Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Delegate photos

Selection of ALTCMU delegate photos (click to enlarge)

Feedback on day so far

Ms Kelt, librarian from Glasgow Calendonia University

Lunch break photos

Selection of ALTCMU lunchtime photos (click to enlarge)

Report on Marian Clark & Maureen Smojkis's workshop

Digital Stories - Creating reusable learning objects to link theory and practice in health and social care education

Marian and Maureen, from the University of Birmingham’s Centre of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Mental Health, shared with us their enthusiasm for digital stories; their medium of choice to create reusable learning objects.

Digital stories are short multimedia presentations. They use Photo Story 3, a quick and easy to learn free package (download from Microsoft), which facilitates the combining of images, text, music and voice. The resulting product is viewed as a Windows Media File.

Their Psychological Mindedness project asks the questions; what is knowledge? And whose knowledge is more important or valid?

The stigma of mental health often means that what service users say about their experiences can be discounted, dismissed or denied, so their aim was to capture the experiential knowledge of service users, which they value as a training resource. This user produced knowledge in the form of human testimony can benefit academic literacy with “the unmediated voices of mental health service users and sometimes carers”.

Maureen completed the session by facilitating a group collaboration to create a digital story. Please play Global Warming and also see the inspirational digital stories at

Global warming digital story

CEIMH provides interdisciplinary resources for mental health teaching and learning, including many digital stories available to all.

Louise Merlin
e-Learning Development
Middlesex University

Maureen Smojkis

Report on Alex Chapman, Caroline Reid & Alan Durrant's workshop

Web 2.0 for learning and teaching: the teachers’ tale

Alex Chapman, Caroline Reid, Alan Durrant

This workshop reported on 2 projects from within the university which have utilised the social media of Web 2.0; Blogs, Facebook and the use of small ‘Flip’ digital camcorders.

The first project discussed was the ERASMUS funded Mentoring in Nursing Europe (MINE) project conducted by Caroline Reid and Alex Chapman. This project focused around a 2 week intensive period of learning for nurses from four different countries.

The decision to embed Web 2.0 technologies into the course was taken for two reasons: Firstly, The students of the four cohorts had never met prior to the Intensive Period, and the use of a ‘private’ Facebook group allowed the students to ‘meet’ virtually prior to meeting face to face. This was reported as having worked successfully with the students reporting feelings of ‘knowing’ each other during the initial days of the face to face period. The second reason for using the Web 2.0 technologies was one of pedagogy. The course leaders constructed the course in order to allow for a cooperative enquiry approach. The use of the Facebook group allowed students to connect and enquire into others work and reflections in order to enhance their own knowledge and understanding.

The Second project discussed was taken from the experiences of Alan Durrant when embedding the use of Blogs into a Work Based Learning Professional Practice module.

The disparity between student’s view of Education (as a motherly guidance from a teacher) and that of the professional world (far more independent) was highlighted and the question of rectifying this imbalance was posited.

This module had looked to address this imbalance by using personal Blogs as the medium of delivery, assessment, feedback and reflection. Informed by the connective theory pedagogical approach, the blogs were embedded in order to connect disparate students in a constructive educational network of peers and tutors in order to allow them to view, comment upon and critique the work of other students thus redressing the disparity outlined above. The tutor would also highlight good exemplars from which students could evaluate their work and thus construct new knowledge and evaluate that which already existed.

The blogs allowed professional students a medium through which to develop and monitor a digital professional identity something which they will likely need to do throughout their professional careers.

Dave Westwood
e-Learning Research Developer
e-Learning Research and Innovations Team
Middlesex University

Discussion notes from session Q&A

Suzanne Docherty, Middlesex University

Report on Ellie Franklin's workshop

What does it take to teach 21st century kids from a 15th century textbook?
Ellie Franklin

Ellie Franklin, Middlesex University

Capturing students’ imagination and motivating critical thinking continues to be a crucial challenge in Higher Education. Ellie Franklin (Senior Lecturer, Middlesex University, Business School) provided a working example of how this was accomplished with a large student cohort.
The proposed strategy involves challenging students with the historical context of a subject and drawing parallels to current practice. Engagement and excitement is induced through online discussion boards, podcasts, and Personal Response technology.

‘Inspired’, ‘intriguing’, ‘opened my mind’ and ‘extraordinary’; student words describing their learning experience reveals the success of this approach. Even students with ‘I already know this’ attitude finding themselves shifted out of their comfort zone.

Impressing the audience with a creative way of surprising the learner, this approach demonstrates the potential offered by technology to engage students in learning.

Asanka Dayananda
e-Learning Academic Advisor
Middlesex University

Report on George Dafoulis' workshop

Effects of Social Networking in Academic Literacy: Myths and Truths
George Dafoulas

George began the session with a quote: “The only thing constant is change itself” – Heraclitus 500 BC. He emphasised how this can be applied to the use of learning technology, and much of the session focused on his struggle to keep up with the students in terms of their choice of learning platform. In his experience of lecturing it has become more obvious that students find it easier to engage with digital media than textbooks or Powerpoint slides, and will often be seen looking at their phones or other mobile devices during a lecture. George discussed how he decided to add social networking elements into his teaching as an additional ‘trigger’ to interest the students.

He discussed how the concept of the social network has evolved from the physical to the virtual, such as VLEs, and has now moved on to encompass a whole range of Web 2.0 technologies. Keeping up with this evolution means “becoming a digital citizen”, which entails forgetting old fashioned constructivism, student centred approaches and rigid learning styles, and considering the use of web-based platforms, game-like interfaces and mobile applications, with a focus on “smaller is better”. He then presented a summary of some examples of social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and Flickr.

George also discussed the need to be cautious when sharing information on social networks, because once you publish something on the web, it could be shared between users on many networks without your knowledge. Personal information can be misused and inappropriate or illegal content may bring harm to others and damage an institution’s reputation. Social networks are difficult to moderate effectively and this lack of control is something which must be considered when using them for teaching purposes.

Paul Smith
e-Learning Support
Middlesex University
Effects of Social Networking in Academic Literacy

Report on Tara Brabazon's workshop

Podcasting postgraduates
Tara Brabazon
Dr Maureen Spencer, Middlesex University Business School and Professor Tara Brabazon

Tara Brabazon of Brighton University passionately conveyed her enthusiasm for podcasts for teaching and learning. Podcasts are easy to create and easy to access. Moreover, her main argument was that audio resources defamiliarise students’ learning environment in a constructive manner. Tara, together with colleagues, explored the various roles and functions of podcasting in postgraduate education. She presented brief audio accounts of her students’ work at Masters' and doctoral level and emphasised how important it is to keep podcasts brief and to the point. Following that, participants created their own podcast by introducing themselves and sharing their thoughts and experiences on podcasting. Many colleagues across different Schools mentioned improving formative feedback as an important objective, whilst others centred on affective aspects of learning. Other areas, such as students’ individual preferences regarding visual vs. audio media appeared to be more troublesome. But, quite often, so is learning.

Mike Mimirinis
e-Learning Academic Adviser
Middlesex University

Coffee break

After a lively morning keynote address, everyone had a lot to talk about at the coffee break.

Morning coffee break in the quad

Feedback from Michela Vecchi, Middlesex University

Feedback on Tara Brabazon's keynote address

Patrick Phillips, Middlesex University

Earle Abrahamson, Middlesex University


Theresa Bourne, Middlesex University

PGCHE Award Winners

Tara Brabazon awarded Ellie Franklin (Accounting and Finance Department) and Michela Vecchi (Economics and Statistics Department) prizes for outstanding work on the Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education.

Ellie Franklin and Tara Brabazon

Carole Davis (Programme Leader), Tara Brabazon, Michela Vecchi

Report on Tara Brabazon's keynote address

What an electrifying start of the day! Tara Brabazon has introduced us to the concept of electronic dieting and challenged our lazy habits of googling.

She threaded the metaphor of healthy eating through her talk - ‘we all know there’s better food, just like better information’

Tara argued that Google steers us to search for information that we already know and that it delivers information on the level the searcher is comfortable processing. While this may be an excellent way of finding the perfect pair of shoes on the internet, is this good enough for academia? Learning happens when we are tipped out of our comfort zones and are presented with new, provocative ideas or as she put it ‘Challenge builds learning, conformity builds ignorance’.

She also posed us the question ‘What if we gain more meaning from fewer media?’
Reducing the sensory environment and the choices learners are presented with can create a different sort of learning. She celebrated librarians for the crucial role they play in educating students (and all of us) in academic literacy.

Watch her presentation and decide whether you need to go an an electronic diet too :)
Full video to follow.
Agi Ryder
Research and Innovation Team
Middlesex University

(click to enlarge)

Tara Brabazon keynote address - FULL VIDEO

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Tara Brabazon's keynote address

A lively, thought-provoking, keynote focussing on moving away from the easy option to consider more appropriate options for tracking down information. Process must include level 1 students.

To video or not video

Here we are setting up to record the first keynote session. Conscious that it can be difficult to watch long videos, and that bite-sized chunks can work better. But feel it will be an excellent record of an event though so proceeding.
Update: keynote herself said she didn't like long clips!
(Full video recordings will be available shortly)

Setting up
John Parkinson (back - e-Learning Support) &
Mike Mimirinis (front - e-Learning Academic Development)

Registration and welcome

Welcome from Professor Margaret House, Middlesex University

The quad filling up with conference delegates
(click to enlarge)

Registered, got my goody bag and badge... Now? Relax...
Ready for Tara Brabazon's Keynote "Digital Dieting: a guide through information obesity"

The Two Steve's

Steve Chilton (Manager of the
e-Learning Academic Development Team, CLQE)and Steve Wheeler (Keynote at The Middlesex University Annual Learning and Teaching Conference)

Steve Wheeler's keynote slides

Monday, 28 June 2010

Final preparations

Expecting the Middlesex University Quad to be over-flowing with eager delegates tomorrow for the 10th Annual Learning and Teaching Conference - Engaging the Digital Generation In Academic Literacy.

It's going to be hot but we will have the air-conditioned heaven of HG19 to escape to for the keynote speakers - Tara Brabazon, Steve Wheeler (@timbuckteeth) and William Wong.

Registration and coffee will be from 9.25am

Friday, 25 June 2010

Contributing to the ALTCMU

We hope that if you tweet and/or use a mobile phone to send sms messages you will contribute to our conference blog.

The hashtag for the conference is #altcmu. Make sure you include this in any tweets you post about the day for them to be picked up. We will be displaying the conference tweets on a screen in the Ricketts Quad during the day.

If you would like to make a comment by sms start your message with cetmu and send to 07786204949

We will be taking photos throughout the day and asking delegates (video) for their thoughts and comments regarding the keynotes and sessions they attend.

Countdown to ALTCMU

It is almost time for the Middlesex University Annual Learning and Teaching Conference. This years theme is ENGAGING THE DIGITAL GENERATION IN ACADEMIC LITERACY.

Looking forward to meeting you all via sms and tweet if not in person.

Annual Learning Teaching and Conference delegate bags