Tag Archives: Engagement

5 Tips To Engage Your Students in eLearning

5 Tips for engaging your students #eLearning

A handy ‘5 tips for engaging your students in eLearning’ infographic – something to print out and stick on the wall as a handy reminder of what you/we can do to make it easier for students to get the best out of their (e)learning:

  • Keep it interesting & relevant
  • Keep it organised and uncluttered
  • Keep it interesting
  • Keep up to date
  • Make it engaging & interactive

5 Tips To Engage Your Students in eLearning

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Blackboard Teaching & Learning Conference 2014 BbTLC2014

Day 1: Blackboard T&L Conference #BbTLC2014

At the first day of the 2014 Blackboard T&L Conference I made a decision – tweet less, listen more, take/make meaningful notes, and enjoy the sessions for what they are, not what I wanted them to be.

To this end I am Sketchnoting my way through the sessions, and here are my sketchnotes for Day 1.

Keynote: Prof Stephen Heppell  Continue reading

The survival of higher education by Steve Wheeler

‘The Survival of Higher Education’ by @timbuckteeth

I’ve been following and talking with Professor Steve Wheeler for several years now, and have had the honour of presenting at his Pelecon conference and sharing the billing at the eAssessment Scotland conference.

Steve often writes individual posts or, like recently, he writes a series of post with common themes to expand or challenge a certain approach or concept of education – his 2010 series on ‘Distance Learning / Distance Education’ initiated some interesting discussions. Steve has, this time, been looking at the survival of Higher Education – please read all of Steve’s posts, you know you’ll be the  better for it.

I’ve linked to Steve’s original work here, as well as my response I posted to his website – I concentrate on  specific aspect of his posts/series, but please be sure to read the full posts so my comments (and the quotes) are not taken out of context:  Continue reading


BYOD, a story #BYOD4L

The BYOD4L collaboration has brought some amazing opportunities for networking and conversing with colleagues old and new. But what of the themes? The 5Cs of Connecting, Communicating, Curating, Collaborating, and Creating are all well and good but something seems out of place for me. Where’s the Context?

Here’s a story … today in the café a group of about 10 students took over a couple of tables, dumped their bags down, got out various examples of smart phones and tablets, and started to eat/drink their lunches. Whilst there was a little bit of chat and a little light banter, each of them was mostly using their own device and engrossed in their own connected world. For a loud group when they arrived it seemed strange they should all diverge into their own individual online world so quickly.

It was after about half an hour of this that there seemed to be a purpose to their activities. It turned out they had been given a task to do which required some element of using their own devices in a given time frame. So, here they sat searching, tweeting, blogging, and Facebook’ing their way through their lunch.  Continue reading

21st Century Education: Thinking Creatively

Thinking Creatively

As part of my 2013 review I’ve been looking over some blogs and reports I read this year, and this one by Anthony Chivetta, whilst originally posted in 2008, still has so much impact today, some 5 years on – “21st Century Education: Thinking Creatively”

“Today’s world is no longer content with students who can simply apply the knowledge they learned in school: our generation will be asked to think and operate in ways that traditional education has not, and can not, prepare us for.” (Chivetta, 2008)

Just so you know, at the time of writing (Jan 2008) Anthony was 18 years old. We must also remember that in 2008 we didn’t have tablets like the iPad, we were still using desktops and laptops and netbooks, and we had only just received the first iPhone (June 2007). Yet this observant millennial had already seen the power and advantage a device like this could give a student, and that his teachers were lagging further and further behind their students.  Continue reading

Engaging and Motivating Students #edcmooc

What a great video with so much to say, but I’m concentrating on the elements of the “importance of teacher presence” section, especially given my recent experience with the Coursera / Edinburgh EDC MOOC:

YouTube: Engaging and Motivating Student

Darrall Thompson:

“The role of an academic now is really designing learning environments that engage students. If I’m saying that engagement is the Holy Grail I’d better be engaging in ways they enjoy, not that I’m used to.”

A. Prof. Emma Robertson:

“You have to be there, you have to be paying attention to what they’re saying. And what I find is if you do that effectively in the first two weeks the rest takes care of itself – you’ve established the benchmark that you’re expecting”

Prof. Matthew Allen

“Teacher presence is a very important part of the socialisation of students into online learning, and it’s not that you are therefore dominating and telling students what to learn, it’s that you’re playing the role of ‘guide-on-the-side’, the person who’s there to help the students along but not to become the one they rely upon.”

The rest of the video is also worth watching, for an insight into creating learning environments, strategies for motivating students, and sustaining participation and engagement. A good resource, as are others in the series ‘Learning to Teach Online’.

Museum wall of learning #edtech

I may have made the title up, as this video is not about a ‘wall of learning’ but it does showcase what can be done with technology and the need/desire to share and facilitate learning. The original Mashable post was simply about the tech and the multi-touch screen

“The wall … is designed to foster stronger engagement between visitors and individual items in the collection …  not just for discovery, but for acting on that discovery. Using the museum’s ArtLens iPad app, visitors can link to the wall to add works to their own custom museum tours.”

Watch and let me know what you think?

YouTube: Transforming the Museum Experience

Here’s what I think:

  • This is a great way to introduce a museum’s catalogue of work to students, either in the museum or online (in the classroom. etc.). The student can pick one piece of work (or have one picked for them) and the wall/technology can show related or contradictory work, thus engaging the student and making them think about the work in it’s original context and/or in a new context.
  • Many museum’s have more work than they have space to display, so this could be a great way to bring artwork from archives and storage into the public display again.
  • Class trip to the museum can start in the classroom with a pre-activity that will direct what the student does or tries to find out when they are in the museum and can continue long after the trip is over and the students are back in class.
  • Wouldn’t it be good if it can be personalised, that it could remember who is looking through the catalogue (or use NFC to ‘see’ who is standing in front of it?), so collections can be tailored to the user’ profile? Or that it could be used to question the user on the artwork, the artist, or the sculptor, in collaboration with the app?

The idea behind the wall

“shows an openness and willingness, on museum administrators’ parts, to rethink traditional visiting experiences to achieve their chief goals: In this case, to foster interest and better educate visitors about works of art.”

7 Student Myths of the Online Classroom

7 Myths in the Online Classroom

7 Student Myths of the Online Classroom

Photo credit: Lincolnian (Brian) via Photopin / CC

Online learning, or distance learning, or eLearning (or even e-learning) has been around now in various guises for quite some time.

This article from eLearn Magazine “7 Student Myths of the Online Classroom” highlights some of the more popular myths surrounding the student’s perspective of online learning. Please read the full article using the link above as the below is only my interpretation of them:

  1. I can log into the class any time I want.

Yes, you can, but obviously the materials, resources, activities are (or rather should be) designed to encourage interaction, collaboration, and engagement with your fellow students. While you may not be scheduled to be online at 8PM every Thursday evening (remember any differences in time-zones) it is likely you ought to try and work out when others will be online so you can coordinate responses and make the most of your time together.

  1. Instructors are available 24/7.

Don’t be silly. No one person, while at work, is available 24/7 (and if you are please stop it!). Even if the customer service of your supermarket or bank is available 24/7 you can be sure that it is staffed by a rotating shift pattern to rest the individual. We live in an always-connected world but we still need to disconnect and do something else. Online/distance learners do need support and guidance and, if their study pattern is in the evening and at weekend ‘should’ the Institution put something in place to support them during those hours? Discuss … !
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Blackboard Users Conference #durbbu: Blackboard Roadmap and The Challenges Ahead

Durham Blackboard Users ConferenceDay two of the Durham Blackboard Users’ Conference started with this extremely useful insight into the roadmap Blackboard is taking with the ‘Learn’ product, as well as Blackboard’s own opinion on the conference theme: “Make Do or Spend?”.

Greg Ritter (@gritter), Director of Product Management with Blackboard Learn, showed Blackboards perspective on ‘the challenges ahead’ and on the conference theme, ‘Make Do or Spend?’. Greg showed us, and discussed:

  • Blackboard Analytics [product]: extract student data, from both Blackboard and Institution student-records systems, for use in reporting to different stakeholders.
  • Focus on fundamentals, 2010 to 2012:

Focus On Fundamentals (Bb 2010-2012) Continue reading


Measuring user engagement by leveraging the power of ‘copy-and-paste’

A year or so ago I wrote about the system Tynt “What’s being copied from your website?” and I thought it warranted an update, seeing as the service is very different to what it was back then. Tynt is:

“Improve your seo, keep users longer and measure your user engagement by leveraging the power of copy and paste.”

Tynt now has four distinct ‘products’, these being:

  • Keywords: Unlock the secrets to outbound traffic and keep users on your site longer.
  • SEO: Leverage copy and paste functionality to improve your search ranking.
  • Content: Measure user engagement and shape subject matter that matters.
  • Social: Identify which social channels produce the most lift and impact for your site.

What is Tynt?

How does it work?

Once you’ve signed up on the website you’ll be given some code to place in your website (if you’re running a CMS then you’ll need to put it in the template, as per the video above), and then sit back and watch the copy-and-paste happen.

Each time someone copies something from your website, a ‘read more’ link will go with it along with a link back to your website and the copied text is highlighted for whoever received the link.

Click to enlarge

You can configure the text that is appended to the text on the Tynt website, adding attribution and modifying the text/link that is pasted.

You can also set your preferences to receiving notifications on content copied to daily, weekly, or monthly, or just log back to the website to see the latest report:

Click to enlarge

If you’re a WordPress user then I’d suggest using one of the plugins readily available (hosted or self-hosted) which will post the code in the page for you: just search the plugin directory for ‘tynt’ and try one out. There is plenty of support for other blogging platforms on the Tynt installation help page (including Blogger, Ning, Typepad, Tumblr, etc).

My greatest surprise in looking through the copied content is how well my older posts are still doing with regard views and copied content. I am also intrigued by the number of instances my images are used on other peoples website – this is not downloaded and uploaded to their own, this is sourced from my website … no wonder the bandwidth for the blog is so high!

Are you using Tynt, have you seen anything in the stats that surprised or shocked (or disappointed) you? If you’re not using it, will you? Drop a comment below and share your thoughts.