What Sheila's seen this week: more #oer15, analytics, manifestos, teacher bots and innovation

I haven’t done one of these posts for a while and there have been a few things that have caught my eye so I thought I’d better do a quick round up.

There’s been a lot of #oer15 love still going around with some really great reflective blogs coming out from people including Catherine Cronin, Viv Rolfe, Mairke Guy, Grainne Conole. ALT have a nice piece in their online newsletter too. I’ve been adding these anything else to my list: Things for OER15

This week Jisc have released their draft Code of Practice for Learning Analytics for  public comment. Like many others,  I have sent some comments via ALT.  I think it’s a good starting point but needs a bit more work,  particularly around use of staff data and our duty of care to staff as well as learners. We need to ensure that analytics isn’t seen as a big brother management tool for staff. Workload models and time allocation for fully online development and teaching are still evolving. We don’t really have a clear equivalent of time to develop and support fully online activities. We, and I suspect many other institutions, are still working in the traditional hour long lecture paradigm. Whilst some analytics work could help us explore this more, there is still a huge amount of activity, particularly thinking and prep work that happens either totally off line or in non institutional systems that we aren’t collecting data from.   I also think it would be useful to have some kind of community template that institutions could use when negotiating with companies to ensure that we can get our data, when we want, in a format that suits us. I remember talking about this a couple of years ago with colleagues from SURF and John Campbell.

We had a really fantastic online development workshop here earlier in the week with Christine Sinclair, University of Edinburgh (you can read all about over on the GCU Blended Learning Blog).  Christine reminded us of the online teaching manifesto her team had developed and are currently updating. We’re going to see if we can create a GCU version now too.

More goodness from the Digital Cultures team in Edinburgh came in the form of a new paper from Prof Sian Bayne Teacherbot: interventions in automated teaching’.  A fascinating account of post humanist approaches to digital learning, teaching and play through the use of a twitter bot in a MOOC. I love that even just reading a paper by Sian makes me write in a more intellectual fashion – if only for one sentence.

Innovative and groundbreaking stuff which leads nicely onto a discussion on the ATL mailing list about the nature of academic innovation. Innovation, it’s one of those words that gets bandied around a lot without any real shared understand. HE Institutions are constantly being told by governments/business that they need to be innovative; senior managers constantly tell us that we are going to /need to be more innovative and more often than not that if followed by the announcement of investment in the new shiny thing; we all just keep going.  I was really pleased to see this contribution to the discussion from Panos Vlsachopoulos:

“Let’s take a minute to think of the  etymology of the word innovate. It comes from latin “innovationem”  (noun) which contains the words “in” (into) + novus (new). To  me innovation  is all about new from within…meaning renewal! It’s different from invention  (which is about creation of a new). Philosophically speaking, to innovate is not to renew a process but to actually renew your thinking, your attitude, yourself in order to renew the ways you see things and you do things! It’s about people’s minds and thinking not about processes.  Of course, as with many industrial and post industrial terms, we often take a materialistic approach to things and we reduce them from their true essence to something that is measurable! An invention is not always innovate and an innovation is not always new.

I think that in Educational Technology innovation  is something that we do really well as we always think to renew, rethink our standpoints in education because of technology. The tools help us to rethink, which in turn often leads to innovate and our usage and practice makes designers of products of educational technology to think and eventual invent something for us to innovate with!”

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