Curriculum design


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.


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)



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).


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.


  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, 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)

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! –

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


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:
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:


Using @Snapchat – Interview with Suzanne Faulkner


Here is a great interview with Suzanne Faulkner @SFaulknerPandO about her use of Snapchat. Suzanne is a Teaching Fellow in Prosthetics and Orthotics at the University of Stathclyde.

Is Academia worth paying for?


I have uploaded a couple a papers to Academia and received the following message:


Using the free version of this site it tells you how many cited papers mention my name (assuming there is only one Chris Rowell) but it looks like you have to pay a subscription to get more information. I was wondering if anyone out there uses the pay for subsciption and is it worth it?

#Panoptothon 2020


Thanks to everyone who came along to yesterday’s #Panoptothon.

Slides from the event:


Panoptothon 2020 session plan

Activity 1

Feedback from the session:

Q1. Which aspects of the workshop did you find particularly useful?

Finding out what other people are doing with Panopto.

Helpful to meet others and network. Good to see other examples.

Networking. Seeing others use the program and some of them are ones I can utilise.

Group discussion. Sharing ideas.

Cases presented by colleagues.

Sharing ideas from different areas.

Sharing ideas of future Panopto use.

I arrived late – talking to colleagues, listening.

Q2. Where there any aspects of the workshop that you did not find helpful or that we should change?

None. All useful.

No all good.

Longer sessions on implementing the programs.

Would like to see more detailed demonstrations.

None all tof them were useful.


No – met the need and expectation.

New to Panopto – just finding my feet.

Q3. Is there anything we could include in a future workshop that was not covered in the session?

Perhaps links to how to use Panopto. Something we can read when we have questions.

More practical set up issues or perhaps demonstrations of aspects of Panopt others have been using. How others are using editing.

Combining Panopto with other technologies.

Maybe a session of 10 mins to show the software in case one has never seen it.

Demonstration. Technical issues. How to share ideas in Panopto (online?).

Other examples of how Panopto has been used in the university

A simple approach to Panopto. 1. Simple recording 2. Editing 3. Moving files something like that (eg BBC bitesize revision) These things may already be available! (I indicated I was new)

Q4. Any other comments?

Brilliant and extremely helpful session. Thank you!

Not yet but will think of more.

Like the idea of workshops/presentations of future work and would like to be included.

Open floor to people to present ideas if possible.

Thank you for organising it.



The benefits of Open Access publishing

Last July I finished editing and published a book called ‘Social Media in Higher Education’ – it was published by Open Book Publishing (OBP). Social Media is a ‘hot’ topic at the moment and there is plenty of discussion and research happening in this field so I was fairly confident there would be a readership for it in colleges and universities, both here in UK and around the world. I deliberately chose an open access publisher becasue I knew that they would make a free version of the book available to those who wanted it. OBP do a free PDF and HTML version of the book and make avaible via their website, Google Books and OAPEN (who make it available to most academic libraries). They also sell a paperback and hardback version of the book.

As you can see from the stats below its sold 14 copies of the hardback and 39 of the paperback in the the last five months, which has hopefully generated a little bit of income for the publishers. It been interesting to the the stats for the free download increasing over the the last few months. Online readership totals 2421 and total ebook downloads amount to 1167! These figures easily surpassed my expectations and really do show the benifits of open access publishing!

The other thing that did surprised me was the global readership of the book. As the book is written in english, the english speaking coutries have viewed the book the most but  there has been a very wide readership across several different continents:

Day 3 – Open Education Global conference 2019 #OEGlobal19

I was a bit worried about getting into the conference on time this morning as the local transport system is on strike today. However, I made it on time as the strike didn’t start until 9am – it does mean I will have to leave a bit early to be safe to catch my plane this evening. After Chrissy Nerantzi’s informal welcome to the day Paul Stacey said a few words about the Open Education Consortium. The big news is that they are changing their name to the Open Education Global with a new branding, logo and URL (

Day 3 1

The first keynote was titled ‘New Learning Pathways in an Open and Digital World – What might the education landscape look like in 2030? By Dominic Orr. The goals in higher education he wants to see is that learners gain new skills and competences, HE should be place to practice future social reform and the opportunities for creating new learning spaces should be harnessed to improve the accessibility and quality of education. Dominic’s vision is:

To ensure that all members of society participate in higher education at some point in their lifetime.

Therefore, there are things that need to change. New and collaborative learning spaces are emerging, especially in HE libraries. Student lives are changing – 51% of students are working and as students get older studying is only one part of their lives. The ‘ecological university’ (Ron Barnett) for the community moves us away from the research university.Digital technologies open up new spaces for learning.

The vision of everyone in society being able to access HE can only be realised through different pathways throughout their lives. Dominic talked about 4 different learning pathways through HE, which he called: 1. Tamgotchi (status quo) its ‘one block’ education – a closed ecosystem built around the students. The traditional system. 2. Jenga – building up towers. HE providers offer a foundation of knowledge which is extended by the learners through shorter study blocks later in their life. 3. Lego – the course of study is not completed as a compact long unit- but consists of individually combined units or modules. 4. Transformer – opening up education to all. These are students who have worked and then returned to HE. The final part of his talk was a brief description of how his organisation Kiron relates to these issues and how these different pathways can be moved into the mainstream of HE.

After the keynote I went to some interesting lightening talks; 1. The Troubling Prevalence of Apple’s Eye of Sauron at Open Education Meetings (a brief and provocative talk on the benefits of FLOSS free/libre/open-source software; gives agency, saves on costs, pronotes lieracy), 2. Embedding research in education via wiki (short demo on ‘Green knowledge network’ created by the Wagennigen University in Holland. The wiki was created on the Confluence platform. 3. The planet is (an open) school. Talk from the Karisma Foundation. It is based on a storytelling approach and using a low tech approach because only 50% have access to the internet. 4. From classroom to Consortium: Impacting Students with Open at different Levels of Magnitude. Lots of great examples of different assessment methods from the classroom and details about the Open Active Textbook project. 6. Back to the FutOER or about the open tribulations of a learning developer – reflective account of a Learning Developer from HE University in Holland who creates and supports MOOCs.

Day 3 2.jpg

7. New Case Studies of Openess: Empowering educators to share practice. Open book on case studies of educators talking about their practice published in 2013. It had a very practical orientation to promote open practice and resources. The book was updated with a new title ‘New case studies In and Beyond the Language classroom’. 8. The Library as OER publisher: supporting OER Creation on Campus. Pressbooks is the main platform they used, as this became so successful it did put pressure on levels of editing and copyright support, interactive content and maths content. I had quite a few conversations with delegates about the use of Pressbook at the conference over the last few days. Its been on my radar for sometime and this last example is something i need to do a little bit more research on and see if it could be of relevance to my own institution.

I couldn’t make the last keynote of the day so the last session so I went to Challenges and Solutions to Creating Accessible OER’s with AR, VR and MR, unfortuantly the speaker didnt turn up so I went next door and caught the tail end of Open Platforms for Open Education Resources. I think I missed Commons in a Box https// but did catch a brief description ‘Ethnographies of Work’ and the Preceedings on the Environmental Design Research Association (lots of great stuff on sustainable arts and activism).

Finally I’d just like to say a big thank you to the organisers of #OERGlobal19 and all the wonderfull delegates. Also to UCISA who gave me a bursary to attend the conference. Hope you all have a safe and easy journey home.

Arrivederci !

Day 2 – Open Education Global conference 2019 #OEGlobal19

Getting across Milan is very easy on public transport. It only took me 30 mins to get from Navigli in the south of the city to Bovisa train station in the north. Luckily most of the journey was under cover so I managed to avoid getting soaked by the rain! Day 2 started with opening address from Chrissy Nerantzi and Rosa Maiello and then there was a brief introduction to a new Math and Stats resources Next there was the opening keynote from Carassa Dadda on Advancing Science and Math Education Worldwide through OER: Lessons learned from PhET interactive simulations:  PhET website gives a good overview of their work: “Founded in 2002 by Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman, the PhET Interactive Simulations project at the University of Colorado Boulder creates free interactive math and science simulations. PhET sims are based on extensive education research and engage students through an intuitive, game-like environment where students learn through exploration and discovery” The aim is to make STEM learning more interactive and interesting.

Day 2.1

The first presentation I went to was ‘What is Open Education? Part 1: Are MOOCs Open Educational Resources?’ (Christian M. Stracke) First gave a definition of OERs, then looked at OER typologies and frameworks (SAMR, ICAP,7Cs), then he looked at definitions of Massive, Online, Open Courses (MOOCs) – MOOCs are growing with 81m students 800+ universities. MOOCs and quality: drop out rates over 90% but they could still be considered successful because students just go and get what they want from the course straight away and do not return. A quality reference framework has been developed What is quality open education? Quality cannot be defined except for a specific location and specific aims and objectives of the course. Some conclusions – the reality is complex, MOOCS, from a resources point of view, are not always OERs whilst from a learning innovation perspective they can be and often are more than a MOOC.

After that I went to a short session on Open Education Resources for students by students: challenges and implications. The aim of this research project was to investigate the use of transmedia skills by current students at Manchester Metropolitan University. Some interesting research is taking place – students are watching videos, especially Instagram vloggers. Students were asked to do a mock presentation and then they get feedback from the tutor. Day 2.2Then the students summarise the presentation and create a short video using Creative Commons licences for the images. The first challenge is to understand the digital literacy skills of the student, like recording the screen. Secondly, to create participatory learning environments. Thirdly, to embed this into other modules on the course. Future plans are to expand the number of students creating these videos. Finally the presenter summed up the project with the following sentence: ‘It’s a lot of work but the students are learning more’!

After lunch I went to check out the Poster presentations. Here are two of the posters:


I especially like the poster entitled ‘Sharing the end of the World’ – this is a course at the University of Massachusetts where the tutor asked their students to create a podcast based on end of the world scenarios.  Here is the link to the students podcasts; sound interesting!

After the poster diplays I headed to the action lab on Decentralising education using Bockchain was led by Alexander Mikroyannidis from the Open University. This is ‘hot’ topic at the moment so it led to a lively discussion. We were asked to develop personas and describe how blockchain technology could affect these  personas so the discussion focused around the potential for developing long term records of qualifications, skills and experience that would be useful for employers, students and universities. Alexander is working on a prototype blockchain with several universities at the moment – it will be interesting to see the results of this experimentation into the the prototype version whwn they are revealed.

I next went to Martin Dougiamas’ talk on ‘Building an open education technology platform for the next 100 years’. He started with the values of Moodle and how to make it most efficient as a learning platform (using things like plugins), also he descibed the development of MoodleNet – a platform for Moodle developers and educators. Finally, he outlined the Moodle Education Certification Programe – which are 22 courses that teach skills in Moodle.

He argues that we are now living in a complex and dangerous world with lots of scary things happening, Shrinking world, More data (real and fake), More AI, More corporate influences over news, crazier government behaviour, Issues too complex for anyone to understand, 8-10 billion people struggling to make sense of the world. These are masive global issues that humanity has to resolve or we are going to face a desperate future. For Martin, one solution to these problems is a high quality education:

Day 2 2.5

He unpacked some of these issues in the short period of time that he had but it was good to see he did not start explicitly with the technology. The concepts he outlined in the slide above are civic values that will require new ways of doing things – and maybe that’s what universities should be trying to do! The last part of his talk quickly moved on to the Open EdTech Guiding Principles as a way forward to building the future online learning environment and his last slide should the different ways to keep in touch with these developments:

Day2 2.6

The final Keynote presentation of the day was given by Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams entitled ‘The Warp & Weft of Open Education & Social Justice’. Cheryl used the metaphor of the Warp and Weft to understand the relationship between open Ed and social justice in which Warp threads keep the structure and Weft threads make the pattern. The two interrelated to create the Weave like the traditional Shweshwe cloth (the African denim). This was brought by the European settlers to South Africa.

Using Nancy Fraser’s definition of social justice Cheryl argued we need 1. economic equity; 2. cultural diversity.; 3. Politically who has the decision-making power? Open education is looking for these 3 things – these were encapsulated in the Cape Town Open Education declaration. Open education needs to ‘weave’ the economics, cultural and political elements of justice together in the resources and practices it produces:

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So that was the end of my Day 2 – the Gala Conference Dinner is tonight for the lucky few so I’m off to explore a bit of my local neighbourhood Navigli tonight!