Lose the VLE!

The institutional VLE is often blamed for all sorts of issues and challenges around teaching in an increasingly digital landscape.  In a new addition to our workshop series, participants are given the chance to ‘lose the VLE’ and are tasked with redesigning one of their modules without using the VLE.  In doing so, participants reflect on their use of educational technology and the affordances it can bring.  This is achieved by identifying the activities undertaken in the VLE and attempting to undertake them in other systems.  By the end of the session participants will have a greater understanding of their VLE and be in a position to decide if it is the most appropriate tool to deliver their teaching activities.

For the purposes of the workshop we offer alternatives for three key areas of VLE activity:

  1. Communications & activities: Microsoft Teams which allows sharing, collaboration, chat, group video calls, and is more likely to be used by students when they enter the workplace.
  2. Content: Kortext (www.kortext.com) as a repository for reading materials and Mediasite (www.mediasite.com) for video related materials; both of which offer analytics on use.
  3. Assessment: Turnitin (www.turnitin.com) as an end-to-end assessment platform

The workshop design can accommodate small or large numbers, with participants sat in groups of 5-10 for the redesign activity, with the whole cohort coming together to share feedback.  At the end, participants are asked to vote on whether or not to keep their VLE – with some interesting results!

This workshop was first run at Perth UHI as part of their Learning & Teaching conference.

https://www.kerrgardiner.co.uk/?page_id=293#PW

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Service Development – Changing Landscapes

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given is to reflect regularly. One of the problems of being freelance is that reflection is often dropped to get the paid work done.

So today I re-read the paper I co-published at UoG with Vicki Dale & Josephine Adekola for the QAA Scotland Enhancement Theme, ’Student Transitions’ (https://journal.alt.ac.uk/index.php/rlt/article/view/1973/pdf_1). This paper provides a framework to support a campus based university in becoming capable in blended and online learning.

On re-reading it I have been pleasantly surprised at how well it resonates with much of the consultancy work I have undertaken since leaving Glasgow, as well as relating directly to keynotes and workshops delivered for HE & FE clients. Papers like this are essential underpinning to strategic change, but clients also need a tangible action plan with clearly identified activities and outcomes.

So, I have decided to start mapping actions against the framework to build a pick’n’mix set of options for universities and colleges as they develop their provision for learning & teaching in the evolving digital landscape – watch this space.

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