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Reflections on ALT-ELESIG Scotland meeting ‘What do our learners want and need from technology enhanced learning and teaching?’

Another ALT-ELESIG Scotland event, another family birthday, which, if you are organising meetings is a really good way to remember the date both before and after the meeting, and absolutely not a way of avoiding any birthday celebrations. Before we delve into more detailed reflections, overall, at the meeting there was a real drive to collaborate and share experiences with others. To continue with that sentiment, we have included some links to open-source material created and publications as well as the recordings of each presentation available on the ALT-ELESIG Scotland YouTube channel.

Reflecting on the afternoon we met some new as well as some ‘well kent’ faces from ALT-ELESIG Scotland. The day was kicked off by our invited keynote speaker Michael Detyna from KCL who shared some data from some of his recent work on Hybrid Flexible (HyFlex) teaching and learning approaches. Michael shared an insight to HyFlex at King’s College along with a number of reflections on its use. Of particular interest to those in attendance was tips to help bring these sessions to life, key to this being using methods to engage both online and in-person students, and avoiding too much cognitive load, particularly when using or switching between various activities.

This presentation was jam-packed with thoughts and ideas. This along with the discussion left us feeling intrigued about just how institutions will move forward into providing inclusive and flexible learning in this space, as well as considering ways to allow students to contribute to what that journey looks like.

Further reading:

Scholarly research and innovation in education are evident, we wish Claire Mackie great things as she moves forward into the final stages of her PhD, Claire shared some of her research on the experiences of articulating students coming from colleges into second or third year at university. Three themes were highlighted from the research, and we heard about one of those – feeling connected and how students asked that Universities deliberately create opportunities for new and existing students to make important links. We were impressed by the depth of the student feedback described by students using photovoice. Building an online space to allow students to feel connected was also the theme of the presentation by Lorraine Syme-Smith who has supported undergraduate students using an informal space in her‘PIPalong’ meetings. Lorraine described the success of this initiative as well as the importance of good forward planning to schedule these sessions in consultation with students to ensure inclusivity.

Supporting each other and ways to do that was the theme of the presentation by the central ALT-ELESIG team, Jim, Jess and Emma, who discussed the scholar’s scheme, along with central webinars and how to build our network with other ALT-ELESIG sub-groups to further collaborate and undertake research. We will continue to share the central group activities and encourage ALT-ELESIG Scotland members to be part of the Scholar’s scheme as mentors or mentees when it opens later in the year.

How would you like to save time? We admit that we had our doubts about even imagining this possibility, as Lina presented on her approach on creating tailored support which is always available to students. The support in this case comes in the form of a bespoke YouTube playlists which are available for students to download. The approach did require lots of thought and planning, and possible future iterations and developments were discussed. Fantastic work Lina who did the unimaginable – despite her suggestion that she ‘comes up with weird stuff sometimes’ – but has managed to save lots and lots of time from this work. The link to Lina’s ‘Your Dissertation with Word’ resource is available to everyone.

Last but not least Tim Drysdale gave a thought-provoking presentation which was packed full of information on his recent work and student feedback on building and implementing a remote lab with students, their feedback and future plans. There was so much within Tim’s presentation, discussion about the place and the potential of remote labs, using authentic data. Tim described: Future applications for students who are more likely to work in an online space; How the student and staff experienced remote labs; How we should share, form networks and build along with our students, sustainable and open-source materials and platforms that are flexible for others to take use and build again. The impact of digitalisation and on that on the right to free education was discussed, as we were encouraged to ‘get fired up about the idea of open-source infrastructure for digital education in everything we are doing and consider where it is appropriate.

Presentations from this meeting can be viewed on the ALT-ELESIG Scotland May 27th May Playlist.

If you would like to hear more about this work or be first to hear about future meetings, then complete this form to join the ALT-ELESIG Scotland mailing list and get involved.

Moving forward

So where do we go from here? We hope to continue the conversations, find out more about what our presenters are doing next and follow up on their work, so look out for future blog posts as we start planning our next meeting for late 2022. We are looking forward to the next meeting, so please think about what you would like to share with others. Thanks again

Co-Leads Avril Edmond and Mary McVey


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