Friday, 23 March 2007

Meetings, Conferences and too many teas!

After talking to corporate information it seems we were on the right line with the employer database and it looks like we can use existing database fields for the portal including allowing employers to search awards based on subject fields from JACs (although we will need to hide the term JAC’s!). Thanks to student registration we capture company name when the student fees are being paid for by the employer, and this links in nicely with the results of Stokes student survey. By linking the company to a learner we are linking them to awards, the question is how we handle histories, for example what happens if a learner switches employer during their studying? We also don’t hold (at the moment) much information at award level, rather just at module level at the moment.

The Shock of the Social was an interesting conference, Terry Anderson covered some interesting points as the key note speaker talking about the decline of the compliant learner and the fact that content on its own had no value and that it needs to be linked to pedagogy. He went on to say that there needs to be a change and the systems need to conform to the learner rather than the learner conforming to the system. This appeared to missed by some of the other speakers who focused on fitting social “web 2.0” tools into existing systems, i.e. Blackboard / Moodle. The main thing about moving forward is putting the learner in control and in the centre of the tools, not the institution. The SPIRE project shows that young learners do not accept institutional systems as well as older learners, this could be as they have found their own tools and would rather use them (

Paul Wall followed this up with looking at roles of traditional IT teams and using social internet tools within institutions. He looked at institutions needing to pick portable tools, able to use across systems and the presentation layer of using existing tools. This linked in well with the SURF WBL-Way project which is looking at a number of tools that will fit within a presentation layer created by the university, using information across selected tools. For example information from the repository could be delivered to a number of different tools including VLE’s, News Feeds, HTML pages etc. Blogs appeared to be the technology of the day with some different ways of supporting learners and delivery of assessment. Although the big problem still appears to be the learner can’t pick the tool, it is chosen for them. There are reasons for this including tutor management. One of the main drivers to getting learners to use these chosen tools is still linking it to assessment, there was little coverage on what learners do on their own time, with their own tools.

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