Introduction & My “Big question”
I’ve enrolled in ALT MOOC with the first challenge being the management of the onslaught of mails, posts and tweets from my enthusiastic classmates. Literally over the last few days 100′s of my virtual classmates have addressed the first activity in the course by introducing themselves and posting their “big question” relative to the course. So heres my contribution to the deluge of information:
Keeping my introduction brief. I work for Dublin City University, where I head up the Learning Innovation Unit (LIU). I would imagine so many people on this course are in a similar position to myself, loads to do and not enough time to do it in. The role of the LIU is to support learning innovation throughout the university so as you can expect we get calls from every corner of the college. It is great role and I’m very fortunate to have a great team, albeit far too small team. We are constantly looking for opportunities to establish collaboration with other third level institutions and as such this is a personal goal that I have for this course. Two technologies that we are interested in collaborative projects would be the use of Moodle in HE and the use of Google sites and Blogger for e-portfolios. . My Twitter id is @glynnmark and for more of a personal background please feel free to visit my linkedin profile - http://ie.linkedin.com/in/enhancingteaching
My big question is very simple how do I engage staff in the use of technology to enhance learning? I have staff with a wide range of abilities and interests when it comes to technology – how do cater for such a diverse audience, how do I measure the success of my team and our work programme. I’m very open to hearing the experiences of others with this and would welcome advice from all corners
Everybody connected in some way or another with Moodle is aware that the system has undergone significant changes when it moved from Moodle 1.9 to Moodle 2. Some institutions are lucky to have significant resources at their disposal to cope with these changes – other institutions are not so lucky. Most of us have built up our training and support resources over a number of years. But the advent of Moodle 2 has put everybody onto the same starting point. To that end I have a suggestion for a collaboration. I suggest we sharing resources for Moodle 2. A logical suggestion considering the open source nature of Moodle.
We can potential share training resources i.e. training manuals and screencasts. In theory this level of collaboration is great, in practice though, there can be a great deal of difference between two different Moodle instances so my instructions on how to do x,y, or z is not applicable to your institution. That said, I do feel sharing instructional resources is a very useful idea and potentially a great starting point for collaboration between two or more institutions. However I have a specific suggestion on how to collaborate through Moodle.
I would like to collaborate on Moodle 2 orientated around an initiative led by Napier University in Scotland. This initiative is referred to as the 3E framework. The framework is based on an Enhance-Extend-Empower continuum. This was developed, with illustrative simple-but-effective examples that might be incorporated as a minimum (Enhance), through to uses of technology that give students more responsibility for key aspects of their learning (Extend), and to underpin more sophisticated, authentic activities that reflect the professional environments for which they are preparing (Empower).
The framework is best explained through examples. The link below provides such examples
I would like to support this framework by crowd-sourcing screencast examples/instructions on the various features of Moodle relevant to the example on the framework e.g. if the example under groupwork at the enhance level
- “Make the group working more manageable and ‘visible’ by having each group post a weekly update of progress to a private discussion board visible to the group and tutor” -
The relevant moodle screencasts would be how to create groups and how to post a discussion forum.
If you are interested in either of these initiatives please contact me via the comment box below or via twitter through @glynnmark
Twitter has been the most effective, efficient, and cheapest professional development I have ever come across. However I am not going to use this post to introduce Twitter for professional development or its other potential uses in higher education – there are numerous other websites that have got there before me. However I do want to concentrate on the area of hashtags in twitter. For those not totally comfortable on the concept of hashtags please refer to the video below
As I mention in the video there are numerous education based hashtags that are well worth following. One of the tags top of my list would be #edchatie. This tag is used by educators throughout Ireland from primary right through to third level. Another good one along the same lines, but not used as extensively in my opinion would be #ictedu. Unfortunately one of the drawbacks of such popular tags with a widespread target audience is potentially a large amount of tweets may be not relevant to you. For example tweets with the #edchatie talking about parents involvements with schools is not relevant to third level educators, in a similar fashion #edhcatie tweets about CAO is not relevant to educators from primary level.
That said I still gain an awful lot from #edchatie tweets and I will continue to recommend them at every opportunity. Nevertheless as a “call to action” from this post I would like to suggest the creation of a specific hashtag for higher education in Ireland.
If you are involved in Irish higher education please use the hashtag #heie where appropriate
Most teachers give their students more than one assignment throughout the year, the hassle for the teacher is not only the keeping track of all of the grades for the assignments, but some assignments may be worth more than others. Moodle will allow a teacher to grade every assignment out of 100 (because this is something students are familiar with) and Moodle will do all of the calculations in the background working out the individual marks for each assignment and combining them all together once Moodle weights all of the assignments accordingly and presents a total mark to the teacher and the student. The video below illustrates how this can be done
Not all of us are blessed with very supportive IT staff. So I would always recommend that staff using Moodle “back up” their courses on a regular basis, just to avoid a nightmare scenario of loosing all of your course work because of some IT glitch. I’m not doubting the integrity of your Moodle hosting service but I always feel it is better to be safe than sorry. Here is a quick demo on how to back up a course on Moodle 2
I started the new school year with the launch of a video on using Twitter in Education. This was compiled as part of project in conjunction with #ictedu. The purpose of this collaboration is to help extend the reach of the excellent #ictedu annual conferences run in May every year.
The “sequel” to this video will be launched in October and will concentrate on the use of Blogs in Education. Similar to its predecessor this video will span all levels of education, including contribution from staff and students. We would welcome contributions for anybody involved in education please contact me via @glynnmark. The contribution can be in the form of a series of pictures forming a slide show e.g. powerpoint or recorded interviews or even some links to websites relevant to Blogs in education that you feel are worth promoting.
The aim is to have several videos compiled throughout the year with examples, hints, tips and tutorials for educators on how to integrate technology into the classroom. So watch this space
I am constantly looking or new ways to “jazz up” my presentations and recently I cam across two methods that i found quite nice; using an iphone image to encase your videos and creating a photocube effect for presenting images. The Youtube clip below ilustrates how to implement these two ideas
- How To Embed YouTube Videos In A PowerPoint Presentation (lockergnome.com)
- 12 keys to a great PowerPoint presentation (prdaily.com)
The interface of Google Calendar is similar to desktop calendar applications such as Microsoft Outlook. Events are stored online; consequently, the calendar can be viewed from any location that has Internet access. The video below gives you an introduction to Google calendar, following by links to some of the more advance features available through Google calendar