Why (re)training matters

I read a rather wonderful book recently, called ‘Badass: making users awesome’. I confess that I originally bought it thinking it would help us design a better product through a better user experience. However, I was wrong – but pleasantly so… I dont want to review the book here – Virginia DeBoult does an excellent job here. I would though like to focus on one particular subject of the book which…

Open badges for open accreditation of learning

Open Badges for open accreditation of learning ? I joined a recent Open Badges #LTHEchat TweetChat (hosted by Phil Vincent and Roisin Cassidy, 29th April 2015) with some trepidation, having had only minimal exposure to them in MOOCs and other open learning activities. Open Badges offer great potential for redefining the award of skills, achievements and competence, beyond conventional academic measures. This potentially allows anybody with internet access new opportunities to receive valuable recognition and reward, and perhaps incentivise…

How do we help our students to be ‘Future Ready’ ?

How do we design our educational programmes to help our students have the skills and experiences to meet future workplace needs ? This one day symposium, organised by JISC and PebblePad, sought to bring together UK professionals from Further Education, Higher Education, professional bodies and industry, to help answer this question. It featured presentations, break-out activities, and much time for deeper discussions. Of the many issues discussed, I have summarised my…

A fresh perspective on HE teaching

A mock analysis of possible TEF scores, released by THE [1], suggests a long awaited new perspective on teaching in UK HEIs. The dominance of research-intensive universities in league tables over the previous decade, and more, has largely mis-represented the quality of teaching across many of the smaller, campus-based institutions. Soon we will begin to see a new picture emerging of the standard of teaching across the UK, allowing prospective students to…

Introducing online portfolio-based applications to higher education courses

How can Universities, and other education providers, make better selection decisions on course applicants? In 2015 a record number of 592,000 applications were made, representing a 2% increase on the previous year (The Telegraph, 2015). At the same time, Universities are under enormous pressure to improve graduate employment statistics to demonstrate serious student investment through tuition fees. As Edward Peck, Nottingham Trent University, states “…if we are saying to students that coming…

Making sense of analytics for learning

 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9b/Social_Network_Analysis_Visualization.png As big data captures the hearts, minds and souls of everybody engrossed in the smorgasbord of delights on the internet, the education community is enthralled to a new and related trend, learning analytics.  Whilst this offers new insights into the factors determining success and failure on an academic course, have we missed the point ? How can analytics be used to support the learner and the learning process ? The…

Where next for the LMS?

At this time of year University programme teams will be introducing their learning management systems (LMS) to their new students, outlining all the mandatory and optional features available to support their studies. The LMS (aka VLE) is the workhorse of educational technology world, serving teachers, administrators and managers with a panoply of tools for teaching, assessment, placements and course administration. The interfaces continue to look slicker, the functionality more comprehensive,…

Augmented reality made easy

I recently attended the excellent CanvasCon at the British Museum (incredible venue, btw!). It was a great day, spent with many folk who couldn’t hide their enthusiasm for the LMS/VLE, Canvas. And yet, one particular piece of software captured my attention and, frankly, surprised me: Zappar– an augmented reality solution. I have long been sceptical about the potential of augmented reality. Sure, Pokemon Go looks fun for a certain generation, Oculus…

How to prepare graduates for employment: a toolkit

Our university graduates now face daunting pressures finding their desired careers in a rapidly changing job market. As the number of full-time undergraduate places at UK universities rose by 2 per cent in 2015, a City and Guilds report suggests that less than a third of roles will be available to graduates by the time they enter the jobs market. Whilst respondents remain optimistic that good exam results (58%) and going to university (39%) are the best route…

A magic wand for education: 10 ways to improve feedback and feed-forward

The issue of feedback in education is a burning topic which is never likely to go away anytime soon. It is now a driving issue in improving student engagement and satisfaction, with traditional formats being threatened through the escalation of blended and large-scaled learning courses. It touches on all aspects of teaching delivery and assessment, though is to be felt more acutely with moves towards the TEF in the UK, and learning…