Last week Linda Robson at the Open University asked me to contribute to their staff development conference. As I work at Regent’s University where most of our training with staff is face to face its great to see how another university provides different types of training.

The R13 Online AL Development Conference (ROAD) was split into two streams – asynchronous pre-recorded presentations and synchronous live sessions. The week ‘kicked off’ with a keynote presentation from from Pat Atkins on ‘Working Together to Support Student Learning’. This was 8 minute video on the changes happening to AL’s over the next few years. Along with the video there was access to the transcript, PowerPoint slides and a lively forum. Then from Monday to Thursday there were four more video presentations at midday on Collaborative Learning, Whiteboard design, Improvisation and Engaging students. There were also live faculty sessions every day (maths, Arts, Social Science etc).

The second strand was the¬†asynchronous pre-recorded presentations – again with a transcript and a forum. Including my own there were 9 presentations touching on a variety of different subjects (Teaching with Twitter, MOOC?, Emotional Competences, etc). Over the course of the week AL’s can dip into the presentations at any time and contribute to a forum if the wish. Here is the link to my presentation on Using Apps in HE.

There are a couple of things that I really like about this format. First the mixture of ‘Live’ and prerecorded sessions seems like a good idea to me. Obviously not everyone can attend all the live sessions so having a second options seems to work well. Secondly, the forums seem to work really well. I suppose the OU are very used to teaching with their students in this way but even so I was impressed with the contributions – not just on my topic but with many of the other sessions too. Finally, I liked the simple clear structure of the site layout – it was very intuitive to move about and find the information and presentations I wanted.

The whole conference was supported and backed with a Twitter account and hashtag @R13_SD #R13Conf.

The whole experience is something I think would work well here at Regent’s – not to replace the face to face training but as a useful addition to our training repertoire:)