The theme of this year’s Association for Learning Technology Conference (ALT-C) was Beyond Islands of Innovation – how Learning Technology became the new norm(al) (press release).
The international conference was three days long, each day started with a keynote speaker followed by a packed programme with a wide variety of institutional presentations. The conference provided an opportunity for Andy White and myself to present the teams work on Developing and Maintaining Consistency in Virtual Learning Spaces.
The presentation Keeping Nurses Uniform: Developing and Maintaining Consistency in Virtual Learning Spaces built on our presentation to the ALT Winter 2015 Conference, delivered by Sarah Ruston and myself, and focused on how the move from one single, massive, high-risk, multiple-instructor site to a much more streamline and consistent set of module sites has become the new norm for many staff at the University of Cumbria achieving the consistency between modules that is so important for the student experience.
We presented our work on:
- How we used “parent” and “child” sites to support the inter-disciplinary “Working Together” modules that bring together students from different specialisms, such as Radiography and Midwifery, whilst maintaining the consistency of the module approach and how the assessment element can be overcome with “mark by groups” on Turnitin provided an ideal solution.
- How a benchmarking exercise resulted in the development of a set of Blackboard Protocols which were launched in June 2016 and baselined expectations for module delivery on Blackboard, alongside additional advice for those who wanted to enhance their site further. The protocols require each programme to have their own “programme” site, which contains key content, such as External Examiner reports. Learning technologists have been working with programme teams to enhance the value of these sites to students, for example, by embedding social media feeds and LTi links to PebblePad.
- We reported that 83% of sites surveyed during SEM1 2016/7 were using individual module sites (up from 49% in 2015), very encouraging as this was just a few months after the protocols had been announced.
All supported by examples and feedback from students and academic staff across the institution, this presentation reflects on the work to-date which has helped drive the culture-shift within the Nursing course team’s VLE delivery, and how this work has helped influence practice across the university, alongside next-steps to continue to further innovate course delivery, such as flipping the classroom, helping support an engaging and consistent student-experience within the university’s virtual learning space.
I attended multiple presentations covering topics from Developing Digital Capability: An Organisational Journey to Scaling up media training to enable alternative forms of assessment via new physical and virtual learning spaces.
The conference was an interesting experience and it was particularly rewarding to see how we, at UoC, compare favourably to other institutions. Our digital submission and feedback practices for example are in line with the presentation by Canterbury Christ Church University discussing Engaging learners with digital feedback: how choice of digital presentation may influence how learners use feedback.
Also, the workshop Any space is a learning space: developing mobile resources for meaningful work-based activities and assessment delivered by two UK medical schools, Liverpool and Leeds universities, discussed the effectiveness of mobile resources as learning tools to doctors out on placement.
Their case study reviewed how PebblePad facilitated the move from a paper logbook approach to an eportfolio model which was particularly interesting as this reflects ongoing work and interest within our own institution.
The workshop looked at how mobile resources can be used for meaningful, formative assessment for learning enabling students to develop a portfolio of evidence for their progression.
The session also included ‘hands on’ activities, one of which was a group collaborative activity for which ours was the winner!!