ALT-C 2019 Session Bites #1

Session title: Facilitating peer-led group research through virtual collaboration spaces: a multi-year action research study, Richard Walker (E-Learning Development Team University of York)

Conference Theme: Creativity across the curriculum

Synopsis: This compelling session presented findings from a study using ‘peer-led group learning’ to support research tasks and the development of problem-solving skills in a 3rd-year undergraduate Biology module at York University. ‘Peer-led’ teaching is nothing new; it’s using an expert peer, in this case a postgraduate researcher, as a learning facilitator and resource. However, what was novel was how they used a collaborative technology platform as a virtual meeting and workspace to overcome challenges in more traditional approaches to project supervision such as:

  • tend to be one-to-one
  • problematic timetabling of meetings/supervision
  • little/no benefit to/from peers
  • propagation of solutions is slow
  • issues coordinating multidisciplinary projects

The app they used for the collaborative hub was Slack (a commercial product, similar to our O365 Teams). Using a channel for each student, for planning, and for questions, the ‘always-on’ collaborative hub fostered greater interactions in asking questions, sharing solutions and displaying data.

Their findings indicated this approach supported effective student collaborations, which promoted peer-to-peer learning – with a focus on interaction and creative problem-solving, thus reducing dependency on the instructor for guidance and control of learning processes. Students enjoyed the quick responses to queries and the ease in keeping a record of what’s been said through the conversation feed structure: “We were working as a team; although we have different projects, we have the same problems and were solving them as a team.” See this link for a case study of the initial pilot.

Comment: The app of choice here, Slack, by the University of York was down to the institutional license held for it at the time of the pilot. IT Services have just rolled out the analogous app in Office 365, Microsoft Teams, to the student cohort here at St Andrews, which could be a platform for similar types of collaborations. Given the prevalence of project-based coursework across disciplines, this is an approach worth trying for increasing engagement, not to mention the possible collateral benefits of improved efficiency and productivity.

Session presentation slides available here (thanks to Richard). A short paper of recent findings is in production.

ALT-C Session Bites

In September this year, the TEL Team joined nearly 450 delegates in attending ALT-C (the annual multi-national conference of the Association for Learning Technology) in Edinburgh. Over the next few weeks, team members will present their highlights in a series of ‘session bite’ posts. The full three-day programme can be viewed here.

 

The McEwan Hall – a stunning venue

Your 'session bites' bloggers

Your ‘session bites’ bloggers (L-R): Sonny Evans (IT Skills Developer); Margaret Adamson (Head of TEL); Daryl Haynes (Lecture Capture Co-ordinator). Photo by David Jarratt, Media Services.

Can you spot us in the conference photo by Chris Bull for Association for Learning Technology?
ALT conference 2019 , Edinburgh.
Day two – Wednesday 4th September.
www.chrisbullphotographer.com

SMUG October Meetup at St Andrews

Two dozen Moodle enthusiasts from across HE and FE gathered in St Andrews last Friday. First up was Mark Glynn, Head of Teaching Enhancement at Dublin City University, who talked about a custom report they have created within Moodle to give lecturers a programmatic view of assessment, giving them the opportunity to improve collaboration and scheduling. Mark was followed by Chris Sumner from South Lanarkshire College who gave an overview of their Moodle/Microsoft Teams integration. Jasmin Hodge from Forth Valley College showcased two new Moodle course formats: Flexible Course and Structure Label. Ken Currie then talked about using interactive content libraries, in particular, the H5P plugin which adds interactive features to Moodle activities like Book, Page and Lesson. Lee Coomber from IT Services in St Andrews was up next, talking about the current integration work we’re doing with MySaint, Moodle and MMS. The last talk of the day was from Stephen Bruce from Edinburgh Napier who outlined a their fully online CPD approach using Moodle.

We recorded most of these sessions, and will make them available here once they’re out of post-production. Anyone who’s interested in learning more about any of the Moodle features mentioned, please get in touch via learningtechnology@st-andrews.ac.uk.

You can follow some of the speakers on Twitter too:

Mark Glynn: @glynnmark
Jasmin Hodge: @jmdh22
StephenBruce:@Stephen1Bruce

 

SMUG comes to St Andrews

TELStA welcomes SMUG to St Andrews on Friday 4 October. Five speakers from across HE and FE will present on Moodle innovations taking place in their institutions (see programme here). Lee Coomber of IT Services at St Andrews will talk about the current integration work happening as part of the TEL Project. Although this is a professional network event, we hope to record it so that we can share the event more widely.

Students – we need your help!

The TELStA team is seeking an intern to help them with information overload. Our field is very fast-moving, and we have a wide range of information from various sources  which we need to share with those who use our services. The intern would be required to audit and analyse both the information sources, and the current channels used to share (including social media, blog and email) and formulate a communication plan for the team. The plan should be based around strategies for members of the team to embed information sharing into their current workload. Other duties of the post include helping the team to set up their Instagram account; live-tweeting from TELStA events; and helping to launch “The Hive” – a TELStA facility for staff in the Gateway Building.

Please apply by email to mhma@st-andrews.ac.uk with a covering letter and CV. Applications close on 14th October 2019. This vacancy is also listed on CareersConnect under the reference 227BY. It’s a paid position.

 

Come and work with us!!

We’re very excited to have two new Learning Technologist vacancies in the TELStA team at the moment! Both are located in St Andrews and are fixed term for 2 years. We’re looking for one post to start in Autumn 2019, and the other in Spring 2020. We’re a small, friendly team – and there are lots of edtech developments afoot at St Andrews! Full job description and application details are available here. Applications close on Friday 4 October 2019.

Learning Analytics Workshop, 2nd May

St Andrews colleagues! Do we have a shared understanding of Learning Analytics?  We are running an interactive workshop on 2nd May (1400-16:00) which gives staff an opportunity  to explore potential definitions and uses from the perspective of various user groups. The event is also the launch of our TELStA Gateway space, and afternoon tea is provided! Book on PDMS.