Friday 18 April 2014

Open Scotland Webinar 2nd April 2014

Attended this webinar

Thursday 3 April 2014

Effective Online Learning in the 21st Century - #BCS event

On Wednesday 2nd April I attended a BCS event at University of Edinburgh Informatics Forum.  It was a joint event between the Edinburgh BCS branch and BCS Women.  I haven't been to a BCS event for some time so I was interested to see what sort of events and turnout they get in Edinburgh.
The presentation was by Professor Liz Bacon, President of BCS.

The presentation was about Technology Enhanced Learning and covered a variety of general and specific themes.  It was all interesting, most of it covered topics and ideas that I am already aware of but the majority of the audience were not from education or academia so it was very relevant to them.
I have posted my notes below - mainly unedited but they do provide a brief overview of the areas covered.
The points I found interesting were:
The success factors for successful online study - Metacognition, Engaging and immersive environments, Socialisation and Personalisation.  
The need to move to andragogic / heutagogic model of education - treat students as adults, constructivist , flipped classrooms.
Technological and digital solutions to issues with online assessment
Learning Analytics to inform learning strategies
The need to deliver independent, more employable learners  who are capable of lifelong learning.

Online technology will revolutionise learning and is already doing so.  We have had online learning for years so why is now so important?
Bandwidth wifi internet
Ubiquitous devices
Mobile technology
Variety of tools, environments, online classrooms
Ease of access

Student expectations - to learn where and when through any device. In the US in 2010 30% of degree students took an online course during their studies

Student attention span in lectures in 20 minutes. THE March 2014 - 76% of students wanted a recording of lecture for reference Lecture capture is transformative for international students on campus due to language skills

Education is big business and global, countries want it now, not in 3 years - can't build enough physical universities.  
Long term trend in IT market is growth in jobs and high youth unemployment.
Technology has to be at heart of the solution - need to train people in IT

Online is not about taking what we do f2f and repeating pedagogy.  Need to include socialisation.
Take advantage of new possibilities.  MOOCs disruptive (good and bad) - no attempt to save - sink or swim - online has poor success rates. Most MOOC learners already have degree so why is success rate so low?

Teaching Computer Science
Pockets of good practice but most still teach in traditional ways

Factors for successful study - from students perspective
Prior experience
Intrinsic interest

Also other factors that can influence
Learning strategies
Social and cultural characteristics including an ability to make friends online Metacognition

Factors for successful study - from education perspective
Engaging and immersive learning environment
Adaptive interfaces and personalisation of the environment
Support Blended

So success factors
Metacognition - this is not taught , generally expected to emerge but for some learners it doesn't
Engaging and immersive environments - relative depersonalisation of the learning experience but online learning has potential to provide a different range of learning experiences
Games provide social personalisation,  progression at own pace, repetition and reinforcement
Socialisation - isolation but some people may feel more able to socialise online, need moderation, Minerva project
Personalisation - environment can be built to adapt to an individuals needs, can provide personalisation en masse, online systems can provide online feedback that is personalised.

Need to move to andragogic / heutagogic model of education - treat students as adults, constructivist , flipped classrooms
Learning environments need to monitor and capture the students  experience. Provide instantaneous feedback to focus support where needed.  

Cheating in learning and assessment
Massive widespread cheating but how to detect and combat
Deterrents eg setting intermediate targets
Solutions - environments that monitor student behaviour and performance digitally.
Verifiable biometric authentication but not easy to put in all the measures

Assessment does not have to be an event, if students fail an assessment it should not mean that their education is over or that their potential to learn is zero.  As long as learning remains relevant could do assessment when ready.

Learning Analytics - can mine VLE for readership, analyse attention span of student, their learning strategies, mistakes made, how often, what they looked at to get help, when they called for help.
Increase student satisfaction, retention, progression and attainment.
Deliver independent more employable learners capable of lifelong learning.

BCS L&D looking at HE Quals , certifications Videos of members events streamed Online mentoring BCS CPD app Support for personal learning Future - free taster online courses - global reach - enhance brand and reputation

Questions about
Have universities embraced idea of 20 minute slots rather hour long lectures?
There is a space and estates issue to provide connectivity?
Online training and learning for specific job roles? Admin roles?
It's not just about HE and academia - it's across a broad spectrum. Giving all staff the opportunity.
Online learning for office skills, negotiating, presentation skills

Need Learning Technologists to help teachers and educators bridge gap between them and students and change online learning. 

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Do you know the impact of your service? Customer Services Practitioners Group #CSPG #Libraries

Last week I attended an event 'Do you know the impact of your service?' at University of West of Scotland, Ayr Campus.  It was organised by the Customer Services Practitioners Group which consists of people who work in University Libraries / Information Services.
The keynote/discussion was delivered by Gordon Hunt, Director of Planning & Management Information Services at the University of the West of Scotland and entitled Odious Comparisons? The value, use and abuse of league tables and national surveys.
It was a very interesting presentation and and highlighted many aspects of university league tables and student surveys that everyone is aware of and form an important part of the activities that we do.  In advance everyone was asked to look at their
 institution’s league table position on the following websites plus your institutions NSS results.  

The Times one seems to be the one that has most impact, that most people look at.  
Gordon made the point that different Universities have different priorities and focus on different aspects but these are not reflected in the way that the league tables are constructed.  e.g. UWS have a strong widening access programme and have a below average entry tariff.  League tables don't recognise HNDs and there is a conflict between the entry tariff and widening access.  
Any improvements take time to manifest - it's cumulative and it takes time but sometimes you have to convince senior management that the improvements that you're making will impact on the position in the league table.  It is also possible that when you improve, you increase points in the table but don't go up places.
Institutions use peer grouping to compare and benchmark with similar universities to address the problem that you're not comparing like with like eg UWS v Edinburgh.  There is no scope to explain the background.  
It's possible to use other statistics such as Unistats with Key Information Sets
As far as the NSS is concerned....well it's a 'blunt instrument' and the library question is almost meaningless.  It's based on what we think students value.
But it is what we've got and we have to make sure that we get the best results from it as possible. Participation is a challenge and each year, at each institution, various persuasive methods are used in order to encourage students to respond.  I think we tread the line between survey fatigue and putting other more useful surveys or feedback on hold so that they don't distract from the NSS.

There is also the NSSE National Survey of Student Engagement which is focused on student engagement.
We then had a discussion in groups to talk about league tables:  
Do they reflect your reality?
What impact do they have?
Should we ignore them?
And surveys: NSS
Does it reflect your reality?
What would you change?
Some points that were raised were:
How do you know why or what makes you go up or down.
QS star ratings - how valid is a rating you pay for
International Student Barometer - unrealistic expectations by students?

The first of a series of case study presentations of the day was by Marion Kelt, Senior Librarian: Digital Development & Information Literacy, Glasgow Caledonian University
Making an impact through information skills SMILE @GCU.

This was a very good and informative presentation about SMILE@GCU an information and digital literacy training package for students.  Marion explained how it was created and the information brought together into units that the students could work through.  She talked about the need for qualitative feedback from staff and students as well as usage statistics.  I was interested to hear about her use of Google forms for feedback as this is something that I have been using for a variety of purposes.  
There is also a mobile version of smile called smirk :)

The next presentation was also about information skills and was by Marion Kennedy and Catherine Ure who are Subject Librarians where I work at Heriot-Watt University. 
Making an impact through information skills Power Hours @ Heriot-Watt
They explained that the Power Hours are about a variety of topics and delivered by staff across the University as well as in the Information Services.  They are advertised in a variety of ways including leaflets and handouts, the website and via social media.
The impact is measured by attendance statistics and by anecdotal evidence.  There is a feedback form at the end of each session which is analysed. 94% of participants agree /strongly agree that the Power Hours are useful to studies and research.  This evidence is used to raise the profile of the sessions.  Staff direct students to the sessions, academic staff request tailored sessions and also academics deliver some sessions.  

The next two sessions were case studies based around Making an impact through space.
Firstly Margaret Buchan, Associate Director of Library Services, Robert Gordon University spoke about the new library at RGU.  She explained what they used to do and how they had planned in advance to do things differently when they moved to 'The Tower'.  There was no room for a traditional service / issue desk so they have a welcome desk instead which is staffed by reception staff.  The reception staff were recruited for customer service skills not library skills experience.  There are library staff on each of the other floors to help students on that floor and they communicate with staff in different areas via wireless headsets.  There is no space for group study areas but they do have some provision for groups in another building.
An interesting aspect was that the staff area is 'hot desking' and this seemed to work well for them.

The next speaker was Laurence Bebbington, Acting University Librarian & Director, University of Aberdeen.  He explained the concept of the Aberdeen Library with flexible spaces that are technology rich.  It is a building of architectural merit with public spaces and a very impressive atrium.  There is one dewey sequence throughout the library and plenty of study spaces with power and data on desks.  There is a strong emphasis on self service including self collection of reservations.  
The impact is that there has been a great increase in visits by UGs,  PGs,  staff,  academics and researchers as well as visitors and the wider community.

During lunchtime there was an opportunity to look round the library.  It is a very nice building and some great group study rooms.

The first session of the afternoon was a presentation by Graham Stone, Information Resources Manager/Senior Research Fellow, University of Huddersfield Library analytics: understanding impact and value.  
It was a very interesting talk and I have read about the work that has been done on these projects.  (My notes don't reflect how useful and informative the talk was).
Graham talked about how library data has been used at Huddersfield to improve existing services and how library data is 'linked' to student attainment.  They found that there is a statistical significance between the final grade achieved, number of books borrowed and number of times e-resources were accessed.
In phase 2 of the project they are looking at library data and student demographics, discipline, retention, on/off campus and the breadth and depth of e resource usage.  They are also looking at library usage by age and by country of domicile and how this affects retention.  Does the depth and breadth of the library collection have impact on attainment?  Non usage of library resources could indicate disengagement with workload and lack of performance.
Analytics are becoming a strategic priority within libraries / information services / universities.
Their current project is Jisc LAMP
They are looking for benefits of scale with future work and a shared library analytics service.  Analytics dashboards and engines are the way forward with compelling visualisations.

The final two presentations were about Making an impact through resources.   Robbie Ireland, University of Glasgow talked about Reading lists @Glasgow. 

The reading list system is based on Talis Aspire and he used an evidence based case for adoption.  'Reading list as teaching tool'.  The background to the change was that they had a  paper system for print books but a move to eresources needed an online system.  The aim was to improve the relationship with academics, and not make the idea / implementation too library oriented.  There was a focus on academics meeting the needs of students.  

Then Lisa Haddow, Team Manager, Library Liaison & Development and Valerie Wells, Senior Subject Librarian, University of Stirling talked about Resource Lists @Stirling.  Again they use Talis Aspire but the lists, and all the work, is done by the library staff.  Students have dynamic up to date accurate lists.  The list appears in the Blackboard course (as a resources list ).  Academic staff don't have to manage the resource list but get statistics to show usage. The librarians use the list as a means of showing library resource usage and effectiveness. Their information strategy expects more than 80% of modules to have resources lists.  
Should it be compulsory for items to be on reading lists? 

The whole day was great and I very much enjoyed it.  It is organised by Dilys Young (Librarian and Assistant Director, University of Strathclyde) and Sonya Campbell (Customer Service Development Manager, GCU) who ensure that there are interesting speakers and well facilitated discussions.  The pace of the event was quite fast, as there was lots to talk about and do, which suits me well. The last event in Edinburgh was also a very useful day and the attendees are all interesting and easy to talk to - great networking opportunities.  If you are a library / information services person in Scotland, interested in customer services, i would recommend joining the group and attending an event.