Welcome to a new online, informal, programme we’re calling Learning X. It will look at various topics in learning and teaching, and should give you food for thought, as well as some practical tips.
Over time, Learning X will publish “seasons” of blog posts, each running over the course of a week or so. They’ll contain activities focusing on learning and teaching activities (usually, but not exclusively, using technology).
The idea behind courses like these is that anyone can participate in short spaces of time, for example, over a coffee, in a gap between meetings, or even dip into in the evening. They’ll be left available for staff to use at any point in time, so that if you aren’t able to participate at the time, you can later. We’re hoping to stimulate your thinking and introduce you to approaches and technologies that will allow you to stretch yourself and your students, rather than the day to day uses of MyDundee or Turnitin. That said, we may cover material that looks at how to delve into the depths of these.
On that note, we would welcome ideas for future sessions. You know what you want to know more about … we don’t.
Why “Learning X”?
We tried to find a generic term, that would cover what we want to do, but one that doesn’t tie us to too much. “Coffee Course” is already in use at other Universities, (and the UK is historically a nation of Tea drinkers, not coffee); “Digital Snack Time” implied it was all going to be digital – we’ve already said that we’re hoping some of the sessions would look at non-technological based ideas and that we can follow-up with hands-on sessions and meet-ups.
The concepts of Learning 2.0, Learning 3.0 etc, exist (though not all agree on what these actually mean!); TEDx is also well known, and so, Learning X – as that could tie us to any generation of Learning.
Who are we?
The team currently supporting these are staff from within CTIL (the Centre for Technology and Innovation in Learning) and our educational technologists based in specific schools – and anyone else who can add to the mix. If you have an idea that you think you’d like to run a session on or a theme for a season – let us know.
What do you need to do?
We’ll be encouraging you to participate, to share ideas both in the comments spaces on the daily posts, but also to start to look at how you might develop a portfolio of ideas. If you look in the resources section of this post, you’ll find some ideas about some of the tools you might want to think about setting up.
Seasons planned for 2018-19
- Video and Animation
Why you might want to use video or animation in teaching – and some practical ideas to help you get started.
- The Dark Side
What potential problems can arise in the use of technology in learning
[Late November 2018]
- Social Media and Learning
How might you use Social media to support your own, and your students’ learning
- Designing for online learning
How to design sessions, modules or even whole courses to meet the needs of online learners
- Module Makeover
Getting ready for the next year – bringing it all together
We have had several seasons of Learning X over the last year, at present, these are being moved to this, their new home!
- 1: Searching, using and sharing resources. (live)
Previous seasons- to be added to the archive.
- 2: Module Makeover (how to get the most out of the VLE!)
- 3: Learning footprints (starting October 2nd)
- 4: The Digital Scholar (starting October 9th)
There will also be some themes that cross all of the sessions – such as “The role of the teacher”
While you will be able to comment on any of the posts that we create, you may also want to start to look at using tools that will allow you to do more, to start to create your own portfolio (or even a whole Personal Learning Environment).
Many people like the flexibility of blogging, so we’ll look at 3 options for creating a blog. If you aren’t familiar with a blog, Edublogs have created a quick video to explain them, and their role in Education.
Source: Edublogs, (19 May 2014) What is a blog? [Shared with a CC licence]
WordPress is the software that powers this website – it’s also one of the most used web tools around. There are a number of websites that allow you to set up a WordPress blog, and we now have a service within the University, LearningSpaces, which a hosted version of WordPress. It’s hosted by a Edublogs, through their CampusPress service.
- Getting started with Edublogs (text based instructions)
- Getting started with Edublogs (Video playlist)
If you prefer to use a service outside the university, Edublogs have a service for individuals, or you may prefer to use WordPress.com, Blogger – or even self host your own.
Some services are called “microblogs” – they generally have fewer features than a full blog. Most (though not all) limit the length of posts you can create in some ways.
Tumblr takes a slightly different approach to WordPress, in that community and connections between users are seen as important. It allows longer posts than Twitter, but it’s designed to be as easy to use as Twitter. The sign up process is very straightforward.
Twitter is probably the most well known microblogging site. It limits you to 280 characters, and there are certain conventions to its use, which some find confusing at first. You may find it useful for the type of activities we are going to get you to do during this course – or you may find the character limit too restrictive. It may be that you decide to set up a blog, then use Twitter to share your posts more widely. It’s up to you!