Steve Reich in the evening…Traveler’s Prayer

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I went to see Steve Reich’s new composition at the Festival Hall last night – such a great event! Still can’t believe I got a ticket for 15 quid and there was still spare seats in the hall – which allowed me to upgrade to the comfy seats.

The performace was divided into four parts – part 1 sounded a bit like the sound track for a Columbo episode – not sure why I think so – i guess it conjurrred up a level of suspence and anticipation. Part 2 was a bit more like what I was expecting, a very Jewish religious experience, part 3 was the battle of the Xylophones and the final part was a full orchestral experience which built up into a final cresendo – mavelous!

Publishers infomation on the Traveler’s Prayer

Interview with Steve Reich writing the music for the Traveler’s Prayer

EXPERIMENTAL PEDAGOGIES RESEARCH GROUP @UALEPRG

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Just attended my first ‘EXPERIMENTAL PEDAGOGIES RESEARCH GROUP’ meeting which is open to all UAL staff ( and Phd students) – seems like a lovely group of people interested in critical pedagogy, experimental ways of learning and making a difference to our teaching and the world we live in – good stuff!

You can join EPRG if you work at UAL – although there was a mention that the intention is to open up this group to wider membership at some point in the future.

Spark Journal call for papers: (post)-pandemic teaching and learning – Special issue 2022

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What is Spark?
Spark Journal is an open-access online journal for university teachers, researchers and students that explores all aspects of teaching and learning in arts, design and communication. Spark is published by the Teaching, Learning and Employability Exchange at UAL. Read the submission guidelines for Spark.

Call for papers for special issue
We intend to publish a special issue of Spark in Summer 2022 on the theme of (post)-pandemic pedagogy in art and design.

Since the start of the global Covid pandemic in 2019, teaching and learning shifted from the studio and classroom into the online learning environment. Many new digital tools and spaces were used for the first time in innovative and creative ways. The aim of this special edition is to capture some of these new practices, start a discussion about these innovations in teaching practice and consider what is worth retaining.

This special issue of Spark is a creative space for UAL staff and their students to:

  • Share and reflect upon examples of teaching and learning during the pandemic generated by the range of disciplines at UAL and partner colleges
  • Engage in debate and critical dialogues about key issues of theory and practice in creative arts teaching and learning during the pandemic
  • Develop pedagogic responses to processes linked to the Covid19 Pandemic, such as, the use of new learning technologies like Miro or Panopto
  • Examine ways of promoting wellbeing and resilience during and following the lockdown

Contributions can be multimedia, and in the form of case studies, research papers, provocations, student (and co-produced) contributions and reviews.

How can I find out more?
Join an online Q&A session with the Spark Journal team on Wednesday 17 November 2021 at 1pm (UAL staff only)

Join the MS Teams meeting here at 1pm on 17 November 2021
When is the deadline for submission?

  • Tuesday 1 March 2022

Please make your submissions online via Spark Journal.

If you have further questions or to discuss an idea for submission, email Chris Rowell (Guest editor) on c.rowell@arts.ac.uk

Image: Abstract fabric sculpture by Betty Leung, MA Visual Arts: Fine Art Digital, Camberwell College of Arts © David Poultney

My tops tips for starting uni…

Rosalie my daughter started uni at Leeds this week and I ‘whatsapped’ her my top tips – I only ment to do 10 but did too many in the end – anyway it cant have been too bad as she said she emailed to her friends:

1.       Get and use a student planner (paper or digital) – I know you’ve probably done this!

2.       Find out when the assignment hand-in dates at the start of term are and add them to your student planner

3.       Always do 2 or 3 drafts of your assignments/essays before you hand them in.

4.       Try and work a 9 to 5 week (either in your room or in the Library). Obviously there will be days when can’t do this but that will free up your evenings and weekends to socialise.

5.       Always volunteer to do presentations at seminars (nobody wants to do this) but it means you’ve got ‘one topic’ under your belt for the exam – and its fun.

6.       Get some ‘study buddies’ on your course – other students to go to the library with and discuss your assignments.

7.       Do physical exercise 2 or 3 times a week.. This is more enjoyable if you join a club (netball, badminton) but its good to do it individually too (gym or a run). Hangover cures never work – but doing a bit of exercise always makes you feel better.

8.       Try and see a bit of the non-student city and surrounding area – maybe do a day trip with a friend to a place you’ve never been to (Bradford, Halifax, etc) its good to explore

9.       Find a nice café that lets you read/work

10.   Cook/prepare a meal/snack for your friend(s) once a week.

11.   Check out Leeds music venues – not just the uni – although the SU has great music

12.   Don’t be afraid to change modules (if you can in the first week or two)

13.   Learn to touch type

14.   You can phone/text/whatsapp me/Harriet any time

15.   Never come home on your own late at night (please!) if you have to get a cab/uber

16.   Always have frozen bread/bagels in the freezer

17.   Always have marmite in the cupboard

18.   Go and see Yorkshire play cricket.

19.   Do a bit on non-course reading – The I and other newspaers, novels, etc

20.   Stay in touch with your London buddies.

*Video* Critical Digital Pedagogy in HE

This presentation was given at the ALT Annual conference in September 2021. The session is based on the forthcoming book ‘Critical Digital Pedagogy in Higher Education: Broadening Horizons, Bridging Theory and Practice’ edited by Suzan Koseoglu, George Veletsianos and Chris Rowell. The book brings together a collection of authors who provide a critique of digital learning in Higher Education. A central strand of this book is to recognise that digital learning does not inevitably lead to better learning and that many of the dehumanising aspects of oppression and discrimination are replicated in digital pedagogies. The humanisation of education (Freire, P. 2017), which is free from all discriminatory practices such as sexism, racism, ableism, classism and colonialism, will create more compassionate and critical students who in turn will create a better type of education and a better world to live in. The book aims to give the reader hope and real case studies showing what can be done to create this vision.

Since the outbreak of the global pandemic and the pivot to online delivery of courses in Higher Education, the need to take account of a more critical pedagogy has become even more apparent. The speed of this transition has meant that, in some instances, digital practices have been adopted without a full realisation of their impact on students (and staff) well-being and privacy. The book aims to address these issues and groups the chapters around four themes of Shared Learning & Trust, Critical Consciousness, Change and Hope. These themes challenge the traditional teacher-student relationship and practices in Higher Education. They also give examples of how lecturers are adopting more inclusive practices and improving the digital well-being of their students.

The session will be introduced by one the book’s editors who will give an overview of its content and explain why they think the book is needed at this time. This will be followed by one of the chapter’s authors, Matt Acevedo, who contributed to the book, who will give a brief overview of their chapter and its impact on digital well-being and inclusive practice. Matt will critique the use of digital technologies used in servive of “promoting academic integrety” to create and reproduce the panoptic gaze premised on distrust and surveillance. In the final part of the session the editors will led a Q&A session based on the authors’ talks and the wider concepts occurring within critical digital pedagogy.

By the end of the session participants will be more aware of the themes that make up the broad concept of ‘critical digital pedagogy’. They will also be shown some real examples of digital teaching practices that challenge the dominant teacher-student relationships in Higher Education and be provided with a more liberating vision of what that education could look like.

Freire, P. (2017). Pedagogy of the oppressed. Penguin Books Ltd.

ALT conference slides 2021

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Curriculum design

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some brief notes…

This QAA webinar was introduced by Dr. Ferney and gave some general observations about curriculum design and noted that they commonly concern themselves with the following questions; What is to be learnt, Why it is to be learnt, How is to be learnt, When is to be leant, How is learning to be demonstrated, How we know it works.

One way to see curriculum design in more detail is to see it as a an ‘Academic Plan’:

  1. Purpose – Intended learning outcomes
  2. Content – Units and modules requires to deliver the outcomes.
  3. Sequence –running order of units or modules (learner journey)
  4. Learners
  5. Instruction processes – medium of delivery (Analogue, Blended or hybrid?)
  6. Instructional resources VLE, Library..(Analogue or diital)
  7. Evaluation Course monitoring
  8. Adjustment _ action plans for change

See Lattuca and Stark ‘Shaping the College curriculum; Action plan in action (2009)

Contructive alignment “CA starts with the notion that the learner constructs their own learning through relevant learning activities” (Biggs, 2003,) the nature of that alignment may be different in online and F2F environments.

Some general points about online environments:

  • Gradual move from analogue to digital approaches in Most HEIs
  • Entirely online courses or micro-credentials in some HEIs
  • Variance between designing curricula for online and in-person delivery
  • Impact of COVID-10 – digital learning has never been higher on the agenda – most institutions have opted for a Hybrid mode of learning.

Speakers:

Allan Howells – Associate PVC – University of Derby

(Derby 19.500 students – 100+ courses online)

Important theme – cultural change – and infrastructure of the institution is very important.

Quality should not differ in a digital environment.

Quality in the digital environment:

  • Need a ‘Strategic and holistic approach’
  • Investment + tools plus time
  • Multi skilled approach to provide flexible and innovative pedagogies_( have the right people in the room – Its not about the technology)
  • Positive results if done well (NSS)
  • Retrofit will offer/all only limited opportunities.

COVID_ 19: catalyst the lesson learnt:

  • Enhanced digital skills and capability (Staff and students – eg digital poverty eg broadband and space to operate in)
  • Staff development – pushed voluntary digital programme where staff became students (‘Best of Blends’ digital programme) – staff became learners)
  • Technological solutions and alternative solutions (eg learner support)
  • Pace of change and sustainability (cant be rushed must be thought through)
  • Unexpected outcomes – eg students not using cameras..

Kabir Ganguly – University of Birmingham

6 pillers of CD:

  1. Design outline: Create personas – Why should a join/ who am I/ What will I achieve? How will I achieve it? A A full journey map detailing the 12 week learner journey – live document cross ref to different learning types (SKU Matrix)
  2. Learner journey – Full journey map for 12 weeks. Maps all the learning activities.
  3. UX learner design. Design storyboarded design pages
  4. Quality assurance protocol – Team build the course pages (not done by academics) – Consistent design QA documents cover; video/images/audio/text/accessibility
  5. Quality approval 3 stages of the QA process 1. Academic peer review 2. education enterprise review 3. Future learn independent review
  6. Transition to run Sign off completion- analytics reporting- future improvements – success reporting – gain insights and knowledge for next iteration

Ann Thanaraj – Teeside university

  1. Learning design is paramount
  2. Culture change
  3. Resilience – of curriculum practice and learning
  4. Expertise in a central unit coaching model
  5. Appreciating the difference between online and classroom learning

Systematic Learning Journey (Design principles)

Seven stages: 1. Planning your module 2. Introducing your module to your students 3. Structuring your weekly content and or topic 4. Designing collaboration and construction of knowledge 5. Formative – putting learning into application 6. Designing your summative assignments 7. Wrap up your module.

3 key aspects of learning design

  1. Map all aspects of learning to student outcomes
  2. Teacher presence and the significance of the academic in all aspects of curriculum design
  3. Participatory learning – communication, collaboration and construction of knowledge.

Robust culture change and resilience – Supporting people and practice enabling the art of the possible unleashing creativity within the subject disciplines.

Pivoting from the campus to online and hybrid modes: different does not mean inferior it is a change in expectation, ways of think and ways of practice.

Will Naylor & Selva Pankaj – Regent College London

Student engagement in online learning – Regent College has done some recent research based on focus groups (although not much else was said about the research methodology)

Results:

STUDENTS:

How are students accessing the course? 29% using phones – 57% using laptops – 8% tablets. What were students doing during the session? 33% messaging classmates – 24% on social media – 16% messaging non-classmates- 9% playing with pets.

What can your tutor do to help? 90% Make everyone feel positive and emotionally comfortable before the start – 93% summarise the key points 94% give a clear introduction at the start at what will be covered.

What aspects of online delivery they enjoyed the most – domestic comfort- Interactivity and some individual tutors – Barriers: Poor quality connections and devise problems – Personality differences in student engagement – High anxiety students find online learning more difficult (which maybe contradicts other research).

STAFF:

Best ways to support learning: top 3 answers – 1.Summarise the key points at the end of the session. 2. Give clear instructions at the start 3. Make everyone feel positive and emotionally comfortable before the start – revealed a high correlation between what the staff and students thought.

Recommendations

  1. Make sure staff give clear instructions, summarise main points, make students feel comfortable at start of session.
  2. Modify module feedback forms to incorporate questions on digital delivery
  3. Advise against poor practice eg. Using smartphones in webinars
  4. Make assessment of students’ digital skills a core part of induction
  5. Highlight awareness of individual differences and the general dividend of inclusiveness
  6. Produce a ‘student guide to digital learning’

Some overall takeaways:

  • Cultural change is really import, how do we change the culture of the institution? – several presenters mentioned this but didn’t really have time to explore this in detail.
  • People not just technology is key – having the right people in place and working together is very important. Also, providing support especially for teaching staff is important as we move to online modes of delivery.
  • Student feedback stresses the importance of providing emotional support, clear instructions and overall summaries of sessions.

Blended Learning in HE conference Day 2 notes

Brief notes from Day 2;

Reimagining Assessment: Measuring Student Performance Following Covid-19. Professor Helen O’Sullivan. Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education). Keele University

Case study based on Keele University (Flexible Digital Educational Framework). Cannot separate out assessment from curriculum design. See JISC Mindset for digital design, https://repository.jisc.ac.uk/8133/1/2030-strategy-framework-for-university-leaders.pdf. 1. Renovate phase. Strong institutional support to changing assessment – workshops on alternatives to exams (investigated and REJECTED remote proctoring) 2. Evolve. Accelerated the FDEF. Existing terminology not very useful, one alternative Robin DeRosa’s continuum Human or Content centred. 3. Transcend. No going back to how things were before (AI, analytics, personalised feedback, Programmatic assessment, VR and simulation, digital co-creation).

Tools, Tips and Guidance to Get the Most out of Your Live Online Teaching. Esther Barrett. Subject Specialist: Digital Practice. Jisc.

How do we include live sessions that create interactivity? (based on Certificate on Online Facilitation – COLF)

Welcome: Make people comfortable. Mention start and finish times. Have ground rules (cameras on?). Mention recording.

Introduce the platform (eg MS Teams, PE, Mentimeter). Quick yes/no can be useful. Chat is your friend!  Use polls.

Use whiteboard (in teams)- quadrant methods – pencil tool good for word search (esp. for intro activity) https://www.puzzle-maker.com/WS/

Engaging the invisible audience – PP sides design (too busy, font too small, keep it simple). Establish the focal point of the slide. Type faces. Font size never go less than 32. Colour contrast. One point per slide. Balance between text and design. Copyright free images. Robust structure/repeated layouts. Follow up: shared screen quizzes, capture screens.

Webinars, online classes and meetings – From yawn to yay! – https://www.jisc.ac.uk/training/webinars-online-classes-and-meetings-from-yawn-to-yay

Active Digital Design – Designing Engaging Content for Blended Learning Delivery Dr Christine Rivers. Co-Director Centre for Management Education, Surrey Business School. Director of Learning & Teaching. University of Surrey. Anna Holland, Deputy Director of Learning and Teaching (Interim), University of Surrey.

Active Digital Design – Designing Engaging Content for Blended Learning Delivery
ADD – based 5 principles (Explore, collaborate, create, share, reflect).
Key principles of Hybrid Education: Blended online first, equitable learning opportunities, Build learning communities, online assessment.

  1. Live learning (synchronous) – f2f (seminars, workshops, Labs) and online (seminars, workshops, Labs)
  2. On demand learning (asynchronous) – guided by the lecturers (pre-recorded videos, online activity such as discussion forums)) and independent (what the student does by themselves, research etc)
    All of this has to aligned with assessment, feedback and support.

Steps to ADD:

Step 1: Consistent and structured module template.
Step 2: Supporting visuals – these were conceptual module maps
Step 3: Learning icons were integrated into the VLE
Step 4: Narratives – Guided and scaffolded learning
Step 5: Learning resources sets – bite sized videos and deeper learning materials

Implementation:

Train and develop staff at scale (100 staff in learning design sprints over the summer). Daily training with on call support plus daily 121 coaching session + online elearning space. Started with Aims/assessment – had space and time to think about purpose of the module – worked closely on ‘on demand’ and ‘live’ learning that wasn’t passive (practicing skills) How do we make the learning active and create additional value? If we have a video of a lecture how do we make it active? How do we follow that up with a guided learning activity?

As a result we have moved from large lectures to smaller tutorials.

Feedback from staff – confidence levels increased.
Individual academic voice was very important in the design of the modules – which allowed scope for academics to make it their own (while still maintaining consistency of module navigation).
Feedback from students – was very positive (!) icons are appreciated – appreciated continuity – confidence to ask questions in class.

Things to consider:

  • Time in creating online learning – frontloaded.
  • Digital skills have been developed and advanced relatively easily.
  • Confidence levels – started to grow
    5 takeaways:
  • Culture and leadership – need the support of staff
  • Programme level– ADD must be implemented at a programme level as a minimum.
  • VLE – principles of ADD remain the same
  • Resources – is time consuming – but there is guidance we can follow that can create engaging narrative produce scaffolding learning
  • Transformation level – what transformation level are you willing to engage with? And that is the driver to ADD.

Redesigning Technical Courses and Practical Teaching for Blended Learning. Tyrone Messiah, Head of Technical Services, Staffordshire University

Challenges faced: Digital literacy, Consistency and quality, Resources, Pedagogy

Case studies on pre-recoded sessions, live streaming and instructional videos.

Testing competency needs to be done on campus.

Looking to the Future: How Do We Develop More Inclusive Blended Learning Post Covid-19? Diana Laurillard, Chair of Learning with Digital Technology, Knowledge Lab, UCL Institute of Education.

How are Unis being inclusive? No. of OS 340K+ generating £220Km

Pandemic has exposed the digital divide esp. North/South divide.

SDG4 65m teachers needed by 2030 for universal access to education globally. World response to pandemic has been rapid – digital education can be the answer!

How might we improve our openness?

Answer: based on case study in Lebenon – co-design project, using MOOC platform to provide support – Co-design approach (Engage, design, extend, embed sustain) Develop the course: A MOOC on Educators for Change: FutureLearn in English. Developed collaboratively in workshops with stakeholders. Teachers from the community became teacher-educators in the MOOC.Rich video resources and collaborative activities encouraged other teachers to test new ideas in their own educational spaces. 30K+enrolements

Embed the MOOC in the campus course ‘Educators for Change’ in collaboration with Lebanese universities. Exemplar for a localised blended learning version of the MOOC created a face-to-face (f2f) course in collaboration with the Lebanese American University and the Lebanese University. timed to take place alongside the MOOC. 29 teachers graduated from this blended learning TPD course . f2f sessions provided opportunities for: presentations, group discussions, activities using the tools introduced in the MOOC

Can this be scaled up?

YES! 10% of the 30,000 teachers enrolled in the Teaching Online MOOC ran their own blended version of the course with 30 teachers each. the MOOC could reach 3,000 x 30 = 90,000 teachers across MENA region. each of 90,000 teachers teaches, say, 100 students = reach of 9m students

This seemed widely optimistic to me ..

Blended Learning in HE Conference Day 1 notes

Below are my brief notes from day one – I will post a more reflective post at the end of day two.


Chair’s Welcome Address – Professor Suzanne Cholerton. Pro Vice Chancellor – Education. Newcastle University

Top Tips for Maintaining Teaching Excellence and Ensuring Quality in Blended Learning
Professor Neil Morris. Interim Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Digital Transformation. University of Leeds

Lessons learnt at Leeds University: Problems of digital education generally – Digital exclusion, Inequality, technostress, technocentric, Digital lliteracy. Problems at Leeds uni: main area that was lacking -Virtual Laboratories, . New institutional strategy is labelled a Hybrid delivery (Student Centred Active Learning Approach – SCALA): Student centred: supportive
Active Learning: Cognitively involved students, engaged in diverse media
Digital Practice at Leeds:
SCALA
Teaching and learning online
Accessible and inclusive learning
Delivery in virtual classroom
Student facing study support advise
Training and development
Online student support: Getting started (induction, preparing to learn) Comprehensive guidance.
Summing up: Fully embedded the SCALA approach, Focus on inclusive, engaging learning, Authentic assessment, Flexible approach

Delivering Blended Learning on a Socially Distanced Campus
Miranda Harmer, Chair Student Network for the Association of European Conservatoires. Ramy Badrie, Vice President – Education, University of Brighton Students’ Union. Maisha Islam, Student Engagement Research and Project Officer University of Winchester

Importance of universities consulting with students on efforts to create socially distanced campuses. Open dialogue, live feedback, what are the priorities. Don’t over promise. What do students want? Interactivity – need to move teaching online to free up space for those who need it on campus.
Digital poverty (elephant in the room) – Institutions need to become creative to address this – most affects BAME students
Truly connected campus –
Needs of all students are considered, including students with disabilities, students with religious and cultural needs and students with health concerns. Challenges faced by diverse student bodies. BAME students – experiences compounded vulnerabilities (more like to live at home or intergenerational household, digital poverty, overcrowded house holds, racial harassment, lack of belonging to university spaces, imposter syndrome/culture shock)
Barriers to understanding student needs (‘satisfied settling’) – ‘keeping tour head down’ and accommodating to the norms.
Unis should be conducting their own research..
Universities can ensure they are creating safe spaces where students feel connected to their classmates and a sense of belonging. Students experiencing lack of human interaction….causing anxiety and isolation. Synchronous session provide interactivity. PBL, group work. Safe spaces (lack of personalisation, Noninclusive languge, camera mics rules, students being segregated
Ways to ensure safe spaces – personalisation 3 Cs – code of conduct micro affirmations (active listening, recognising and validating experiences, affirming emotional resources)
Unsafe learning environment – very import to address for inclusion and motivation

What does the Future Hold for Online and Blended Learning Post Covid-19?
Dr Harriet Dunbar-Morris, Dean of Teaching and Learning, Reader in Higher Education,University of Portsmouth. Paul Driver, Senior Learning Technologist Anglia Ruskin University. Dr Andrew Turner, Associate Pro Vice Chancellor (Teaching and Learning), Coventry University. Professor Danielle George Associate Vice-President for Blended and Flexible Learning University of Manchester

Portsmouth Uni: Blended and connected approach included peer to peer support. Develop principles of bended learning that was pedagogically led and included inclusive learning. Support for staff via websites on elearning tool and an eLearning festival. Variety of training events led by academic developers and learning technologists. Built on excellent existing practice, Incorporated existing ‘content (lecture) capture pilot project, flipped classroom and ABC model. Moodle template was developed and promoted plus other tools such as Nearpod and Padlet.

Anglia Ruskin Uni: Resisted purchasing new technologies and looked at technologies that were being underutilised. Things that were working well were ‘simplicity and consistency’ were being utilised – plentiful meaningful communication. Created a series of workshops making sure things were ‘structured, accessible and engaging’ – led to new faculty template. Thus making the VLE more active (embedding VR simulations) Tug of war between creativity and consistency.

Coventry Uni. Accelerated existing plans. Edtech ecosystem. Accelerated their Aula project – moved all teaching from Moodle to Aula. Which is a platform that ‘’focusses on student engagement’. Used learning designers to do this. Based on 4 key principles of Hybrid delivery (Active, Applied, Social, Inclusive). Feedback: ‘2.5 more engagement on Aula compared to Moodle’. Good student satisfaction feedback so far this semester.

Manchester Uni. Created lots of ‘How to’ guides, getting started, assessment, etc. This semester involved many students in co-creation of courses. Created a staff Yammer group on online learning which is subject specific. Use Bb, Collaborate, Zoom, MS Teams, Nearpod, Padlet. Major challenges – 1. practical lab based courses. 2. Assessments – engaged in remote proctoring. Created CoP’s too which includes a mixture of academic, PS and IT.

Assistive Technologies: Embedding Inclusion into the Delivery of Online Learning
Dr Tim Coughlan, Senior Lecturer, Institute of Educational Technology Open University.

Blended learning is the new ‘normal’. This year sees new accessibility legislation.
What is accessible online learning? Learning can access materials and activities but also has to be equitable? Barriers often created by society and institutions. Following guidelines and standards are essential. Automated checking tools are important (BB Ally) dont give the whole picture (diversity of learners)
How can it be achieved? Accessibility is a process between a person and a resources – not a tick box exercise. Need to be proactive – when designing courses and acknowledge the diversity of learners. Process of improvement is embedded in the legislation, in course design, student testing, responsive judgements, and collaborative effort (academics, library, student groups).
OU Approach – Securing greater accessibility (SeGA) – champions/ knowledge sharing events/groups dealing with improvements and consistency.
Assistive technology e.g.’s 1. Screen reader – spoken version of content for students with visual impairments. 2. Speech recognition.
Challenges and opportunities: Getting students started – students get behind and hard for them to catch up. Processes for getting support are a major issue for students in unis. Impacts causing stress or exacerbate mental health. What can we do? One solution – Virtual assistants. Peer and collaborative activities cause issues. How do we make these inclusive? Need to build collaborative skills into the activities. Students feel isolated – engage students in participatory research is one solution

Health, Safety and Wellbeing: Supporting Staff in the “New Normal”
Dr Sally Jackson, Chief People Officer,Sheffield Hallam University


Ran a short staff survey in May and a second one in October at SH.
Key learning from lockdown:
• Strong leadership is essential
• Communication is key
• Shared experience makes us stronger
• Partnership with TUs is essential
Plus supporting the vulnerable, recognising the blurring of boundaries eg home/work
Supporting people:
Risk assessment essential. More personalised response (focus on the individual). Recognised the importance of physical and mental well being. Running network events. Winter wellbeing plan, pro-active signposting to support services – NHS providers/ employees assistance programme
Providing essentials:
Dedicated website – on online deals, Equipment for staff, ongoing support on Teams/webex/Zoom. Access to campus – bookable rooms.
Preparing campus: Inclusive as possible – govt. guidance
Student triangle of support: Employability, academic, student support advisors.
Further work undertaken at SH: Flexible approach for staff (flexible working), greater emphasis on equality, diversity and inclusion,
Lesson learnt:
• Good communications is key – clear and consistent
• Importance of health and well being – need invest in both
• Skills development – ever changing edtech tools must be underpinned by learning ‘how’
• Guidance and support
• Flexibility and ability to change direction
• Show appreciation!

Using Lego Serious Play online – can it be done?

Many thanks to Suzanne Faulkner from University of Stathclyde who did an excellent online session with us today on Lego Serious play. What I really wanted to know is how could I use lego in an online environment? Is it possible?

After the an excellent introduction where Suzanne outlinned what Lego Serious Play is and how it could be used we moved onto some tasks that she set for us. Previously she had sent us some packs of lego in the post  and we used these in our set tasks:

Our first task was to make a dog with 6 bricks which I just about manged to do – even though it did look like a sausage dog (see above)! I then showed it to everyone in the session using the camera and saw everyone else’s efforts. The tasks got more complex as we then made a representation of our job and our expectations and challenges for the future:

Again I thought this worked really well – we were able to describe the models and metaphors we had built and this led to a great deal of discussion and interaction.

So given its success – could I do a similar session at work?  I think the answer is yes, it would work well for provoking discussion and reflection in webinars where lecturers are discussing the usefulness of the learning technologies they use. I think the main barrier would simply be getting the Lego pieces to them – it does seem a bit of a hassel setting up a system to do this. It might be easier if the participants supply their own (or beg, borrow and steal it from friends or family!). Anyway much ‘food for thought’ and I will need to think how I can use it in the future training sessions with staff.

Big thanks to Suzanne, Safia and Sandra for the webinar and here was my contribution to the session: