Friday, 27 January 2012

social media and a community of co-learners

Writing for Digital Media and Learning Research Hub, Howard Rheingold suggests that academics should use social media to encorporate student feedback into lessons.  He also discussed group work and collaborative learning techniques and sets up a "community of co-learners" The article makes for an stimulating read!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

University funding for 2012-13

Here is the letter  from BIS. There is going to be a cut in teaching funding but research is mostly ok, with Willets saying "Our universities play a vital role building the skills and knowledge Britain needs to grow. That is why we have protected HEFCE funding for research " 
but it looks like he does not think teaching plays a role in the knowledge economy? We knew the teaching cuts were coming but the £830M drop is still staggering!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Figshare, a new tool for sharing data or a revolution in academic publishing?

What is figshare? well it seems to be a faster way of sharing your data, away from the ponderous route of normal journal publishing.

"figshare allows researchers to publish their data in a citable, searchable and sharable manner. The data can come in the form of individual figures, datasets or video files and users are encouraged to share their negative data and unpublished results too. All data is persistently stored online under the most liberal Creative Commons licence, waiving copyright where possible. This allows scientists to access and share the information from anywhere in the world with minimal friction."

It already boasts usage by prestigious universities, and uses the creative commons licence.  Could it be a useful way to share openly data including negative results, as it claims, we shall see, it seems to be mainly science based data at the moment but there are no restrictions on what you can upload so it has the potential to upload qualitative data and for performing arts staff to upload videos as well. So we shall see if it will be the ground breaking invention it claims to be. It could certainly come in useful!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

HEA four year strategic plan for teaching

HEA focus on professionalisation of teaching continues in four-year strategic plan

Strategic priorities over the next four years include:

• to inspire and support effective practice in learning and teaching;
• to recognise, reward and accredit excellent teaching; 
• to influence policy, future thinking and change; 
• to develop an effective, sustainable organisation that is relevant to, and valued by, higher education.

All good intentions but lets wait and see how they are implemented. This should hopefully make lecturers lives better as well as the improving student experience. The main problem is too much work and little recognition. so as long as these concerns are reasonably addressed I am all for the new plan.  Staff should be valued for their excellent teaching in the same way that they can be venerated for excellent research, whether this new strategy will do enough, we shall see.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Open access learning courses.The top 400!

Open access learning really is taking off, from the Open University  to  MIT OpenCourseWare, the OCW consortium  iTunes U and universities even having their own YouTube channels. Its a wonder where to start or stop.  One website has collated a group of good courses (mostly american) that are sorted by subject., but my recommendation is have a look around the various options available to see what takes your fancy. The OCW has lots of choice, many universities all over the world take part, including MIT and the OU, the courses are available in many languages and it has a good search facility, so that would be my starting point and move on from there.
Happy new year!
Edit: MIT are expanding on their successful OpenCourseWare and creating a not for profit, free interactive elearning platform which will offer the online teaching of M.I.T. courses free of charge to anyone in the world.
You will not get a full degree but a official certificate from MIT instead. See link.