HEA Annual Conference 2012

The latter half of this presentation was given by me  at the HEA conference, followed by a very interesting and dynamic discussion about the student voice and the impact on curriculum change.

JISC Webinar Presentation

Leeds Met e-portfolio Steering Group

Given the strong tie up between the PC3 project and the Leeds Met e-portfolio steering group it seems sensible to update people with the current situation here.PC3 has a requirement for students to use an e-portfolio tool to support their curriculum creation and reflect on their experiences of coaching;  Leeds Met is in the process of identifying and deploying a university wide e-portfolio tool.

At present the steering group has created a business case for a university wide e-portfolio and this has been presented and accepted at the University Quality Enhancement Committee and Academic Board. It will shortly go before the Information Systems Strategy Group to ensure that it can be accommodated by other planned IT and process changes within the university. Relevant budget holders for licences, user support and technical support have been identified and discussions held to ensure that monies are available for the coming academic year. So we are close to the point where we can go for tender.

Last week we held a workshop to help us identify staff requirements for an e-portfolio tool to be used across the university. Members of the PC3 project attended and supported the workshop. Not all Faculties were represented and some more active staff involved in employability were unable to attend so the initial outcomes will need some input from these areas of the university. Earlier attempts to collect this data using a questionnaire based around the EduTools criteria proved equally incomplete as the wording for the questions left a number of respondents puzzled. The current plan is to try to bring together this data together with requirements collected at the recent event to achieve a primary list for the university.

The workshop used the JISC e-portfolio worksheet and InfoKit as an aid to help staff identify and focus on what they felt was important for them. We also tried to start the process of prioritising the identified criteria by following a modified version of the processes used in the JISC Biils project (Strathclyde University).

Hopefully we can create a working tender document for potential tool providers very soon. We’ll keep you posted on developments here.

Telephone Conference with CETIS – Feb 23rd

We had a very interesting discussion with Sheila MacNeil, Wilbert Kraan and Sarah Knight recently. Though it was intended to be an update on the technology used to support PC3 the topics were quite wide ranging. From our initial focus on PebblePad, Elluminate and a small range of tools to support the creation of learning objects we eventually reached issues relating to XCRI, the TENCO project and the JISC competencies in design studio work. We are also planning on offering students access to the Ning however this is on the back burner for the present – possible in danger of overwhelming the students with technology..

For PC3 the choice of PebblePad reflects the need for a tool to support reflection, a place to store  objects with a variety of data formats, the need for profiles to enable competency mapping, facilities for peer support and a mechanism to help us introduce evaluation activities. It is also a recognition that Leeds Met has an e-portfolio steering group that is currently in the process of identifying an appropriate tool for use across the university. As far as possible PC3 would like to take advantage of any chosen tool – several members of PC3 are on the steering group and are well placed to ensure the needs of the project form part of the criteria for evaluating potenial e-portfolios.

The first cohort of students to enrol on the PLC (Personalised Learning through Coaching) module will begin their studies very shortly and we are making use of the University web conferencing tool Elluminate to support some distance coaching with them. We have had some experience of using this tool and are aware that there are a number of things that could go wrong here however we feel that we will be able to cope with any teething issues.

On a related note the need to create learning objects to support the PLC module has meant that several members of staff have made use of tools such as CourseLab and GloMaker. Our experience so far has been mixed with CourseLAb failing to generate SCORM packages that will run under X-Stream the Leeds Met VLE and GloMaker being somewhat limited in what it will allow the creator to do. We are currently in the process of creating independent learning objects using HTML templates such that the results can be imported into X-Stream and also added to our institutional repository. These outputs will also support the OER project UniCycle also running at Leeds Met. Sheila was very helpful here bringing to our attention the availability of a knowledge integration tool for content transcoding, the Open University Atelier-D project and also the 10competence project. We were also directed to th work under way at MMU on competency mapping.

Overall this was a highly successful conference so thanks to everyone that took part.

Cluster Meeting – November 30/Dec 1st

This was an excellent  meeting and all participants felt that they had gained from it. One outcome form the Monday afternoon discussions around coaching was an agreement that John would meet with Steven Powell from Bolton with a view to looking at coaching and its impact in their project. The Tuesday morning session around module costings was also well received and Gill Ferrell (JISC programme Manager) was present and took notice of these discussions. There was also an opportunity to propose ideas for workshops and other forms of support form JISC: key proposals were for an event to look at module costing approaches, an event to look at ways in which module information held across an institution have been harvested and represented centrally, and approaches to change management.

Tony Toole provided a brief review of the meeting, available here:

camel3 – lmu 30109

PLC Personalised Learning through coaching

The discussion back in Febuary with JISC started the ball rolling on developing a module as a jump of point for Personalised Curriculum Creation. Over the past five months we have had to look into University processes to find out: whether it was possible for students to register on a single module; and whether it was possible to validate a module external to a course. There have been many discussions with various elements of university systems and debates with others interested in this type of development. Alongside this we have been busy forming ideas and creating the module spec itself.

We’ve designed it around the PC3 process to ensure that all the elements of that process (learning bank, studeo etc) are integrated – see the diagram here. Started with the learner – their self assessment and reflection – we then looked at the learning blocks that would be needed to support this process and the coaching that would underpin it. The assessment we had already agreed would be evidence based so the issue here was really how to ensure we get evidence for the assessment without that interfering with the personal development and coaching which requires trust and confidentiality. We have (I think) resolved this by identifying clear elements of reflection for assessment and making clear the rest is entirely personal – we need to make the assessed elements also serve to give us information to evaluate the process so the assessments also have that in mind.

The learning blocks will comprise learning resources and activities that might include both group and individual online activities. The advantages of doing it this way are that we can make use of resources from a wide range of sources and make available our blocks as learning objects in their own right.

Janet Finlay edited by Dawn

ArchiMate Workshop – Bolton University, May 19th 2009

An interesting event that helped to crystallise my views of the level of detail we should engage in when modelling relevant University processes. There were several presentations from JISC projects that had engaged with modelling processes using the ArchiMate language though using different tools. There was also a brief introduction to the JISC Innovation Base which resulted in a partially complete contribution of our proposed modelling activities for inclusion in the emerging IB.

A couple of presentations were from completed JISC Enterprise Architecture projects where substantial parts of university people, processes and systems are being modelled. It was clear from these that there is a considerable amount of time and effort required to both capture and model University wide activities, though there are potentially considerable benefits for the institution. In both cases there were identifiable full time staff involved in the modelling activity and such staff are based outside the typical University structure i.e. not associated with any particular strand of the University. They could be seen as the guardians of the models of existing organisational roles, processes and systems. Both groups were using a tool called BizzDesign which includes support for ArchiMate – this is an expensive modelling tool [ £2000 per year per licence was quoted].

A third presentation (by Alan Paul from APS Consultancy) showed part of the modelling done as part of the MMU SRC project. This was at a lower level of detail and used MS Visio but it was more detailed than the modelling that I have done for PC3 in that roles and data are separated out from the processes and rules used to represent our Academic Award Validation Process.

With regard to the overall workshop there seemed to be an implicit expectation that participants were already using ArchiMate as there was no actual introduction to the language semantics, similarly there were references to approaches such as ‘The Open Group Architecture Framework – TOGAF’ and an expectation or awareness of the levels of support offered for the language within various tools. It was clear during the discussions that there are shortcomings with regard to ArchiMate in that it appears to be well suited to modelling (and visualising) the relationships between roles, processes and systems but was less suited to more detailed process descriptions particularly where there decision points with alternate paths that could be followed.

I propose that we look at my existing models of the Academic Award Validation process and represent it with the roles and data elements split off and then present it back to SRO to see if they find it more useful.