Seeing the wood for the trees

6053595068_f02e67e5a7I have a number of objectives to achieve over the next 12 months; I’m hoping that making time to post a general progress report on the main ones at the end of each month will enable me to see the wood for the trees (and potentially reach out to new connections and expertise that relate to those objectives).

photo credit: Den lilla ön. via photopin (license)
Benchmarking TEL for HEIs

This is a wide programme of work; main activity for this month is focussed on finalising a new TEL survey for staff which will go live in September. The survey has been developed with input from an advisory group and tested by ILIaD Associates. Ethical approval has been granted. A student survey will go live in November after user testing. I have also been given a number of leads to followup about previous work in wider benchmarking projects. I will write up the new intended work as a more formal project proposal.

Faculty Liaison activity (Natural & Environmental Sciences)

I have arranged 2 bespoke staff development workshops for next month for this faculty. The sessions are being delivered by the University’s iSolutions department and ILIaD staff and are in direct response to requests from faculty staff. I have had meetings with most senior management for the faculty to identify projects and useful programmes of activity and will be developing these proposals further in October. I am also working with two academics on the redesign of a second year module to provide a more authentic and inclusive learning experience for marine benthic ecologists.

Excellence in VLE Awards (University of Southampton)

Formerly the Excellence on Blackboard Awards, this ILIaD initiative is to be rebranded to be inclusive of other VLEs in use at the University. I am drafting an impact report with the support of an excellent project team. My colleague Anna Ruff has been working hard to provide feedback to nominees from this years awards about their modules and we have a programme of follow up sessions to continue to disseminate good practice in the coming academic year.

MOOCs (UoS Natural & Environmental Sciences, FutureLearn)

The ‘Exploring our Oceans’ MOOC is due to begin its 3rd run on the 31st of August for 6 weeks. Minor tasks remain to be done but the course content is streamlined, refined and online. I’ll be co-presenting a paper at ALT-C this year with a colleague about the potential impact of this and another MOOC on the Faculties involved in their development. The presentation is coming together and a link to it will be in the next progress post.

My second MOOC project is in very early infancy but due to go live in summer next year; still a Nat & Env-related theme and likely to be FutureLearn-hosted, but a different design. Initial meetings have been held/arranged with senior academic management and one potential Professional Organisation. Project team and key stakeholders for development yet to be formalised.

Supporting pedagogic research (University of Southampton)

I’m working with an academic in our School of Education to enhance the links between ILIaD and a new Centre for Higher Education at Southampton. Pedagogic research is starting to take off in some disciplines (thanks to a number of very motivated individuals) but we are hoping to help staff develop a wide-ranging evidence base for teaching practices including, but not limited to, TEL. As ILIaD we host a number of special interest groups, and pedagoic research is one of the more recent additions. To support the community blog, I created a sharepoint site. This is still in development. I am also arranging meetings with the University’s Research Governance Office to determine how best to support teaching staff in gaining ethical approval in a rigorous but not onerous way for evaluating teaching innovations. I have been investigating the potential overlaps between other SIGs in the School of Education (such as the Higher Education Research Group), determining their affordances and ways of working together.


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