Online collaboration, it’s all in the imagination

Wise words from Anne Smith, one of the presenters of this week’s  coffee club session. Anne, along with our GCU LEAD colleague Sabine McKinnon gave an overview of the GCUs involvement with the COIL (collaborative online international learning) project, some reflections on the recent COIL conference and project experiences.

GCU has been a COIL partner for almost 2 years now and was the first Scottish University to join the partnership scheme.  An international collaborator, Anne was quick to give some pragmatic advice about international collaborative projects.  Firstly, you can do short collaborations lasting one or two session (for example debates) and then work up to longer, more in depth projects. As Anne said, it’s all about your imagination and thinking about how you can take an activity you already do and tweaking it to work  with a partner. Using existing learning outcomes is also a good starting point. Once you have those initial elements,  then you can start to  think about potential collaborators.

Anne shared her experience of the Saki and Irn Bru project, which was a collaboration between entrepreneurship students here at GCU and students from Kansai University in Japan.  This was a collaborative project based activity. Using wikis groups of students contributed to the creation of a report. A range of technologies including wikispaces, skype and Facebook. Facebook was only use for social learning/cultural exchange and was very much a student owned space.  Skype proved more problematic both in terms of stable connections and also, it seemed to be a technology that our students didn’t really use that much and weren’t particularly comfortable using.

Experiencing different cultures is a fundamental part the COIL scheme for students (and staff). It’s fair to say Japan and Scotland have one or two differences, so to help the students prepare for the experience, they were given a lecture on Japanese culture from a Japanese colleague.

Overall the experience has led to more innovative ways to achieve learning outcomes in an international setting, and enhanced “intercultural literacy, curiosity and sensitivity through real-world international group working”.

Sabine and Anne have been evaluating their experiences to date and you can read more about it in their recent paper:  A Window to the World: Using Technology to Internationalise Entrepreneurship Education, Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, Vol 3, issue 3, pp.15-23

You can find out more in from the slides from the session.


Time for a cuppa – next Blended Learning Coffee Club

The next meeting of the Blended Learning Coffee Club will be on 17th May, 1-2pm in H116. This month we’ll be getting an update on the COIL project. Sabine McKinnon (GCU LEAD), Anne Smith and Michael Bromby (SGBS) will be sharing their experiences and reflections on the recent COIL conference in New York, as well as giving an update on their COIL project and developments here at GCU.

As ever, everyone is welcome, and no registration is required.  However if you email  Sheila MacNeill  ( and let her know you are coming, we’ll send you a voucher for a free coffee/tea.

COIL project logo

Thinking About Open workshop, 27th May

Our colleagues from GCU library are hosting a “Thinking about open” workshop on Friday 27th May from 10am – 12 noon in CEE1.

This workshop is aimed at anyone with an interest in finding out more about OER (Open Educational Resources) and OEP (Open Educational Practice).  It’s fairly informal so come along and share your views! It will be facilitated by Beck Pitt and Bea de los Arcos, researchers at the Open Education Research Hub (OU) on behalf of the Open Educational Practices in Scotland (OEPS) Project. Book your free place on our EventBrite site.

GCU OER Guidance

Opening the black box: Using technology to map the dynamics of workplace learning

Internal and external colleagues maybe interested in this upcoming seminar being held at GCU on 18th May.  For additional information, please contact:

Speaker: Dr Maaike Endedijk, Department of Educational Sciences, University of Twente, The Netherlands

Date/time: Wednesday 18 May 2016, 15:00 – 16:30 (registration from 14:30)

Venue: Glasgow Caledonian University, Centre for Executive Education, Room 4, CEE (building 7 on this campus map:

Webcast: The event will be webcast (register your interest and details will be sent on)

Abstract: Digital technology has become increasingly central to support professional learning at the workplace. The use of technology to investigate the nature of workplace learning is, however, still in its infancies. Learning at the workplace is often social and informal in nature. Due to the covert nature of many of these processes, informal social learning at the workplace is extremely difficult to measure. Wearable sensors have opened a new world of research possibilities to study the dynamic characteristics of social interaction in an innovative and pioneering way.  In this seminar, I would like to give insights in the outcomes of our first studies using sensor technology to describe the dynamics of social interaction patterns at work as a proxy for informal social learning. We will discuss the benefits and downsides of using sensor technology to study learning at the workplace and explore together a new world of research possibilities.

Bio: Maaike Endedijk is Assistant Professor in Professional Learning in Organisations in the Department of Educational Sciences at University of Twente in the Netherlands. Her main research interest is in self-directed professional learning in the workplace. She focuses on the antecedents, consequences and interactions of individual and team-level processes of learning. Her ambition is to develop innovative measurement techniques (e.g., using sensor technology) to get more insights into the black box of these learning processes.

Registration: Attendance is free and open to all but places are limited so please book in advance by emailing: