Wednesday, 17 February 2010

video toolz

Just been trying out two new tools to generate screencasts and; video interviews. Both free web based tools - no need to install. Just register and go.

The first I had a play with is .  Free & simple to use.  An alternative is - also free, but needs a twitter account to sign up with!

My screentoasted effort was upload to Youtube, which took about 45 mins!  That allows you to share it & use an embed code to add it to a VLE or a blog. N.B. Screentoaster needs a JAVA VM install , and id not work with Google Chrome?

The second tool I experimented with is, this allows you to record/interview someone, live! Use a webcam + headset.  The results are very good.  You could use it for assessing learning, discussions, recording ideas & conversations.  An alternative to Skype, as it requires no dload of softwarezz.

The Vid below is a quick test we conducted in the office. Much fun.  I used a farily expensive Logitech webcam, but it's quality is overshadowed by Jane's inbuilt webcam on her Apple mac book thingy.  So, you could interview someone & post the conversation on a blog like this :OD.  Simples.  We love Web 2.0

Find more of these types of tools on my rapid e-learning wiki page:

Monday, 15 February 2010

future proofin'

Two local Universities (BCU & WLV) have made early steps to address the employability issues outlined by Lord Mandelson last year. He stated 

"Set out how and what students will learn; their own study responsibilities; what that knowledge will qualify them to do…. Students should know about the opportunities for international experience, and how new technologies are integrated into their programmes. All universities should also be expected to demonstrate how their institution prepares its students for employment."  (Lord Mandelson, 2009)

So now employers and employability is set to mould the way of Undergraduate study in this era of austerity we are now in- especially in the post '92 Universities.  With the recent HEFCE announcement in cuts to HE funding, Universities are now having to look at what they are offering to their local and global economies.  No longer can we expect students to roll out of Uni' with a good degree in yurt weaving (or similar),  they need to have some real saleable skills in this competitive market place.  IMPACT will have to be measured.

BCU have their Creating Futureproof graduates - project 

..which is choc' full of useful methods, approaches, case studies and critical interventions to help prepare Undergraduates for the wider world of work, critical reflection, and autonomy.

while Wolverhampton have their Learning Works agenda

This approach is based on 3 primary student attributes;

It's all being pushed forward as apart of a re-jigging of the whole curriculum with a move to 20 credits. This also involves moving towards a more blended delivery whereby the VLE, eportfolio, and other "e" tools are being blended with F2F delivery over a range of methods (e.g. e-submission, assessment, ePDP).

I sat through a presentation about this the other day, and it seems that the underlying tenet appears to be to redesign curricula to ensure previously seemly unconnected modules are now working in harmony, to "un-stuff" current content heavy delivery, and a streamlining of learning objectives. So the course is king, made up of less , but more focussed modules.  It's all good.  I hope that this means an new pedagogic approach in designing student centred activities?  Let's hope so.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

A BCE update


Business and Community Engagement encompasses four institutional strategic areas:

This post covers the JISC agenda Business and Community Engagement (BCE), which is a relatively new agenda for JISC developed in response to the strategic aim 51 of the 2007-09 strategy – ‘developing and implementing a programme to support institutions' engagement with the wider community’. The BCE programme is designed to support institutions in their strategic management of relationships with commercial, public sector (including charities and trusts), cultural, social and civic organisations, in order to deliver services which benefit the economy and society.

A call for joined-up services to help businesses out of recession

  • Sharing business information more effectively, particularly through colleges, universities and major reference libraries, could help recession-hit companies out of crisis and stimulate innovation, according to a JISC report undertaken by the British Library Research Service.

There is also a BCE blog and a JISC Infonet infokit which covers this new agenda. BCE is explained succinctly in the JISC Advance pages "BCE consists of many different institutional strategic areas/services, some of which are highlighted in the diagram below".

JISC BCE Strategies and Services

see also video below

Findings from the infokit  resource are based upon work carried out within our five partner institutions:

So thats two organisations from the west mids region who have been  used in this new infokit! Thie idea is that you work through a diagnostic workbook, to evaluate your organisations readiness to embark upon BCE - or apprasie existing activities.  I am under the impression that JISC Infonet will provide targeted consultation type of support either directly or as part of a national events programme.

Two other local initiatives on this topic, are the embryonic Intelligent Career Development Company, and the JISC funded project of developing an eportoflio based pedagogy for workbased learners. Both are in early stages, but worth keeping an eye on.

This is very prescient considering the recently announced cuts in HE funding, as learning organisations will need to look at new and alternative streams of funding. And.... to show those funding people what IMPACT your HEI/college is having on the local community, and commerce.  Times are changing, and it's time to react.

    Tuesday, 2 February 2010

    trendy tools of 2010

    Tools of 2010

    This is my second posting covering last weeks Learning Technologies conference. The biggest UK conf' for e-learning types to sell their wares, and prospective customers to zoom around obtaining intial ideas of what's hot or interesting, in the middle of the deepest recession in our time!

     This posting covers some of the tools we can use to improve distance learning/training. Whether they are platforms, authoring tools, or content.  There's something here for all. I either visited these stands or watched presentations. So on with the show.  Before I move on, the training zone have an excellent video that also does this, well worth a look. And I'm glad to see Clive Shepherd ( thinks that 2010 will be the year for webinars, whether DimDim, Webex, or Elluminate, they offer VFM.  and let's not forget the micro chunking of learning into mini courses.  Elliot Masie also advocates this trend. I also bumped into Rob Hubbard who has created the most excellent Rapid elearning Development course (RED) - take a look, then sign up - it's bang on the quality rapid e-learning agenda.


    I recently created a mind map covering some of these tools on offer - see below - click on the links in the map to visit the websites.

    Authoring (rapid is the buzz word)

    See also Brighton's Brightwave for their useful case studies on rapid elearning tools, and so do Kineo - check out their rapid e-learning page.


    • Don't forget I have a wiki page entirely dedicated to the use of video in education. Case studies and technical aspects  are all covered in some depth. Please  take a look

      Monday, 1 February 2010

      (in)formal learning

      The learning technologies conf' was very interesting - sponsored by Kineo.  Expect a few blog posts on some of the tools I heard about.

      Looks like LMS' (VLEs) are in gradual decline in the business arena as well as education! No one really "likes" them, tho' they all feel that the LMS is here to stay, but will be part of a larger collection (cloud) of e-systems (incl' plenty of Web 2.0 apps). The word free application seems to resonate with our cash strapped training/learning and development dept's.  Strangly tho' not many seem to understand that eportfolios are part of the answer!!  Most seem to be gravitating towards informal learning or Presonal learning Environments (PLEs ) - aggregated social networks, etc,  as an anitdote to shrinking training budgets - but not really  understanding far reaching implications. And no mention of underpinning pedagogies/scaffolding.

      There seems to be a collective thought that, "if we find the right tools (Yammer, Huddle, etc), they will come - and all learn informally hapily ever after!!  Tho' many cite internal communities of practice - and knowledge of,  are needed to drive business efficiencies. Another Web 2.0 / elearning bandwagon is being jumped on, with little thought as to why - apart from most of these tools are free!

      But some are more cautious tho' - citing our frivolous trends in this rapidly changing web 2.0 world, i.e. friends re-united was hot, now it's not - is that what will happen to Facebook in a couple of years time? One company blocked access to Facebook @ work and reported an  immediate 11% increase in productivity .  And plenty of talk about what impact e-learning is having on business upskilling and driving efficiencies. No one seems to be evaluating past e-learning successes, to their peril, as senior managers still don't "get it" - as the strong businesses cases are not being promoted. The age of BS "smoke and mirrors" selling e-learning to business is well and truley over. Strong tangible business benefits is what SMT are only (and have always been) interested in.

      Laura Overton (see my doctored image above) did talk about a very revealling benchmarking research study Towards Maturity enterprises conducted recently.  Analysing perceived and tangible impacts of e-learning had on business' bottom line.  Unsuprisinlgy not many had really analysed these business savings as a result of implementing previous VLEs/LMS'.

      IMPACT is the new mantra.  Implement, anaylse, and evaluate, or die tryingIf you don't do this, the bean counters are more likely to say, "why sould we pay for a new microblogging platform" when we've got email?"  Unless e-learning companies or inhouse dept's can present quantitave data clearly illustrating improvement in business efficiences and cost savings, those bean counters, are quite at liberty to say.

      "No thanks, we'll stick with our intranet, email, free web 2.0 tools, and less (more focussed) F2F training. "

      And who could blame them? That goes for UK education as well. "Will this new web 2.0/ Open Source tool save us money ? If so how much?"

      Informal learning, internal knowledge transfer, eliminating travel to training, Communities of practice are "trending" - but very few have cracked it - apart from BT's "Dare2Share" social networking portal. See also the vid below:

      That's the main feeling - but e-learning business is still strong - as training dept's are being forced to use e-learning due to reduced budgets and reduced personell -and they are doing it well! Blended and distance training (webinars) are looking stronger - with good reports of trainees really taking to these new methods.  Pricewaterhousecoopers ran an excellent presentation on their global training stratgey - drastically revamped to use primarily webinars. So, at last, it's taken a global recession for business to start being forced to use e-learning to make significant training and devleopment savings. With the added benefit of employees actually taking to it!!  There's hope for us all, maybe the education sector is next - considering cuts in funding are iminent. HFECE has announced serious cuts today - and it's splashed all across the news.  Time to blend learning UK HEIs , time to give some serious thoughts to integrating "e" solutions into F2F delivery, rather than ignoring it/us, and hoping we'll go away to play with shiny ipads - we wish!