Event report: ALT-C 2013

Last week I attended the 2013 Association for Learning Technology Conference (ALT-C) which was hosted at the University of Nottingham. Alongside hearing about some fantastic projects it was a great opportunity to catch up with the people I’ve met since I started my first role as a learning technologist four months ago. The event made me feel like I was part of ‘it’, with it being the learning tec community, as I was able to comfortably sit down and chat to people I’d previously met – being on the shy side this was a real achievement for me.

Despite being a really positive experience I had one minor niggle about the event. Although I predominantly attended talks about student centred projects I personally didn’t see any students presenting alone or alongside their tutors. This was a real shame as being new to working in HE and having studied my undergrad degree before computers became part of everyday life I’d love to hear the perspectives of today’s students. This point did get me thinking though as for the past four months I have focused soley on the needs of staff without really pushing them to find out about how they have thought through the needs and preferences of their students and how this relates to their planning with regards to TEL This will definitely be on my radar in future.

The presentation by Abington and Witney College on their JISC Advance Funded project Students 4 Webes has also provided me with lots of ideas to use. The college used video conferencing and webinars to develop the employability skills of their L3 students. The college did this by encouraging groups of students to set up and run a series of short webinars around the theme of ‘What does an employer want from an employee?”. The webinars were then recorded and put on the college system so that other students could access the information.

A full description on their project with resources can accessed via their Google site and their blog can be viewed by clicking here.


#MELSIG event report

On Friday I made my way back up north to attend the MELSIG event at the University of Huddersfield. As expected the conference was full of inspiring stories. Although all of the presentations and workshops were excellent the one that really stood out for me was Hayley Atkinson’s (@LadyColottes) presentation on ‘Designing and Evaluating E-Book Resources‘.

Hayley’s presentation highlighted a project that she is working on at the University of Leeds which explores the design and evaluation of eBook resources. A copy of Hayley’s slides are below whilst the Sound Cloud file is an interview that Hayley gave about the project earlier in the year.

Although the project is also examining the way that e-books can be used to create interactive course books I was particularly interested in how the project is encouraging creative assessments as students are able to author their own e-books as an alternative to writing essays.

I am currently working a dissertation study into the use of audio feedback and can’t wait to try out a few of the authoring tools suggested by Hayley so that I can present my findings in an interactive way. I’m planning on embedding video interviews, sound clips and links to the institutions resource website where the supporting materials for this project are hosted.