Wednesday, 12 December 2007

PDP Practitioners Resources

The Centre for Recording Achievement has set up a page for PDP resources -

The Teaching - Research Interface: Implications for Practice in HE and FE

The Teaching - Research Interface: Implications for Practice in HE and FE
ESCalate conference 29 – 30 April 2008
Stirling Management Centre
University of Stirling

2008 Conference themes include:
•Widening Participation (progression and retention) including the role of HE
in FE
•Technology Enhanced Learning
•Contexts of Learning
•Research-Teaching Linkages

Keynote speakers include:
•Professor Gert Biesta: Professor of Education, University of Stirling
•Professor Terry Mayes: Emeritus Professor, Glasgow Caledonian University
•Professor Dai Hounsell: Professor of Higher Education, University of Edinburgh
•Professor Gill Crozier: Professor of Education, University of Sunderland

Abstracts will be reviewed as received and authors notified within 2 weeks
of submission

We would particularly encourage papers by staff delivering HE in an FE
A number of bursaries are available for part-time staff and full-time students
Invitation to submit abstracts/ workshop papers

The conference will comprise keynotes, parallel sessions of workshops,
discussion papers and round table/symposium groups.

We are seeking abstracts/workshop papers (maximum 400 words) from those
wishing to participate in seminar/workshop sessions on any of the conference

Submissions can be for individual papers, posters, group symposia and
individual or group workshops aimed at encouraging informed debate and
discussion by delegates.

Deadline for abstract submissions is Friday 29th February 2008 –
For more details:

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Institutional Research Conference

Exploring the Hinterlands: Mapping an Agenda for Institutional Research
Conference, Southampton Solent University, UK, 25-26 June 2008

We are pleased to announce this major conference focusing on Institutional
Research to be held in Southampton in June 2008

Proposals for papers and posters are invited from scholars interested in
presenting at the first Institutional Research conference to be held in the
UK. Suggestions for workshops and presentations of work in progress are
also welcome. The event presents an exciting opportunity for dialogue and
networking with UK and international higher education managers and
academics who are interested in institutional research.

The deadline for proposals is 31 January 2008. Please send your proposal
to or

The early-bird registration deadline is 31 March 2008.

For further information and online booking, please visit .

Monday, 10 December 2007

On-line resource

You are invited to access the recently expanded online resources posted at Arranged alphabetically by topic are links to 170 teaching, learning and educational management sites, based in Canada, the U.K., Australia, and the U.S. Also at the site are weekly teaching tips that are aligned with the cycle of the academic year. Feel free to share the resources your colleagues, and if you choose, to post a link on your Web site.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007



World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications

June 30-July 4, 2008 * Vienna, Austria


** Submissions Due: Dec. 19, 2007 **

Hosted by Vienna Univ. of Technology

Organized by
Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)

ED-MEDIA Call for Participation

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Going mobile

I bought a new phone a couple of months ago as part of a better value contract and because it looked as if it was better on the web. Interestingly I didn't really know what I was getting with it and using it has pushed me into mobile living - I am using my laptop much less as I find it easier to check my email etc on the phone.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Learning development conference call

Learning Development - Who Needs It?

5th Annual Symposium of the Learning Development in Higher Education Network, Monday 17th and Tuesday 18th March 2008 at the University of Bradford

Keynote Speaker: Professor Ray Land
Professor of Higher Education and Director of the Centre for Academic Practice and Learning Enhancement at the University of Strathclyde. Ray’s research interests include the theory and practice of educational development, threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge, and theoretical aspects of digital learning.

The 2008 LDHEN Symposium
Since the establishment of this network 2003 the phrase ‘learning development’ has entered the vocabulary of UK Universities, and can now be seen in the names of services, in post titles, research projects and publications. This is at least in part due to the success of members of LDHEN in their various academic and strategic initiatives, including the establishment of the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning “LearnHigher”.

The distinctive approach of those adopting the term ‘learning development’ revolves around concerns to demystify academic practices and to work alongside students in making sense of and getting the best from their learning. So we now ask the provocative question - does anyone ‘need’ learning development or learning developers? If so what is it that they really need? Students, university managers, academics and those outside HE are likely to have varying views about what this work should be. Notions such as study skills, personal tutoring, learning resources, mentoring and facilitation are all relevant – but this network has served to raise broader questions about how students learn - promoting inclusive, accessible and humane practices in teaching and assessment – and an HE culture which encourages students to take part in and be empowered by their learning experiences, rather than be subjected to them.

The ALDinHE Steering Group would like to invite presentations, workshops, round-table discussions and posters for the Symposium to reflect as many views as possible about the role of learning development activities in universities. We are offering 45 or 90 minute slots for presentations and workshops.

Abstracts of approx 250 words will be required by 15th January 2008. There will also be an opportunity for presenters submit papers for consideration for inclusion in the first refereed ALDinHE journal by 1st May 2008.

Full details about the 2008 Symposium, including registration fees, accommodation, session types and how to submit proposals will follow shortly - and will also be posted on the ALDinHE website WATCH THIS SPACE!

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After 18 years I am leaving my job at London Metropolitan University (nee Polytechnic of North London, UNL) to take up a post in Queen Mary University of London as Head of Academic Practice - hence the change of title of this blog (although not the address).

While still involved in the development of academic practice in the digital age and with a focus on the use of e-learning to develop academic practice I am no longer involved in e-learning policy (with some relief!). This change in focus will be seen in this blog.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Being a Lecturer 2.0

Being a Lecturer 2.0 - the impact of the new web on being an academic.

How blogs, wiki's, social networking and second life affect our work as academics - a quick overview of Google enabled academic work.

A report on a session at the Learning and Teaching Conference at London Metropolitan University - July 2007

The session ran in an IT studio, which enabled a break in the middle for participants to explore some of the tools covered so far. The following report includes some tools that were not covered due to lack of time, and some further resources.

I ran the session using Portable Firebox. Firebox is an open source1 web browser that is the main alternative to Internet Explorer (IE). The latest version (2) has a number of advantages over traditional browsers. One major feature of new browsers, including the latest IE, is tabbed browsing. This enables the user to open new tabs rather than new instances of the software and makes opening multiple WebPages easier and faster. Portable Firebox is part of the Portable Applications suite of open source software that will run on a USB stick ( I was therefore able to set up the browser in advance with my settings to run on the studio computer.

As open source software Firebox has a number of extensions that have been created to enhance its capabilities. Some of these I introduced during the session but at the beginning I demonstrated Cooliris which previews WebPages from links which makes internet searching quicker as an example.

Firebox extensions are available from

My internet use is based on Google. Google provides a range of tools which work together to do many of the things which help me to be effective and to provide information to my students, who currently tend to be people studying e-learning and learning technologies, but the tools are all useful for teachers in more traditional subjects. Google is not universally popular, and some people are very critical of the company. It is a very powerful player in the internet business and can be seen as a potential monopoly power. Through using its services it gains a lot of information about you and there have been some questions in the past about whether it may misuse that information. It has also been criticised for colluding with censorship in some areas, notably China. While I recognise these issues I find it very useful, and am not concerned about any information that could be gleaned about me being useful to anyone.

There are alternatives to all the services provided by Google -

Google started with a search engine and now has developed into a suite of tools which, apart from the search engine itself needs you to set up an account at All the Google tools mentioned below are available from the 'more' link on that page, or your Igoogle page once you have an account.

Out of the initial search engine developed Google personalised Home page, now called iGoogle. This is a personal portal – designed as your home page on which you can add bits, mostly RSS2 feeds which are news feeds but also weather forecasts, cartoons, horoscopes etc. More sophisticated portals such as and enable you to create your own 'widgets' – RSS feeds (see below) etc and are therefore more flexible. Portals were more important for me before tabbed browsers and I have stopped using mine since then – as I prefer to have a number of web pages and tools open across a number of tabs. You can save a number of tabs so that when you open a tabbed browser all your favourite web pages and tools open, which creates a more sophisticated version of a portal in effect.

Google now have a couple of specialist search engines which are useful - Google Scholar only searches for academic articles and books. Google Books will search all the books on their database and will show you the pages on which the search term appears rather that giving you the link.

Google Coop is a useful tool for academics - you can set up a search engine for your students that either restricts the websites that will be searched, or will prioritise the ones you specify. This can help students who have not yet developed the internet searching skills to navigate to the best sites for your subject material. For examples see for Learning Technologies, or for Learning and Teaching in HE. And this seems like a good moment to mention - this is a free service that turns long urls into short ones - so for the learning technologies search engine go to, and the general learning and teaching one -

Gmail was the first main extension of the range of Google products. Gmail was the first webmail service that had enough storage to claim that you never need to delete an email. What marks it out, is its use of the Google search technology that makes folders redundant. It also stores emails as conversations similar to threaded bulletin boards. These innovations have made it a very popular webmail system.

I use Gmail as my main email system, forwarding email from the university and my other email accounts to it, not that you would know as it is sophisticated enough to automatically respond to any email from the relevant email address. My contacts are therefore always available to me on-line and I use my address book to keep notes on students progress etc.

There are some extensions in Firebox which further enhance Gmail if you are using Firebox – one I use Better Gmail does some nice thing like shows an icon which identifies the nature of attachments (word documents etc). GTDInbox enables me to label emails and to create tasks using categories from the 'Getting Things Done' time management system. For example I can label any email which I need to refer to in a particular meeting with the name of the meeting, prior to the meeting I can then see a list of the emails and tasks that relate to that meeting. I find anything that helps to make me look efficient helps – and I need all the help I can get sometimes!

Google and Firebox collaborate on a number of things – there is a Google toolbar for firefox that includes several features like an auto-fill for forms. Google will also enable you to synchronise your settings from one computer to another. Clearly using on-line tools has the drawback of not being available when you are not on-line. The next version of Firebox will enable you to use the tools off-line – synchronising the data when you go on-line next. Google is developing GoogleGears, which is developing in a similar way.

Google calendar is an on-line calendar system that enables you to set up and view multiple calendars; public or private, including shared private calendars. I can share a calendar and enable someone to edit it, or just be able to see when I am free. I can invite people to an event – they get an email and their response is recorded in the event details (and if they have a Google calendar the event is automatically put in their calendar). Googlegears does not yet cover the calendar – however in Microsoft Vista the Windows Calendar will synchronise with Google, or there is a third party free product called Calgoo which works well.

For shared working Google now includes Google Documents – this enables you to store and edit documents and spreadsheets on-line. While this is sometimes useful in itself it also enables shared work on documents. When you save a document you can specify who can see and edit it, and you can publish it so anyone can see it - an alternative to putting things on web pages.

One of the other ways of publishing on the web without having to create your own web sites is to have a blog. A blog is an on-line journal that is easy to maintain and keep up-dated. Google provide Blogger - where you can set up a blog in a couple of minutes and then easily change the settings, make it private or public, invite other authors, change the appearance etc. There are other types of blogs you can use and a significant alternative is Londonmet also hosts blogs -

You are looking at my blog so you will see how using blogger I have added a number of widgets which link to other things and do things like allow readers to get a version more suitable for browsing on mobile phones (via There are also some embedded videos via Utube.

If you use Firebox as your browser then Scribefire is a useful extension that allows you to insert the url (web address) of WebPages, or selected text to be inserted into your blog. You can set up various blogs so that keeping a number of blogs becomes much easier.

As well as publishing on a blog, the Web 2.0 lecturer will be reading a number of blogs. Rather than going to a number of blog addresses we use an aggregator that collects them together for us. The Google aggregator is Google Reader. The main alternative is As well as making reading blogs much easier they also enable us to publish either whole collections or selected items to our students – and other readers – see the Shared Items Box on my e-learning blog.

Another way of sharing what you find on the web is to use a social book marking service – the most well know being - again you need to set up an account and then you can label – or ‘tag’ websites as you find them. For example on the bottom of my e-learning blog you can see a tag cloud of my tags. A tag cloud is a representation of my tags with the size of the word indicating the number of sites with that tag.

If you want to save quotes or sections of WebPages to come back to later you can do that with a number of tools. Google Notebook is the Google version, but there are others like Diigo. You can then share those cuttings with students and colleagues. There is a Firebox extension – Zotero that does the same and will produce a bibliography of the web addresses if you are working on a publication. Unfortunately Zotero as yet does not allow sharing.

Leaving Google behind, but I am sure they will catch up with us soon, a couple of other areas.

Social networking – keeping up with friends and colleagues. The two main social networks are MySpace and Facebook – Facebook is perhaps more popular with about 2,300 people in the londonmet network at the time of writing. Bebo is a European based network.

Wiki – wiki are editable web pages. The most famous is which is an on-line encyclopaedia being developed by thousands of individuals – there is a big debate in education about its use by students as a source of information – I personally find it useful, particularly for computer related information – but I guess if I was doing a course I probably wouldn’t put it in the bibliography just in case! You can set up a wiki to use for yourself or students at various sites (see wikipedia for a list ) – my preference for a web-based wiki is Tiddly wiki are wiki that are designed as much for personal use – you can keep one on a USB stick for notes – see - my preference is for the pirate monkey version. If you want to use a wiki you will need to spend some time looking at the specific editing and formatting instructions for the type of wiki you have chosen.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Serious virtual worlds conference

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Saturday, 28 July 2007

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Friday, 13 July 2007

Academic Analytics: A New Tool for a New Era

EDUCAUSE REVIEW | July/August 2007, Volume 42, Number 4
In responding to internal and external pressures for accountability in
higher education, especially in the areas of improved learning outcomes
and student success, IT leaders may soon become critical partners with
academic and student affairs. IT can help answer this call for
accountability through academic analytics, which is emerging as a new tool for a new era.

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Wednesday, 11 July 2007


I was creating a personal map of our recent holiday for my son's blog (so that he can show it at school) and am surprised given the publicity of their Mymaps development how poor the quality of google maps of Devon are compared to microsoft's version

Monday, 9 July 2007

Alternatives to Google

I am doing a conference session tomorrow on Web 2.0 and being a lecturer in HE, which will be very Google focussed so for balance this is a list of the alternatives -

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Thursday, 28 June 2007

Wiki's getting more sophisticated

The Pbwiki team have announced some new innovations - see below. I was beginning to think that wiki's were a bit of a flash in a pan but if these sorts of innovations keep coming I think they will begin to catch up with blogs as an alternative way of working together and communicating.

From the PBWiki mailing -

Now check this out. There are 5 new features for your wiki that you can
insert today -- free.

1. Spreadsheets for your PBwiki

2. Voice chat (talk to others viewing your wiki using your voice)

3. A shared calendar (perfect for scheduling with your group)

4. Upload video (no storage space used!)

5. Plan an event--even sell tickets--using a new plugin


My absence

Sorry there has been no activity on this blog for a while - due to pressure of work and illness.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

An intersting post on using the interenet to increase communication with students -

blog of proximal development » Blog Archive » Replacing Grading with Conversations

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Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Ambient Performance: Events

Ambient Performance: Events
Seriously mobile summit 2007 - London April 20th

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Task managers

Just like buses - I have been looking for a good task manager for ages then two come along:

Neptune - is very nice - really simple and has improved over the week as they have sorted out some sever issues - interstingly it doesn't include dates - being based on Gettgin Things Done - either you are doing something or it is 'witing for ...' time etc. Took some getting used to - dates by themselves don't help much in my experience.

HiTask - came along today just as I was getting used to Neptune - hitask does have dates - but this means you can sort by date so if you scheduole something for next week it doesn't clutter up today - has a premium version but it is not clear what else you get with that.

Both are web based and being one of the google people affected by the outage yesterday (I was waiting to retrieve a phone number from my contacts having said I would phone them back!) this is obviously a disadvantage - and hitask has a calendar but not the facility to subcribe to other calendars - so all is not solved - even if I could decide which to go for, and of course maybe google will do one soon anyway!

Useful site

The University of Melbourne has a very good recourse site on elearning - this page neatly summarises the issues with VLE's.

Some limitations of contemporary Learning Management Systems : E-Learning Management Systems : A Guide to E-Learning : METTLEweb : The University of Melbourne

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Monday, 26 March 2007

International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

Special Issue
New Technologies and New Approaches in Higher Education Pedagogy

Guest Editor: Krista P. Terry

Radford University;

As emerging technologies begin to dissolve boundaries between time, place and space, educators find themselves searching for methods to understand the attributes and functions of these new media technologies in order to leverage them toward enhancing the teaching and learning process. Mobile learning devices have facilitated ubiquitous learning environments that transcend the traditional classroom boundaries while personal broadcasting and social computing technologies have harnessed the power of individuals to create and collaborate through computer mediated environments. The evolution of these technologies provides educators with both challenges and opportunities to create rich and engaging learning experiences for their learners.

This issue will focus on how best to match attributes and features of new technologies with instructional goals and objectives in order to communicate with and teach a generated of 'wired', multi-tasking, media-immersed students. Manuscripts in this issue should focus on (a) the research, theory and practice of designing effective learning environments that are focused on the integration of new media technologies, and/or (b) the application of new media technologies to higher education.

Potential topics may include, but should not be limited to:

* mobile learning, podcasts, cell phones and tablet computing
* social learning, folksonomies, networks, and communication tools
* virtual worlds and gaming environments
* blogs, wikis and user-generated content

Specific Guidelines:

Finished manuscripts must be submitted by November 1, 2007. Please see the IJTLHE Submission Guidelines for detailed author guidelines and submission procedures. For further information or inquiry about this special issue, contact the Guest Editor: Krista P. Terry.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Student-Generated Content

The purpose of this collection is to showcase specific examples of how student-generated content can be used effectively in online education. In particular, this collection has focused on examples of student-generated content which represent a significant shift from students as content consumers to students as content producers, and/or result in products of lasting value to students individually, to other students, or to the larger community and society. -

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Friday, 16 March 2007

Future of VLE's in universities

I am been having a couple of email conversations with colleagues recently about the university VLE - the theme is the extent to which we should use the VLE as the main delivery form for students and to what extent should we use a myriad of Web2.0 tools - blogs, social networks and bookmarks etc.

This relates to anther David's blog article about the future of the VLE in his institution.

One local and much more pragmatic issue is the use of Blackboard's Scholar social bookmarking system - my initial inclination was to suggest that we should recommend the use of open systems such as Delicious rather than the closed Blackboard system - but am being convinced that take up would be more with Scholar so may go with that.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

JISC Conference

The Joint Information Systems Conference starts today in Birmingham - for up-dates on the conference see -

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Saturday, 24 February 2007


I have been using firefox for some time now - tab based browsing is a must for anyone who teaches on-line etc.

Firefox 2 has some great new features and extensions. The built in spell checker is great and works very well and has a british english dictionary.

Great extentions -

Zotero - collects references and webpages for research and can create bibliographies
Performancing - enables you to add blog entries to your blogs and automatically blog a webpage you are looking at - something I do often - has got me back into blogging
Cooliris - will open a preview page of any link - is already saving me lots of time as a surf the net, and use our VLE

find them at

See also -
which also has comments about institutional use fo Friefox in HE

Wiki sites

mguhlin » wikiwiki A` site about wiki's - 'Its a wiki, wiki world!'

and another - Wikipatterns

Both useful guides to using both on the technical and the strategic levels.

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

MPD students tasks

While you are waiting for the session today some tasks:

1 - have a look at and do the tutorial
2- think about what you would like to use a computer to help you be a better student
3- look at the video in the next post - how do you want to use the web?
4- Have a look at the visualization tools listed on an earlier post - which do you think are most useful?
5 - What do you think of my blog - how could I improve it? Add a comment to this post

Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us

MPD undergraduates - have a lok at this - how could you use web 2.0?

Monday, 19 February 2007

Mobile learning

Good review of the advantages of mobile learning.

TechDis - Overview of advantages

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Sunday, 18 February 2007

Visual thinking tools

A really useful resource

This page has resources to do most of the things you might want to do with e-learning!

Guide to Chosing Using Free E-Learning Tools: Introduction to E-Learning

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Having tried various other things I am now going for blogger blogs and this one is for my thoughts on e-learning.