Top Ten Tweets for Thursday


Here is a selection of our favourite tweets and retweets from the TEL_St_A Twitter feed this week – just in case you missed them!

 Tweet  Tweeted by
What do students want from a learning analytics app? Insight from @unilincoln #edtech @Jisc
“The more you share, the more it belongs to you”
Interesting perspective – MOOC student on”stealing” ideas for own online course. #edtech #MOOC #instructionaldesign
Content creation using storify as a formative assessment
Does it really take longer to create an online course? Finally some data from Univ. of
Michigan-Dearborn #edtech
Shall we take bets on when the first post about “why the Apple Watch is perfect for classrooms” appears? @rmbyrne
France to give free MOOC access to jobseekers –
on the OpenClassrooms platform #edtech #MOOC
Facebook’s weird state of denial about news #digitalliteracy RT@georgeprof @cbthomson
Flipping beautiful: news and digital curation on your mobile devices @burrblog
#Students: we want your big ideas to boost learning! Enter Summer of Student Innovation 2015 by 18 May #studentideas @Jisc
Learning styles – “the walking dead of pedagogy” – good post and debate in the comments: #edtech #highered @tel_st_a


Event > Learning & Teaching Open Forum, University of St Andrews

events.fwWednesday afternoon saw the second of this year’s biannual Learning & Teaching Open Forums at the University of St Andrews. The theme for the afternoon was Inspiring Learning through Research-led Teaching. Opening remarks by Proctor, Professor Lorna Milne, set the scene for three interesting presentations by academics on their approaches, and two presentations by students undertaking the Laidlaw Undergraduate Internship Programme over the summer vacation. Professor Milne indicated that much of the literature around research-led teaching focuses on the separation of these and how this has become institutionalised practice. In reality, however, they were interdependent – as the good practice about to be highlighted would show.

Paula Miles from the School of Psychology & Neuroscience outlined an approach being used in Level 1 classes to try and make the link between lectures (theory) and labwork (practice) more explicit and relevant. Instead of being given datasets to work with and analyse, which resulted in quite passive learning, a “Citizen Science” method was taken whereby students were asked to design their own study (gaining insight into the challenges this presents); to collect and analyse their own data; and conclude from it. Although the effects of this on performance had been neutral, student grumbles about a disconnect between teaching and research had diminished, and, critically, students had reported enjoying the classes more.

Professor Frances Andrews from the School of History outlined three ways that research was being integrated with teaching within the School. Firstly, within discrete modules, research was integrated either based on research content, or on research methodologies. She gave two examples of this: a module run by a colleague around specific research content had led to the publication of a student textbook; and a module focusing on specific methodologies had led to a research publication. Prof. Andrews then talked about research around modules and how students should be encouraged to attend both internal PG seminars, and workshops with external, perhaps international, speakers. Field trips could also play a role in sparking enthusiasm for research, and gaining an understanding the research process. The third method was through gaining an appreciation of research through actually doing it – UG research projects leading to Masters and potentially PhDs.

Dr Shiona Chillas from the School of Management talked about how students do not understand how the work they do at University and the skills they acquire are relevant to their future careers, either in academia or in the workforce. In the School they are attempting to highlight the employability value of research activity through a core module on research proposals in Junior Honours. Students are asked to critique an existing piece of research – and then to see how easy or difficult it is to design their own research project. Both the process of doing this, and the outputs are of much more explicit value to employers.

Student contributors Sam Mills and Amy Sheader then presented enthusiastically on the work they will be doing over the summer on their Laidlaw Internships. Sam will be curating and creating a digital database of artefacts relating to pre-cinema moving image technology – and hopes to gain insight into the research process, helping to confirm his future direction of travel. Amy will be working on a Physics project on “optical tweezers” (manipulating tiny particles by exerting extremely small forces via a highly focused laser beam). She hopes to be able to make a connection between lecture material on the topic and the research she is undertaking – and to gain valuable transferable skills.

Themes which came out of discussion throughout the event were:

  • We need to move away from teaching research outcomes to teaching research processes.
  • Student choice in the process is key.
  • Students who lack confidence need to have time spent with them, be supported through small group teaching, and be scaffolded through the different stages of the research process.
  • Research is presented through teaching as a narrative of success – involvement in the research process can help students understand the power of failure.
As Amy summed it up, “you learn the most when things are going terribly wrong“.

Top Ten Tweets for Thursday


Here is a selection of our favourite tweets and retweets from the TEL_St_A Twitter feed this week – just in case you missed them!

 Tweet  Tweeted by
What does Facebook know about you? Find out by accessing your ‘Digital Shadow’ – @tel_st_a
Citations are not enough” – because popular media presence influences practitioners more, argued here-  @tel_st_a
7 surprising dark secrets you may not know about TED talks  @DonaldClark
Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015 | @scoopit  @OzMark17
New from Library blog: Open Access and content mining  @StAndrewsUniLib
Very exciting – Teaching in a Digital Age is now available to download and read #GCUBlend  @sheilmcn
Excellent post on the use of Cogi – an audio capture app that even goes back in time to record – can’t wait to try! @SussexTEL
Interesting read on VLE minimum standards – preventing dissatisfaction rather than leading to dissatisfaction? @reedyreedles
The question you dread being asked in the pub – so what exactly IS an instructional designer?  @tel_st_a
Handwritten notes involve active listening, note-taking on a device is just transcribing. Interesting study from UCLA  @tel_st_a
Actually not just another list, but some useful Google tips for book lovers:  @tel_st_a


Digital Identity > Follow Up

follow_up.fwHere are some further resources on the topic of Digital Identity, from the LSE Literary Festival 2015 on Digital Personhood and Identity which took place in February of this year. You can listen to the conference podcast (talks start around 04:37), and consult the huge range of blog posts – there is a section on Academic Identity and the Digital Age.

Digital Identity

community.fwMight your attitude towards the online environment in general be affecting your attitude towards teaching online? Think of phrases like ‘digital native’ and ‘digital immigrant’ and also consider ‘digital divide’. Do you identify more with natives or immigrants? Many people see the difference as being something which is defined by age – but is this necessarily the case? (Marc Prensky, the originator of the phrase ‘digital native’ changed his thinking between 2001 and 2011).

Consider the resources below – do you have an online identity? If you do, is it conscious (i.e. do you deliberately adopt a different persona online) or subconscious? Or do you have multiple identities for different purposes? If you do, are these more explicit online than any different identities you may adopt in face-to-face interactions?

Enacting Digital Identity (Cronin, 2012)
Online identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important? (Krotoski, Guardian, 2012)
Future Identities (Government Office of Science, 2013)

What can your students pick up about you from how you interact online (through email, social media or online teaching tools)? Do you think their impressions would be more accurate than what they can tell from the shoes we wear, or the clothes we wear, or the photos we like to take? Who is you, the online individual?!