Here are my notes from this afternoon’s session at the ALT-C 2014 conference. There were three presentations in this session.
Richard Walker (University of York) – Ground swells and breaking waves: findings from the 2014 UCISA TEL survey on learning technology trends, developments and fads
This national survey started in 2001 and has since expanded out from a VLE focus to all systems which support learning and teaching. The results are typically augmented by case studies which investigate particular themes. In 2014 there were 96 responses from 158 HE institutions that were solicited (61% response). Some of the findings:
- Top drivers for TEL are to enhance quality, meet student expectations and improve access to learning for off-campus students
- TEL development can be encouraged by soliciting stuent feedback
- Lack of academic staff understanding of TEL has re-emerged as a barrier to TEL development, but time is still the main factor
- Institutions perceive a lack of specialist support staff as a leading challenge to TEL activity
- In future, mobile technologies and BYOD will still be seen as significant challenges, but not top as in last year
- E-assessment is also a leading concern
- Moodle (62%)is the most used VLE, with Blackboard (49%) the leading enterprise solution
- Very small use of other open source or commercial solutions
- Institutions are increasingly attempting to outsource their VLE solutions
- Plagiarism and e-assessment tools are the most commonly supported tools
- Podcasting is down in popularity, being supplanted by streaming services and recorded lectures, etc.
- Personal response systems / clickers are up in popularity
- Social networking tools are the leading non-centrally supported technology used by students
- There is more interest in mobile devices (iOS, Android) but only a handful of institutions are engaging in staff development and pedagogic activity around these
- Increasing numbers of institutions are making mobile devices available but few support this through policies which would integrate devices into regular practice
- The longitudinal elements of the study suggest that content is the most important driver of TEL for distance learning
- Less than a third of institutions have evaluated pedagogical activity around TEL.
Simon Kear (Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust; formerly Goldsmiths College, University of London) – Grasping the nettle: promoting institution-wide take-up of online assessment at Goldsmiths College
When we talk about online assessment we need to encourage clarity around processes and expected results but learners don’t need to know much about the tools involved. Learners tend to want to avoid hybrid systems and prefer to have alternative ways of having their work submitted and assessed.
There are many different stakeholders involved in assessment, including senior management, heads of department, administrators, and student representatives.
Implementation can be helped through regular learning and teaching committees. It’s important to work with platforms that are stable and that can provide comprehensive support and resources.
Simon concluded by advancing the claim that within 5 years electronic marking of student work will be the norm. This should lead to accepting a wider variety of multimedia formats for student work as well as more responsive systems of feedback.
Rachel Karenza Challen (Loughborough College) – Catching the wave and taking off: Embracing FELTAG at Loughborough College – moving from recommendations to reality
This presentation focused on cultural change in FE and the results of the Feltag survey.
- Students want VLE materials to be of high quality because it makes them feel valued
- The report recommends that all publicly funded programmes should have a 10% component which should be available online
- SFA and ILR funding will require colleges to declare the amount of learning available online and this will not include just any interaction which takes place online (like meetings)
- There is a concern that increasing the amount of learning that takes place online might make it harder to assess what is working
- Changing curricula year by year makes it harder to prepare adequate e-learning – a stable situation allows for better planning and implementation
- Ultimately, assessment requires expert input – machine marking and peer assessment can only get you so far
- In future they intend to release a VLE plugin that others might be able to use
- Within 5 years the 10% component will be raised to 50% – this means that 50% of provision at college level will be without human guidance and facilitation – is this reflective of the growing influence of the big academic publishers? Content provided by commercial providers is often not open to being embedded or customised…
- Ministerial aspirations around online learning may ultimately be politically driven rather than evidence-based.