Ed Tech attended Digifest 2019 this week. Run by JISC, this HE/FE conference aimed to “explore the power of digital and look in detail at what next-generation digital students need to thrive”.
The impact of machine learning was a recurring theme in the keynote speeches and take-home messages included:
- to avoid bias, we need to ensure that data sets used in machined learning are explicitly inclusive;
- today’s graduates will have multiple careers, mostly in jobs that do not currently exist;
- to be employable in a world where machine learning/artificial intelligence is ubiquitous, humans will need three key skills: creativity, empathy, accountability.
Liz Sproat, Google’s head of education for Europe
Workshop sessions attended by Ed Tech included:
Th University of Essex’s student data dashboard
JISC’s digital literacy framework
Finally, there was an excellent simulation of a day in the life of Natalie, an undergraduate student in 2029 whose learning is via VR.
Nathalie, student 4.0
We look forward to Digifest 2020!
New UK regulations on accessibility became law in 2018 and content made available on Learning Space needs to be compliant by September 2020.
What does it mean for Falmouth teaching staff?
You will be responsible for making your Learning Space compliant by 2020. You will need to
- become familiar with the regulations;
- learn and apply relevant practical IT skills.
What are some of those practical skills?
- structuring Word documents using Word’s heading styles (NOT by formatting text as large and bold);
- using meaningful headings on every PowerPoint slide (even if they are hidden behind an image);
- tagging (in the correct way) all images with a meaningful alternative text description;
- using descriptive text for links (NOT ‘click here’).
What help will I get with this?
As well as offering training and guidance, we are looking at procuring an “accessibility checker” for staff, to be embedded in Learning Space. When you upload a document, it would:
- tell you how accessible your content is;
- highlight where you need to fix things by hand.
It would also provide management information on how accessible each module area is.
Do I need to do anything right now?
For now, do your best to make any new materials accessible and inclusive (a) using accessibility checkers built into Microsoft Office and (b) following accessibility guidance from gov.uk. We will be in touch regarding training and content-wide compliance later this year.
With the first term underway and Learning Space in daily use by most students and teaching staff, the upgrade project is nearing its end. We have been responding to user queries and feedback, some of which have led us to tweak the system settings. We have also been supporting students, particularly in the use of the university’s e-portfolio tool. Other behind-the-scenes work has included expansion of our guidance notes (see below) and work on improving business analytics. Over the next fortnight, the upgrade project will formally end, and maintenance and further development of the system will become “business as usual”.
Guidance for Staff
Here is a reminder that there are comprehensive yet accessible notes for staff and students. Among the 38 topics you will find:
Staff workshops coming soon!
Following this Summer’s successful training sessions, we are planning a series of short staff workshops covering e-feedback, online peer review, tips and tricks and accessibility. We’ll be in touch with all courses at a later date to explain more.
Updating your module areas – Audit #2
The new Learning Space will go live on 3rd September, and on that date students will have access to the 18/19 module areas. With this in mind, this week we carried out a second audit of content in module areas. We found there has been a lot of work over the past month, with some subject areas well on course to be ready for 3rd September. In other areas work has not yet started – staff who require advice or training should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Module leads and Heads of School have been contacted with the results of the audit. If you are a module lead who has not been contacted, or you were contacted about modules for which you are no longer the lead, please contact both email@example.com (so we can send you the correct results) and also firstname.lastname@example.org (so the record in SITS can be updated).
What staff need to do by September is documented here:
You can find comprehensive (but brief!) documentation on other aspects of Learning Space here:
Through the last week of August and the first week of September we will be available at drop-in days. Do come along, either for a brief one-to-one session or to sit and work on Learning Space while someone is on hand with help if or when you need it. The dates are:
- Tue 28th, 9:00 – 17:00 – Penryn – TH Seminar W
- Wed 29th, 9:00 – 17:00 – Penryn – TH Seminar W
- Thurs 30th, 9:00 – 17:00 – Falmouth – Seminar F (Treetops)
- Tue 4th, 9:00 – 17:00 – Penryn – Exchange Blue
- Wed 5th, 9:00 – 17:00 – Falmouth – Seminar F (Treetops)
- Thurs 6th, 9:00 – 17:00 – Penryn – Exchange Blue
If you cannot make any of these days we are happy to arrange sessions for groups or one-to-one. Again, please contact email@example.com.
Positive feedback on the makeover!
We have received a lot of positive comments since a new theme was deployed on Learning Space. Our user experience designer is still making minor amendments and we welcome further feedback!
Deadline: 3rd September
3rd September is the go live date for the new environment meaning the “old” Learning Space will be archived and users will no longer have access to the 17/18 content. You’ll need to ensure that any module content you wish to use in the new environment is retrieved before the 3rd September.
Over the last few weeks we’ve been holding course focused and drop-in training sessions, many staff have attended these sessions and are now working on designing their modules for 18/19 in the new Learning Space. If you have yet to receive training, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a session. There are also 3 remaining drop-in sessions where you can come and work while one of the Ed Tech team is on hand to help:
- 09:00-17:00 – Mon 18 June – Penryn – Exchange Blue
- 09:00-17:00 – Tue 19 June – Penryn – Exchange Blue
- 09:00-17:00 – Thu 21 June – Falmouth – Seminar F (Treetops)
Talis List Integration
We’ve now implemented the Talis tool within the new environment to enable teaching staff to a link to a relevant reading list in the Overview section of their modules. The academic liaison librarians have produced a PDF “how to” guide and a “how to” video on adding lists using this tool.
Scheduler: New feature
With the upgrade comes updates to current tools. A new feature that many staff members have expressed an interest in is now available. It is now possible to require students to submit either files or text at the point at which they book a slot. For example this might be used to upload an essay for discussion within a tutorial. Here are instructions on creating a Scheduler activity.
We use the