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Optimising research possibilities in online teaching and learning


Presentation given at Unisa seminar in Pretoria, 11 June 2012.

Presentation given at Unisa seminar in Pretoria, 11 June 2012.

Published in Education , Technology
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  • We’ve just completed an investigation into our Blackboard VLE. We just did a major audit across the university to find out how people are using the current version of Blackboard, and the results are feeding into the Blackboard upgrade which is aimed at 1 st Sept this year. Findings from this investigation show that Blackboard is still used primarily as a content repository. Academics currently use features such as file uploads for course maintenance rather than for pedagogical design. Learner-learner and learner-tutor interactions via discussion boards and wikis are used to a far lesser extent.
  • The findings from the VLE audit emphasise the need to support the effective use of the collaborative features of the new VLE. The audit also indicates a need of a shift from content-based design to activity-based design. We’ve just got a small funding which allow us to make this transformation across our institution. So in the project we collect and develop resources which enable academics to design for collaborative learning via VLE.
  • DUCKLING: http://www.le.ac.uk/duckling
  • Criminology iPad: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/scid-course/id503579966?mt=8 ; http://tinyurl.com/crimipadvid The Department of Criminology at the University of Leicester started to deliver a new MSc programme: the MSc in Security, Conflict and International Development by distance learning in March 2012. This new Masters’ course is delivered fully online and enrolled students received an iPad as part of their course fees together with a range of textbooks (both hard copy and E-books). The Criminology department developed an App as part of the delivery. The app provides students enrolled on this MSc programme with access to a wide range of essential study materials, including a mixture of text-based, video and audio resources. The app enables students to continue their studies while on the move and away from the Internet. We’re hoping to get a small funding from JISC which allows us to evaluate student use of iPad and the App. And we’ll disseminate Criminology’s experience in mobile access and delivery to institutions and academics who have similar needs. A Youtube video demonstrating the App: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILB5gX4w7vI&list=UU5vJLCwE-M4IDBeiHsBbazQ&index=2&feature=plcp
  • http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/interdisciplinary-science The Centre for Interdisciplinary Science at Leicester offers a paperless and tablet-based degree. In this degree students study a range of subjects in Sciences, all in one go. Students were given Tablet PCs as part of their degree programme. They used their Tablets in many different ways including: Conducting individual research Lectures and workshops: They can view the lecture slides which they pre-downloaded onto their Tablets, and they opened the slides in front of them as the lecturer is talking. They can annotate on those slides, on digital equations, and make their own notes. They also have a lot of reflective Brainstorming sessions, and these were run electronically, and everyone can keep a record of what was being discussed. This way, students can keep an electronic portfolio of all their notes so they do not have to carry around a lot of hard copies. And because this is an interdisciplinary degree, Module 1 will be referred to for the next 3-4 years, so students can have all their notes in one Tablet. Access to study material: All the handbooks are digital with full colour diagrams and active links. Students were also provided with a lot of digital support materials, for example, e-textbooks, podcasts and videos. Students can have a uniform internet access in-session. Assessment: Students have their research questions for each week, which they are expected to research and submit their work electronically in PDF format; They have their summative thesis which can be reports, presentations or multimedia pieces such as podcasts or videos. They can also use their Tablets outside the lab session to complete post-session proformas and lab reports. They can also do electronic Multiple Choice Questions from their Tablets. In the cases where students with Special Educational Needs, the Tablets are provided for their exams.
  • http://arch-pad.blogspot.co.uk/ A group of Archaeology researchers from Leicester were in the ruins of Pompeii using iPads to re-construct the site with archaeological data digitally superimposed. They also used the iPads to read and write notes and input data to a central database.
  • http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/press-releases/2011/december/latest-touch-screen-technology-takes-students-behind-the-scenes-at-the-british-museum The picture shows the group of students used the Windows Tablets to explore extra expert information at the British Museum, to gather info and prepare presentations to fellow students. This application is created by the School of Museum Studies of Leicester and the British Museum. They developed an application on the Windows Tablets that take students on an interactive learning tour of the Museum’s exhibits and galleries. The new app allows students to independently explore the Museum whilst simultaneously benefiting from the expertise of British Museum staff. The School of Museum Studies has already taken a group of students to the British Museum to test the new app, with hugely successful results. The students used the app to guide them around the Museum, and recorded their thoughts and impressions using the tablet's camera function and word processor. Working electronically meant the students could easily share and discuss their work.
  • Fieldwork is a vital teaching and learning approach for subjects such as Geography and Geology. Our Geography Department is exploring the use of a range of mobile devices, including the Tablet PCs to support field works. For example, they developed a GeoJournal tool with a collection of digital learning resources, which students can access to and check references for locations they have visited during a tour using their Tablet PCs. The department is also exploring the use of mobile computing, such as augmented reality and virtual reality technologies to teach spatial processes. They both seem to make use of GIS tools – geolocation.   Here is one report:   http://www.le.ac.uk/geography/splint/pdf/poster%20presentations/geotagging_07.pdf   and here is another:   http://www.le.ac.uk/geography/splint/pdf/conference%20papers/JarvisEUGISES2008.pdf
  • The conceptual framework of the 7Cs: http://beyonddistance.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/carpe-diem-the-7cs-of-design-and-delivery/, http://e4innovation.com/?p=520
  • Play the SWIFT video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=uMMfHZUNpZY
  • Martin Weller (2011): The digital scholar: How Technology Is Transforming Scholarly Practice. http://www.bloomsburyacademic.com/view/DigitalScholar_9781849666275/book-ba-9781849666275.xml
  • Play the two audios
  • Natalia’s screencast: http://screencast.com/t/SSCPcxX5 Tony: play the audio Alison: only the text


  • 1. Ming Nie, Research Associate, Gabi Witthaus, Research Fellow Beyond Distance Research Alliance, University of Leicester For Unisa (Pretoria), 11 June 2012www.le.ac.uk
  • 2.  Part 1: Showcase of e-learning research at Leicester Part 2: Examples of using new technologies for research
  • 3.  What research are you doing into online teaching and learning?
  • 4. • Data – Online survey (260 returns) – Departmental visits• Key findings – Used for content & administration – Pockets of innovation – More support needed on effective design strategies – Tension between teaching and research – Usability issue
  • 5. • VLE as a safe nursery slope• Shift from content to activities• Promote reflection and collaboration• Mobile VLE
  • 6. It was more Great to have very detailed and personal allowed a greater feedback! The Audio feedback explanation of the gave a good general comments made overview and helpedIt also helps to me to understandprovide a more where I needed to makepersonal touch changes. The writtenand to feel better comments showed me exactly where theconnected to my Now I understand changes needed to besupervisor more about what made you were trying to I felt that a lot of say than I did with attention was paid the last set of to my dissertation feedback we got
  • 7. Voice boards and distance learners
  • 8. How I kill time has been transformed by this device, as previously I would have just spent the 20 minutes playing games on my iPhone!I commute to (work)... Its Ive been taking it to work and after lunch reading a fewso much easier to take the pages... Before with the papere-reader rather than taking version, I’d allocate myaround a lot of papers. weekends for study.
  • 9. • Individual research• Contact session notes: – Workshops, Lectures• Assessment: – Core module question sets – Reports, presentations, multimedia – Lab: Proformas & Reports – Electronic MCQs – Exams (Special Ed Needs)
  • 10. School of Museum Studies M.A.students at the British Museum usingtablet computers to explore museumethics
  • 11. Creation Cascading OERs in Health Sciences iTunes UOER university EVOL-OER: Reuse POERUP:OER policy
  • 12. Conceptualise What do we want to design, who for and why?The 7Cs of design and delivery Consolidate Evaluate and embed your design
  • 13. Books, increasingly as e-books andaudiobooks Social network: my Twitter network is especially useful for gainingE-journals, Google Scholar and Mendeley. feedback, asking for suggestions and, on a daily basis, as a filter andDelicious collection mechanism for sharing resources.Blogs: I subscribe to more than 100 blogs inGoogle Reader Google alerts: Providing daily email updates on new content containingMy own blog: I have kept a blog for around the keywords. This allowed me tofive years now, and it provided a useful find new resources, trackresource for items I have commented on and conversations and stay abreast of adrafts of sections of this book. The blog was field which was changing as I wrotealso a means of posting draft content to gain the book.comments and feedback, which could thenbe incorporated into further iterations of Seminars and conferences: mywriting. attendance at face-to-face conferences has declined, but IYouTube, Wikipedia, Slideshare, Scribd, regularly attend or dip intoCloudworks: Sharing resources, and getting conferences remotely.insightful comment.
  • 14. Ale: Online tutorialswith PhD students Terese: social media Gabi: researching in the open
  • 15. There is still some reluctance to embrace twitter in healthcareNatalia: Delicious practice. I think there is concern about confidentiality and inadvertently giving away information... Tony: Twitter Alison
  • 16. Thanks to rapidtravelchai for the image of the Union Buildings, Pretoria on cover slide