Midlands, 20 May 2010

ELESIG’s Docs Midlands Group Midlands, 20 May 2010

As part of the ELESIG small grants scheme, Dr. Gemma Towle and Mr Rob Howe from The University of Northampton are coordinating a Midlands regional group of ELESIG. This is the second meeting which took place at the University of Derby on 20th May 2010 from 10-3.

Feedback from the 2nd Meeting of the ELESIG Midlands Group Meeting

May 20th 2010


10 members attended the second meeting representing 9 different organisations (two unfortunately could not make it due to illness). The event ran from 10am till 3pm at The University of Derby.

Following the feedback from the first event, this meeting was scheduled with an extensive period of time for member’s feedback with only a one hour formal presentation scheduled during the day.


Whilst there was an option to video any of the members discussions – in the end only the formal presentation was actually filmed. It was found during discussion that the participants were far less restricted in their comments with the video turned off.

1.5 hours were scheduled for the members’ updates but it was found that once two members had bravely volunteered to go first that the discussion was so free flowing there was no need for further formal updates as most issues people wished to raise were covered at some point – some refocusing was required at points to ensure we kept on the track of the student experience !!


Lucy Stone from Leicester College started the discussions regarding two of the key projects she had been involved in WOLF – Workbased Learners in Further Education – (http://wolf.lec.ac.uk/ ) and HELLO – Higher education lifelong learning opportunities (http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/elearning/workforcedev/he…) . Discussions followed which covered the value of the induction for portfolios; scaffolding activities and cultural differences in portfolio developments.


Julian Beckton from Lincoln then talked about how some staff use the VLE as a repository and how he had worked on a DL course which had a lot of video and wikis for collaboration – he indicated that Lincoln had a commitment to Open Educational Resources / Reusable Learning Objects.


A discussion followed on technologies which students prefer to use in their learning – these are outside of the institutionally provided systems [Question: Is this a case of making the shadow technologies less of a shadow by breaking out from the IT department]. We discussed how some students have moved from the VLE to Facebook. Charles Shields reported on work at Loughborough to look at Facebook activity and propose a policy / guideline document on the use of Web 2.0 technologies. This was proving problematic as the senior managers want control over the system (to control legal implications) and if this is not available then they believe it shouldn’t be used?


The discussion then focused on the benefits to students of lecture recording systems (noted that Echo 360 was used in many of the partners). It was found that students valued the outputs (double peak in viewing – straight after lecture and before revision) – Lecture recording is not believed to impact attendance but more work may be needed on this (Noted the recent article in ALT Journal on this for medical students). Mark Childs mentioned the ELTAC project at Coventry (http://cuba.coventry.ac.uk/eltac/) which is conducting investigations in this area. Lecture recording does call into question – what is a lecture for?

Prior to breaking for lunch Dave O’Hare from University of Derby mentioned the importance of evaluating the student experience. He referred us to look at http://www.qe-sig.net/ which has a wide range of resources and useful links.


Following lunch we had a great presentation from Mark Childs on students in virtual worlds – the video and PowerPoint slides will be available via ELESIG at a later date

The final round up seemed to have concluded the value of the open discussions although there were some comments that we could have done a bit on 2 minute slot updates from the members.


Gemma Towle and Julian Beckton keep the Twitter lines alive using the tag #elesigmidlands or #ELESIG

Feedback from attendees: There was a 50% response rate from participants (6/12) who all rated the event on a scale of 1-5 as 5 (the highest).

All of the scheduled events were rated as either useful or very useful with the most consistently highly rated parts being the member’s individual showcases and the opportunities for networking.


Members found out about the event mainly through a number of different methods: email invites (3), colleagues (2) and main ELESIG website (1).

Two participants had previously attended an ELESIG national event with four having not, reasons including funding and travel distance. ELESIG community focus ideas for the future: more data on learner experience, student feedback, best practice, evaluation and staff engagement.

Most attendees really valued the event and some wanted a longer meeting! Loughborough have kindly offered to host the next event without any external funding – the provision date being September 17th 2010 – put that date in your diaries folks!

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