Our Journey of Pathfinding

so… Friday seen the submission of our ‘Pathfinder Journey’ reports (and another load of my mind).
I read the paper back before I submitted it to the HEA, and I must say, was quite pleased with the developments we have made in the past 9 months or so.

Whilst the May deadline has past, I will be kept busy with dissemination until September. I expect there will be a couple of conference presentations (SOLSTICE and JISC RSC already on the cards), journal articles and a number of workshops.
The project website will be updated very shortly to bring it up-to-date with the completion of the workpackages, and will likely include some of the developments available to download and reuse/repurpose. Some of our outputs include;

Getting Started Online – e-learning module introducing students to online learning.
Springboard – e-learning module introducing students to information literacy skills.
Online Needs Analysis Tool – to assess the technical competence of students to inform induction activities.
Costing Metrics – a paper to raise awareness of costing issues with regards to developing and delivering e-courses.

Of course the main focus of our project was about QA and embedding elearning in HE in FE, but some developments may be tailored for UG students too – any queries can come straight to me 🙂

Right, now only a couple of briefing papers and the final project report to get cracking on….

Dissemination

As the close of Pathfinder is drawing upon us, our attentions are beggining to focus upon disseminating the good work we have been doing. Well in fact, we have had 1 eye on this area for a while.
My esteemed colleague from DMU, Richard Hall and I, will be ‘performing’ at the upcoming SOLSTICE conference this June.

I have also had a few ideas to publish and Richard and I have begun development on an article focussing around Collaboration and Ownership for Organisational Change.
I am also working with Clare McCullagh for a possible publication on Costing Metrics for elearning.

So, the ongoing theme continues – busy busy busy!

Workloads & Workpackages

Well, it has been a while since my last posting, but that doesnt mean we havent been busy. On the contrary!

Some work packages are now finished, some are still ongoing.

One that has been of particular interest of late, has been our work package on Costing Metrics for e-learning. My earlier post detailed a shared interest for costing e-learning with colleagues from other institutions. The wiki that Clare McCulagh and I are developing is really coming together. I dont want to publish the url just yet, but have patience!!! Its starting to look much more structured (opposed to paragrahs thrown together). We are hoping that we can attract the interest of the honourable Mr Mayes, as well as some others that we think might be interested (Diane Laurillard & Paul Bacsich to name a few)
We are also hoping to turn the majority of the wiki into a paper for publication!!!

Collaboration across institutions on such work packages will inevitably take longer, but I am already confident of a much richer and informed output.

Our most recent cluster meeting with CAMEL colleagues was interesting (held at MMU). We unpicked our collaborative output further and we hope to develop an interesting, and slightly different briefing paper (if we can call it that).

York Residential

Well, only just getting around to reflect upon the Pathfinder Residential in York last week.

My hopes for an exciting 2 days were admittedly dashed when I realised that 28 institutions would be speaking for 5 minutes about their projects – 1 after the other!!! So that pretty much took up the 1st day.
I wouldnt recommend the academy pursued this line in any future projects they fund because it was very difficult to take in 27 other projects. After the 5th presentation, I had forgotten the 1st. Especially since many of the slides contained line after line of text. Terry Mayes had at least nurtured Camel group D to try to be a little more artistic. Most of us created slides that were a bit more impressionistic with less text.
I was particularly looking forward hearing Paul Bacsich speak about costing elearning. Paul is a leading figure in regards to costing with a portfolio of publications to his name. We have a work package dedicated to investigating the metrics for costing elearning support for off campus and partnership delivery arrangements, so was hoping to get some much needed assistance in this area. Unfortunately Paul’s talk was focussed at a higher level of costing than I was hoping, but interesting all the same.

For me, the most positive aspect of the trip was the opportunity for networking. I met Pathfinder colleagues from Northampton and Reading who both share an interest in metrics for costing elearning. So, since York we have had a couple of emails and set up a wiki in an attempt to collaborate in order to meet the objectives of this work package. So watch this space…

On the 2nd morning we had a very useful cluster meeting with group D. At our previous meeting at UCLAN we had discussed the possibility of a joint publication. This idea was fleshed out somewhat and we have come away with a brief… we will be attempting to develop some knd of movie/animation focussing around collaboration. Before our next meeting, we will all be stoyboarding our perspectives.

A final note about York…. most of group D and a few others (including colleagues from the aforementioned Northampton) attended a more informal meeting in some dodgy pub that Richard Hall (DMU) took us to, somewhere in York! Terry was there too!!!

Right, enough reflecting for 1 day, ive got deadlines in less than a week!!! 🙁

Feedback from 2nd Interim report

Panic!!! Its almost deadline day….

and we have recently recieved feedback from the HEA regarding the 2nd interim Report. The feedback was actually quite positive;
They were pleased with the collaboration and interest from our FE partner colleagues in specific work packages (3, 5, 6), and acknowledged support from Critical friend Terry Mayes. Also commented upon how excellent this blog has been…
…ok it didnt quite say that, but it was certainly positive 😉

Anyway, the deadline date for a number of our work packages is fast approaching (end of Feb) and its all hands on deck. This along with the Steering Group meeting this Thursday makes for another stressful period.

How did my last posting finish…..

2nd Pathfinder Progress Report

So… our 2nd progress report was sent to the HEA on Friday, with a certain amount of relief I must add.
Relief not just because another item from my ‘to-do’ list had been scratched off, but more so from the realisation that despite the late start to our project, we are actually progressing quite well.

I sat back on Friday afternoon to proof read the report before sending it off, and on my desk sat the 1st progress report. Just to look at how much progress we have made, and the unintentional outcomes from workpackages, made me feel much less pressured. As I have mentioned in previous posts, we were a bit unsure at the progress of other institution’s projects compared to ours, but were made to feel more comfortable by Terry and the rest of Camel Group D. But this report has brought a sense of satisfaction at our progress. Particularly with the early completion of 1 of our workpackages – an online Sprigboard module for fdn students at our FE partner colleges.

We still have a lot of work to do before the Christmas break however, as our deadlines from some of the other intial workpackages is in February. So come on team, no online shopping during work time, no tea breaks, in fact, no lunch!!!
Am I expecting too much here??? 🙂

Critical Friend and 1st Camel Group Meetings

We had a our 1st meeting with our Critical Friend, Terry Meyes recently.
We invited Terry to our Steering Group meeting, going into this with a feeling that our project may be slightly behind other Pathfinder institutions. However the feedback from Terry was very encouraging and reassuring. His main concern was that we may be attempting too much given that the project only lasts for 12 months.

We acknowledge this and may review some workpackages to a more manageable and achievable level.

Shortly after this, Jim Gotaas was an excellent host at our 1st Camel meeting last week at UCLAN.
This meeting was an excellent opportunity to share the nitty gritty details of our project with others, and likewise, hear theirs.
I left the day with a great sense of satisfaction. It is evident that we are not lagging behind others, as we had initially thought. The feedback Terry had given us seemed to be a common issue amongst our Camel group.

We had some good ideas for later dissemination activities that we could conduct as a group.

We will be hosting the next Camel group meeting early in the New Year. The standard of both food and artistic impressions of a Camel, has been set high by Jim and co, so we obviously need to raise that level even further.

Right, for the rest of the day, its photoshop time…

Communications with Partner Institution Staff

We know we have a tight schedule to keep to so it was important to make contact with colleagues from our FE partner institutions quickly in order to inform them of the overall project and individual workpackages. In keeping with the SOLSTICE model, we also wanted to gauge interest for participation/contribution from partner college staff to ensure our Pathfinder developments were conducted through an ‘intelligence informed dialogue’.

What was very interesting for us was the reaction from our partner colleagues. We contacted 3 different partner institutions – 1 for each of the 3 elearning modules we are developing and in each case, our partner institutions felt like the ‘poor relation’ in our partnership and were surprised we wanted their input. This was also mixed with a feeling of them not being able to help us.
This highlights that although partnerships are in place, a lot of work needs to be done in order to make the partnerships stronger and more effective. It also highlights that this pathfinder project could be key in achieving this and the need for sustainability is paramount if there is to be long term benefits of HE & FE collaborations.

2 of our workpackages – ‘Getting Started Online’ and ‘Springboard’ have now begun. We have set up a group to focus on each module and we have had initial meetings. The input from FE partners is already proving beneficial within the groups and workloads have been split up amongst the groups to begin develpments of the modules. Watch this space…

Workpackage reports

We are currently devising reflective reports for each of the workpackages.

A document begins with an abstract of the workpackage, explaining what it is and what it includes. We also go on to explain the rationale behind its development i.e. why the workpackage is needed, and where possible, backed up by research evidence. We have then included a number of sections such as;

  • Progress/process of the workpackage development – including how things are moving along, developing existing materials, relationships with actors/supporters;
  • Postive aspects/success of the development;
  • Challenges and Issues we have and may face in the development;
  • Unintended outcomes/Biproducts – such as the building of relationships that have come about as a result of the workpackage development;
    and a final reflection/conclusion.

We feel (and hope!) that by keeping this ongoing log, our project reports will be better informed, more accurate, but also easier to complete! (which is obviously a bonus)

My Introduction

Hello there,

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to the community.
I have recently been appointed to coordinate our eQT Pathfinder project, after coming from a Learning Technologist role here at Edge Hill.
I think it is fair to say that my appointment has really been the key factor in kick-starting our project and (we hope) things will begin to move along much quicker than they have thus far.

Our project Website is currently under development but as the project moves along, it will be a key point of our dissemination activities. Other than the latest news, the key resources on the Website will undoubtedly be the downloadable versions of our developmental artefacts that will expand over the next year. It will also provide appropriate facility for communication with the project team.

Im looking forward to posting more specific information relating to the project as we progress further.