Learning and Teaching Matters

Archive for the ‘eLearning’ Category

Fiona Harvey attended a lecture by Prof Andy Stanford-Clark, Master Inventor at IBM UK today.  It was an absolutely fascinating talk about pervasive innovation and its uses within IBM’s Smarter Planet agenda.   Andy talked about and showed us how his house has been wired up to detect power and water usage and how he has a variety of security checks so that in essence his house can tell him (via Twitter) if he has locked the front door or not.  Not only can he do this but he has also managed to work with a variety of colleagues from across the University to look at flood warnings – Floodnet and has developed a new messaging protocol (MQTT.org)

Andy provided us with a huge range of examples of how he has been using pervasive technology to save time and money – much more than we could post here – take a look at this from Andy’s web site.

Andy also features as part of this Twitter Power User video from EpicFu.com


Fiona Grindey attended this event last week – all online and very interactive.   The conference was based on two themes – Theme 1 was ‘Finding the Way’ and Theme 2 was  ‘ Meeting the Challenge’.   Each of these themes had a series of resources relating to them.  There are resources relating to the presentations and discussion forums at the event which were either a live presentation using Elluminate or discussion forums, each with a whole set of resources and reading material, which could sometimes included video.

Theme 1 posed questions such as:

  • What are the needs and expectations of learners using technology in their learning? How can we distinguish between the myths and the reality, and respond effectively?
  • Is there a role for social media in supporting, engaging and retaining learners?
  • How can technology enhance the broader canvas of curriculum delivery?
  • What are the benefits and challenges posed by open educational resources?
  • What will educational institutions look like in the future?

The keynote for this theme was from Charles Leadbeater via Elluminate was ‘The role of innovation in education’.  At which there was a lively discussion and a very good attendance.

Theme 2 posed questions such as:

  • How can institutions respond with more agility to the changing needs of the workplace?
  • How can institutions engage employers and professional bodies in curriculum design?
  • Adopt or avoid? Can virtual worlds open up new routes to learning?
  • How can the design of technology-rich physical learning spaces be informed by research?

The keynote for this theme was ‘Becoming an edgeless university’  with Peter Bradwell,  an independent researcher with Demos, who looked at how institutions could explore ways to prepare for the future. Peter’s presentation is based on the 2009 Demos report, The Edgeless University.

All the resources from the event will be availble via the JISC website in January 2010.

There was  recent post about the conference on the JISC e-Learning Programme blog.

If you would like to know more about the conference please let me know.

I have just presented at the National Workshop on Learning in Immersive Worlds yesterday at Coventry University with Julie Watson in Modern Languages.  I presented the model of the coordination and management of the University island and talked about how the communication between the five projects in the Schools and disciplines (Medicine, Modern Languages, Archaeology, Chemistry and Education) are maintained. Julie presented her work on one of the projects and also that of the M3 Project.

It was a really interesting event and there were a lot of interesting and new ideas, including augmented reality and also it was interesting to find out what has been going on elsewhere in Second Life.  I attended presentations on the use of Sloodle for dynamic interactions from Peter Bloomfield of University of West of England and also a presentation from Dr David White of Oxford University giving an interesting insight to the views of students from their Open Habitat project.  I will be providing a more comprehensive update to the Second Life interest Group via the mailing list (secondlife-info) which can be subscribed to through the majordomo lists at http://www.lists.soton.ac.uk

If you are interested in how the University of Southampton has been using virtual worlds to enhance education and research, please get in touch with  Fiona Grindey in LATEU.


The E-Learning Implementation Group (Chaired by Rosalynd Jowett) and The E-Learning Strategy Group (Chaired by Hugh Davis) have now merged to form the Technology Enhanced Learning Steering and Implementation Group (TELSIG).  this new group will be able to contribute and respond to the new University strategies for education as they are put in place.  The Group will report via Hugh to the Education Committee and will help to drive forward technology enhanced learning initiatives and innovations at University level.

Professor Hugh Davis although head of ECS Learning Societies Lab is also University Director of Education with a responsibility for E-Learning.

The date of the next meeting will be Thursday January 21st – any items for consideration at the meeting need to be sent to Fiona Grindey by Monday 4th January to allow two weeks notice for the Group.

It was recently announced at the DHoS meeting that the funding via the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Fund would no longer be available.  However, possible funding opportunities may arise through other University projects or external funding. 

There are other sources of external funding for learning and teaching and many opportunities for these are circulated through the learningandteaching-info@lists.soton.ac.uk mailing list.  This list may be subscribed to via LISTS.

As you may or may not be aware LATEU have been instrumental in coordinating projects working in Second Life, on the University Island.  They have been running for nearly a year and have proved to be very successful (full evaluations etc will be available in due course).  It seems though, that we now have to think about the future direction for virtual worlds (not just Second Life) as we are all facing reduced funding (or even no funding!)  To that end, I am going to get a steering group together to look at how we move this along.  The initial aim will be to ask the project leaders to be members of the group as they have had first hand experience of using virtual worlds for teaching and research and also to gain input from other interested members of the University community.

I hope that this group will be able to review the experiences of the last year and use this to guide us along.  It does seem reasonable that we should extend the good work that has been created as a result of the efforts over the last year.

As soon as any progress is made here, I will report back to this blog with an update.   Again, if anyone has any questions about this or who would like to be involved please get in touch.

LATEU is running a lunchtime session about TeamPoll, an online peer feedback system, on Tuesday 13 October from 12.45 to 2.00 in the LATEU training room (25/3077). A buffet lunch will be provided for all people who book a place – please email lateu@soton.ac.uk and note that we are limited to 20 places.

TeamPoll is an online peer-review system that enables students to provide the other members of their group with feedback on their teamwork. It uses a simple traffic-light analogy to indicate overall performance and also requires the selection of two comments that provide more specific feedback, such as “good attitude” or “better contributions needed”. It should be noted that each student has to rate their own performance as well as that of their team members. The feedback generated can be used in a formative way to encourage improved performance, and/or summatively to modify the final grade achieved by each student.

The session will start at 12.45 with lunch, a short presentation and discussion about the peer review process. From 1.15 until 2.00 there will be a hands-on session that shows the process by which a tutor creates a poll, students vote and all view the feedback that results.

TeamPoll was developed by Dr Kenji Takeda (Engineering Sciences) using a grant from the University’s ‘Learning and Teaching Enhancement Fund’. If you cannot make the session, more information is available at http://www.elearning.soton.ac.uk/guide/peer_review.htm including three short videos that show how the system is used. It also includes details on how you can request an account and use TeamPoll in your teaching.