Great (Digital) Expectations. ‘Please Sir, Can I Have Some More Zoom Licences?’.

Please Sir Can I Have Some More Zoom Licences? Image created by Presenter Media, 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:

  1. Creation of a dedicated SharePoint to act as a document repository for staff
  2. Setting up of assessment and feedback workflow using Turnitin
  3. Creation of pre-recorded lectures using Panopto
  4. 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“.

RAU welcomes Leah and the new team working in China to support our transnational projects

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 Wars the Global Battle for Mouths, Minds and Markets with 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.

Induction for QAU Students in June 2021

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?

(@Puiyin, 2021)

Our China team were trained on how to schedule Zoom meetings for the online interactive sessions. This provided us with an opportunity to work on getting the workflow right. We started the training session with a quiz about the RAU.

Exploring immersive view and carrying out a poll in Zoom with our new China Team

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.

“Please Sir Can I have some more please?” (Dickens, 2020) Image adapted from: https://amzn.to/2VvWiVD

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:

(@DrWGarnham, 2021)

Don’t just deliver: Teach. This seems like pluasibdle approach to pedagogy. 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?

大家好运

Dàjiā hǎo yùn

Good luck everyone

Bibliography

Dickens, C (2020) Oliver Twist (Ottawa: East India Publishing Company)

Dickens, C (2016) Great Expectations (Los Angeles: Enhanced Media Publishing)

Garnham, W [@DrWGarnham] (2021, 13th September) “THOSE WHO CAN, TEACH. THOSE WHO CAN’T DELIVER CONTENT” EXCELLENT QUOTEFROM @ALEJANDROA [Tweet]. Twitter. Available at: https://twitter.com/DrWGarnham/status/1437388930840662021

Heasman, M & Lang, T (2015) Food Wars the Global Battle for Mouths, Minds and Markets. 2nd ed.(Oxon: Routledge)

Headleand, C (2021) We shouldn’t confuse online engagement with logging in. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/campus. Higher Education Blog [blog] Available at: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/campus/we-shouldnt-confuse-online-engagement-logging [Accessed: 9 September 2021]

Headleand, C (2021) What does ‘student engagement’ mean to you https://www.timeshighereducation.com/campus. Higher Education Blog [blog] Available at: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/campus/what-does-student-engagement-mean-you-and-you-and-you [Accessed: 9 September 2021]

Headleand, C (2021) Practical Pedagogy (Online) Available at: https://chrisheadleand.com/practical-pedagogy/ [Accessed: 9 September 2021] [Accessed: 9 September 2021]

Armellini, A (n.d.) Don’t Just Deliver: Teach. https://europe.educationtechnologyinsights.com Technology blog, [blog] (Online) Available at: /https://learning-management-system-europe.educationtechnologyinsights.com/cxoinsights/don-t-just-deliver-teach-nid-1542.html [Accessed: 30 September 2021]

Whitton, F., 2009. Conservationists are not making themselves heard. Guardian.co.uk Science blog, [blog] 18 June. Available at: <http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2009/jun/18/conservation-extinction-open-ground&gt; [Accessed 23 June 2009].

Love Productions (2021) The Great British Bakeoff (Online) Available at: https://thegreatbritishbakeoff.co.uk/ [Accessed 7 September 2021] Qingdau Agricultural University (QAU) (n.d.) Qingdau Agricultural University (Online) Available at: https://www.qau.edu.cn/ [Accessed 7 September 2021]

Presenter Media (2021) Presenter Media (Online) Available at: https://www.presentermedia.com [Accessed 7 September 2021]

Royal Agricultural University (RAU) (n.d.) Michael Heasman (Online) Available at: https://www.rau.ac.uk/about/organisation/staff/dr-michael-heasman [Accessed 7 September 2021]

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]

Twitter (2021) #EdTechBakeOff (Online) Available at: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23EdTechBakeOff&lang=en [Accessed 7 September 2021]

Wong, P [@puiyin] (2021, 30th August) LADIES & GENTS, THE JUDGES, @JATENAS @LEOHAVEMANN@JOSTROUD@LORNAMCAMPBELL AND I HAVE MADE OUR DECISIONS! #EDTECHBAKEOFF [Tweet]. Twitter. Available at: https://twitter.com/Puiyin/status/1432468163288084493

The Show Must Go Online. Exploring ‘The New Normal’ with the ALT West Midlands Group

On 2nd June 2020, the Association of Learning Technologists (ALT) West Midlands group hosted a free online event using the Zoom platform exploring the ‘The New Normal’.

The New Normal and The Rise of the Learning Technologists

Why is ‘The New Normal’ important? While the majority of traditional face-to-face delivery has not been possible throughout the pandemic, there has been a shift of focus towards learning technology as a platform for teaching and learning. The ‘Online Pivot’ has been used to describe the process of a rapid movement to online learning often describved as emergency pedagogy’. As a result, Learning Technologists have had a ‘spotlight’ on them in an enhanced capacity as agents of critical digital change. Redefining the old pedagogy and articulating exactly how online pedagogy will work has resulted in a fundamental process of ‘getting the digital ducks in a row’ for many eductional institutions. Often this is not a seamless transition and we have to embrace both inevitable ‘messy’ change and our vulnerabilities.

In March 2019, I presented at the ALT West Midlands event at Warwick University exploring Critical Digital Literacies. My presentation explored the use of Digital Champions.

I used a life size cardboard cut out of Yoda from Star Wars and invited participants to write on hand shaped post it notes and stick them to the Yoda character to explore and share ideas as a collaborative task running throughout my presentation.

A strong theme of providing creative opportunities for reflection began to emerge. One of the outcomes of the event was a collaborative blog published on the ALT website available here to reflect on the core ideas emerging from the event. I created the visuals!

The New Normal: Cloudy with a Chance of Learning Technology?

ALT West Midlands had orginally planned a face-to-face event exploring accessible learning in April 2020 which, like many events, was changed to an online event with a change of focus. The event started with a warm up activity where all participants were invited to share something that they have learned thorughout lockdown. There were a range of presentations and contributions at the event from a range of different institutions. Jess Humphries (@Jess_humphreys) explored the Technology Enhanced Active Learning Festival (TEAL) which took place online here hosted by Warwick University. Daniel Scott (@_Daniel_Scott) shared activities and reflections from Nottingham Trent University. Tim Smale (@Tim_Smale) shared insights into elements of flexible digital education at Keele University. Annie Pendrey (@AnniePendrey) shared an inspirational pedagogic model using the colours of the rainbow as a visual structure to provide support. The rainbow has been a visual icon of the Lockdown. Her article, ‘The Colour of Courage In The Face Of Adversity‘ can be found here. Let’s not be afraid of colour in our practice!

The Sound of Learning Technology – Setting up a Radio Station in Five Minutes

I presented a series of reflections on setting up a pop up radio station experiment throughout the Lockdown and beyond. The presentation title was ‘Lock, taking Stock, and Pandemic Pedagogies: reflections on creating a pop-up radio station during lockdown and beyond‘.

Metaphors can really help us to understand what we do in HE (Badley & Van Brummelen, 2012). I explored the pivot as a metaphor for the move to online learning, suggested that a compass may be an alternative metaphor to view the pedagogic shift, identified potential emerging ‘pandemagogies‘, shared reflections on creating content and case studies of using radio, discussed how the language we use to talk about learning technology as a direct result of the Lockdown has changed, and finally shared the tools I used ot create the radion station itself – Zeno as the hosting platform, Adobe Audition for editing and FreeSFX to access royalty free sound clips. Pivot FM can be accessed here.

A Pivot within a Pivot. A Wheel within a Wheel: Whose ‘Normal’ is it Anyway?

There are a range of perspectives on the online pivot and pedagogic integrity. Who decides? Some of the questions and feedback after the presentation were both positive and helpful. One of the questions concerned how to develop the Radio Station further, potentially exploring the vidcast format. On reflection, a potential creative route would be to explore multimodal podcasts or ‘modcasts’ using a range of different modes to engage an audience. Ultimately, the one of the core arguments of my presentation was the importance to embed creative opportunities in the work of Learning Technologists. After the presentations, there was an ‘open mic’ opportunity where participants can share what is happening in their own institutions.

It was great to have support from our Learning Technology team. Thanks to @digitalrau, @husnaahmed and @chantalschipperrau. The ALT Midlands group were really helpful and supportive. I would encourage anyone thinking about presenting to give it go. Thanks to John Couperthwaite (@johncoup), Lynne Taylorson (@Realtimeedu), Kerry Pinny (@KerryPinny), and Jess Humphries (@jess_humphries) for organising the event.

Partial recording only: the recording includes talks from Daniel, Pip, Tim, and Annie. Password: 9A%?Brf7

The chat is available as a document below:

Learn more about the APConnect event that Lynne was involved in here.

Find out more about the ALT West Mindlands group here.

To join the group, you can request membership here.

@WMRLTG on Twitter and look out for the hashtag #ALTWM

The Pivot FM Zoom background is available to download below:

I have been uisng Wakelet to research the ‘online pivot’.

Wakelet is a online tool used to save, organise and curate collections of links. It is also possible to share Wakelet collections to Teams.

Image result for teams logo

Bibliography

Badley, K. & Van Brummelen, H. (Eds.) (2012). Metaphors We Teach By: How Metaphors Shape What We Do in the Classroom (Eugene: Wipf and Stock)

Pendrey, A (2020) ‘The Colour of Courage In The Face Of Adversity‘. FE News. 11th May 2020. (Online) Available at: https://www.fenews.co.uk/featured-article/46866-the-colour-of-courage-in-the-face-of-adversity [Accessed 2nd June 2020]