Jisc/SHED Open Education Event

Earlier this week a number of GCU colleagues attended the joint Jisc RSC Scotland/SHED event on Open Education.  The event was co-hosted by our very own Dr Alison Nimmo and brought together a number of speakers talking about a range of open education practice.

Celeste McLaughlin (Jisc RSC Scotland) started the day by giving us an overview of using open badges for staff development. Celeste’s presentation reminded us of the excellent resources and community support that the RSC have produced around open badges including their Open Badges Design Toolkit.  There was a lot of interest around using badges from the room, particularly in relation to the UKPSF and potentially as a way to illustrate recognition of good standing.

Kerr Gardiner from the University of Glasgow gave an overview of their experiences of MOOCs, and how he sees them as just one part of a growing digital landscape jigsaw in terms of their wider online learning developments.   I gave an update on our experience of developing what we jokingly refer to as “a MOOC in a month”, GCU Games On.  I think that having these two presentations from almost completely different ends of the development spectrum, gave a good overview of the enabling features of open practice, OERs, open badges and online learning as well as some of the challenges.

In the afternoon we got an update on Jisc with a focus on Jorum developments from Susanne Boyle, Director of Jorum. There are lots of great things happening in Jorum including development of AR resources. It’s worth having a look at if you haven’t recently.

The final presentation was from Lorna Campbell, Cetis. Lorna gave an overview on the Open Scotland community,  and and an overview of the updated Scottish Open Education Declaration.  This is a great example of a community driven initiative which is putting open education practice in Scotland firmly on the radar of international developments. Hopefully the Scottish Government will formally endorse the declaration soon too.

All in all it was a very useful day and brought together a good mix of people. It was tinged with some sadness though too as due to the restructuring of Jisc, the RSC will no longer exist in its current form after January.  Hopefully the emphasis that Jisc has on co-design will allow events like this to continue. The RSC has done so much to support community sharing of practice within Scotland it would be very sad and detrimental to the sector to see that lost.

I also made some visual notes from the day which you can view here.

Here are the slides from my presentation.

Next Blended Learning Coffee Club meeting – 4th December

Our next Blended Learning Coffee Club meeting will take place on Thursday 4th December in the Insight Area in GCU Lead.

This month we’ll be featuring the #BYOD4L event which is running again in January 2015.  GCU are one of the institutional partners and we’re hoping that staff and students will be able to take part in the event. The Blended Learning Team will also be offering drop in f2f session to discuss some of the issues around mobile and personal devices being used for learning and teaching.  You’ll also get the opportunity to earn another blended learning badge!

BYOD4L logo

Is there a new receipe for blended learning? #sedaconf

Yesterday I attended the 19th  SEDA Conference. This is the first time I have been to a SEDA conference and it was a very enjoyable experience mixing with the educational development community.

Being part of the Blended Learning team here at GCU I couldn’t not go the the session run by George Roberts and Richard Francis (Oxford Brookes) called “implementing the new Blended Learning”.  Intriguingly we were presented with menu of blended approaches.

During the very enjoyable and thought provoking session there was much lively debate about just what it is that constitutes good learning practice and how do we continue to foster it in both online and f2f situations.  If, as the session abstract, suggests

“Self-evidently, people are different; learning takes place in communities and isengaged with and through technologies. There is good evidence for the benefits of dialogic, participatory learning (Guache 2014), where deliberative reflection arises from and is a skill for distributed collaboration (Stuart-Buttle 2014). The conundrum is, if we know this, and have for years been advocating transformative learning (Mezirow 1997) based on these and similar principles (e.g. Chickering and Gamson 1987), why do we now find learners, institutions and the curriculum still in such tension over TEL, in an environment of ambiguity, anxiety, power and ideology (Morrison 2014)?”

One question raised by my former colleague Bill Johnston during the session was, if we do know this, is educational development a threshold concept itself now?

What was clear was that we need to continue to ensure that we do continue to review and revisit every learning situation and space to ensure that learners get the appropriate blend.

I do think that most of the time we do that here at GCU, however it is easy to fall into the trap of making the same menu choices just because you like them every time.  Now again it is good to experiment with some new options, mix things up a bit (2 starters and no main), go a la carte, or even call for take away.