Academic Digital Event

LLAS E-Learning Symposium 2010

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.

Academic Digital Event

Professor Wendy Hall: The Emerging Science of the Web, #llas10

Professor Wendy Hall: The Emerging Science of the Web

  • Founder IAM
  • Set up Web Science with Tim Berners-Lee

Below are my notes taken on my netbook at the conference (earlier today)

Mountbatten Archive, 1987 – first talking about digitisation, before common, cost and copyright – defeated. Interested in hypertext – e.g. Minutes from a meeting – linked to e.g. Photos from the time. Wanted to use info for different purposes.

Microcosm system, 1990 conference Paris, network computers were there, but was no web, was a need for it – hungry to share documents especially in a hypertext way. H.G. Wells talked about hypertext ideas. No one was quite sure what the world should look like – Tim Berners-Lee was there, and he already had the idea for the web, not sure it was named.

ACM Hypertext 1991 “Gone to Texas” – rejected TBL and WH papers, put in posters/demos. By then TBL had named it the web. Hyper G & Microcosm seemed better, thought web was old hat. By 1992 Mosaic released their demo – rest = history.

Big is beautiful – the network is everything – if it starts to fragment, potentially starts to die. Lanugage is one of the ways the web is fragmented. Now big – can start to analyse what it’s doing – how it works.

Scruffy works – let the links fail to make it scale – some need HUGE accuracy, but most it doesn’t

Democracy rules – open & free – TBL – if don’t make free won’t get everyone using it, then experiment doesn’t work. But now – e.g. Newspapers – at what point do you start charging for it.

But we lost (for a time) conceptual and contextual linking – the web is a strangely linkless world. In fact lost a lot of hyperlinking, what to link to, etc? Easier now (blogging?)

Missing links – search engines fill the gap – once information gets to a certain size, can’t just follow.

Google paper, 1997? Reliant upon statitistical information on the web, then analyse. Clean – unlike most search – adverts to monetise. Started to scale, demonstrated, then 2001 people started to use – designed new idea to sell WORDS. Web/Google feed each other, doesn’t really work otherwise. Now they are big = part of the problem… now proprietorial – that data is not your ownership, in a format don’t release to the world. Interesting dichotomy.

Diagram users – read only web, read/write web, social web, Mark Schueler, PhD Student. Not really used until Mosaic (Netscape) – a browser, simple – whereas TBL had released complex read/write. Dot com bubble had to burst as trying to sell soemthing to people when they don’t have the capability to buy/run…Web grows (not natural – constructed, built by engineers and scientists), grows by what people put onto it (e.g. Facebook, Wikis, etc). Technical layer, what people do with it (content/activity), then policies (governments, companies such as Google, etc., e.g. Talking about 2-tier – pay for faster networks – but what about the issues of starting to fragment it)

Then were still surprised to find stuff on the web to 1999

1999-2004 – played more on the web, be hopeful for what you were looking for

Now – we expect to find it there or the people giving it have failed, or it doesn’t exist.

There’s no owners, etc. So can’t necessarily expect it just to keep growing, it may break. We take for granted the existence. W3 runs on a shoestring. A duty to take care of this. What for the next 5 years?

What technical development is behind…

Video standards –  YouTube

Blogs – trackbacks

Audioboo = audio Twitter, is there a visual version…

Cloud computing, Second Life next generation – will start to have dominance. Become seamless in everyday life which includes education. SL is something need to be quite dedicated to get into… The technology isn’t there for it to become seamless yet, but it’s coming…

Wikipedia – never predicted free & trusted… expected would have to pay for access/licences, which is how we started. Get the masses to create it… moderators – democratic – how will it evolve? Will die under weight of beuraucracy now being created? Do a comparison with Encyclopeadia Britannica – similar level of errors. Millions of eyes on it, dynamic, can be corrected. Increasingly people trying to use for their own ends. Take it for granted there.. might not be. How do you start to make it pay?

Winkin Huang Tonhjian Twitter growth

Increasingly getting people helping feed data in – e.g. Galaxy Zoo – sharing data. We’ve shared documents, socially, next wave = sharing data: the semantic web – the web = more intelligent smarter. We can make the web semantic by adding metadata… machine can work out it’s a picture, but not what that content is. Hard to do retrospectively – how about getting data out there in a way that machines can interpret? Ask web – get an answer back, rather than a set of documents?

Semantic Web – need to describe the world in a way that makes sense. Moving into a world where everything will be censered. Put questions out, have to have some idea where the answers have come from and whether you trust them – proof/trust!

TED: Tim Berners-Lee on the next Web

Put information out in a standard format (RDF) – easier to use the data internally, and also aggregators can start to build on that data – e.g. All the places I can study Spanish.

Nigel Shadbolt & Tim Berners-Lee, leading public non-personal project – all the data in RDF format so it can be used.

What are the implications of this, very interdisciplinary. Web Science Research Initiative. Bringing disciplines together to trying to understand what’s going on… About additionality…  Structure, how phenomena occur, what is collective intelligence, information accountability, linked data, why this matters. Www.

Funded RCUK Digital Economy programme, PhDs funded.

E-Learning by background… new methodologies in a rapidly evolving environment. Cross-disciplinary approach – changing ways universities work, has a big impact on the management of e-learning.

Is the internet going to break under the volume of traffic – remember net & web = 2 different things – open hugely to attack…  Plenty of space on the network, unless govts pull access, computer network still scaling…

Imagine if the internet broke tomorrow – what would you do?

Changed education? May not have changed the core ideas, but how we interact and how we get/they get their resources. Many businesses would collapse without it…

Public Data Initiatives – govt pushes. To the world = still using ‘the web’. Machines to read/provide us with apps.

English still the dominant language (Euphonia)… Google Anglophone hegemony. Impacts on other communities? Dead languages preserved because on web? Others dying because the web = largely English? Many remote communities have mobile phones (not standard web) – what will that do?!

Academic Digital Event

Worcester: Why we Use Blended Learning #llas10

Rough notes taken from the conference:

Why we use  Blended Learning (define it – using Wimba to present, f2f, online, synchronous, asynchronous) –  example classroom, asynchornous tools, projects running, future.

What purpose did using BL fulfull? Languages – never enough to run a course – for lesser-taught (e.g. Arabic) and more advanced. Run courses that otherwise not viable.

Pilot projects – 6 week courses, begin/end f2f sessions, then 4 x live classrooms in between. Resources: VLE, Interactive, Paper-based, Cds/DVDs

Why Wimba? Set up with pedagogical design in mind, not a business suite! Recreated a real physical f2f classroom, quite intuitive to use. Course design not really v. Different from usual f2f courses. Moodle, Hot Potato quizzes, etc., download docs, recommended a book Easy link to virtual classroom.

First time tried Wimba classroom with a public audience (outside) – is presenting to us, but can hear  us. Has a technical person on standby throughout…  Demonstrating in text, feels a little false… few technical hiccups… Using Whiteboard as text didn’t work… Demonstrating the screen, etc… Really simple demonstration of what it can do… Interactivity – 2nd best to a face to face lesson (not a bad one) – hands up, clapping, etc. Using ticks as confirmation that they can see stuff before move forward. Mini polls (what were they using for that)… Individually work on it at their own pace.

Asynchronous – VLE (Moodle) with Wimba Classroom. All lessons archived – so if missed, can play it back. Voice email – click, record, play, send. (Option to reply?). Voice Board. Discussion board – audio – tutor can start discussion – record message, with a note … Language – she read phrase, and they could practice phrase, and then feed back with what they are happy with… [ask students for permission to demonstrate examples].

FIXED ROUND A SPECIFIC IDEA – otherwise it’s all about the tools.

Lack of visual cues can present problems – not entirely aware of what’s going on here. Feel like presenting to a void – need to encourage use of emoticons/chat alongside where appropriate.

Tech worked well on the whole, but extensive tech support was needed – for the experimental stages – now need to rely on Wimba more for 24/7 support – replies have generally been good, not 100%.

BL better than studying alone for most people – more motivating to see other people, have a live tutor, rather than trying to learn from a book/CD.

BL good alternatives when f2f not available.

The future – intro wider range, financially viable new courses, collabs with FE/HE institutions

10 Feb 11-12, j.barker[at] Pool students, share knowledge, etc. PPT will be attached to conference page – all need is a headset/microphone – so can visit the virtual classroom. Nobody needs to install the software, as Worcester have the licence. Need a small amount of Java installed – when try to enter the room, software automatically downloads, wizard will check if it’s working.

Grades tracked through the VLE. Is a grading system in Wimba, where? Can grade asynchronous?