New Learning Technologist – Pip

Hello I’m Pip, the new Learning Technologist at RAU.

 

I am delighted to be part of a great Learning technology team and the wider ITS team.

In terms of professional interests, I am part of the ALT Mentions podcast team and presented at the University fo Edinburgh in 2019 and at the Winter Conference 2019.

I wrote and performed the TEL TALE immersive audio drama exploring the inner thoughts of Learning Technologis.. Check out epsiode 1 Blend it Like Beckham.

 

During Lockdown I presented at the PressEd2020 conference which takes place on Twitter exploring the use of WordPress, Education, Pedagogy and Research. Presentations invove a series of curated and time bound tweets. The presentation explored digital accessibility on WordPress. The Twitter ‘Moment’ can be found here – Close Encounters of the Accessible Kind.

In June 2020, I plan to rpesent at the ALT West Mindlands New Normal event online reflecting on a pop up radio station experiment, Pivot FM.

 

Things/Ideas/quotes/perspectives that inspire my practice:

 

Jisc community champions 2020

I was thrilled to be invited along to this year’s Digifest as one of the first cohort of Jisc community champions.

Natasha Veenendaal, Head of community engagement at Jisc, explained that:

The purpose of this award is to celebrate those people who are striving to share knowledge outside of their own institution. In doing so we also want to celebrate the power of community. Recognising the importance of bringing peers together to work through problems and share experience, for the good of our students and wider society”.

This year's Community Champions with Jisc staff

This year’s Community Champions with Jisc staff, photo by Natasha Veenendal

It was definitely an honour, and a wonderful chance to meet a lovely bunch of fellow community people. As a group we were treated to a personal ice-breaker drinks reception and a swanky meal out.

We were also involved in some ‘coffee and a chat’ filming by the film company Suited and Booted film. For this we were put in small groups and then filmed chatting to each using questions related to digital communities as a prompt. The 30 minute sessions will be edited and made in to short 60 second films.

Being filmed with Steven Hope and Esam Baboukhan, photo by Hannah Tennant

Being filmed with Steven Hope and Esam Baboukhan, photo by Hannah Tennant

We finished the two days with a reflection session looking at what we had ‘learned, liked and lacked (thought could be improved)’ at the event. This led to us thinking about ways in which we could share Digifest insights with the wider community (from podcasts and viral sharing to the idea of a Digitfest Pest!)

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 Many thanks to the Jisc community engagement for taking such good care of us!

You can read more about what went on at the event in my post – Digifest 2020: Bears, Holograms and Gen Z.

Staff digital insights surveys

Earlier this year we ran two RAU staff digital insights surveys – one for academic staff and one for professional service staff. The surveys were managed by Jisc and are part of an annual survey programme. They complement the student digital survey that we ran last year. The academic staff survey asks teaching staff across higher (HE) and further education (FE) about their experiences of digital in their institution and in their teaching practice. This year the Professional Services staff survey ran as a pilot and the RAU was part of the pilot group. The results from the surveys are benchmarked and compared with other institutions in the sector.

Jisc survey

Below are some of our key findings.

Response rates

Academic staff Professional services
Response number 24 67
Percentage of staff ~ 50% ~ 25%
Time at RAU Even split between ‘4 years or more’ and ‘less than 4 years’ Even split between ‘4 years or more’ and ‘less than 4 years’
Department From all four schools
2 from Capel
Operations (43%) Student services (31%) Commercial and Business Development (21%) & others

Key metrics: Academic staff

  • 21% rate the quality of their digital provision (software, hardware, learning environment) as good or above
  • 92% can access reliable Wi-Fi whenever they need it
  • 50% agree it is easy to design & organise their course materials in the VLE (Gateway)
  • 54% rate the support they get to develop their digital role as good or above
  • 21% agree software for teaching is industry standard and up-to-date
  • 8% agree they are informed about ensuring students behave safely online

Key metrics: Professional services staff

  • 58% rate the quality of their digital provision (software, hardware, learning environment) as good or above
  • 87% can access reliable Wi-Fi whenever they need it
  • 27% agree that our online systems support working as a team
  • 34% rate the support they get to develop their digital role as good or above
  • 43% agree systems are up to date
  • 72% agree systems are reliable

prof

It appears that academics are more unhappy about the quality of the digital provision but happier about the support they receive to develop digital aspects of their jobs. While for professional services it is the other way round. This may be to do with the lack of support for professional services staff training and the requirement for fit for purpose pedagogic tools

Benchmark comparisons: Academic staff

Question Our data UK data
Quality of digital provision 21% 58%
Reliable Wi-Fi 92% 85%
Support to develop digital role 54% 36%
Software for teaching is industry standard and up-to-date 21% 35%
Easy to design & organise course materials in VLE 55% 48%
Are informed about ensuring students behave safely online 8% 18%

The areas in red are below the sector and the areas in green are above.

Benchmark comparisons: Professional services staff

Question Our data UK data
Quality of digital provision 58% 68%
Reliable Wi-Fi 87% 85%
Support to develop digital role 35% 56%
Systems are reliable 72% 67%
Systems are up to date 43% 46%
Our online systems support working as a team 27% 46%

The areas in red are below the sector and the areas in green are above.

As you can see there is still lots to be done!

What can we do to help? Academic staff

  • Increased recognition by senior management of the importance of supporting innovative and good quality teaching (both digital and non-digital)
  • Better celebration of good practice
  • Support for a culture where experimentation is accepted and time/resource is allocated to it
  • More CPD in digital skills
  • Better digital teaching rooms
  • Further investment in academic and industry-standard digital tools
  • Improvements to Turnitin and integration with Quercus

What can we do to help? Professional services staff

  • Better support for flexible and remote working
  • More accessible training – from a more formal training structure to informal lunchtime drop-in training, at all levels (beginners to expert), and for new staff
  • More guidance, support and videos
  • Improve labs set up
  • Provide a list of systems with an outline of what they do
  • Better equipment – headsets for making calls, AV equipment, laptops for all

The recently developed IT and Digital strategy and action plan addresses the vast majority of these areas including:

  1. Work to establish a cross-functional group to produce an action plan for developing our student and staff digital capabilities,
  2. Help to define a set of activities and processes that directly encourage and support staff digital capability e.g: recruitment requirements, appraisals, promotions  etc.

Huge thanks to everyone who participated in either of the surveys!

These results were presented to the RAU senior managers by Alun Dawes (Head of IT) on the 10th September. Going forward we hope to run the staff surveys and the student survey on alternate years. If you have any comments on the survey results please do get in touch with IT Services.

e-portfolios: What are they and what’s in it for me and my students?

MaharaLogo2017_300x95While the RAU has had Mahara for sometime we have unfortunately not been using it effectively as an assessment tool. Hopefully this will change soon and there are plans to use e-portfolios extensively on the new Catalyst blended-learning courses.

In order to get our academics up to speed we have launched a series of group workshops aimed at anyone interested in using an e-portfolio for student assessment. The sessions are led by Aurelie Soulier with additional support from the Learning Technology team.

Yesterday was our first session entitled e-portfolios: What are they and what’s in it for me and my students? There was some useful discussion on people’s previous experiences of using e-portfolios (not always good!) and possible uses of the tool.

Aurelie introducing ePortfolios

Aurelie introducing ePortfolios

The next sessions will be more hands on and start looking at our own e-portfolio tool in more detail.

  1. Introducing Mahara: a basic introduction to editing
    Wednesday 29th May, 3-4:30pm, Glass room, EJ
  2. Using Mahara: Designing learning activities and assessment, and using groups
    Wednesday 3rd July, 3-4:30pm, Glass room, EJ
  3. Advanced Mahara: Using competency frameworks
    Wednesday 24th July, 3-4pm, Glass room, EJ
    You will have had to attend previous workshops, or be familiar with Mahara, to attend this session
  4. Mahara for Dissertation management
    Wednesday 4th September, 3-4pm, Glass room, EJ
  5. Mahara as a CV builder
    Wednesday 18th September, 3-4pm, Glass room, EJ

All resources from the session will be available from the Mahara support page on Gateway.

Introduction to Mahara page - on Mahara

Introduction to Mahara page – on Mahara