Learning Space Upgrade Project Update: 20 Feb-3 March

It’s been another couple of busy weeks with the ET department as we prepare the new environment for testing in the coming months.

To give you an idea of the bigger picture, and what the upgrade means to you we’ll be hosting information sessions at both campuses. This will be a chance to find out your role in the project and to ask any questions you may have relating to the upgrade. We’d ask that one representative from each course attend one of the following:

19 March, 3:00-4:30, PL Lecture 3 (Penryn)

22 March, 10:30-12:00, Lecture theatre 1 (Falmouth)

Here are a few things we’ve been working on this fortnight:

  • Students assigned to modules

Integration work has been continuing between student records and the new environment. While this won’t affect how students access their modules within Learning Space behind the scenes the approach is now a lot more streamlined.

  • Login

To simplify the login process we are utilising Office 365 as the method for signing in. This minimises the amount of clicks needed to access Learning Space, meaning staff and students can get to the content they need even quicker.

Dear Geek Santa….

Once the festive season arrives thoughts in the team turn to what Santa might be bringing us in our Christmas stockings. We’ve had another busy year and hope we’re all still on the nice list, so Santa please be kind and make a little note of our tech based wishes!

This year Mark’s keen to get his hands on a pocket synth set, ideally Teenage Engineering’s PO Superset.

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Perfect for making noise on the go the Superset features synthesizer engines, punch in effects and a built in speaker. These ultra portable devices fit in the palm of your hand and allow you to create studio quality electronic beats. We’ll be keeping an eye out for Mark’s future music releases.

Adel recently got herself a bike and would like to upgrade her FitBit Charge to something that will track her cycling and swimming activity. Having shopped around she likes the look of the Moov Now. Although not able to be charged it’s got a 6 month battery which is replaceable, and won the Sports Wearable of the Year 2016 award from Wearable.com.

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It’s safe to say wearable tech has come on leaps and bounds over the last year and exercise trackers and now able to monitor more than before. With the accompanying app you’re now able to track all types of fitness, whereas previously with Moov you needed a different app for every activity. It’s safe to say that fitness trackers will develop more during 2017 so who knows what might be on Adel’s list next year.

Topping Amy’s list this is year is the Sonos Play 5. Already a keen Sonos fan she would like to expand her home based music system. Not only does the Play 5 configure will the other speakers in the Play system it has a dedicated line in making it slightly more advanced than other speakers in the same range.

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With it’s dedicated app and ability to stream music to all speakers in the same system it’s a really great setup for home audio.

Also keen on some new audio for Christmas is Oliver; on his wish list this year is a Kastle modular synth. Pocket sized and reprogrammable using an Arduino it has two inputs/outputs and can be combined with other modular gear such as the PO Superset mentioned on Mark’s list.

So if you could make our Ed Tech Christmas dreams come true Santa that would be great. We’d also like to take the time to wish all staff and students a Merry Christmas and we’ll see you in 2017!

Importance of collaboration in Educational Technology

Educational technology is a vast field, the individuals who work within this area are often as diverse as the topics they cover. From online assessment to user experience, learning design to technology best practice, we work in a diverse environment. Within the University environment there are several ways learning technology practitioners are embedded into an institution, most commonly this involves either having a centralised department, using a hub and spoke method or assigning individuals at a departmental level.

How departments are structured ultimately affects how learning technologists collaboratively work together, and while this is important within the context of a University it’s often outside of your own institution that these opportunities become more valuable.

The learning technologists, designers, educators and developers who make up the learning tech community are some of the most collaborative people I know. Keen to swap best practice advice and tips with others working in education and providing a sounding board for innovation and educational enhancement ideas. You only have to look at initiatives such as #LTHEChat to see the benefits of a collaborative virtual meeting of minds.

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Similarly collectives such as ALT’s special interest groups (pictured above) make it possible for individuals to come together for a common goal. Making the effort to attend meetups and conferences either physically or virtually is a really important enabler for collaboration in any field. These connections can be especially useful should you need input from others who might have experience implementing certain technologies at an institutional level or if you want to bounce ideas around with someone else working in the same area as you.

As a team we’re always up for collaborating and see its value in driving forward change in learning technology. Should you wish to get in touch we can be reached by email: etsupport@falmouth.ac.uk

A lens on…Digital Identity

In this series of articles, the Educational Technology team will be providing an insight into existing practice using technology for learning and teaching at Falmouth University and also at projects being undertaken within the wider HE sector. Some of our previous articles have looked at Assessment, Creative Education and Learning analytics.

With September comes the start of a new academic year and as we welcome back returning students our focus also shifts to those who are new to the higher education environment. As part of the initial induction process students will more often than not be expected to engage with digital software and tools as they become familiar with their course. Library systems, institutional email, virtual learning environments and timetable systems all require access to a digital environment and while students are having to engage with these systems at an institutional level there are many more services and platforms that can be used socially.

Thinking about the way you interact with digital services requires some thought on digital identity and the digital footprint you leave behind after engaging with tools. For many students using digital tools is essential to developing their identity as creative arts practitioners, for example will you be wanting to publicise or sell your work through social tools? Will people be searching for you using your name or a pseudonym? Will you be keeping personal and professional social accounts separate?

Have you ever Googled yourself anonymously? Think about the content that appears in the results when your name is searched for. Does it represent your professional life or your personal? Are the images that appear of you appropriately representative of your professional profile?

At Falmouth, we have recently worked closely with our Creative and Music, Theatre and Events Management and our PGCHE students to encourage a conversation around Digital Identity at the start of their course. Our first presentation and workshop is part of a professional practice series that runs alongside a 3 or 4 year undergraduate degree.

JISC’s considers Digital Identity alongside Digital Wellbeing as an element of our Digital Capability; encircling our interactions with technology for creation, learning, information management and communication.

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Digital capabilities: the six elements

©Jisc

A project emanating from the University Mary Washington and being delivered by Reclaim Hosting asks students and academic staff to take back their digital identity forming a Domain of Ones Own. The concept encourages you to delve a bit deeper and consider what makes up your digital identity as you form it and how use of technology impacts your life.

Additional Resources:

Audrey Waters talks about DoOO in the context of a post-ownership society

https://klout.com – Improve Social Skills

http://www.open.ac.uk/libraryservices/beingdigital/objects/20/index.htm My digital Identity: making a good impression online

Staff Recommended Apps

Over previous years we’ve collected information and blogged about the apps that students have found useful to help with their study at Falmouth University.

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Now its the turn of the staff, we frequently hear of apps that professional services and academic members of staff have found helpful with their support of students. We formally collect some of these apps during the PGCHE Summer School.

Over the last few years these have been added to a PGCHE Apps Anonymous listly list but we wanted to take the time to go through a few of our favourites that have proved most popular among staff at the University.

Skype – A firm communication favourite and one that needs little introduction. Useful for hosting tutorials and commonly used with students on placement who wish to catch up with staff while they’re away.

Evernote – Used by staff and students alike Evernote is an organisational tool that constantly evolves. Fantastic for note taking and collecting your thoughts it can be used on desktop as well as mobile.

Trigger – Another organisational tool that automates many of the tasks available on your phone. Available only on android it includes features such as turning off your wifi when you hit a certain level of battery remaining, and automatically sending text messages at certain times of day.

You Tube – An unsurprising appearance from You Tube on our recommended list, frequently used across the University to aid teaching.

Stitcher – An audio service that brings together thousands of radio shows and podcasts. Signin to create custom playlists and recommendations. Audio apps have featured highly on both the staff and student lists proving that audio podcasts and radio are still very much in demand.

If you’d like to add your recommended apps to our staff list please get in touch at etsupport@falmouth.ac.uk

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