Adventures in Technology Enhanced Learning @ UoP

Tag: teltales

New year, blank page, fresh start!

The festive season can be a hectic time for us all, rushing here there and everywhere, feeling that you’re constantly racing against the clock to get things done at home and at work. The last minute dash to the shops to buy your loved ones gifts for Christmas, the big food shop to get the all important ingredients for your Christmas dinner (the most eagerly awaited meal of the year!) and the work deadlines that seem to be ongoing and need to be met before everyone breaks up for annual leave – it can be relentless and can easily become overwhelming. 

At this busy time, it’s important to take time out not only to recharge your batteries but also to take stock of what you’ve achieved over the last year, time to reflect and to look ahead to the coming year. The beginning of a new year brings with it a fresh start and blank page for all our hopes for 2020.

‘Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Make it a good one’. - Brad Paisley

So, before we start thinking about the Tel team’s hopes for 2020, and all the things we want to achieve and work on, I would like to spend some time practicing ‘reflection’ (for tips on reflection visit my post: Through the mirror – learning through reflection) and look at what we’ve worked on in 2019. It’s easy to forget what we’ve achieved in a year and that’s why it’s so important when actively reflecting to make sure you have recorded your achievements and things you would like to improve on in some way or another. Our blog site, Tel Tales, is a great way of keeping a record of the Tel team’s work over the year and by contributing to the site it helps us take stock of what we have learnt, whether bad or good, collaboratively.

A whistle-stop tour of a year in the life of the Tel team

Accessibility was at the forefront of our minds in 2019. We wanted to ensure staff were aware that we, as a university, have a legal requirement to provide accessible content to our students. We developed Moodle Baseline and, to help with accessibility for digital content, we installed a plugin called Ally into Moodle. We looked at Grackle for accessible Google Docs and Slides, Automatic Media Transcription and how we could convert Print-based booklets to accessible online resources.

We attended conferences such as Remaking Marking Conference, Digifest 2019,  a Adobe/Higher Times forum called: Making digital literacy a pillar of education, the 19th EAIR Forum, TED Global Conference and Wonkfest 2019.

We looked at Scenario Based Learning, Wikipedia, Online Exams in Moodle, Videos in Higher Education, Content Capture and Digital Badges. We revisited topics such as Copyright and the all-important informative Did you Know? posts for Moodle. Moodle was upgraded to 3.7. We explored the increasing interest in Audiovisual in Education.

Assessments and feedback were also running topics of 2019. We looked at the different types of online assessments we had to offer and looked at feedback and shifting culture in the way we provided feedback to our students by ‘feeding forward’ to students using Edword.

We started to think about 5G and how this may affect us, by looking at Education 4.0 and Natalie 4.0. We looked at the pedagogy behind practice in learning and how visual note taking such as doodling could aid concentration and memory.

We revisited our social media platforms and looked at ways we could revamp them a little to increase our followers on Instagram and Twitter. So far this has worked and we are now advertising Tel and AcDev workshops, which again has helped increase the number of attendees.

We made time to reflect and looked at the importance of reflection. We explored change particularly in our current climate at the university and how we react to change. We looked at technology and our mental health and wellbeing.

Our regular guest blogger; Adrian Sharkey, kindly contributed to Tel Tales to tell us all about the new Linkedin Learning and Julian Ingle told us all about his writing retreats.

Stuart Sims and Andy Clegg joined the AcDev team and I returned from maternity leave.

We said a fond farewell to Jerry, who was seconded to IS.

Finally, we finished the year by looking at Three Useful Apps in Learning and Teaching. The 12 apps of Christmas had a make-over and was revamped into 12 days of Christmas – Learning and Teaching Advent Calendar.

Phew! I think that was everything! Surprising, when you do take the time to reflect, just how much you can achieve in one year. As you can see, for us it’s quite a lot!!

What’s in store for 2020?

As you may have been aware we have had a few internal promotions within the team: Mike Wilson has been seconded to a Senior Lecturer In Digital Learning & Innovation for part of the working week and Senior Educational Technologist for Tel the rest of the week. Shaun Searle has now been seconded into Jerry Collingswood’s post as a Senior Educational Technologist and Tom Cripps seconded to back-fill Mike’s role when he is working with AcDev. 

The new year will therefore welcome Jo Fairwood, seconded to Shaun’s original role on eLearn as an OCD, and Abigail Lee seconded to Tom’s OCD role. 

Content capture will continue to grow organically and, following a staff–student consultation, the university will be introducing a Content Capture policy in 2020.

Accessibility will continue to be a focus for the Tel team. We will also be looking at best practice when it comes to external examiners.

We will continue to explore Edword, an online platform that will allow richer feedback to students. And we will be working much more closely with the AcDev team in 2020, which we are very much looking forward to!

We intend to carry on blogging away – so please, when you have a spare five minutes, check in with us to see what we’ve been up to. And feel free to follow us on our social media platforms! Please leave comments – we appreciate any feedback you have for us.

Finally – we are always looking for guest bloggers! So if you have something of interest that you would like to share on Tel Tales then please contact me at marie.kendall-waters@port.ac.uk.

So from myself and all the team we hope you all have a very happy 2020

keep exploring

 

Image credits:

Guest Bloggers Wanted!

So here we are a whole year later and the Tel Tales blog is still going strong!  

Rather than just us rambling on, we’d like to invite colleagues from around the University to write a blog for us. We’d like your blog to be associated with technology in some shape or form, but that’s not always necessary.

It’s often difficult to get started, so we’ve detailed some types of content that we’re interested in publishing in the hope that it might prompt you to tell your story:

    • Have you’ve tried a piece of software that you found amazing? Or started using a new App that you want to shout about? It could help you with your studies, get you ready for the exams period or calm you down after a really stressful day.
    • Have you attended a conference where new technology was demonstrated and you’d like to share with colleagues across the University.
    • Have you produce a course introductory video with us, and want to encourage others to do the same? You could embed this video into your blog post.
    • Have you attended a TEL training session and then incorporated what you learnt into your teaching? Tell us how your audience responded, was it a success or a failure?
    • Have you taken a Lynda.com course and want to write your verdict on it? How did you feel using Lynda.com? Would you use it again? Have you been able to implement what you learnt on Lynda.com into your teaching?

When you start to think about writing a blog, even one on a topic you’re familiar with, does your mind go blank? If so, you’ll find some help and tips on what makes a successful blog in our first ever post Why Blog? Good question, why blog indeed?. If you want to gain more confidence and knowledge before tackling your first blog try taking a course on Lynda.com, there are a wealth of informative videos on blogging, and also some aimed at creating a blog, and finding images for blogging. Some of these are videos which are only a couple of minutes long, so go on, take a look, you know, you want to!

For a slightly longer course take a look at the Writing a Compelling Blog Post by Starshine Roshell. Starshine is an award-winning journalist and writing coach, her course covers area such as, content, structure, style policies, much the same as other courses, but she also demonstrates how to personalise your blog “by developing your own voice” and how to turn your knowledge into a brief, passionate, but sensitive blog that will make people want to read it. Starshine includes a Blog Checklist, which reminds you of things to keep in mind when writing your own content, and is certainly useful to look at once you’ve completed your writing.

If you’re interested in writing a blog for us, email elearn@port.ac.uk with your ideas on a subject.

So are you ready . . . . . . .

Image credits: Photo by Mona Eendra on Unsplash

A year of the TEL Tales blog

I’ve been asked to write a post to mark the fact that the TEL Tales blog is one year old. Happy birthday! Except… it’s actually a lot older than this. The current blog is in fact the third incarnation of TEL Tales: the previous two attempts limped along for a couple of months, then died.

It’s not surprising that the early TEL Tales didn’t survive – many blogs start, last for a few postings, and then fade away. The main reason that the early TEL Tales failed to thrive was simply that few people wanted to tell their tales. This is common. Last week a group of us participated in the PressED Twitter conference, which was devoted to the use of WordPress in Higher Education, and one of the presentations was called “Feel the fear and do it anyway”. The author, Suzanne Falkener, was a teaching fellow at the University of Strathclyde, and she found she had to overcome a large amount of apprehension before starting a blog. She wrote: “It’s ok to have a fear of blogging. There are a lot of ‘what ifs’ including: What if no one reads this? What if people think my blog is rubbish. What if I am publicly humiliated? What if my writing style isn’t good enough for my community?” She felt the fear and did it anyway – and the result was a blog that people found useful, with an audience that grew slowly but steadily.

I think a lot of members of the TEL team here at Portsmouth feel the same apprehension that Suzanne felt. But this time round we’ve applied more pressure to get people in the team to write something. And the same thing that happened to Suzanne happened to our team members – as Suzanne wrote: “Guess what? When I posted my first blog, nothing terrible happened. I wasn’t ridiculed. People read it.”  

We still have some people in the team who are reluctant to write. But in each and every case those people have tales to tell, and they are the ones best placed to tell them. So we’ll keep applying pressure to get them to write … and with luck we’ll still be here for the second birthday of TEL Tales.

A new year, a fresh start and infinite possibilities!

It’s that time of year again when we get chance to have some time out, recharge our batteries, reflect on all the things we’ve done in the previous year and start thinking about what we hope to achieve in the coming year.

Looking back on 2017

2017 was a busy year for the TEL Team, not only did our team grow in size but we also took the scary plunge into the blogging world by starting an online team blog; Teltales (something that I hope to revisit and reflect on later in the new year).

In the first part of the year, we attended MoodleMoot 2017 where some of us took part in presenting. Online assessment has remained at the forefront of our focus as a team and finding ways we can best support and provide an accessible environment for our students and academics. As part of this effort we have created the eAssessment information site which we hope becomes established in 2018 as the place to go for information on eAssessments for academic staff.

We took part in the JISC Digital Student Experience Tracker and welcomed Degree Apprenticeships, along with two new members of our team Becky and Andy. Lynda.com was launched for staff and students, this also meant we welcomed another team member, Adrian – our Lynda.com guru!

A few of us had our first ever MOOC experience and loved it, MOOCs have now become addictive within the team. We looked at open source repositories, copyrighting particularly in terms of blogging and the psychology behind colour use. We looked at the effectiveness of Podcasts – something we hope to develop in 2018.

We’ve developed a selection of new resources such as Skills4Study@Portsmouth, Learning at Portsmouth and the new Personal Tutoring platform. We also introduced Moodle 3.3., Turnitin, Lecture capture and Safe Exam Browser remained part of our support and guidance.

Through the year we looked at lots of new tools such as Slack, UbiCast, Relay, DigiExam and TestReach. Our regular ‘Did you know?’ posts have provided our audience with helpful information and guidance. We’ve had lots of interesting and thought-provoking pedagogy and instructional design posts, not forgetting our guest bloggers who have kindly contributed by writing for our blog site too. We ended the year with our 12 apps of Christmas!

What’s on the horizon for the TEL Team in 2018

This year, will be another busy year for the team. We are already planning an exciting new theme for Moodle in Summer 2018, which many of you are already helping us plan and develop by being part of our academic and OCD working groups.

Degree Apprenticeships courses will be launching and we hope to take part in JISC Digital Student Experience Tracker 2018. As always we will continue to update you on any new tools we are using, conferences we have attended and information that we think will be useful to you on Teltales.

As part of Teltales we plan to introduce a set of podcast posts, so please keep an eye out (or ear out!) for them in the coming months.

So from myself and all the team we hope you all have a very happy 2018!

Image credits: https://pixabay.com/images/id-2711676/

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