Yes, it’s the first of the twice yearly upgrade of iLearn time and I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite features of this upgrade:
1. A word count on forums (while you can’t [yet] set a word limit in the settings of a forum, you can now see how many words a student [or your own] post is).
2. Assignment improvement – show students rubrics BEFORE they submit!
3. Drop and drag onto the main page of the unit directly instead of uploading a file or adding an image into a label
4. Collapsed edit activity forms – what the??
When adding an activity to your iLearn unit, kiss the long, confusing options goodbye. Just remember if you are allocating a mark, to open the Grading section!
The road to an awesome LMS is a long one, an iterative process, you might say. iLearn runs on Moodle and this latest upgrade is to Moodle v2.5. We are always keen to hear your ideas for enhancements, so why not email firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions.
For any help with iLearn, please either lodge a OneHelp ticket or email email@example.com
NMC and ELI Release the NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Higher Education Edition
The New Media Consortium (NMC) and EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) jointly released the 11th edition of the NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Higher Education today. The NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in education.
As part of the iLearn upgrade in February, one of the new features is an online collaboration space, aptly called Collaborate!
The use of Collaborate for virtual classrooms was successfully trialled in 2013 as part of LTC’s Faculty Partnership Program in an introductory Chinese language unit. The academic was able to hold a web conference to introduce the objectives and activity for the session, send students in pairs to ‘break out rooms’ to undertake the learning activity, then regroup for a debrief of the activity. These sessions were also recorded and available to students after the live event.
Collaborate allows for real-time, synchronous engagement so there are many possibilities:
Collaboration space for group work
Virtual lab experiments
Guest expert lecture or interview
Authentic role play
Tutoring for external students
Virtual meeting spaces
Virtual consultation hours
Meeting space for academics and their tutors, meeting space for departments, etc
Collaborate tools include:
Engagement tools (emoticons, polling, hand raising to ask questions)
Communication tools (microphone, chat, application sharing)
So now you’re hooked and want to know more? Sit tight and stay tuned, more details will be posted when available for use but if you’re as keen as mustard, lodge a OneHelp ticket expressing your interest in using Collaborate.
In October 2013 I engaged in a discussion with fellow online learning scholars in the Association of Learning Technology Mail-list (UK). We discussed various issues related to MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and their perceived and actual value for enhancing learning in Universities. Perhaps the most well thought out contribution was made by Professor Diana Laurillard from the Institute of Education, University of London. She wrote: Continue reading Panos reflects on MOOCs→
Macquarie University recently hosted the 30th Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning (ascilite).
Matt Bower a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Education and colleagues were awarded best full paper for Bower, M., Kenney, J., Dalgarno, B., Lee, M.J.W. & Kennedy, G.E. (2013). Blended synchronous learning: Patterns and principles for simultaneously engaging co-located and distributed learners. In H. Carter, M. Gosper and J. Hedberg (Eds.), Electric Dreams. Proceedings ascilite 2013 Sydney. (pp.92-102)
Panos Vlachopoulos a Senior Lecturer in the Learning and Teaching Centre and colleagues were awarded best short paper in the category ‘imagining the future’ for Smyth, K., Vlachopoulos, P., Walker, D., Wheeler, A. (2013). Cross-Institutional development of an online open course for educators: confronting current challenges and imagining future possibilities. In H. Carter, M. Gosper and J. Hedberg (Eds.), Electric Dreams. Proceedings ascilite 2013 Sydney. (pp.826-829)
A new feature at this conference was the introduction of digital poster sessions, which made full use of the active learning space in the newly refurbished Macquarie Theatre. Elaine Huber, Alex Thackray and Rebecca Ritchie from the Learning and Teaching Centre were given the award for the best poster “Practices and perceptions of online assignment submission, marking and feedback: what’s changed?”.
Macquarie hosts the 30th Ascilite Conference this year.
This year the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ascilite) embarks on its fourth decade of exploring the pedagogical potential of new technologies in the classroom (wherever or whatever that may be), and not in any way being smug about having ‘called it’.Here at Macquarie a group of academic and professional staff from across the university have come together to organise the 30th Annual ascilite Conference, hosted by Macquarie this December 1-4.
Dr Monique Crane, Lecturer in Organisational Psychology was the academic lead on a Faculty Partnership Project in Session 1 this year that aimed to redesign PSY 963 Coaching and Positive Psychology in a way that was both engaging and academically challenging for students. The LTC project team worked with Monique to rejuvenate the curriculum for blended delivery, introducing a number of tools and techniques that included collaborative authorship tasks and video scenarios.
Prezi for Collaborative Authorship
With collaborative authorship teaching tasks, PSY 963 students literally contribute to the workshop material, creating a mixture of expert content and student-generated content for the unit.
Collaborative authorship is a strategy that makes use of participatory technologies in the classroom as a way of developing student-centred learning opportunities and increasing student engagement. Monique reported that such participatory technologies allow “students to collaboratively develop an outcome related to the workshop content through the use of an online medium such as Prezi or a Wiki. This process can be moderated and guided by the chair in real time. At the end of this process, all students have access to their collaboratively authored resources that will assist in guiding their future practice.”
Monique is now a collaborator on a project funded by a grant from the Innovation and Scholarship Program (with the LTC’s Oliver Coady) to extend the work from the Faculty Partnership project in examining the role of collaborative authorship in the classroom to improve student engagement and skill transfer.
Authentic Video Scenarios
Macquarie’s Human Resources Department collaborated with Monique and the LTC project team in the production of video scenarios for PSY 963 which demonstrate a coach implementing a strategy with clients in different situations. Rather than actors, the videos star professional coaching experts based here at Macquarie who also helped script the videos. These videos are not only core resources for the unit itself but can also be used in other professional development settings, as well as a teaching resource in the classroom or online.
Monique says she values the insights gained from her experience working with the LTC project team and is now implementing the new teaching strategies she has learned across all her units. “The LTC has expertise in the area of adult learning and this means that they are able to provide insight into new teaching methods and content delivery. Students are exposed to innovative teaching techniques too.”