Improving Participation – Inclusive Digital Practice Toolkit

Teaching Essentials Toolkit

The “Inclusive and Accessible Practice (IAP) Project”, brought together expertise from Learning Services’ Assistive Technologies and Learning Technology Development Teams (John Haycock and Martin Baxter).

Both Martin and John have come-up with a Toolkit for staff, supporting them in the production of inclusive resources.  The aim is to enable all students to participate equally with digital content whilst studying.  The Toolkit is called “Inclusive Digital Practice”, and is a collaboration between Learning Services and the Centre for Learning and Teaching, John Bostock (Senior Lecturer in Teaching & Learning Development).

Student studying, Edge Hill and Learning Services logo.

Within our student groups it is increasingly likely that some will have a disability or learning difficulty.  According to our records, approximately 14% of our students disclosed a disability, the true numbers are likely to be higher, as some students prefer not to disclose a disability, or they may just want to keep it hidden.

The toolkit provides support for staff in creating teaching and e-learning materials that are accessible and inclusive by design; describing some of the steps for adopting an inclusive practice, how to achieve them and instances (case studies) where good practice is already taking place at Edge Hill University.

The Inclusive Practice Toolkit is made up of the following resources;

Want to learn more about the toolkit?

Visit the Learning Edge “Staff” tab, and the Inclusive Digital Practice panel at the top of the page.Learning Edge Staff Tab displaying the Inclusive Practice Panel.Adopting an inclusive approach and producing ‘barrier-free’ learning, gives everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances, the chance to study at higher levels of education (Inclusive Teaching and Learning in Higher Education as a route to Excellence).

John Haycock Profile.

 

 

John Haycock
Learning Support Officer (Assistive Technologies)

 

Martin Baxter Profile

 

 

Martin Baxter
Learning Technology Development Officer

 

Do you have a story to tell about your Inclusive Practice?  Let us know, click the linkMy Inclusive Digital Practice.  We want to share good practice so that more people can learn about it.

Technology Supported Learning – MaST Programme Embedding Technology

Edge Hill University Western Campus lake view

Mark Wilcock (Learning Technology Development Officer) has, over the last few years, been working with the Faculty of Education’s MaST Team, providing support and guidance with the introduction of a number of key technologies including:

  • iSpring (a rapid learning authoring toolkit for developing professional e-learning courses in Powerpoint.
  • Blackboard Collaborate (browser-based web conferencing solution).
  • Panopto (lecture capture software).

In this case study, Mark tells us about his work with the MaST Good Practice AwardTeam and explains how and why they began to explore the available technologies, the benefits to the department and the students on the courses here at Edge Hill University.

This is what Mark says about the project and working with the MaST team to introduce these technologies;

“For many years now I have worked with the MaST team. I’ve delivered various staff development sessions and raised awareness and confidence in using technology in teaching and learning. More recently I have worked alongside them in the adoption of new learning technologies such as iSpring and Blackboard Collaborate. As a Technologist I’ve always recognised the need to respond to the changing demands of the student expectation and of course the opportunity to collaborate with staff towards enhancing the learning experience overall with the use of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL). Starting back in 2014, MaST explored the use of iSpring as a tool to develop and enhance their current online induction resource for students. Here they created an accessible and interactive course induction resource that included a variety of multimedia (audio narration, video guides, information & social media links and supplementary attachments) to give students the best start to the course and to accommodate for all the diverse range of learning styles of the online students. This project enabled me to not only reach out to academics, but to also understand and build even stronger relationships with the team and the course the MaST programme itself. It also demonstrated the benefits that the iSpring as a technology brought to the online student experience, highlighting the student rewards and usability for staff.

iSpring, Blackboard Collaborate and Panopto logos

Moving into 2015 and 2016, the MaST team introduced Blackboard Collaborate and Panopto into their programme. The team required a platform to support online lecture streaming and video capture. Prior to the institution having Panopto (lecture capture) at its disposal, the only tool that could deliver such an ability was Blackboard Collaborate. For those new to Collaborate, it is a real-time video conferencing tool that lets you replicate the physical classroom into a virtual one with the option to share applications and a whiteboard. Though Collaborate was not actually a dedicated lecture capture product and more of a online classroom tool, it did however provide a short term fix to live streaming for the MaST Conference days until Panopto was introduced in 2016. However, the benefits of the team using Collaborate prior to Panopto, actually worked in their favour for their future endeavours as they had already obtained an initial understanding of this tool it is now currently being considered as a communication platform for online group and one to one meetings with students.

Student with Laptop

I strongly believe that the benefits of our collaboration has supported this application of technology into the online elements of their programme, which has enabled them to replicate the traditional teaching and learning activities for blended and distance learning, meeting the modern day expectations of the online student. For me personally, the ability to transfer knowledge and key understanding to academic staff working together with the technologies provided can only improve the student learning experience by improving teaching and learning within Edge Hill University is extremely rewarding. Overall my view is that Staff who develop good digital capabilities in technology enhanced learning can offer new opportunities for their students through improved access to resources, increased interaction between staff and students, changes to learning and teaching styles and more flexibility in their choice of place and time.”

You can here from Mark in this short video about his work with the MaST Team;

YouTube Video Player

…this is what Andrea Taylor (Senior Lecturer MaST) said;

“MaST have been working with Learning Services’ Mark Wilcock for a couple of years on ways to develop and deliver blended learning session for our students, some of whom are based on campus with others at locations across the country. Initial trials with Blackboard Collaborate were very promising, this allowed us to offer face to face sessions whilst students in Birmingham were able to join the session remotely from a device or their computer.  Working with Mark was also important in developing a number of iSpring packages which allowed us to create interactive multimedia e-earning content.  As we grew in confidence, in terms of using the technology, we were made aware of lecture capture software.  

The MaST Team approached Mark again to find out more about this new resource called ‘Panopto’ to see what it offered as an alternative.

It was important the technology is easy to use and allowed us to capture the lecture electronically and live screen to the second venue without any issues, and to create accessible recording we can upload quickly to the VLE so that students have almost immediate access to this resource.  Panopto allows our students to view the keynote address after the face to face day to follow up on their learning and to encourage further reflection.  We would recommend that other departments incorporate this technology into their courses.  The support for its use had been fabulous and although we have used it at a very basic level, we look forward to utilising many of the other features that are available through Panopto”

The MaST Team;
Mary McAteer, Andrea Taylor, Victoria Grinyer, Ann Barker, Philip Rowe, Stephen Williams

If you feel inspired by Mark, the MaST Team and want to use these and/or other technologies to help enhance and support your own teaching, please get in-touch with the Learning Technology Team in Learning Services.  We will be very happy to work with you.

Mark Wilcock

 

 

Mark Wilcock
(Learning Technology Development Officer)

Technology Supported Learning – Lecture Capture

Panopto logi

“Presenting Performance and Practice”

Good Practice AwardKevin Henshaw is a Senior Lecture in Operating Department Practice, Kevin has been involved in a project piloting the use of Panopto software to record students performing presentations and clinical skill procedures for summative assessment.

Panopto software provides lecture capture, screencasting, video streaming, and video content management solutions.  The  Panopto  lecture/media  capture  system  is  now  available  for  use  by  staff  as  an  additional learning tool for students at Edge Hill University.

Listen to what Kevin has to say in this short video  about his own and that of his students experience of using Panopto software:

YouTube Video Player

Kevin goes on to say…

“Lecture Capture technology has been readily available for some time now ( Kadirrie, 2011) and Edge Hill, as an Institution, is considering the merits of making the most out of Lecture Capture software. To this end the Institution has piloted Panopto. This software is readily available to download from EHU application catalogue:

Panopto is incredibly easy to install and to navigate. The primary aim of Panopto is to provide a means of electronically ‘capturing’ lectures.
As a part of my professional development I set myself an objective to develop a system of recording student activities such as presentations and other ‘soft skills’ (Skills Funding Agency, 2015. Carter and Wolmuth, 2010) which are seen as essential skills for students in Higher Education. Pinsky.et.al (2000) refer to a study by which students are given access to a recording of their presentation together with written feedback. Pinsky refers to ‘A picture is worth a Thousand Words’ and examined some of the practical uses of a combined approach to presentation feedback in Teaching.
The addition of feedback to a recording is crucial and affords the student an opportunity to ‘see’ themselves perform while reading the feedback. Panopto allows this facility and a single hyperlink can then be sent out to individual students or, groups of students, which can then be viewed on a mobile device anytime, anywhere.
By using a mini i-Pad, a number of recordings of various student activities have been carried out. These include:

•    Presentations (both formative and summative)
•    Viva Voce exams (audio recording only)
•    Simulated Clinical Scenarios
•    Observed Structured Clinical Exams (OSCEs)

EH335 DSC_0086 ODP

Video recordings are annotated by the 1st marker.  For quality assurance purposes
hyperlinks can sent to External Moderators who can view both the written feedback
and the presentation via Panopto. Documents (such as copies of the presentation)
can be attached to Panopto as a PDF.

Participants are encouraged to examine their ‘performance’ and write a brief
reflection about how they thought they met the Learning Outcomes which can be
attached to Panopto as a PDF.

For Group performances (such as simulated clinical exercises) a discussion forum
can be easily set up on Panopto which will allow for asynchronous discussion
between group members”.

For more information about Panopto at Edge Hill University, please contact our team of experts on lecturecapture@edgehill.ac.uk

If you feel inspired by Kevin’s story and want to use this or another technology to help you enhance and support your own teaching, please get in touch with the Learning Technology Development Team in Learning Services. We would be very happy to work with you.

Kevin Henshaw
Kevin Henshaw (Senior Lecturer in Perioperative Care)

ALT-C Conference 2015: Some things to consider

ALT-CALT-C is the main annual conference for the Association for Learning Technology. It is a great environment in which to see what others are doing, and to think about some of the big ideas that affect education.

In this post I’ll share some of the messages from the conference that I personally would like to consider further.

Keynote: Steve Wheeler
Key Message – Students could help us think in different ways.

Steve Wheeler from Plymouth University explored how learning is changing, and how we may need the help of students to help us think in new ways.

It can be difficult for us to notice the opportunities that new technology offers us; things change fast and we have little time. I was reminded that in around 2008 there was a short time when students often complained that they couldn’t get on campus computers to do work, because almost every computer was logged into Facebook. It was the consequence of a time just after the growth and adoption of social media, but just before everyone had smartphones that could be used to access the social media tools. These sort of odd things happen, and almost before we can react properly they’ve changed again. If these situations (both opportunities and challenges) are difficult to predict in the short term, then in the long term it is impossible to think what might change and how the collection of those changes working together might affect our context.

We could learn from each year’s intake of students about how technology could be used. Steve used the example of interactive whiteboards where early users just used them like blackboards, but someone without the experience of using blackboards who was given time to explore, might discover the possibilities.

In the past the learning technologies we had such as videos, and TVs, were primarily transmission tools, but now networked technologies can help move us towards student centered learning.

Teachers are often nervous about using technology, because there can be aspects of technology use that they think the students understand better than them. Even Steve’s students reported feeling like this when they went into school to do teaching practice and became the teacher, so the nervousness doesn’t seem to be related to age and experience with the technology. Personally I feel the same in induction sessions with the students when you advise a student to solve an issue one way, and other students come with other (sometimes better) solutions. I feel like I’m losing the position of ‘expert’, but as Steve is saying, perhaps we have to accept that in a complex changing environment there is no alternative.

On the topic of where the technological expertise lies, Steve pointed out that the ‘Visitors’ and ‘Residents’ theory is better than the much criticised ‘Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants’ theory if we are going to understand the way staff and students approach technological tools and spaces.

Keynote: Phillip Long
Key Messages – Cognitive Science can tell us a lot about learning. Performance and learning are not the same.

Phillip Long from the University of Texas at Austin spoke about the importance of using what we know from cognitive science when designing learning activities and environments.

First he talked about Soderstrom and Bjork’s work on the difference between learning and performance, where “Learning reflects the relatively permanent changes in behaviour or knowledge that support long-term retention & transfer” and performance is the “temporary fluctuations in behaviour or knowledge that can be observed and measured during or immediately after the first acquisition process”.

He discussed how there are different techniques for practicing in learning (e.g. distributed practice), and how some will work better for short term performance and some for long term learning. This can cause problems when working with students as they can really enjoy the results of short term performance gains and find aiming for these motivating. Long term learning methods with initially poor results can cause them to react badly.

He talked about EdX’s use of Cerego (see Jessie Brown’s overview) which is software that learns your personalised memory decay curve and aims to use this to optimise learning and methods of practice. Also if we want to encourage students to do important, but potentially tedious learning activities there is evidence that introducing transcendent purpose can help students, especially those with poor grades to start with.

He finished with the question “How can we bring good learning science into elegant learning environments that fit your institutional culture?”

Keynote: Laura Czeriewicz
Key Message – Online learning can play a role in reducing inequality.

Laura Czerniewicz spoke on the effects of online learning on inequality. She notes that we saw $1.87 billion (£1.22 billion) in ed tech funding in 2014, which means the effects cannot be large, including the effects on the developing world. She referred to Therborn’s 2013 book that looks at types of inequality to consider.

To face challenges in this area, she mentioned that we need to be aware of:

  • how online learning benefits some groups more than others
  • how learners need help so that they are prepared to learn in the online environment
  • how access to electricity and the internet affects any strategy
  • how mobile may be the answer if the price of data can be reduced
  • how verification of learning rather than learning alone is required for people to get jobs
  • how colonial attitudes need to be avoided and pluralistic epistemologies considered

Other Things of Interest
Key Message – Technology is not neutral.

The work P.A. Danaher was presenting was based on Affordance Theory (Gibson, 1979) via Actor-Network Theory (Wright & Parchoma, 2011). He mentioned how these theories say that technology is not neutral but shapes and is shaped by its users and occupants, and how effective research needs to respect that.

Key Message – Learning Technologists should be agents of change.

Peter Bryant from London School of Economics talked about the ‘Middle Out’ approach to institutional change. This was a concept taken from politics about the importance of creating growth through the middle classes, but in his focus on institutional change he says that there is a problem when Learning Technologists end up just maintaining the status quo by just supporting existing practices and not innovating new ones.

Peter argued that Learning Technologists should see themselves as agents and leaders of change at a strategic level and that we should aim for “a role where the learning technologist argues, lobbies, supports and resources change and where they work to break down functional barriers and silos between academic and professional services, in order to seek change through the development and celebration of a collective identity”.

Key Message – Technology affects power dynamics between teachers and learners.

Jonathon Worth spoke about his experiences as a photographer, how he learned to take advantage of the open nature of the web, and the resulting open course he ran. He discussed ethics around loss of privacy, changes to power within a class, cultural and technological barriers that might emerge, and how technology might affect trust. The idea that students should be asked to give informed consent around their use of ‘the digital’ is a challenge.

Key Message – Virtual field trips are possible, but require a lot of initial development.

Work from the School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds was presented, where they had created a field trip environment (works best in Firefox) using the Unity game engine. This allowed field trip activities to be undertaken without the travelling, and allowed disabled students to participate more fully in them. The level of detail was only really suitable for undergraduate study, and they are looking at the possibilities of developing it in more detail for post-graduate learners. Adding hand drawn field sketches to the simulation alone took 80 hours work, which indicates the time taken up by the project.


beaumont_smaller

Peter Beaumont
Learning Technology Development Officer

LTD’s Good Practice Guides

Over 30 years of combined experience working with academic and administrative staff have been distilled into the many Learning Technology guides and other resources that now reside in the Learning Services Wiki.  These guides are aimed at saving you time and enhancing the student experience – ensuring a consistent quality and making your courses more engaging.  The wiki uses calendars accessed via the Administration and Building & Teaching tabs that detail what you may be working on at the various parts of the course lifecycle.

Here are three that have had the most impact on the staff and student experience:

Learning Edge: Good Practice in Building and Teaching your Course

This document contains some suggestions on how to enhance the educational value of your course, based on existing good practice and feedback from our Student eLearning Surveys.

 

 

Quick guide: Enrolling Staff from within a Course

Did you know that you can enroll colleagues as instructors into any course that you are an instructor on?  This single sheet guide shows you how this is done.

Quick Guide: Diagnosing Student Access Issues

This guide looks at some of the common problems that students may report when trying to access Learning Edge for the first time (or as a returning student).

 

The three documents above form part of a wealth of guides and resources accessed via calendars of activities.  We invite you to spend a few minutes browsing these calendars (from the Administration and Building & Teaching tabs), perhaps looking at the entries for this time of year – all focusing on enhancing the student experience.

David Callaghan
Learning Technologist
Katherine Richardson
LTD Operations Co-ordinator

 


 

 

Taking the online survey to the student.

How FM and LTD used tablet technologies for a student survey.

Taking the online survey to the student.In December Facilities Management wanted to know more about how students were using the HUB, and more specifically, the food services within the new building. They were considering how they could take a survey to the students, to encourage engagement, and maximise responses.

Danielle Doyle (FM Customer Service Team Leader) and Carol Austin (Facilities Manager for Customer Services) contacted LTD for advice on how to implement their ideas. LTD suggested using mobile devices to connect to an online survey, using the Bristol Online Surveys (BOS) service available to Edge Hill staff. The department loaned their own mobile devices to FM as a ‘pilot’ to learn more about using these mobile technologies.

Three students were recruited to conduct the survey for three days just before the Christmas break.  Two mobile devices were used – a first generation iPad and a Samsung Galaxy tab – the plan being to compare against the third student using paper copies of the survey.  Both devices were able to connect to and run the BOS service, though the battery of the Galaxy tablet ran out before the end of each session (10-3pm).  The interviewers said that the mobile devices were great at getting the engagement of students and the survey was completed in a similar amount of time as the paper version – the significant advantage of the mobile technology is the elimination of both transcription time and transcription errors.

Note, though, that the interviewers found the fastest way to gather the data was to get a group of students together and use one paper survey to record the responses from many students – though transcription time and errors need to be taken into account.

A later posting will discuss what LTD and FM learnt as a result of this pilot – and perhaps give some feedback on the results of this survey.

If you are considering how to use technology to enhance the student experience please contact the LTD team via ltdsupport@edgehill.ac.uk or 01695 650754.

Mobile Matters

Are you using the Blackboard Mobile Learn app yet? The mobile app for Learning Edge (Blackboard 9.1) has been available for a good few weeks now, so we thought it would be a good time to look at how much it’s being used. What we found makes fascinating reading!

The last month alone saw 9,343 visits to Learning Edge from a mobile device, but interestingly only 2,535 (27%) of these visits were made via the Mobile Learn app. This means a lot of users are navigating to the site using the browser within their mobile device rather than an app designed specifically for smart devices. Without the app you will have to enter log in details every time you want to access Blackboard; with the app you can save your log in details making it quicker to check into your course. The mobile app also makes navigating the VLE, viewing information and using tools such as the discussion board and journals much easier. Without the app, Learning Edge isn’t optimised for mobile use so if you haven’t already tried it, why not install the app now to see if it makes accessing Learning Edge on your mobile device easier for you? The app displays Blackboard in a different but more mobile-friendly way; the picture below shows how it might look:

Apple continues to be the most widely used with a total of 81% (5,527) of visits coming from Apple devices. The graph below shows the breakdown of the devices used:

You can set your notifications within Blackboard to be sent to either your Blackboard dashboard, your EHU email address, or your mobile app. This means anytime there is activity within your course (for example a new announcement or grade released) you’ll be notified, meaning you’ll always be up to date with what’s happening in your course. For notifications to be sent to your mobile device you need to have the app installed….so install it today!

For information on how to set your Blackboard notifications and for guidance on how to get the app have a look at our collection of mobile guides.

If you have any feedback about your experiences with using the app we’d love to hear from you, so please leave comments here.

Katherine Richardson
LTD Operations Co-ordinator

Making things happen: behind the scenes (part 1)

Previous blog posts have focused on the technical and staff development activity involved in moving to Blackboard 9.1. This time, we thought we’d introduce the teams who are making all this happen. First off is (most of) the team from Learning Services pictured below:

Standing L-R: Peter Beaumont, Carol Chatten, David Callaghan, Lisa Farnworth, Martin Baxter, Meg Juss. Seated L-R: Lindsey Martin, Rachel Bury, Katherine Richardson, Elaine Czotter.

David Callaghan, Mark Ayton and Adrian Cain (both not pictured) have been working extensively with colleagues in IT Services, Academic Registry and Blackboard to ensure that the Student Information Database and Blackboard talk to one another as seamlessly as possible to ensure that the courses and student records in Blackboard are always up-to-date.

Peter, Carol, David, Martin, Lisa, Meg and Adrian have been responsible for training staff in the use of Blackboard, supporting migration from Blackboard CE8 and creating all new guides and resources. To date, they have trained over 400 staff and will continue training and providing support over the summer. They will be joined in late August by Elaine, ICT Staff Development Co-ordinator. Elaine will be responsible for the ongoing training of Administrative staff across the faculties who will be working with Blackboard for the first time.

A special thanks must go to Katherine who has pulled all of the staff training schedules together and created order out of chaos!

Last but not least, Rachel and Lindsey (who have brought you the blog from the days of the VLE Review) who try to ensure that everyone knows what they need to know, when they need to know it, in the format that is most appropriate for them!

The next three months are going to be very busy as we work with the faculties to make sure all their courses are ready for September. We are here to help so please get in touch via the blog or email to any of the team. We look forward to hearing from you …

Our next blog post – Behind the scenes (part 2) will introduce you to our wider team – some of the key staff who we have worked with across the University …