Sometimes you have got to take the risk of failing #octel

17 06 2013

A demonstration of why there is no such thing as the ‘right’ answer especially now.

More than just Content

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”
― Michelangelo Buonarroti

As you have probably guessed I have gone “off piste” again this week.  The #octel mooc is looking at project work, success/failures and risk management and how particularly when technology is involved you need to plan and plan well.  Now I must admit that if you are unfamiliar with project planning then this will be really helpful to you – however at my University we are all over this topic, I do this stuff all the time.

In fact as an institution we are reaching the stage where our requirements and committees and approval routes are having a negative effect on our ability to be “Agile” and move at the speed required to keep current with…

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Prioritization using MoSCoW

12 06 2013

During the first ocTEL webinar week 9 the acronym ‘moscow’ was mentioned for setting priorities in in project management.

I hadn’t heard of it before so had a Google and found quite a few useful resources via the Agile Academy:  the slide below probably explains enough but there is also a video clip


Slide from:

Thoughts in motion

11 06 2013


(Image: Keep the thought in motion – Olimpia Zagnoli)

Some strands from ocTEL are beginning to slice together today.  As a course team we are preparing for course planning next month.  We had a useful pre-meeting and have agreed to map out through all the modules of the course some key themes.

Three elements from the course are in my mind as I re-write my modules, reflect on the year and prepare for course planning:

Keith Smyth 3E continuum (week 3)

3E continuum

Gilly Salmon (week 6) ‘start at the end’ – stage 5 Development


Nancy White (week 7)

Nancy white

I seem to have developed a fascination with participation.  The last line of this slide ‘usefully participate’ is really how I see my end point, with my graduates usefully participating as a professional in the industry (in contexts of their choosing).  I have begun some explorations into how the course can extend to include alumni, professional bodies and local SME.  Something is beginning to take shape…

Reading: Chapter 15 HEA / TEL – Learners in Control

10 06 2013

As earlier postings,  the OcTEL orientation resources takes you to this publication: Transforming Higher Education Through Technology Enhanced Learning Publication Date: 23-12-2009 Available at  I’ve put the full link in again after being unable to find it for 10 minutes!  The chapter 15 link is here too:

I don’t know how come  I initially skipped chapter 15 but it seems to be in tune with my skipping back style of this week and so now I come back to this too.  I really like this too but I knew I would just from Keith Smyth being in the authors list. Comrie, Smyth and Mayes Learners in Control: The TESEP approach. Read it, but a quick intro here for my memory too.

P208: TESEP addressed the need to prepare and equip students who enter Scottish higher education, and much of further education, with confidence about taking control of their own learning using the new tools that they will encounter in our rapidly changing educational institutions and beyond, in employment, and almost all other 21st-century learning contexts.

P210 The five principles of TESEP :

  • ensure every learner is as active as possible. design tasks that address this question: how can we challenge learners to think more deeply about what it is they are learning?
  • design frequent formative assessment. encourage the learners to test their understanding regularly and ensure they get responsive feedback including from peers.
  • Put emphasis on peers learning together. create small groups who will work together to produce something – a report, a lesson, a demonstration. consider where groups can teach each other about their chosen topics. Try to engender a sense of ownership.
  • consider whether learning tasks can be personalised. allow the individual learner, or a small group, choice over what is to be achieved. negotiate with learners wherever possible. aim for project-/resource-/discussion-based learning – not direct instruction.
  • consider how technology can help to achieve these principles. online, learners can be actively carrying out tasks, taking formative tests, producing class resources or group outputs, discovering new content for themselves, and through social software discussing and sharing all this with each other, the tutor, and other peers and experts.

P211 Enabling concepts – empowerment and engagement (see 3E framework)

(Some) References from the chapter:

Comrie,A, T., Mayes, N. and Smyth, K. (eds.) (2009) Learners in the co-creation of knowledge: proceedings of the LICK 2008 Symposium. edinburgh: napier university/TeSeP. available from [august 23, 2009]

Mayes, J.T. (2007) TESEP: the pedagogical principles. Available from: [13 April 2009].

Smyth, K. (2007) TESEP in practice: the 3E approach. available from: [13 April 2009]

Reading: Chapter 17 HEA / TEL – podcasting for pedagogic purposes

10 06 2013

Chapter 17 by Newton and Middleton Podcasting for Pedagogic Purposes: The journey so far and some lessons learned

I really liked this chapter.  I think I was influenced by the early inclusion of CoP, Biggs’ constructive alignment and a whiff of ‘it’s not napster’ in the opening paragraphs.

P236:If we aspire to a learner-centred, well-aligned, constructivist paradigm, we need to be creative and open in evaluating the potential of new and emerging technologies.

I would advise you to read it if interested in podcasts, but I particularly liked the twist of students producing video podcasts outlined on p240. I think it has potential for peer feedback in a large team-based module I take.  I plan a video podcast gallery of each team’s initial idea and to make it an early formative feedback point, I think it also has the potential to encourage team development.


Useful resources for further reading from this chapter:

Lewis, D. and Allan, B. (2005) Virtual learning communities – a guide for practitioners. maidenhead: Society for research into higher education and open university Press.

Nason, E. and Wooding, S. (2006) Hub and spoke model for high technology platforms. rand europe memorandum for the Department of Health. Available from: [23 August, 2009]

Salmon, G. and Edirisingha, P. (eds.) (2008) Podcasting for Learning in Universities. maidenhead: open university Press.

Reading Chapter 16 HEA / TEL

10 06 2013

Chapter 16: Transforming higher education through technology-enhanced learning is about DeMonfort’s pathfinder project

It describes how Web 2.0 technologies have transformed the learning context and argues for a debate on the challenges that have emerged. Case studies are also provided.

Page 225: How can an HEI begin to make sense of the proliferation of read/write web tools and approaches available to both staff and students, and the concomitant growth in networking opportunities available to users, in order to lever pedagogic gains?

HEA Chap 16 p224

P224: For Anderson (2007), the relationships between individuals, their PLEs and their networks will become more important both socially and educationally, because they will “challenge conventional thinking on who exactly does things” (p.57). Managing a possible disconnect between old and new cognitive models of the curriculum will need thoughtful planning, so that flexible curriculum strategies can be implemented. This, in turn, requires a shared institutional framework for understanding the rationale for change.

Anderson, P. (2007) What is Web2.0? Ideas, technologies and implications education. Bristol, UK: JISC.

P232: the DMU Pathfinder project demonstrated that the learner can be empowered to make effective decisions about their learning where read/write web tools are used to catalyse pedagogic innovation (DMU, 2009; Napier, 2008). Such innovation is driven by learning and teaching cultures that emphasise starting with the learner and her/his aspirations and conceptual understanding, and encourages students to find spaces within which their personal, critical, learning literacies can be enhanced and extended…the read/write web can proactively shape the means for the production of educational outputs by shaping the creation of personal learning spaces.

Information Obesity: Why it’s not just about having too much

10 06 2013

In the webinar for week 4 (I think) the term ‘information obesity’ (Andrew Whitworth) made sufficient impact for me to note it down, along with the term info-whelmed (see youtube clip: as I think we really need to give our learners the heads-up on this.  This takes me back (yet again) to Rheingold’s literacies.

This is a great visual from one of his powerpoints on-line:


He goes on to describe the filters we need to make ourselves and learners aware of, describing them as three domains of value: Objective Subjective Inter-subjective

Objective measures of value guard against ‘counterknowledge’ (Thompson 2008)

Subjectivity is how we make information personally relevant and meaningful. 

Intersubjectivity is how we validate information with reference to morals, ethics, community standards.



He goes on to advocate critical, collaborative review of the filters in use through participation in CoP

There are lots of Whitworth  presentations online e.g.