Tag Archives: Engagement


Talk less, listen more

Meetings. Does anyone ‘like’ them?

Well, I do. I have had some amazingly productive and informative ones over the years. Sometimes they’re held in offices, sometimes in dedicated meeting rooms, sometimes over a cuppa in the campus cafe, and occasionally over lunch off-site. But what makes a ‘good’ meeting? For me a ‘good’ meeting is:

  • Needed – sometimes emails or phone calls aren’t enough to gauge progress, cover what’s needed, etc.
  • Short – not too short that you end up needing another one to cover what you missed (see later) but not too long that you end up going off topic and wasting time.
  • Purpose – everyone present knows the meaning and reason for the meeting, and sticks to the agenda and gets on with it, in the time allocated.
  • Equal – no one dominates the discussion or agenda unnecessarily.
  • Prepared – Everyone present should be there, no unnecessary invitees, and everyone is prepared for it.
  • Closed – clearly defined actions, if they’re needed, on who does what from here, and by when. if further follow up is needed then this is agreed in advance and timescales set.

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50 Most Influential HE Professionals Using Social Media #Jisc50social

For a month or two JISC has been asking for names and nominations to a new list they’ve been producing – 50 Most Influential HE Professionals Using Social Media. Well, the time has come and the final list has been announced.

There are some wonderful people on this list I am proud to know and call friends, and some I’m not previously aware of and will be looking at (hmm, sounds a bit stalker’ish, sorry) to learn about what they do, why, and how.

“The final line-up – chosen by a panel of social media experts, including award-winning social media editor for Times Higher Education Chris Parr, Insider Higher Ed journalist and blogger Eric Stoller, and Teacher Training Videos founder Russell Stannard, as well as Jisc’s David Kernohan and Sarah Knight – features an impressive mix of academics alongside vice-chancellors, librarians and IT and support staff.”

The final 50 features outstanding cases of social media use that others could benefit from, and we will be looking to highlight some of this excellent practice in the weeks to come.”

Even more helpful than the list is also the Twitter list, making it easier to follow the work of all those on the list.

Again, it’s an honour to be on the list, and I’d just like to sat how much I enjoy being ‘social’, talking about and sharing ideas and experiences, and above all hearing all about the wonderful things people are doing with students, learning, engagement, collaboration, technology, communication, and each other.

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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