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.

ocTEL – My plan of attack

Yesterday I decided to participate in the Association for Learning Technology’s (ALT) Open Course in Teaching Enhanced Learning (ocTEL). After taking part in the ETMOOC earlier in the year I feel more prepared for this experience and have a plan of action for my first week. I thought it might be useful to share my plan with other participants, especially the ones new to the whole MOOC experience as it can feel extremely over whelming at first.

My first task is to plan how I can manage my time effectively by deciding which activities I can realistically complete. Due to being on annual leave, I have more free time than usual so I’m planning in participating in 2.5 induction activities, these are activities 0.1, 0.3 and parts of 0.4. One of the strengths of this course is that at the start of each activity page there is a section called ‘If you only do one thing this week..’.This section is for anyone who only has time to complete one activity that week and outlines which tasks to follow. I’m sure I’ll be using this section frequently once I’m back at work as although I am interested in the course as a whole my main objective for taking this MOOC is to develop my connections with other educators who are interested in technology enhanced learning. Although I’m part of a small community at my own institution it would be nice to develop a wider circle to bounce ideas off and discuss our interests.

Week one activity list

Week one activity list

This leads me on to the second point in my plan. As I have a ridiculously poor memory I found it difficult to keep track of the people and posts that interested me as part of the last MOOC, however before I left the course I was involved in a Twitter conversation with two participants who explained that they had been making a note of everyone they communicated with during the course as well as what they discussed with each individual so that they could continue to develop these connections after the course. This also created a kind of go to list for advice and inspiration on the different areas and software covered as part of the MOOC. So right from the start of this course I am going to comment on blog posts and join in with discussions in order to create connections I am then going to creating a list of the people I connect with, their blog addresses and twitter name so that I can start developing my personal learning network with regards to technology enhanced learning.