Monday, 27 April 2009

RSC essentials

pearls ov wisdom

Did you know that RSC UK have attempted to pull together all of the information held in various RSC websites. blogs and wikis? No? Well it's all here courtesy of Angela Harvey, who used a free JISC blogging tool (involve) to acheive this mammoth feat.

The all new JISC advisory services

On that topic, we ( all RSC's) are to join the recently formed JISC-advisory services company in August 2009.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Aggregating pipes!

I’ve been experimenting with filtering RSS feeds using Yahoo pipes, as a method to search across Academy subject centres & JISC. There aren’t many subject centres with RSS feeds from them. Anyhoo, I took a few other web sites that may prove interesting to academics searching for resources, namely:















Then I added a search filter (i.e., blended, injury, economic, ) to the next stage of the process & the results are at URL:

So, the idea was to try and find as many resource portals or RSS feeds then use a methods such as pipes to apply subject specific filters (that was my “injury”, “blended” filters). So each subject centre could take a core set of feeds from JISC, HEA, Merlot, OU, Open courseware, etc, then create their own specific feed/ search?

The other way of running this is to use a search box as the initial filter:

This search is a clone of a Yahoo pipes search that someone had already done. I used the above list of feeds, and it kind of works? Has anyone done anything similar?

p.s. is a useful URL shortener with added options to track click throughs, etc. Well worth a look.

Myguide & thinkfree

Just got wind of this fab new online course from the regular DIUS newsletter I subscribe to.

Myguide is a free, ‘brilliantly simple’ and motivational introduction to computer and Internet skills. An 'open use' tool, it can be used by individuals and by any organisation, including FE colleges, training providers and adult learning providers. People can learn alone and at their own pace or as part of a formal course, getting help with emails, the internet, ‘e-safety’, online shopping and online public services. myguide is designed to help novices and those who are excluded from the benefits of digital technologies, including disadvantaged groups.

p.s. Back issues of the FE and Skills e-Newsletter are available on the DIUS website.

While we are on a freebie topic, thinkfree the online office application has added some more features to an already impressive line up. Including Google account sign in, pdf export, and an offline synchronisation tool. How many more reasons do you need to dump the bloatware of MS office? Documents, spreadsheets, and and presentation tools are all included as standard.

Start working freely online here :

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

get Teaching Inclusively

JISC ( ) have published details of the recently created online modules to aid and improve inclusive teaching. The 5 modules were created by various experts (including me :OD ) that cover the following areas;

  • Preparing Your Learning;
  • Delivering Learning (Lecture/ Classroom);
  • Delivering Learning (Practical/ Fieldwork/ Placement);
  • Delivering Learning (Online); and
  • Assessing Learning.

They were created for academics to use and re-purpose for their needs. So get downloading and add or remove information to suit your needs. Each separate module was created using the new online version of Xerte (a learning packge design tool), it was very simple to use and being web based, meant that we could collaborate easily on amendments. An alternative would be eXe. Both create SCORM compliant "objects" than can be easily dropped into any VLE. And both are entirely free. eXe can also run from a portable flash drive, i.e. no messy installtion on your PC.

You should be able to see all of the material at

You can export the files you worked on to mount on your own site if you wish – simply go back into the Xerte Toolkits folder that you worked on, and for each of the 5 items click on Properties and then Export, choosing either a Zip file or SCORM bundle which will then be downloaded to your PC, for you to do as you please with – you need to link to the index file for it to run in a browser. If you need any help just contact the Techdis helpdesk.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Multiple Intelligences in 3D

Derby University have their VLE linked to SL academic writing area

I have created a webquest to introduce educators to the principle of Howard Gardners Multiple Intelligences and also as an introduction to Second Life.

Feel free to download the exemplar webquest and repurpose it.

This is also a pre-conference activity for our HE in FE conference on May 13th :

HE conference in partnership with the Academy : playing with learning 2. May 13th. Book your place now:


• Dr Colin Beard & Professor Alan Mortiboys discuss emotional intelligences
• Kirsten Hardie – Problem based learning
• Kim Jackson & Gary Hargreaves
'The Art of Communication with Digital Natives
• Julie Hughes & Kevin Brace
‘The Trojan Mouse’ – hands on workshops covering blogs and wikis for collaboration and reflection.
• Darren Bourne
'Playing with Learning - the opportunity to learn powerful questioning techniques. NLP techniques employed.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

HEFCE launches strategy for technology-enhanced learning

HEFCE has (March 26, 2009) published 'Enhancing learning and teaching through the use of technology - a revised approach to HEFCE's strategy for e-learning' (HEFCE 2009/12). This revised approach follows an independent review of the strategy and is designed to provide further support to higher education institutions as they develop their own e-learning strategies.

The new approach is intended to support institutions in considering where they may wish to prioritise their technology-related investment over the next few years, and to develop appropriate institutional learning and teaching strategies. Support and guidance is available from JISC and from the Higher Education Academy.

Findings from the review, which was carried out with the support of the Higher Education Academy and JISC, suggested the strategy has been useful in motivating institutional activity, but that some of the information has become outdated, given the current level of maturity in e-learning in the sector.

In order to assist institutions in achieving their strategic aims for enhancing learning and teaching through technology, the document suggests a framework focusing on: pedagogy, curriculum design and development; learning resources and environments; quality; and research and evaluation.

John Selby, HEFCE Director (Education and Participation), said: 'Our emphasis is on recognising that technology has a fundamental part to play in higher education, and that it should now reflect commitment from senior management in institutions within an institutional context. Our revised approach to e-learning will contribute to the Government's aim to position the UK at the front of technology-enhanced learning internationally, and continue to build a knowledge-based economy.'

David Sadler, Director of Networks at the Higher Education Academy, said:
'The Higher Education Academy is pleased to have been involved in this review and the revised policy statement, and its emphasis on enhancement is one that highlights how technology can be used by practitioners to support students in their learning. It focuses on the benefits and the outcomes from using technology to support learning, teaching and assessment, which will be different in each institution, and could make a real difference to the learning experience of students across all higher education institutions.'

Further information on how JISC is contributing to this strategy can be found at:

Also out (under BECTa) is The Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning by George Siemens and Peter Tittenberger from the University of Manitobahas. It has been designed as a resource for educators planning to incorporate technologies in their teaching and learning activities.

The handbook is also available as a PDF