Reflections on new technical inductions for Academic Practice courses

Today was the first day’s teaching in the new academic year and, although I had small groups in both the morning and afternoon sessions, it felt pretty intense. I felt a little bit underprepared, but at the same time resigned to feeling that way; this was the first time I’d tried doing generic technical inductions [...]

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Developing an effective professional learning community

So… I’m in the middle of an exciting project that aims to bring together the two teams for the ICM and EPS programmes. It’s going to be based around an online area where all the tutors, administrators and other staff involved in the programme are invited to join in a fortnightly discussion related to teaching [...]

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Semi-random thoughts after a talk with Steve Wheeler

I’ve just been looking over the notes I made when Steve Wheeler came to talk to us on Monday (I love the name of his blog btw). I wrote down a couple of quotes: Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school – Einstein I can’t teach anyone anything – [...]

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Six of the best from the 3rd International Blended Learning Conference

I spent two days at the Third International Blended Learning Conference last week – here’s a digest of what I picked up: …an exciting picture of what distance learning could look like. Two of the sessions I attended used Elluminate, a web-based ‘live e-learning solution’ that allows participants to log in, view a speaker, listen, [...]

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Building a team of e-tutors

I’m attending a course on leadership and team-building on Tuesday. Before then I want to reflect on my own fledgling team of part-time distance learning e-tutors, and where we are now in terms of our effectiveness as a team. The blurb I’ve been given on the ‘characteristics of effective teams’ lists them as having: Clear [...]

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On transforming an undergraduate module in two days

We’ve just had the opportunity to take part in a Pathfinder project funded by the HEA that involves getting a group of teaching staff and e-learning specialists together to redesign a module of study into a student-centred blended format – in just two days. My colleague Roger Gardner has posted a summary of what took [...]

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What I learned at JISC ’08 about… priorities

The idea that today’s students lack critical thinking skills isn’t a new one – but the growing abundance of poor quality and unreliable information on the web means that actively teaching these skills within our courses has become a priority (Ron Cooke, JISC Chair). I’ve recently been involved in the design of an online study [...]

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What I learned at JISC ’08 about… tangible benefits of e-learning

The clearest return on investment in e-learning is found for projects that aim to solve a simple, well-defined problem, and for those geared towards automating systems rather than totally transforming the learning experience. This doesn’t mean complex, transformational projects aren’t worth the effort – but benefits may take longer to be realised, and evidence may [...]

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What I learned at JISC ’08 about… the future

What, or who, is shaping the market for continued innovation? The increasing number of part-government funded knowledge transfer partnerships (KTPs) that are springing up between universities and industry may be a significant factor (Ron Cooke, JISC Chair). This was good to hear as we’re hoping to develop a KTP programme as an extension of the [...]

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Using Heron’s 6 Category Intervention Analysis with online tutors

John Heron developed the six-category intervention analysis model for interpersonal skills training in 1973. Although it was initially developed for the medical profession, it’s actually applicable to a wide range of settings, including education. In Learning in Groups (4th ed, Routledge 2007), David Jaques and Gilly Salmon explain how it can be used to analyse the role of the online tutor. The [...]

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