Next Blended Learning Coffee Club, Friday 2 October, 12-1pm

The next Blended Learning Coffee Club will take place on Friday 2 October, 12-1pm in H116.   “To rubric or not to rubric?” will be the theme of this months meet-up. Ken Garner and Catriona Miller, GSBS will lead the discussions sharing their views and experiences of using rubrics.  So if you are a firm advocate or still not sure about where, when, how and why to use rubrics, come along and join the conversation. As ever if you let Sheila MacNeill ( know you are coming, you’ll get a voucher for a free cup of coffee from the Roots Cafe.  coffee club graphic


Online and Open at GCU

Last week Sheila MacNeill and I attended the Association for Learning Technology conference (ALTC) in Manchester.  The theme of the conference was ‘Shaping the Future of Learning Together’.  The keynote speakers were excellent, and you can get a flavour of them in Sheila’s recent blog post.

Given the current interest in online learning and especially moocs, it shouldn’t be surprising that online and open education featured strongly throughout the conference programme.  Although GCU is not going down the route of large scale Mooc development, we are making progress in our approach to openness as an integral part of the curriculum design process for new online programmes.  The recent approval of an interim Open Education Resources (OER) policy, led by Marion Kelt in the Library, is also a major step towards moving this forward.

My presentation outlined the strategic approach we’re taking to developing online programmes and open learning at GCU, viewing them as complementary to each other and integral to the development of learning and teaching across the campus.  They also chime well with GCU’s Common Good mission and our commitment to social innovation.

There was quite a lot of interest in our approach from colleagues in other universities, so it looks as if we’re moving in the right direction.  Often it’s only when you go to a conference and find out what’s happening elsewhere that you get a sense of where your own university sits in relation to sector wide developments.

I concluded that we are indeed making progress, but that we still have some way to go to transform thinking and fully embed both online and open across the curriculum. We know from colleagues that time and resource for staff to engage in these kinds of developments is still a key issue.  I summed this up with the ACE model (slide 18) – Awareness, CPD and Examples – which shows some of the steps we’re taking to move forward with online and open at GCU.

A new, open, mobile friendly Pilot research resource

Marion Kelt, Senior Librarian, shares an update on Pilot, GCU’s now open research and information literacy resource.

The Library has launched a new version of Pilot, our online information literacy, research and communication skills resource aimed at postgraduate students and researchers of all levels. The new version is openly available from the Library website, with no need to login to gain access.

The new version of Pilot has been built using the university’s T4 template which is compatible with a range of mobile devices. It features a redesigned menu structure and will soon incorporate an internal search feature.

The content has been updated to reflect the increased use of social networking in research and incorporates new content on communication skills.

Any feedback and suggestions are welcome. Contact Marion Kelt on

Screen shot of Pilot website

New Case Study: Using Trello for developing fully online modules

Today at the #altc conference, Linda Creanor presented a summary of the work we’ve been doing with staff around developing fully online courses.  One of the tools we’ve been encouraging our colleagues to explore and use as a way to visually represent their learning designs is Trello.  This was quite a talking point in the session .

As part of sharing effective practice,  we have produced a case study based on the experiences of Dawn Anderson, Senior Lecturer, GSBS, has been developing her existing distance learning programme in Risk Management to a fully online programme. One of the first things Dawn had to do was map the existing course content and activities, but she wasn’t sure how to do it, until she was introduced to Trello.   One of the great things about Trello is its ease of use and flexibility. As Dawn says

“it was so straightforward to use. I think it’s got a lot of scope in terms of how you use it, I think it is really really useful for seeing what is going on across a programme” 

You can download the case study from the link below and the presentation from Dawn explains her context a bit more too. If you are using Trello we’d love to hear about your experiences or your thoughts in the comments.

Trello_case study (PDF)