PLENARY

Jon Alltree, Irene Anderson, Peter Chatterton, Amanda Jeffries

Question for the panel: How do we get those who are not converted to develop a more profound & sophisticated understanding of Blended Learning.

Martin: Know your students. Peter: Know your staff/stakeholders. Develop communications & engagement strategy & plan. Understand the stakeholders and their needs & the key messages want to communicate to them, and then how you’re going to do it. (e.g. Heads of School – what resources are required?). Have to convince through good case studies, good evidence why people should buy into blended techniques. Are other techniques – e.g. CABLE – get buy-in & have time on away days to consider adopting different BL techniques. What about from private sector – e.g. scenario planning.

Irene: Clear objective – where do you want to be with course/module/programme. For change management – how does BL fit into that? Really challenged over past 2 days – what do we mean by Blended Learning. We so often don’t have space for learning conversations. Those who are here are already ahead of the game. Can do a lot with little steps, praise those small achievements & people realise that they are making a difference – need indiv. & collected conversations – as the top-level stuff often puts people off.

Amanda: Digital Divide (generational divide?)– what does it mean to be digitally literate? Colleagues are afraid of technology & don’t have time to master it & as soon as they learn one thing things move on – safer to do things in the same old way. How do we move people out of this? StudyNet Champions – dealt with on a departmental basis. Pay students to provide digital literacy – that they might not accept from other staff.

Peter: Can leapfrog barriers in just one project..

Jon: Lack of confidence in staff – unwilling to try – someone came in and said “I’ll have a go”.

Blended Education NOT Blended Learning – need some focus on staff.. Taking on any of this involves a big investment of time… (University of Gloucester paper – space/right environment – to make transformational changes). Need bottom up enthusiasm as well…

Brett’s talk – stop needing the staff to keep up with things, and use students to be e-learning guides for modules.

Irene – teaching people in their 40s/50s – staff find it a challenge, but know that they increasingly need to use it.

Important to recognise variety in population…

Need a special kind of student? Not necessarily – ask student union to provide?

If technology, students, etc. move on – lecturers should not be able to opt out – it’s not optional if it aids teaching.

If do cultural change, need to have curriculum change as to how it is delivered. If team taught – can have a mix of staff – change agents, young students, etc. = continual evolvement of the curriculum. A single academic owning a course = a real barrier.

Til 2012/2015 – going to be lean times, especially those that have had huge project budgets which have ended… Adapt or die? What’s the low-hanging fruit?

Irene: We have the skills/the people who can do more with less – but don’t have the time for the conversations. Make changes to make good use of resources already have.

Amanda: There are huge opportunities in making use of online materials – e.g. may not have the luxury of travelling to consequences. Make best use of what’s there already and help that inform our practice. Be more nimble even if larger cohorts & less resources.

Peter: Universities have had it good – would we still do things without big piles of money. So do we have to become more business like? Where do we get the most value from technology? See e.g. universities in Latvia who are doing great things with little funding.

Shared services/efficiencies programmes – JISC/HEFCE/Employers.

Jon: Will need to be a big cultural change – lots of information about open educational content. What else can we do with our students so they feel part of learning – doesn’t always happen serendipitously…

CABLE – often not about resources but around the passion of people who wanted to change. Empower those who don’t usually have the power to effect change = real change.

Peter: More creativity comes from a limited budget…

Most are still doing collaborative work in a spirit of individualism. We tend to reward/promote individualism.

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