Category: coll_learn

supporting maths learners at distance: drake centre

Just been catching with David and Eddie w.r.t their need to provide student centred Maths support for Nurses at Drake Centre. They’d like to explore a number of desktop conferencing solutions, with different pen / graphical inputs. There looks to be lots of overlap with the emerging model (institutional need) in an earlier post.

Their needs are … a virtual whiteboard and synchronous audio chat for two way communication

A few additional needs to factor in; drake centre is on UCS network … we own it, not the LNs (need to confirm), therefore should be able to roll out software, hardware drivers etc., The Drake centre has designated machines / spaces, so if hardware OK, can roll out, they’ll be providing set times for these 1-2-1 sessions per week.

They’ve started exploring Skype and will be willing to try Blackboard’s Virtual Classroom (although doesn’t over audio at the moment).

conferencing scenarios

This leads on from a previous post, and outlines a few ideas from the team with respect to conference tools. The idea is not to purchase another solution but use our current ones more effectively. This will involve better signposting for staff about the options. For instance;

Instructor Controlled

Large scale live broadcast (to other sites and people, where the audience are relatively passive, tend to watch, listen and questions would be managed via IM / text back channel – the presenter reads the questions and answers it) >>> e-stream

Instructor Controlled

Small scale, groups managed via the VLE – Blackboard Virtual Classroom / Chat – this will give options for more involvement by the participants with integration of polls etc., >>> WOLSEY (need to open the ports)

Participant Controlled

tends to be 1-2-1 or 1-2-few, more about group work, support etc., lots more video, sharing desktop etc., >>> SKYPE

re-discovering Skype … its moved on, so do we need large scale conference systems?

I’ll have to admit, I’ve not looked at skype for a long time … but the following scenario is being requested from our learning development team, and I’m wondering … skype might be perfect.

The scenario is, student book an online support slot with the learning development team for a session on around maths. The student will be based in one of the Learning Networks, or at home. They need to be able to talk and share a collaborative space to write stuff on (pen input for maths notation). It would be really nice to record the screen (solution) so it can be added to the collection of videos.

Skype (which now has up to 9 poeple/sites on a video chat) could be used to connect and manage the discussion. The annotation might be through any application they can share and both annotate. You simply share the desktop.

  • From a user perspective, there is a slight delay as you need to ensure you have a skype user account.
  • From the institutional perspective there are issues about rolling out / installing the software.

I’ll admit I’d like to use Google Talk / Docs to manage the process as you don’t need to stress about the software, and you can share without the issue of accounts (simply send them the url) But doesn’t seem there at the moment 😦

Rebiew of “models for activities, collaboration and assessment in wikis academic courses” (view:all)

I think this article is very useful atmaking us think about how we classify the different types of wiki use. I think a classification is a very good starting point for our analysis of wikis. I’d like to re-read the Georgia Tech doc with this one and have a bash at developing a classification system. Then use this as a means of identifying how we use wikis at Bath.

review of “exploring the use of blogs as learning spaces in the higher education sector” (view:all)

I read this with various hats on. Firstly, I thought the discussion under the academic literature on blogging was good as it took many of the discussions about blogs to a slightly different level. It shifted the discussion from simply using blogs as reflective, personal journals towards them being used to develop other student skills, which have clear benefits for their learning. Such as increasing confidence, critical thinking and being able to more effectively express themselves. I’m going to follow up the Ferdy and Trammel reference … I read it many years ago ….

As the discussion shifted to how the authors had used blogs in their teaching then a couple of points emerged that I thought would be appropriate for the context of Bath. Firstly, the issue of student motivation to participate. A common view is that if students aren’t rewarded then they’ll not take part. This was identified as being partially true with their students. However, the analysis indicated that students after the pilot perceived that their learning experience from using the blog was very positive, and a large number thought it should be rolled out across more units within the programme. This made me think that we need to make students much more aware of the benefits of taking part in collaborative blogs. I think then when we set the activity we tend to undersell the wider benefits that can be gained from participation.

My final hat was the critical friend role with the person who wrote the article. I’d have liked to see a few changes that would have improved the learning experience for me, the reader. I would have preferred if they’d reduce the length of the intro and spent more space on actually explaining what the students actually did, and more detail on how it was implemented and how it fitted in with the rest of the course. I would have also liked to see some quantitative evidence from the blogs and the logs. For instance, how often was it used? what was the pattern of use? did people stop contributing? based on examples what was the type of discourse undertaken? was there a core number of bloggers? did people make comments? etc etc etc., I’d also liked to have seen if they could used focus groups to start to unpick if the active bloggers started to see the benefits suggested by Ferdis and Trammel (2004)