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What is Learning X?

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).

Other universities already have similar courses (for example, Australian National University’s Coffee Courses, and 1minuteCPD run by staff from Manchester Metropolitan University. 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 to 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. In order to distinguish ourselves from The Learning Exchange who use LearningX in twitter, we’ll get you to use #UoDLearnX as a hashtag.

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


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 via Edublogs

WordPress is the software that powers this website – it’s also one of the most used web tools around. We have our own hosted version of WordPress from Edublogs – which we’re calling LearningSpaces. (Edublogs call their hosted service CampusPress, so you may hear it called CampusPress). If you would like to have blog space on LearningSpaces, please complete this form: 


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!