Technologists (ALT) OERxDomains21 Guide (Online) Available at: https://oerxdomains21.org/ [Accessed: 21 April 2021]
The term assemblage in art refers to “…art that is made by assembling disparate elements – often everyday objects – scavenged by the artist or bought specially” (Tate Modern, n.d.) The PressEd conference could be argued to be a ‘digital assemblage’ of a range of tweets from different contributors.
Presenters are assigned 10-15 tweets within a 15 minutes time period to share ideas on Twitter. This can include text, images, videos, and gifs. Helpful guidance is provided to presenters for example exploring digital accessibility in Twitter by adding image descriptions and VoiceOver. Each year, the conference has a hashtag, so it is possible explore the conference content such as #pressedconf18 #pressedconf19 and #pressEdConf20. This year’s hashtag is #pressedconf21.
It is possible to follow the PressEd Conference on Twitter here – @pressedconf and explore the schedule here. You can access the tweets from the presenters for the 2021 conference in the PressEdConf21 Presenters list here. A Twitter moment with the tweets form my presentation is available here. Calls for contributions are advertised annually and it is also possible to submit your WordPress projects to the gallery here. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.