Wednesday 8 August 2018

Summer in the BLE

Here's a short round-up of some of the key BLE activity during the 2018 summer term.

In May, we celebrated one year since the the launch of our MOOC, Get Interactive: Practical Teaching with Technology. In that time, over 10,000 users have registered from over 130 countries - the top three being the USA (16%), UK (15%) and India (7%). Many of the participants who complete the course choose to purchase a completion certificate, which brings a small amount of revenue back to the BLE. This funding is used to feed back into the development of the MOOC, so it is continually monitored, refreshed and kept up to date. To support us, we have recruited three mentors who each participated and successfully completed the MOOC. Carol, Sarah and Sonya work tirelessly behind the scenes - as volunteers - to ensure participants are welcomed and their contributions are acknowledged. Huge thanks to them - and of course to Nancy who keeps the whole thing ticking over. Here's a lovely quote from a recent participant:
"First of all, it's a great honor to be part of this special course. I learned a lot, really. I'm an ICT teacher for technology although we don't have the best technology in the Philippines but we can absolutely use the tools you've provided and taught us. I enjoyed this course sooooooooo much. Maybe I took the assignment too seriously and put a lot of effort on them but that only shows how engaging this course is. It's a little sad =). I'd like to thank my peers, and MOST ESPECIALLY OUR INSTRUCTORS AND TRAINERS. Ms Sherman, Dr. Weiz and Dr Kennedy, I thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!"

Also in May, we ran a series of lunchtime workshops with staff from across the consortium to guide them through the Jisc Digital Discovery Tool, which offers a picture about one's professional digital practices in education. Based on responses to a self-administered quiz, users received a personalised report with links and access to resources and guidance. The tool is designed to be reflective, informative and developmental – it’s not an objective measure of an individual’s digital performance and any personal data is not be made available to anyone else. The plan is now to produce a short report based on the anonymised summary data we received from the 36 colleagues who attended the workshops.

At the end of June, in partnership with the University of London, the BLE ran a two-day User Experience Conference comprising three workshops: User Testing, User Centred Content and Moodle & Accessibility. Over the course of the two days, delegates from across the University of London member institutions came together to share practice and learn new and better ways of designing, testing and presenting content across a range of media. For more information - including edited videos from the sessions - visit this link.

Throughout the year, Nancy and Sarah have been working on a new course for students about to start their degree programmes regarding the digital skills they will need to have the best possible learning experience. The Digital Awareness course is designed to avoid surprises and elicit any "I wish I'd known that before I started" responses from students. Based on research we conducted with both staff and current students, we structured the short course on four topics: General Technologies, Learning Technologies, Access, Sharing & Safety and Getting Organised. The course will soon be piloted with specific groups from Birkbeck, SOAS and the RVC, where the respective institutions will customise certain aspects with local links and information. Later in 2018-19, we will release a public version, with a Creative Commons licence, for the wider education community to use. Sarah will be presenting about the project at the ALT-C conference in Manchester in September.

The fun never ends in the BLE - and we look forward to progressing the Digital Capabilities theme in 2018-19.

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