Just where are institutions going with e-learning? chaired by Terry Mayes
This was primarily about the HEFCE Benchmarking and Pathfinder initiatives but a surprising number of examples came from Scotland or Wales rather than England.
The conclusion was that benchmarking and then finding sustainable ways forward is a successful strategy.
Veronica Adamson at Glenaffric would be a good person to talk to if we were to take this approach to developing a SUPA e-learning development strategy.
The benchmarking methodology du jour is OHBE.
Search for the Scottish Transformation Programme.
Key points: develop course design methodologies and lead rather than direct. Learning technology professionals provide leadership and bring together pedagogy and e-learning technologies. The relationship is complex and not for beginners. Look at the big picture. Go for sustainability beyond the end of the funding period. Avoid rapid creation of bags of innovation that result in little change in the long run.
In the SUPA context, benchmarking by theme may be a useful way in.
Empowerment of users to make use of existing online materials is more successful than internal development of resources.
Extending the Scope of Learning Objects with XML by Bill Tait (COLMSCT, OU).
Used XML to allow tutors to customise text and pictures in Flash learning objects. But this looks very like control to me, in a conference called 'Beyond Control.'
Worth considering. Would allow lecturers to make a German version of their favourite learning object, for example, or for a SUPA slideshow display template to be reused by different themes.
Community Dimensions of LO Repositories by Peter Douglas, Intrallect.
Not a lot to say about this because the dimensions suggested didn't fit our users. Served as a good intro to the next speaker...
Connecting Learning Object Repositories by Charles Duncan @ intrallect
This may have something to offer us. Their commercial repository product is intraLibrary and I have all the bumpf but we'll have to move past the 'SUPA learning materials = notes and slides' stage first. Of more immediate interest is the free SRU client and JISC's forthcoming LO publishing tool, SWORD. Also, search for PerX.
I went to talk to Peter and Charles afterwards. They are based in Linlithgow. They used to work for geophys in the JCMB when geophys was still part of physics.
Thefour themes this year are Learning and internationalism, Learning technology for the social networking generation, Large scale implementation and Designing learning spaces. I'll try to sample a bit of each one, although the design of learning spaces is probably going to grab most of my attention.
Managed a quick moodle backup of one course form 1.6 and imported into 1.8, but I don't see an obvious way to export the type of courses that we have built so far.
We have been asked to consider whether we can reuse the nanophotonics course in the HW VLE (blackboard). This leads quickly into the world of packages of learning objects and the SCORM and IMS standards.
plus some commercial options
Interestingly the material produced by eXe seem to have more in common with the Moodle Lesson activity, than our existing SUPA couses. More like a collection of text, graphics, questions, animations, links.
Tried triggering the crontab a couple of times without any luck. Found a system wide setting to allow world readable blog postings. This doesn't change our normal blog posts - they are still draft and private by default, and can be changed to 'site level' to keep them private to SUPA.
Don't worry blog posts are not included in the external RSS feeds, until you choose to publish to 'anyone in the world'
Looking forwards over the next few months I will be working with Karon and David to deliver a new server as a platform to run all of the electronic services that we provide, and to develop and extend a pair of courses in Nanophotonics and Nanophysics into interesting distance learning courses. We then quickly move on to the support of staff who will be working to adapt and deliver courses for a set of students across Scotland using the SUPA video conference facilities and my.supa, our learning environment.