Monday, 6 June 2016

Google user case studies from Carnegie faculty by Colin Mitchell

Over the last 3-4 years I have been working with different groups of staff and students within the Carnegie faculty (and beyond) to help embed Google Apps for Education in teaching & learning practice. This work has covered many different areas from sign-up sheets to effective course communities, from course team documentation to ePortfolios and many more. We wanted to raise awareness of some of the diverse uses that the Google service can support help others and hopefully spark ideas of how you might use it in your own areas. 

With that in mind and with the specialist skills of my assistant learning technologist, Elliott Link, we created some bite-size videos. These are not 'How to' videos but more 'This is how we have uses it so'. Our aim was to capture some of the real-world stories that highlight how different staff within the Carnegie schools of Education & Childhood and Sport use the same core Google Apps for Education services to help them. The stories include the honest voices of academic and support staff as well as students who are using the service in some way on a day-to-day basis.

Please watch the 3 videos that we produced, we hope you find them useful in some way.

In recent years interest in the Google service and how it can be best used, has increased significantly. A good indicator of this is the current level of enquiries for an upcoming session at the DEAP16 conference that I will be co-presenting entitled 'Using Google Apps to Help You Work More Effectively'. At the last count this session 73 members of staff had already signed-up and it was the fastest session to fill-up (hence the repeat session!) If you're interested in finding out more - you're welcome to sign-up before all the places go!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Case studies of technology in teaching by Rebecca Sellers

Over the last few months with the technical skills of our assistant learning technologist, Tom Davis we have recorded a number of short case study videos showcasing how staff at Leeds Beckett use a range of technologies to support, engage and enhance learning and teaching. This is the starting point of an ongoing exercise to document range of tools used by staff and the variety of ways they are used in their day to day work of learning and teaching.  

The systems and tools that are covered in the first group of videos include Google apps, Twitter, Pebblepad and audio feedback.

If while watching the videos you think you could contribute a case study video or a written case study please get in touch. These examples along with other interviews and resources will be embedded into a new resource site to be created jointly between the Centre for Learning and Teaching, Distance Learning Unit and Learning Systems.  

If you would like to know more about any of the tools described in the videos please contact or look on the learning systems website for guides for the institutional tools. 


Monday, 9 May 2016

#DEAP16 Bookings are open for Leeds Beckett staff

As we move through spring towards summer it can only mean one thing, that the Leeds Beckett DEAP16 Learning and Teaching conference is not far away. A 2 day conference open to all Leeds Beckett staff involved in all aspects of learning and teaching. This year the conference is on the 29 and 30th June at Headingley Campus.

The theme for this years conference is 'Teaching Excellence:Excellent Teaching', over the 2 days we will look both internal and external views and practice in these areas. 

You can read the full programme here and book onto sessions. The headliners this year include keynotes from Sue Rigby, Becky Huxley-Binns and  Andy Adcroft.  The first day will be opened by our own DVC Academic Phil Cardew talking about 'our strategy for education, one year on' . 

To get you in the mood for this years conference we thought we share some of the pictures from last years conference.

Monday, 4 April 2016

AUA Conference 2016 by Lyn Edwards

On 21st March I made my way to the Royal Armouries for a 3 daylong Conference – this year the theme was Creativity, Collaboration and Complexity. ,This was my first AUA Conference and with over 600 Delegates, 126 Institutions and 13 countries represented it was a fantastic opportunity for 3 days of networking, engaging, sharing and, with 11 working sessions running each day plus a choice of Keynotes, there was certainly a great buzz and sense of excitement around the whole conference as delegates moved from session to session.   

The Opening Plenary from Ben Goldacre (Writer, Broadcaster and Doctor) titled ‘Randomise Me’ on the use of randomised trials throughout society, on education and in government set the stall for a very interesting few days.
On Day 2, the Middle Plenary by Prof Dame Julia Goodfellow, Vice-Chancellor, University of Kent focused on Keeping Universities Transformational, for individuals, our communities, our society and our future.

There were a number of exhibition stands in the main hall introducing products and services offered by relevant sector bodies and suppliers for delegates including Turnitin UK and HEFCE.  Having a keen interest in photography I put the time in-between sessions to good use sightseeing around the Royal Armouries!

The Closing Plenary on Day 3 by Prof Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor, University of Buckingham on Leadership and Mindfulness in Higher Education was compelling and inspiring and by the end of the session Sir Anthony had the whole audience on their feet, dancing to the tune of Happy by Pharrell Williams! It was such a fantastic way to finish the conference and I left with a smile on my face and feeling happy!
To sum up, it was a fantastic first experience, at a fabulous venue. I would certainly recommend the AUA Annual Conference to administrator colleagues. 

Monday, 21 March 2016

Digifest 2016

By Tom Davis

On March 2nd my colleague and I travelled down to Birmingham to attend the Digifest conference held in the International Convention Centre. As this was the first conference I had attended I was not sure what to expect, and after walking into the main area where the talks were held I immediately felt I had stepped into the future. Firstly noticing the giant inflatable igloo looking structures (which were used for holding sessions across the two days), I then found myself surrounded by moving robots and a variety of other machines and gadgets on display. After a brief moment there we then moved across to the hall to attend the first session of the conference, which was on “The power of digital for change”.  This session explored the general theme of the conference looking into the use of technology in education, which was then followed by smaller talks and workshops focusing on more specific components under this area.

Throughout the first day I found it interesting to learn about the progress of modern technology and the exciting new educational benefits and opportunities this poses into the near future. The main highlight from this was getting the chance to look around and inspect the various machines and gadgets on display. The first thing that caught my eye was the 3D printer, which I had the opportunity to learn about and observe whilst in practice. From what could be mistaken for a large microwave from a distance, with a closer look I was able to witness a data scan being transformed into a 3D plastic model. I was also able to get my hands on some previous models that had been printed earlier in the day, and seeing the fine detail in the objects it was hard to believe that they were printed from a machine.

I was also able to experience the virtual reality headsets, from which I was immersed into a number of different environments, from rollercoaster rides to seaside villages and mountainous terrains. I was blown away by how drawn in I was to the seemingly real environments, and by the end I was left both amazed by the technology that seems to be on the verge of appearing on the mainstream market, and also left pondering on the impact and benefits this poses towards future learning and teaching methods, should any of these technologies be introduced into the educational environment.     

The second day began in similar fashion with an opening talk on “ The power of digital for teaching and learning”. I found this first talk in particular was a real eye opener into the advancement and expansion of technology in education and its impact on the modern learning experience. One specific point made during this talk which I found interesting, was the exploration of the changing learning spaces from the traditional to the modern learning environment through digital learning. The speaker looked into the pros and cons regarding this current change, discussing how the modern learning space is more open with improved accessibility and freedom, allowing students to work from home with more flexibility in time and scheduling. The speaker then went on to debate the issues with this off campus digital learning system, discussing how this can lead to isolation from peers and tutors, and a loss of a sense of community within a course, emphasising the necessity for campus libraries and physical learning environments. The speaker concluded by suggesting some form of combination between these learning spaces as ideal, drawing upon the positives identified in both spaces whilst combating the issues that come with it.

I found this conference useful to learn about digital learning in the educational system and the necessity to be able to adapt to an ever-growing expansion of technology in the modern learning environment. It was fascinating to witness and experience some of the technology that has developed so much and so quickly, and still has the potential to advance more into various areas including education. It was also interesting to learn about the effects of these aspects, and the importance to consider this when introducing new technologies and digital teaching methods into the learning environment.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Course Reps: What we like.....What we value

In Feb 2016 Leeds Beckett Students' Union held a conference to support its Course Reps.

The Centre for Learning and Teaching invited these reps to leave a record of what they valued about their courses.

Two large table cloths were filled.
These all got at least one mention:

wide choice of electives
small cohort size
clear organisation
engaging content
sense of community
excellent facilities

But by far the most frequently remarked on
(approx 6 times more frequently)

Practical application

 Helpful, approachable staff

This was not a systematic student survey.
But it is a snapshot of the views and values of the current Course Reps we spoke to.
They take their obligation to represent seriously...
and know what they value.