Yesterday, I went to the second day of the LLAS ‘E-Learning Symposium’. Generally an interesting day, and I made some good local contacts.

All sessions were recorded, and can be seen here.

Below are the sessions that I attended. Some further notes on Professor Wendy Hall‘s talk, and the Worcester session.

Twitter for educational purposes: how and why?

Russell Stannard, University of Westminster

Many people write and talk about Twitter but few really understand how it can be used as powerful marketing tool for educational content and ideas. It is ideal for making the public aware of Open Educational content and building up powerful networks with organisations and groups. I have nearly 3000 followers on the 3 Twitter accounts I run and this presentation will be a hands-on, “this is what you have to do” approach to Twitter. I will also reveal some interesting stats about the effect that Twitter and other social networking sites are having on the number of users visiting OER resources. To get a taste of the talk, read my recent article in the THE website about Twitter and OER.

Whether Wikis Work: Student and Tutor Experiences in Using the wiki as a non-linear form of assessment

Carolin Esser is Lecturer in English at the University of Winchester

This presentation introduces a study into the use of wikis as a non-linear form of assessment in two Humanities modules at the University of Winchester. It was funded by the University Learning and Teaching Development Unit. A portfolio of preliminary questionnaires, wiki diaries, concluding interviews alongside objective module outcomes and tutor experience forms the data for this paper. Both modules and the study consciously shift attention away from the more commonly discussed collaborative potential of wikis. Instead, the emphasis lay (and lies) on the non-linear nature and the potential for formative assessment which this hypertext platform offers Higher Education. These wikis were created as individual student wikis, as opposed to group wikis, and thus emphasized the role of the student as primary author and owner of structure and content.

Keynote: The Emerging Science of the Web and Why it is Important

Professor Wendy Hall, University of Southampton

With the advent of the internet and the World Wide Web we are able to share information as never before. The Web has become a critical global infrastructure. Since its emergence in the mid-1990s, it has exploded into hundreds of billions of pages that touch almost all aspects of modern life. Today the jobs of more and more people depend on the Web. Media, banking and health care are being revolutionized by it, and governments are even considering how to run their countries with it. Little appreciated, however, is the fact that the Web is more than the sum of its pages and it is more than its technical protocols. Vast emergent properties have arisen that are transforming society. E-mail led to instant messaging, which on the Web has led to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. The transfer of documents led to file-sharing sites such as Napster, which have led to user-generated portals such as blogs, Flickr and YouTube. Web 2.0, tagging content with labels, is creating online communities that share everything from concert news to health care. Looking forward we are adding to the Web of documents by creating a Web of linked data. It is our hypothesis that this will become the dominant data sharing and integration platform and that its effect on the world will be as profound and unexpected as the impact of the first Web. As we seek to understand the origins of the Web, appreciate its current state and anticipate possible futures there is a need to address the critical questions that will determine how the Web evolves as both a social and a technical network. The emerging field of understanding these issues is becoming known as Web Science. In this talk we will explore how this new science of the Web has become established, the insights that are beginning to emerge and discuss the major research and education challenges ahead.

Herding cats virtually: Managing a multi-disciplinary university island in Second Life

Fiona Grindey and Julie Watson, University of Southampton

The University of Southampton Island in Second Life was established in 2008, and through collaboration between the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit and the Communications Department is now becoming an active educational and research resource. The first part of this presentation will present an overview of the island and explain the methodology that has been used to bring together and manage a range of discipline-specific projects on the island. The second part will present an overview of one of the projects (M3: MUVE, Moodle and Microblogging), conducted by Modern Languages (ML) and demonstrate how it has contributed to the ML skybox under development on the island. Features that will be showcased include a Language Café and a range of interactive in-world learning resources for international students preparing to live and study in the UK.

Blended learning as a means to an end

Paul Snookes and Judy Barker, University of Worcester

In this presentation you will learn about how the Language Centre in the University of Worcester, in collaboration with other HE and FE educational institutions, has delivered two innovative pilot blended modern foreign language courses using Wimba Classroom and Voice embedded in Moodle. This project was designed to explore the issues involved in helping those language learners who frequently find it difficult to enrol on modern foreign language courses. Namely, those who live outside of large conurbations where lesser taught or popular advanced level face-to-face modern foreign language courses are often unavailable due to lack of demand.

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