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When is copy right and when is it wrong to copy?

The advance of technology has made sharing of information and images very easy. But as both a student and a lecturer –  when is it right to use other peoples material. As a matter of what I consider good practice, I always reference my material – however is this enough? Can I use the image or cartoon that I found on the internet in my teaching powerpoints or within my student assignments?

In an effort to answer this I have read many articles, blogs and books. However the clearest explanation that I found comes compliments of Brad Templeton – 10 Myths about Copyright

As an educator don’t get too frightened. You may have heard of the term “fair use” – this is, in my opinion a teachers “get out of jail card” (homage to “Monopoly” board game). The following link outlines some frequently asked questions on this area – if you are in education pay particular attention to question 4

I would appreciate readers thoughts on this and all links to other interesting articles on this topic

Campus companies make huge difference
Campus companies can remove 10% of the people from the live register

What question would you ask policy makers in HE if you got the chance?

As part of a MSc program that I’m doing in DIT I have the opportunity to interview some policy makers and other people very high up the “food chain” in higher education in Ireland. The subject of my interview is the “impact of a staff development course that I gave in technology enhanced learning“.

As you can appreciate these opportunities don’t come along too often so I would appreciate any advice on questions that you would ask if you were in my shoes. This type of interview can go in so many different directions but any advice would be welcome. Please provide any advice in the comments box below or by e-mailing directly at mark.glynn (at)

Thanks in advance


Wouldn’t it be nice if everybody knew how good you were at your job?

In teaching this is particularly relevant – people are very quick to point out your shortfalls, question your “long” holidays and short working week”. The majority of those people in my opinion do not know the half of what goes on in a classroom and to be honest I have given up trying to explain myself them. However I would like more of my colleagues to know what I’m doing. An ideal way to let your colleagues know is through presenting posters and papers on your work at teaching and learning conferences. There are a variety of great conferences in Ireland, three excellent conferences that spring to mind are those organised by Learning Innovation Network (LIN), Irish Learning and Technology Association (ILTA) and the National Academy for Integrated Research into Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL) respectively. For those not familiar with these type of conferences they normally consist of a keynote speaker and then the audience is usually given the option of three of four parallel sessions, i.e. three or four speakers presenting simultaneously in different rooms. You make your choice of which parallel session to attend based on two things – the title of the talk and the abstract associated with that talk

I recently had the experience of presenting at an international conference in Barcelona, Edulearn 2011. For all you Twitter fans #edulearn11 will give you an indication of the activity over the few days. With over 600 delegates from across the world and boasting six parallel sessions this conference was extremely informative. I was fortunate enough to present my work to nearly 150 of conference participants, a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I have been at conferences in the past where  I have had only 20 people in the room and although you can never predict who you are going to be “up against” presenting in the room next door I believe the number of people willing to attend your talk does not boil down to pot luck. Two key factors are your abstract and more importantly your title. With an array of talks to choose from, yours has to stand out. Most conferences produce a timetable containing a spreadsheet of all of the talks and the presenters. You have to have a title that catches the readers’ eye and ideally contains keywords related to your topic of choice. Once you’ve got them hooked on the title, most readers will glance at your abstract, normally in an accompanying conference brochure. This is your make or break moment. Your abstract has to be just right. I had the privilege of attending a module in DIT recently presented by Dr Roisin Donnelly. I have no doubt that Roisins advice helped me and I would encourage anybody interested in presenting at a conference to invest time into writing a decent title and abstract, otherwise “nobody will know how good you are at your job”

Would I get in trouble if my colleagues knew what I was doing?

Sometimes I would like my colleagues to know what goes on in my classroom and the lengths I go to enhance my students learning experience. Despite teaching hundreds of people every day, teaching can be an isolating profession, particularly at third level. As a rule we don’t participate in peer observation, we rarely open ourselves for others to see. I wondered; would I get given out to about my teaching methods? Recently I decided to take the plunge and I’ve let colleagues into my classroom and I’ve also sat in theirs. I definitely didn’t get in trouble, as a matter of fact, quite the opposite I got a lot of praise. Getting praise was not my intention, although I must admit was a nice side effect. The real benefit was in the feedback I got from my colleagues. The amount I learnt in such a short space of time was incredible. But convincing others to do the same is not as straight forward as you would expect. The reluctance I have met and the excuses that I have heard have been incredible.

 We really need to foster a culture of sharing of ideas and expertise. Sharing resources through the likes of, although that is a step in the right direction, is not the complete solution. Sharing experiences and techniques will undoubtedly enhance your teaching experience which of course should have knock on effects to the students learning experience.  Peer observation is an ideal technique to achieve this and every head of department should encourage their staff to take the plunge and see what they can learn from their friends. In addition to participating in peer observation with some close colleagues I would also encourage everybody to participate in teaching and learning conferences – a topic I discuss in a later post.

Audio Feedback

In order to optimise any assessment, continuous or otherwise, in terms of a learning experience for the student, feedback is crucial (Race, 2007). Group work and peer evaluation will reduce the lecturers workload to a certain extent, however the challenge of issuing timely feedback is still an issue. Descriptive feedback, given directly after an assignment has been completed, informs our students of strengths and areas in need of improvement and allows them to address these items before they embark on the next assignment or final draft. Lecturers reported that this eliminates the need to correct similar items in consecutive assignments/drafts and saves both the student and the lecturer time and energy. Nevertheless, planning time for giving students effective feedback is an important and challenging aspect of the teaching and learning process. Read the rest of this entry

Which Learning Management System should I pick?

According to Wikipedia – A learning management system (commonly abbreviated as LMS) is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, and reporting of training programs, classroom and online events, e-learning programs, and training content.

Everybody is talking about them. Everybody else seems to have one – so which one should I get?

There are a variety of choices out there. Using an analogy for buying cars, there is everything from the Nissan Micra to the Mercedes S class. Each one has their own advantages and disadvantages and not everybody will choose the same one because their circumstances are different. That said, if money was no object, you would always strive to get the best high quality product. I know if I could afford it I would be driving a Merc!

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