I am in the CALRG research group and this week was the annual two-day conference – the 29th annual conference in fact! Further information and the book of abstracts is available from here. Unfortunately I couldn’t go to all of it because there was a clash with the SocialLearn workshop but the parts I went to were excellent and Andrew Brasher kindly sent me some notes on the talks, so this blog is my attempt to indirectly pretend I was at more of the conference!
Andrew Brasher and Simon Cross began the day talking about aspects of our Learning Design work. Andrew gave an excellent account of the background to the development of our visualisation tool CompendiumLD and the underlying design principles, as well as discussing the different values of the software in terms of supporting efficiency, effectiveness and creativity. Simon concentrated on the evidence emerging from our interviews in terms of giving us a better understanding of the design process. Simon has a nice visual diagram which demonstrates the design lifecycle. You can kind of just make it out in the pic below!
One of the excellent features of the CALRG conference is that each day has one or more discussants who critique the overall talks This year day one had Stylianos Hatzipanagos from King’s College London and Doug Clow from IET. Stylianos probed the role of learners in the design process and in particular what role they might play in the assessment process and how CompendiumLD might be used to support this. We also talked about how it was important to bring the full range of potential stakeholders into the design process; teachers, support staff, administrators, policy makers and students and that visual representation might be helpful in providing shared meaning.
Unfortunately I wasn’t at the rest of the sessions, but here is a summary of some of the highlights derived from Andrew’s notes:
- Stylianos then gave a talk entitled “Feedback in formative e-assessment; closing the loop in distance learning”. Amongst other things he talked about his work with Steve Warburton on different types of assessment and social software. Here’s the abstract:
- The paper explores the relationship between social software and formative assessment. Formative assessment practices though beneficial for student learning become marginalised and constrained in open and distance learning environments. Feedback is a key factor in formative assessment and can potentially benefit from the deployment of emerging technologies and the opportunities for participation and dialogue afforded by social software. This paper explores and proposes a conceptual framework for this relationship. The claim is that the social dimensions of emerging technologies allow for formative assessment practices to be re-invented or at the very least facilitated by essentially participative and student focused interventions. A comparison of these technologies against formative assessment mechanisms will help identify the types of processes that these new tools might best support to encourage effective feedback approaches that both empower the learner and enhance their learning experience.
- Also, McCormick’s (2004) paper exploring the relationship between ICT and assessment was also mentioned.
- Adrian Kirkwood talked about some really interesting work he is doing in a collaboratively international project in Bangladesh.
- Fernando Rosell-Aguilar talked about the innovations they are doing with the use of technology for some of the Spanish course. I would have liked to have heard this as of course I am doing the precursor Spanish course. Andrew noted this included some very interesting use of blogs and a glossary list of blogs.
- Teresa Connolly talked about some of the OpenLearn work, 5% of the OU catalogue is now on OpenLearn. She talked about the way in which they were looking at the design aspects with OERs and some of the difficulties. Interestingly they had been using Compendium to help with this. They are planning to look at two course units and attempt to map the OpenLearn production process.
I managed to make it back for the final session, with Chris Pegler acting as discussant for day two. Chris had done a tag cloud of the abstracts which provided a useful visual snapshot of the range and focus of the topics. Satisfyingly learning was the most prominent word; from my perspective design was pretty prominent too Here’s mine using TagCrowd on the conference proceedings - not sure what all the mysterious “7v”, “aj” etc are though!