ALT Conference Warwick 2014 – some brief notes:

Riding the unstoppable WordPress wave. Further lessons learnt from our DIY ePortfolio.

 Dr. Alex Furr – Uni of Southampton

 Started with What is WordPress? (Open source)

 Description of Southampton’s eFolio.(which includes bespoke solutions and Open source plugins ). 8500 users. Medicine, Pshology, Education, Languages.

 Linkedin integrated, Open Badges, Student blogs, Skills/competences plugins  etc

 Different students have different themes, eg Medicine students blogs are ‘locked down’ and private whereas Languages are public.

 Psychology students uses skills and competency plugin ; exploring career options, creating and perfecting CV’s. First year very low update (5 per cent of 170!) but very well by those who did it.

 Future work. Will now become compulsory in core modules. “My Employability” Integrate Open Badges, LinkedIn Plugin, Graduation Pack

 Lesson leant: Student data essential, WordPress incredibly flexible tool – use plugin relevant to your institution.

 Linking the real world to the digital world: QR codes in non-standard teaching spaces.

 Ben Jagger – Uni of Manchester

 Clothing design project. Students working in a noisy, vibrant environment. First thing they produced were some basic videos on how the machines worked (basic information – how to switch it on, etc) Next created a web page for each sewing machine (table of data with one line of code) Students can watch this as many times as they want. URL’s converted into QR codes using Kaywa.

 They tested a number of QE Readers and recommended a couple to students.

 QR codes where then put on the sowing machines, desks walls etc.

 They surveyed the cohort. Very positive feedback. Not a simple comment about the technology (it was no big deal)

 Future plans – create more videos and QR codes.

An eLearning transformation: Delivering a distance learning degree using iPads.

 Damiam Kell – MMU

 Programme 200 students half using iPads – BSc Hons Exercise and Sports Science. Distance learning course.

 First stage – recreate course on Moodle/Wimba – after feedback very positive but student interaction limited.

 Needed to move from delivery to interaction.

 In response IBook app and iPad was adopted which incorporated the SAMR model. Substitution to Augmentation (tech as a tool substitute, new tasks etc) This has lead to a ‘learning Transformation’ – ie new learning activities.

 Evaluation has been continuous – end of each eBook students fill out a survey. Students ‘love’ the iPads, specially using videos, and least liked ‘note taking’. Physiology tests results have increased each year since the iPads were introduced

 Development time – takes 12 hours to produce an eBook – most amount of time is developing activities.

 Conclusion. Students – one platform, ownership and integration into life (Naismith and Corlett 2006).

 Using Twitter for Teaching and learning: a discussion of problems and breakdowns

 Stefano De Paoli – Aberty Uni

 Research project. Awarded funding from somewhere unspecified.

Literature review – Plan of T & L – Conduction of experiments ( 1 to 2 semesters) – Evaluation – Achievement of goal (and that back to the start) HOWEVER you rarely read of breakdowns and problems!

 Commons problems (some of these issues were discussed):

 Architectural problems: Architectural of the room does not support things like Twitter walls (followed by some photos showing this)

Technological: breakdowns can occur – tested Autotweet add on for powerpoint – tested in Dec 2012 – worked perfectly – however it supported by Supertweet which was banned by Twitter

Social problems

Timetabling: problems of setting up technology in the room.

Equipment problems

 How to make sense of these observations? Practical aspects are important and we need to solve these issues – “ready to hand” equipment has huge relevance to how it works.

What motivates learners to change their pedagogical Practices? Investigating social media tools and their killer affordance.


Liz Bennet – Uni of Huddersfield

Focus of EdD – Adoption of web 2.0 (blog and social networking tools for collaboration and participation)  Exploring what motivates adoption and how challenges are overcome.

Web 2.0 important because they encourage social interaction and have created a paradign sgift Beetham et al (2009)

Toplogies used most Kennedy and Lefevre (Social media creates 3 pedigogiacl funtions and 6 affordences)

 Research questions 

  1. what features of the tools that lecturers value
  2. What motivates adoption?

Killer affordance:

Which was – Understanding of groups

Which was going into a new online space


Focus on the radically different medium of online space rather than skills or affordances

Focus should be on the killer affordance (understanding of groups)

 How to train your giant….or working with organisational change.

 Marie Salter – University of Bath

 Impact of Introducing MOOCs – (2 MOOCs at Future Learn – Inside Cancer and Make an Impact; sustainability for professionals) has had on the university.

Institutional impact – needed to involve; subject experts, web team, corporate communication, quality team, audio visual team, SMT. First challenge wasto produce the ‘trailer’ – which producers great time pressure problems – to pull everyone along.

Key Challenges

  1. 6 weeks to deliver
  2. Bringing others on board within the time limits
  3. delivering course 1 and developing course 2 concurrently

Key impact:

  1. Raised profile of elearning team
  2. Showcased the skills of many professional services
  3. Encouraged a different ways of thinking about delivering traditonal F2F courses
  4. Highlighted some potential issues
  5. Research opportunities

Overall – haven’t changed the institution radically but have got people talking to one another!


Investigating how students learn online: conceptual and methodological issues.

Stephen Gomez, Agnieszka Herden – Greenwich University

Partnership with publishers – love/hate relationship – HE lecturers standing is dependent upon publishing  – T & L is underdeveloped ?

The traditional view has been to publish books but the paradigm shift is to move to online books

Person’s piloting process – Learning resources developed  – made available to institutions – resources used with students –

Greenwich have been piloting Pearson’s Lab –  allows students to merge courses together. Allows better engagement with students and allows lecturers to monitor students engagement. Also it was time saver.

EBooks are downloaded by students. Allows practice and immediate feedback.

Also these can be embedded into the VLE. Other questions – Voluntary or compulsory? Frequency? Etc

Invisible barriers to eLeaning

 Jade Kelsall – MMU

The project – Develop whole new suite of online resources.

The Challenges:

(crowd sourced from LinkedIn) Appreciation for expertise – TIME – Managing feedback – Avoiding an info dump.

  1. Assign content owner. – establish level of involvement
  2. Identify learning objectives – (focus on verbs) – step away from the content.
  3. Discuss approach – talk through ideas, show examples, agree deadlines.
  4. Write skeleton plan – apply structure, use templates.
  5. Write Storyboard – sign off (external person to review the storyboard)
  6. Development – focus on visuals and functionality
  7. Quality assurance – final check


Google ‘my learning  resources’ for access to the courses.

Equiping staff to ride the digital wave – Establishing a university wide training Needs analysis

 Anna Williams – Regent’s University London

Technology is constantly changing therefore we need to ease people through the transition.

Objectives were to develop a training needs analysis – this was done through a onlen needs analysis. This meant liaising with many different departments. Evasys was used to do the survey. Statistics from the survey which summarised details of the survey were put on the intranet and communicated to HoD’s


Reflections: Next survey was moved to tie in with staff appraisals – after feedback from staff questions were changed

This lead to an increase in staff workshops – HoD’s referred staff for training.

How does it support staff?

Workshops become more supported

Develops trust

Lead to development online training such as online training.

This in turn will allow staff to become more confident with their software and in turn improve the quality of their teaching

Sign of a good presentation – it developed lots of  questionsJ

 Exploring the missing Middle (between research and policy)

Attempting to research ‘research’ – the process seems to be dysfunctional!

There have been several projects evaluating research on mobile technologies (for over 10 ears now).

Suddenly things changed with Apple which in turn changed international organisations dealing with the ‘global south’. Eg UNESCO mobile learning section

…speaker tried to cram in too much here and it seemed like a collection of too many disjointed points (to my ears)

 The ups and downs of sharing knowledge in fickle waters

Annette Webb – York St John University also a member of UCISA –

UCISA training community has only been going for a few months – now has its own website. This has also created a survey about digital capabilities (which has just been sent out)

Lessons learnt so far:


Member engagement has risen

Conference promotion


Wider member engagement

…been  a long day – need a drink now!