Tag Archives: Student

Keele University’s 3D Lab

Sebastian Barnes
IT Support Specialist
Leeds Beckett University

Sebastian Barnes was funded to attend this event as a 2017 UCISA bursary winner

SCHOMS Annual Conference 2017

After a morning of presentations on Day Two of the SCHOMS 2017 conference, which I was able to attend courtesy of a UCISA bursary, I went on to visit the conference exhibition.  After a brief look around one product caught my eye, the Sahara Clevertouch. The Sahara Clevertouch is an interactive touchscreen for education with an integrated Android system, 4k screen, airplay and onboard drawing, ideal for presenting to an audience or demonstration work within a class. It has professional casters, which can drop down to the ankles, as well as only weighing 94kg; this is considerably lighter than the c-touches (interactive touch displays) within Leeds Beckett. I tend to prefer Apple products and technology due to the intuitive nature of the interfaces, however this product has a quite smooth, quick, slim and easy to navigate user interface based on an Android system.

After a great exhibition, I had some lunch and then it was time for a tour of Keele University. One very interesting building, but not for the faint hearted was the Clinical Education Centre. This building is for medical students who can practice on fake and real dead bodies, however we were there to look at the technology. The technology demonstrated how well AV had developed over the years and the cost implications of it. We were also introduced to a 3D lab with virtual reality capabilities, hand crafted within Keele. I didn’t get to use this product, however I watched others. To use this a student would put on the headset and they would be within their own patient ward, having to deal with a variety of patients, reading records and attending to their needs. A great bit of kit which was ideal for medical student experience.

You can see me talking about this visit at UCISA’s Support Services Group Conference in the Student Panel session in July this year.

Learning about lecture flipping

Sebastian Barnes
IT Support Specialist
Leeds Beckett University

Sebastian Barnes was funded to attend this event as a 2017 UCISA bursary winner

SCHOMS Annual Conference 2017: New ways of delivering classes and lectures

As a UCISA bursary award winner, I was able to attend SCHOMS Annual Conference at Keele University.  After an introduction on Keele University, we moved onto a presentation ‘Creating learning activities and spaces for digital age learners’, regarding the ways in which a class or lecture is delivered to students and how this can be improved. Laura Hancock, Keele University, suggested implementing an idea called “lecture flipping”. As a student, this sounds great! Less time in a lecture theatre and more time in a classroom being able to communicate ideas with each other. Currently at Leeds Beckett this idea is already implemented, with one-hour lectures and one two-hour tutorial per week. However, if the lecture was assigned as homework and within our lecture the hour was more discussion based then this would be better; for myself personally, but some people prefer to learn from listening rather than doing!

Time for IT at the top table

The exponential rise of technology-driven change means digital strategies are no longer merely support acts to primary university and college strategic plans. Here, UCISA Chair David Telford argues that, with digital transformation key to the future student experience and learning journey, it’s time for CIOs and Vice Chancellors to push digital strategies into pole position in business planning:

 

Here’s a bold statement. Digital strategy is not just about the numbers or how much it costs to run your IT. Unless and until your university fully gets to grips with technology’s contribution to the student experience and the learner journey, both will be severely impaired.
IT is now fundamental to the student experience and learning. Technology use is about far more than IT-driven processes and an aid to organisational efficiency and effectiveness. It’s integral to the whole student lifecycle.
Today, the knowledge of how best to leverage technologies to enhance teaching and the academic and research agendas is not coming from the academics, it’s coming from the IT department. In integrating our academic agenda at my own institution, we’re spending more and more time in the classroom and supporting students, even early in their studies and as postgrads, in leveraging technology to access information and research materials.
The digital literacy and digital skills gap in universities that’s growing year-on-year is well documented – but this is not knocking the lecturers. Things are moving so quickly that the skills of academics are just not keeping pace. Like many other sectors, we are in transition. Digitisation is growing and technology brings change. It is disruptive to past ways of working. Taking best advantage requires not only skills but a cultural shift to a change-ready and agile mindset.
So what’s the future of your university? How can a digital strategy ensure that value is best provided to students, lecturers and researchers?
There are a few lessons from the wider world. In less than a decade, Netflix has transformed from a DVD sales and rental business, to media streaming and latterly film and television production and online distribution. They have successfully leveraged advances in technology and been shrewd in understanding changing customer expectations and unmet needs.
How does this link to our university communities and their expectations? Well it’s clear that they live in a connected Netflix world. Our smartphone students inhabit multiple online communities and communicate via Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. They collaborate and share instantly and naturally. Established systems like email and intranets are clunky in comparison. Our business systems often lack the immediacy of app-based solutions and the ability to collaborate on joint decision making or visualising the data.
And what about staff? A recent Facebook-sponsored Deloitte survey of business managers showed only 14 per cent of those responding were fully satisfied with their organisation’s ability to connect, communicate and collaborate with 65 per cent citing digital technologies as the way forward. Would the statistics for higher education alone really be that much different? Certainly, both TEF and the NSS highlight the need for IT to be actively involved in the staff and student experience at all levels.
Working in a multi-campus university, one of the issues I’ve faced is that we’ve yet to get our communities fully joined up. We don’t have a fully-fledged research community and we also don’t have a strong sense of community around the subject areas we are known for. Going forward, it is technology that is going to make the difference in these areas. But even in this, we have to collaborate. This is not a nut IT can crack alone.
Trying to predict the future is a fool’s errand – but we can prepare for it and an effective digital strategy that looks beyond the three or five-year horizon of a typical university business strategy is crucial. While it’s important to bring on the skills of individual academics, we also need to promote recognition of the fact that IT is now very much a part of learning delivery systems. Pedagogy is no longer the sole domain of the lecturer.
The future is very much about collaborative delivery alongside other institutional agencies. Depending how you are structured, that can be as much with library colleagues and learning technologists as with academics and students. For all of us, it’s about thinking across multiple disciplines and multiple service boundaries. It’s about getting out of our comfort zones and addressing questions of collaboration and service delivery that engenders skills development and makes a tangible contribution to the digital learner journey.
The role and dimension for IT in student success is huge and this is a theme that I know some fellow UCISA members have already included in TEF submissions using evidence of digital literacy and engagement with IT systems to show how they have contributed to improved learning outcomes. This is digital strategy linked to powerful strategic programmes with real teeth.
My digital strategy for my own university runs to 2025, five years beyond the university’s current strategy, because the question I asked myself was not only how we could support what’s happening now but how can we inform the next planning cycle and be prepared to meet the challenge of change – both in the sector and the marketplace. It’s about raising the flag now and saying IT will have to be a key strategic theme in all future university strategies.
It’s a new role – and one all of us in IT leadership roles should take on with relish. It’s never been more important for universities to support their IT people, recognise their strategic importance and focus on the contribution of IT to the learner journey.
Taking best advantage of disruptive technology is an issue that goes beyond UCISA’s membership and is on the table for many people. But we’re here to play our part. UCISA’s own Strategic Plan provides for much greater engagement with IT staff at all levels in future. Student success is a business we are all in now and whether you work in IT or not, we’re here to signpost you not only to resources and best practice but a network of contacts that have been there, done that.

Key take-outs for CIOs:

• When crafting your institution’s digital strategy, consider the impact of digital in the broadest sense. An effective IT strategy should fully embrace its effective contribution to student success and student outcome.

• Think beyond the current university business plan horizon. What trends and scenarios can new and emerging use of technology capitalise on in support of the student lifecycle.

• Integrate the digital strategy with the institutional strategy – not least in the value added to the student journey and later student entry and contribution to the workplace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David Telford
UCISA Executive Chair and Director of Information Services 
Edinburgh Napier University

UCISA welcomes blog contributions from members. If you would like to contribute a new perspective on a current topic of interest, please contact the website team via manjit.ghattaura@it.ox.ac.uk

 

The views expressed on UCISA blogs are the authors’ and do not necessarily reflect those of UCISA.

Universal design for learning

Emma Fletcher
Technology Enhanced Learning Advisor
York St John University

EDUCAUSE 2017

Emma Fletcher was funded to attend this event as a 2017 UCISA bursary winner

As a UCISA bursary winner for 2017, I got the opportunity to attend the annual EDUCAUSE conference, this year held in Philadelphia, PA.

The first session of Day 1 of the EDUCAUSE conference was from Dr Michio Kaku, a futurist, theoretical physicist and author. He spoke about his predictions for the future, the digitisation of society and commerce, although he admitted it is hard to predict the future. He suggested that the internet will be everywhere in the future, so we will view it in the same way we view electricity now. We will have the internet in contact lenses, meaning getting online will be as easy as blinking. This will mean we have information easily available to us, so in education memorising facts/figures will be less important with more focus on concepts being taught. He also spoke of lecturers roles becoming more of a mentoring one. Whilst it was thought provoking, some of it was rather science fiction.

Further sessions in Day 1 of the conference covered the key areas of universal design for learning (UDL) and learning management systems (LMS). In ‘A look at how an LMS can help you implement your UDL strategies’, Kenneth Chapman (D2L) and Sandra Connelly (Rochester Institute of Technology) covered the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework  principles and how the LMS can play a role in supporting some of these  They focussed on the issues around accessibility, levelling the playing field so that everyone has equal access to what is being designed, as well as ensuring that this is designed and added up front.

Resources and downloads from the presentation are now available.

 

Technology Enhanced Active Learning and Active Learning Spaces

Emma Fletcher
Technology Enhanced Learning Advisor
York St John University

EDUCAUSE 2017

Emma Fletcher was funded to attend this event as a 2017 UCISA bursary winner

At the recent EDUCASE 2017 conference, which I was able to join courtesy of a UCISA bursary, I was able to attend a session on Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs), named by EDUCAUSE as the top strategic technology of 2017 due to the popularity and innovation of ALCs. Active learning classrooms (ALCs) are designed to create affordances that support active learning pedagogies (which research has demonstrated are better when compared with more passive types of learning).

Presented by D. Christopher Brooks and Malcolm Brown (from EDUCAUSE), Melody Buckner  (University of Arizona), Adam Finkelstein (McGill University) and Sehoya Cotner (University of Minnesota), the session explored the research around ALCs as well as looking at the teaching practices that work best in them. There were examples from research, at the University of Minnesota, where the traditional teaching (large lectures) was compared with smaller ALC style teaching. This showed that students in traditional classrooms achieved as expected, however ALC students outperformed against their expected grades. One message that came out of the session was that potential of ALCs can only be realised if you have good teaching. Changing the space may mean that the instructor doesn’t know how to teach in the new space (teachers may try and use the traditional lecture style in the new spaces so, for example, students would have their back to lecturers) and active learning gains are achieved by academics teaching to fit the learning space.

Goals of the Active Learning Initiative

The third day of the EDUCAUSE conference, had a  further technology session presented by Virginia Lacefield, Enterprise Architect at University of Kentucky, looking at ‘Evaluating the Impact of Technology-Enhanced Active Learning Classrooms on Students and Instructors: Lessons from our First Full Year’.

Between 2014 and 2016, the University of Kentucky had opened 17 new Technology Enhanced Active Learning (TEAL) spaces at the university and carried out an evaluation of the impact of these on teaching, student learning outcomes and retention. The data collected consisted of surveys from both students and instructors as well as classroom observations and course grades. The classroom observations (adapted from the University of Minnesota developed instrument) were timed observations where every five minutes they marked down what the students and instructor were doing.

The observations showed a great deal of variation between classes. The findings of the staff survey showed that 18% of staff did not plan to use active learning strategies and 29% of staff planned not to use the TEAL equipment. 126 of the courses taught in TEAL had enough data points for comparison, 35 of these courses had significant grade differences for all students (29 had a positive difference favouring the TEAL sections, six had a positive difference favouring the non-TEAL sections). When they looked at retention, they found that there was significant correlation between number of TEAL courses taken and second year retention. As a result they are increasing the support for staff to help support the use of TEAL, such as technology/pedagogy open houses, scheduled one-on-one support appointments, giving advance notice of classroom assignment and communicating about available support resources.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other highlights of the EDUCAUSE conference included:

 

 

 

New ideas and innovative concepts

 

Ed Stout
Support Services Manager
Leeds Beckett University
 

EUNIS 2017 Day 3 Reflections

Ed Stout was funded to attend this event as a 2017 UCISA bursary winner

Day 3 was a shorter day at EUNIS17 with an early afternoon closing to allow for everyone to travel home.  In contrast to the previous two days, it started with a number of optional parallel sessions to choose from in place of early morning keynotes. This morning I chose to mix-and-match with parallel sessions, starting off in a session on the “New Ideas & Innovative Concepts” track and following on to 2 sessions on “Learning, Teaching & Student Experience”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mikko Mäkelä and his colleagues at Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Finland are required like many of us to have to optimise their estate and within that their technology offerings. This was discussed in Mikko’s session ‘New Ideas & Innovative Concepts: Laptop Lending, with Zero Effort?

Additionally, the BYOD world in which we are now living is having an effect on our students’ expectations and the way in which they learn both on and off campus. Mikko identified that this change in technology provision should not simply be driven by the IT department but also by the changes in teaching styles within the business. It was highlighted that a key factor in deciding what we need to provide is to better understand how our students are currently working and indeed how they would like to learn and work in the future.

By comparison to some other universities having presented at EUNIS17, Metropolia University is a relatively modestly sized university with just over 16,000 students and around 1,000 staff.  They identified that the classroom PCs were not utilised enough and that they may be in the wrong locations. Additionally, they were commonly not available at peak times between 10:00 and 14:00. It was therefore decided that a new approach had to be adopted to enable increased flexibility whilst offering a service that was of high-quality, available where and when required, and inclusive of all appropriate software. Metropolia investigated a variety of the lending options that were on the market including those from Posti, Redbox, D-Tech International and Ergotron. Following this, a number of their students undertook projects to design and develop a suitable laptop loans offering and created a new solution they named “LaptopLender”. Their resultant theses can be found link below: (please note they are in Finnish)

Theses 1

Theses 2

A link to Mikko’s presentation slides can be found: Eunis2017: Laptop lending, with zero-effort?

A link to Mikko’s “Laptop lending, with zero-effort?” paper can be found here.

This blog post first appeared on http://www.edstout.co.uk/2017/06/27/day-3-reflections/

 

 

Don’t be afraid to ask – implementing a Learning Management System


 

 

 

 

Ed Stout
Support Services Manager
Leeds Beckett University

EUNIS 2017

Mike Thomas Floejborg from the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) ran an interesting Parallel Session on Day Two of the EUNIS conference, ‘Leadership and Management – Don’t be Afraid to Ask: Implementing “New Absalon”’. The University of Copenhagen (UCPH) is the oldest university in Denmark and has four primary campuses in the capital city. The university has around 40,000 students and around 10,000 staff and is divided into six faculties. In 2014, UCPH committed to a project to replace their existing Learning Management System (LMS) named Absalon, running on ItsLearning with a new system running on Canvas LMS, to retain the name “Absalon” (a reference to a former Danish Archbishop).  They went into the project with a commitment to organise it with three key elements in mind: involvement, dialogue, and transparency.

It was clarified that this was an ambitious project with a tight time schedule:

  • December 2014 – Decision made to procure and implement new LMS
  • June 2015 – Project initiated
  • May 2016 – Go live (Autumn courses)
  • Jan 2017 – Expiration of contract with current supplier (ItsLearning).

Mike continued to reinforce the fact that the stakeholders’ engagement was integral to the success of the project:

  • Organisation provided inputs for the system requirements.
  • Expert group organised, prioritised and qualified the inputs.
  • Teachers, students and members of the expert group tested the systems and chose a winner.
  • The project (including chairman of the steering committee) visited the local management of all six faculties.
    • The faculty reps were worried if the project was realistic.
    • This tour helped produce a supportive and calm stakeholder community.

The benefits of such an engaging approach were clearly evident. There was significant goodwill from management, teachers and students to the delivery of the project and subsequent use. All project participants were dedicated to the end goal. The faculties took responsibility for the local implementation of “New Absalon” and the consistent transparency and engagement are believed to have increased the recorded user satisfaction.

A link to Mike’s “Don’t Be Afraid to Ask: Implementing “New Absalon” paper can be found here.

This blog post first appeared on http://www.edstout.co.uk/2017/06/25/day-2-reflections/

 

 

Digital Skills for a New Generation


 

 

 

 

Ed Stout
Support Services Manager
Leeds Beckett University

Day Two EUNIS17

Day two was another great day at EUNIS17.   Following an early morning fear of conference burn out, having been up late writing up my notes from the Wednesday sessions, I took the option not to make the day quite as manic/tiring as my first day. Day two of the conference was opened with three highly interesting keynotes.

Martin Hamilton of Jisc opened his keynote ‘Life on Mars: Digital Skills for a New Generation’  with a look into the future. What careers do we think are going to play a new role in the future and what should we as HE institutions be doing to ensure that we successfully leverage/support these? When we think of our current course offerings, are we considering DNA editors, drone engineers or even asteroid miners? Should we be? Well, quite possibly. We need to ensure that we are “equipping today’s learners for tomorrow’s world,” Martin tells us, and ensure that we support the “digitally disadvantaged to achieve their potential.” These three mentioned careers are already available in our transforming marketplace; are we helping them to achieve their career aspirations?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what more does our future world hold for us? Martin felt it important that we not only focus on the future, as there are elements of the present, which we may not be best supporting to enable our students to meet that future. With “every self-respecting billionaire” investing in a space programme, maybe we should take note.  Space X have developed a rocket that would have previously been sent into space at a cost of $100 million, never to return. They’re now making space exploration “affordable” by the launch and safe return of rockets to Earth!! Is this the sort of development of the future that we in higher education should ensure we do not simply overlook?

SpaceX – First-stage landing from THAICOMB mission May 2016.

Could robots actually play a big part in future? In Japan, SoftBank have invested in the development of a humanoid robot they call Pepper. “He” is intended to be able to interpret emotions and effectively respond to questions. As you can see in the below video, emotional robotics may be in their infancy but they will need highly trained professionals to take them on to reach their potential. A gap in the mass HE market maybe?

Pepper the ‘emotional’ robot visits the FT | FT Life.

Martin explained how the technical world is changing the everyday jobs we have been accustomed to. With over 3,000,000 truck drivers in the USA and over 300,000 taxi drivers in the UK, advancements in vehicular automation is very likely to have an impact. It isn’t just Google with their WAYMO project that are investing. Tesla car owners have already driven over 140,000,000 miles on autopilot. Self-driving cars are here! With this technology now available in the present, we in HE must be aware that the post-graduation jobs market is shifting and so with it our students’ needs/demands. Martin also made reference to how Amazon have realigned their warehouses and distribution centres with over 45,000 robots (BettyBots)completing orders in a “human exclusion zone”. These are jobs that once would have been completed by humans and now make up 12% of Amazon’s workforce.

High-Speed Robots Part 1: Meet BettyBot in “Human Exclusion Zone” Warehouses-The Window-WIRED

Given the pace of change, we need to make sure that our institutions are assisting our students’ needs to re-train. Maybe we need to be re-focusing on training for careers in robot script writing, self-drive car engineering or robotic engineering. Our vision for the future will be the defining factor that shapes our successes.

For anyone wishing to view Martin’s full presentation, he has recorded and made it available on YouTube here:

This blog post first appeared on http://www.edstout.co.uk/blog/

 

 

Disruptive innovation, competency based education and higher education of the future

luke
Luke Taylor
Assistant Director
University of Bristol
Chair of UCISA-CISG

 

Educause – Day 1

When I applied for one of the UCISA 21st Anniversary bursaries, I stated that my focus at Educause would be on the following three areas. These are strategically important both for UCISA members and for my University:

  1. Joined-up, student-centred enterprise systems
  2. Master data, reporting and analytics to support decisions for individual students, cohorts and institutions
  3. Consistent and effective processes and technology that can be used to support the management of the assessment and feedback life-cycle

Day 1 gave me the opportunity to look at the big picture – A view of students of the future and the higher education of the future. I also got some insight into the latest approaches to the use of analytics as a part of the education process, and an introduction to tools that support Competency Based Education (CBE).

Clay Christensen, Harvard Business School professor, used his opening keynote to provide some thoughts about disruptive innovation and why it matters to higher education. Drawing parallels with the technology business, Clay showed that, while established and successful universities currently retain their dominance through investment in incremental advancements to the traditional HE model, this will not be a sustainable approach, and will become increasingly under threat from smaller, more agile organisations that can introduce new education models through rapid innovation. A similar point of view was previously put forward in the IPPR publication “An avalanche is coming: Higher education and the revolution ahead“. Universities need to consider how to give accreditation for smaller ‘packets’ of learning rather than traditional degree courses, which students can draw together to prepare them for the jobs of the future.

The thoughts from Clay Christensen’s opening keynote were supported by Gartner Vice President, Jan-Martin Lowendahl’s presentation – ‘Introducing Visual Strategic Planning Using Four Higher Education Business-Model Scenarios and Strategic Technology Maps’. Jan described how the higher education delivery model needs to be completely rethought due to the opportunities brought about through technology. Universities need to consider their current model, what their future model will look like, and strategically plan how to develop their business model to react to the future needs for higher education.

Day 1 also introduced us to the students of 2020. Students that will need to prepare for careers that will include a variety of jobs, some of which don’t exist yet (the rise of the Data Scientist was difficult to predict). This view of the future means that students will want to gain many different skills, and make many adjustments to their education, over a lifetime of learning.

With these thoughts of future university business models and student needs, I used one of the breaks to go to the Educause Learning Theatre to see some new tools that can support Competency Based Education. Flat World and eLumen both provide interesting tools that support highly personalised student learning experiences. The demonstrations left me wondering how these tools could be combined with other student support systems, information systems and records systems to provide a joined-up, student-centred system.

Finally on day 1, I attended a session about building institutional capacity for learning analytics. This method of pulling together data from multiple sources in order to answer questions can be useful to the university and the individual student. Universities can use analytics to track student progress, plan future delivery and raise alerts for those who may need specific support to help them achieve their learning aims. Students can use analytics to guide their journey through university and converge towards their career steps. Accessing and analysing data about their own performance, comparing with the different degree pathways, understanding careers that led from similar pathways and how they relate to workforce trends, has the potential to guide students in a way that is difficult to achieve without analytics.

Luke

Students at the heart of the system

luke

Luke Taylor
Assistant Director
University of Bristol
Chair of UCISA-CISG

 

 

A status update via Educause

With many students paying £9,000 per annum in tuition fees and significant competition among universities to attract students, there is a greater than ever need to provide students with an excellent service, from prospect to alumnus.

Unfortunately, UK universities are faced with operating archaic student records systems (SRS) which, rather than putting the student at the heart of the system, focus on the recording of formal records in order to meet statutory and institutional administrative needs. A current SRS that can provide student self-service optional module selection is still considered leading edge!

UK universities need next-generation SRS solutions that can deliver true customer relationship management (CRM) underpinning support throughout the student life-cycle, and analytics also, to help guide each student individually through their journey at university, and assist the institution in reacting to and planning its way through this rapidly changing environment.

Is the UK alone in this predicament? Is there anything we can learn from our colleagues overseas? I applied to UCISA and was awarded one of their 21st Anniversary Bursaries to travel to an overseas conference. I have chosen to attend Educause to learn what U.S. and other international colleagues are doing to improve their delivery of systems to support students during their time at higher education.

Here is a list of some of the conference sessions I intend to get to (although many do overlap), which I hope will help me build a picture of the state of play overseas, and will form the basis of future blog posts:

Disruptive Innovation and the Future of Higher Education
Examining the Advancing Technology Market for Competency-Based Education
The Students of 2020
Adaptive Learning and the Quest to Improve Undergraduate Education
Student Systems Ascend to the Cloud: The Continuum of Solutions That Will Get You There
Behind the Curtain: Technologies Supporting Student Success
Building Institutional Capacity for Learning Analytics
Designing an Adaptable Evaluative Tool for Educational Technologies
Improving Student Graduation Rates Using Data Insights and Predictive Modelling
Kuali Student: Student Systems Solutions Already Making a Difference
Student Success Is Everybody’s Business
Organize to Get Analytics Right: Integrating Institutional Teams and High Speed to Improve Student Success
Learner Centric: The New Normal
Assessment with Learning Analytics: Combining Multiple Sources of Data to Support Student Learning with Educational Technology

Luke