#LTHEchat is partnering once again with #altc for a Special Chat as part of the Summer Summit of the Association for Learning Technology which can be joined at 8pm onMonday 24 August 2020.
ALT’s Summer Summit 2020 – Learning Technology in a time of crisis, care and complexity, 26-27 August 2020, features keynotes from Bonnie Stewart and Dave Cormier and Charlotte Webb, a special Q&A session with Angela Saini and two strategic plenary panels alongside 40 sessions over two days.
The theme of the summit is Learning Technology in a time of crisis, care and complexity so this year we are opening up the conversation #altc #LTHEchat to include questions around the conference themes: crisis, care and complexity and we invite you to join in.
Registration for the Summit and applications for free scholarship places are open until 14 August and late registrations after that date:
Summit tickets are £49 for ALT Members (£99 for non Members) and include pre-conference orientation & networking sessions, access to all live and asynchronous sessions, opt-in participant list for networking, jobs boards & directory and summit session recordings and resources.
Materials from the summit will be made available openly 4-8 weeks after the event as part of ALT’s commitment to increasing the impact of Learning Technology for public benefit.
Caroline, Kate and I have officially come to the end of our term here behind the scenes at #LTHEchat and now is an opportune moment for us to reflect back on the past few weeks.
This is the second time I’ve been involved in the #LTHEchat organising team, the first time, I had to learn fast about the tools in Twitter that make chats, curation of tweets and archiving happen. The second time around, albeit amidst a pandemic, I have enjoyed working through the same procedural tasks but with refreshed eyes and different perspectives from what were my new team mates, Caroline and Kate. (Working from home during a pandemic, with two children and my husband also trying to get their heads down for some time each day, is a blog for another time and page!)
I’m looking forward to some down-time over the summer, as we’re sure you will be too, amid planning for next academic year, but networking won’t stop – we know that – so if you have useful ideas to share, please do include the hashtag #LTHEchat in your tweets, so others can follow.
This Thursday 16th July 1530-1930hrs BST, Advance HE are running a tweetchat:
Higher Education Leadership in the Pandemic Age – from crisis to connected campus
Whilst the weekly #LTHEChat takes a break until September:
We thought you might find the quick links listed below handy as you prepare for next academic year. We’ve also added a guide to setting up and using Tweetdeck at the end of the blog, so you can monitor a hashtag as and when you want.
In response to COVID-19:
The #LTHEchat Spring term team, Dawn Bell and Nathalie Sheridan, facilitated the building of a shared Google doc, developed jointly with SEDA, to support colleagues in the fast-paced transition to online teaching and assessment: https://lthechat.com/2020/03/30/quick-link-to-resources/
#LTHEchat went on to benefit from more fantastic guests and discussions during this summer term:
I wanted to do a Tweet Chat to offer some space for care and happy reflection, as I was observing the tremendous challenges facing my higher education friends as the COVID crisis unfolded. I appreciate that when we are feeling low, or are exhausted, it is often difficult to look beyond your immediate situation. What I wanted to share are some activities that I hope can be soothing, fun and energising.
Each of the paragraphs below are linked to the questions we’ll tweet out on Wednesday. You can explore the topics in advance of Wednesday’s chat to get a flavour of the areas covered, or re-visit later if a particular questions interests you. The links will take you to articles, videos of other resources you may find useful.
1. Look for the Tree Sisters meditation called ‘Blossoming Confidence’. I love this one because it asks you to shake your body and make a noise, and it reminds me of how we used to swing around poles and move our bodies with much more freedom when we were children. Go on! Bring out the little you.
2. We know that time in nature is good for our physical and mental wellbeing, and that over the years we become disconnected from the natural world. Being in a green space, or thinking of our favourite tree, can bring us great joy.
3. There are ways in which we can try and relax if we feel stressed during the day, or to help us unwind at the end of a long day or nights work. A few minutes of deep breathing can calm our sympathetic nerves when we are feeling anxious, and with practice, lovely deep belly breaths can help us get to sleep. We can look to herbs to also help us, and chamomile and lavender from our garden have relaxing effects.
4. Training our minds to think positively or keeping a gratitude diary can help lift our mood. I used to write positive messages I’d had from people on a wall, and kept nice emails from students in a folder. If you found a magic lamp, what would you wish for?
5. Nothing can quite lift or mood or fill us with joy like music. Different instruments reverberate in different parts of our bodies. If you’ve ever experienced a gong bath, you’ll have felt the incredible sensation of being bathed in musical waves. Traditionally it was used as a healing technique and you might find it quite meditative and relaxing.
Dr Viv Rolfe is Head of Herbal Research at Pukka Herbs Ltd. She is passionate about helping people re-connect with nature and understand the important role that plants can play as part of our daily wellbeing. She partners with universities to conduct research on the biological activities of herbs, and the area that brings her most joy, is working with students through internships, PhD studentships, and by co-supervising Masters and undergraduate projects.
She was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2011 whilst at De Montfort University in reflection of her work on science open educational resources (OER). She still directs the three websites sharing resource on laboratory skills, sickle cell anaemia and other biology subjects, which are well used by learners around the globe. Her last project in academia was UK Open Textbooks funded by the Hewett Foundation in which she worked with the Open University Institute of Education Technology group led by Professor Martin Weller, and she co-chaired the 2018 OER Conference in Bristol with David Kernohan which was entitled “Open to All”.
Engaging the general public in academic research has become a more regular occurrence for academics. It’s a bit of the job which allows us to become more than teachers within the academy, but allows us to communicate with those outside. With the requirement from many funding bodies to include pathways to impact in grant bids and the introduction of impact case studies in the UK’s Research Excellence Framework, there has been more interest in thinking through how public engagement may help with creating impact beyond the academy. Moreover, there are academics who take an ethical stance, feeling that their work should be easily accessible to people, beyond their peers and students, irrespective of any funding bids or government frameworks.
The figure of the Media Don has become more high profile, with a few academics reaching the dizzying heights of household fame largely through fronting television series, or writing for the general public. Yet public engagement isn’t all about viewing figures. The term also includes academics who wish to engage the general public in their research from the beginning of the project, not necessarily as subjects but as partners. These projects embed public engagement into the research creating studies that creatively invite participation as researchers, advisers, participants and champions.
I’ve been interested in public engagement for some time and find it’s an area in which I’m continually learning. Whether you have done loads of it, or are interested in exploring this area for the first time, please join me in sharing ideas, projects and challenges.
Dr. Sara Houston is Acting Deputy Head of Dance at University of Roehampton, UK. As a dance specialist she led a research project examining the experience of dancing with the neurodegenerative condition Parkinson’s, in conjunction with English National Ballet (2010 – 2015). Her work won her a BUPA Foundation Prize in 2011 and she was a Finalist in the National Public Engagement Awards in 2014.
As a National Teaching Fellow (2014) she has always found synergies between her research and teaching. Passionate about public engagement she has taken her research all round the world speaking to people with Parkinson’s and their families, dance artists and dance companies who would like to facilitate work with people with Parkinson’s and other stakeholders such as medical professionals and students interested in the arts.
Sara has become a spokesperson to the media with her work featuring in tabloid and broadsheet newspapers, radio shows such as The Sunny and Shay Show and The Wireless and television shows such as BBC Breakfast, BBC World Health, BBC Inside Out, Channel 4 news, Diversity Live, How to Beat Ageing amongst others. Her book Dancing with Parkinson’s is published by Intellect Books, 2019.
A fear of public speaking is common in the general population with a high percentage of people anxious and fearful to stand up and speak in public. Oral presentations and public speaking are an important aspect of the student experience in UK higher education. Many modules use presentations as a form of assessment, without fully acknowledging the fear that many students have in public speaking. There is evidence that some students have a fear of public speaking, but this is limited and not fully acknowledged in relation to the student experience. A survey on the impact of social anxiety on student learning and well-being of students from two UK universities, found that students reported that public speaking/presentations were associated with frequent social anxiety (Russell and Topham, 2012). A study of undergraduate students in the US found that 64% reported a fear of public speaking (Ferreira Marinho et al, 2017).
We recently conducted a qualitative survey of public speaking fears of students attending our Stand up and be Heard (SUBH) library workshops (Grieve, et al, 2019). One of the key themes was that public speaking had a negative effect on university experience and that students main fear was of being judged. The survey clearly identified the specific fears students have when public speaking and provides clear evidence of the negative effect on some students and their higher education experience.
Apart from student fears, it was found that 89% of them would appreciate public-speaking training and support as an addition to their curriculum (Ferreria Marnho et al, 2017). Further research indicates that first-year students who completed pre- and post-public speaking exercises, identified greater feelings of satisfaction and less fear, indecision and confusion in relation to public speaking and public speaking assessment (Nash et al, 2016).
My approach to public speaking, used in my SUBH workshops and recently published book Stand Up and Be Heard (Grieve, 2020) has primarily focussed on being an authentic public speaker and moved away from the common approach that focusses on style and perfection. The authentic public speaker approach seemed to resonate with students and staff and was reinforced by my less than perfect but authentic facilitation of the workshops. https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/news-and-views/stand-up-and-be-heard
In becoming an authentic public speaker, we focus on the following components namely:
Being present in the moment
Let go of perfectionism
A key point is that becoming an authentic public speaker does not happen overnight, it takes time and practice to implement. What does change very quickly, as we have found with many students is the realisation that striving for perfection and style over substance increases the public speaking fear level.
The important take home message is that we as learning and teaching staff, need to recognise that public speaking and module assessed presentations can be a real challenge and impact negatively on some of our student’s university experience and mental health. In my experience and as identified by some of the evidence, we as universities need to support our students more comprehensively in public speaking, which is an integral component of the university student experience.
Grieve, R., Woodley, J., Hunt, S., McKay, A. and Lloyd, J. (2019) Student fear of public speaking in higher education: A qualitative survey. In: Advance HE Surveys Conference, Bristol, UK, 8th May 2019.
Grieve, R. (2020) Stand Up and Be Heard: Taking the Fear Out of Public Speaking at University (Student Success). London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Ferreira Marinho AC, Mesquita de Medeiros A, Côrtes Gama AC, Caldas Teixeira L. (2017) Fear of Public Speaking: Perception of College Students and Correlates. Journal of Voice, 31 (1), 127.e7-127.e11.
Gregory Nash, Gail Crimmins & Florin Oprescu (2016) If first-year
students are afraid of public speaking assessments what can teachers do to alleviate
such anxiety?, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 41 (4), pp 586-600.
Russell, G, and Topham, P. (2012). The impact of social anxiety on student learning and well-being in higher education. Journal of Mental Health, 21 (4), pp 375-385.
Rob Grieve Biography
Dr Rob Grieve is a senior lecturer in Physiotherapy at the University of the West of England and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA). As a person with a mild stammer, he has faced many issues in public speaking which has led to an increased awareness of student fears of public speaking and resulted in the facilitation of university wide student support workshops. The authenticity approach advocated in his public speaking workshops, is central to his learning and teaching practice. He has conducted research and regularly presented at national learning and teaching conferences on student fear of public speaking.
He recently published a book (SAGE Publishing), which had positive reviews from UK academics (see link)
Stand Up and Be HeardTaking the Fear Out of Public Speaking at University
The future of assessment: more than just a paperless prospect? This #LTHE chat, led bySteffen Skovfoged and Sally Brown, will discuss questions based on how recent changes in practice we’ve brought about as a result of the Coronavirus crisis are likely to have a long term impact on, we hope, making the assessment of the future more authentic and fit-for-purpose. In particular, we will review how technologies alongside effective and positive curriculum and assessment design may lead to long lasting improvements in ensuring assessment is integral to learning.
The future of effective assessment – more than just a paperless future?
Recently, Jisc (2020) released their report on the Future of Assessment as part of their Education 4.0 vision to explore how emerging technology may change education. In the report, the contributors argue that universities and colleges should use technology to transform assessment by setting and following five principles of being more authentic, accessible, appropriately automated, continuous and secure. And as universities have in recent months have had to respond rapidly to Coronavirus conditions, now also seems a sensible point at which to rethink how we use assessment in the future. Having just made major changes to plans to deliver face-to-face, invigilated, time-constrained, unseen exams, do we really want to revert to former ways when the lockdown is over?
Jisc’s five principles argue that future assessments should be:
Authentic: they should prepare learners for whatever they are going to do next, meeting employer needs as well as testing knowledge, capabilities and skills in a more realistic, context-relevant and motivating way. As Bloxham and Boyd (2007, p.193) argue, ‘Being able to reproduce knowledge in a de-contextualised examination does not guarantee that knowledge can be used in a real-life setting’.
Accessible: they must be designed throughout to be usable by everyone to the greatest possible extent, including those who have a long-term disability, a short-term injury or a mental health challenge. The challenges of such expectations of inclusivity when using technologies must be addressed at the design stage, rather than expecting reasonable adjustments later on in the process.
Appropriately automated: approaches should ease teachers’ marking and feedback workload, and can potentially provide quicker, more detailed and more actionable feedback for students, so long as fit-for purpose principles (Race 2020) (purpose, methodologies, orientation, agency and timing), are integrated in new approaches.
Continuous: assessments in the future must be rich in practice opportunities and reflect the fact that students today need to be capable of lifelong learning, to adapt to changes in the world of work and across their lives rather than succeeding in one-off high-stakes, high-stress exams. Incremental opportunities to learn though feedback within the assessment process are likely to ensure better learning.
Secure: fostering sound academic integrity (Brown and Race, at press), ensuring that the right student is taking the right assessment and that the work they are submitting is their own and abides by the rules. Remote proctoring, whereby technologies can authenticate remote digital assessment candidates is one solution, as well as active restriction of software and other means of aids with specially designed “lockdown browser” technology installed on candidates own devices.
But how can these principles be applied in practice? And what barriers are educators facing when trying to abide to some of the principles, and how do we overcome the barriers? Are students really craving digital forms of assessment (or do they understandably seek the comforts of former approaches) and can we provide it without compromising the positive interactions of pre-2020 teaching and learning approaches? It is too early to say how the recent Covid-19 crisis will affect current assessment practice, but change it must, and the speed of extant change is likely to be accelerated. Is it possible to prevent academic misconduct without compromising student privacy and integrity? It will be valuable to explore these questions in the #LTHEchat, and discuss how universities and colleges globally are responding, as well as considering what we can learn and apply across the board that will make for better assessment practices in the future.
Using these principles as our departure point, this #LTHEchat will provoke, we hope, an inspiring hour of discussion, with opportunities to share our knowledge and practice as we try to work out how to advance the future of assessment. Guest hosts this week are Steffen Skovfoged from UNIwise, provider of the digital assessment platform WISEflow (with whom more than 100 institutions across Europe have used Uniwise to support their assessment, and they report that in the last two months the increase of online assessment has grown exponentially. He will be joined by #LTHEchat stalwart and passionate assessment afficionado, Sally Brown.
Steffen Skovfoged is Director at Uniwise, provider of the digital assessment platform WISEflow. Following a 15 year-long career in the Danish university sector, working his way up from student counselor to director of studies and development, he co-founded the company UNIwise as a spin-out from Aarhus University in 2012. Together with several colleagues from the university he headed out on a mission to help change the education sector from analog to digital, more aligned with today’s standards and the expectations of stakeholders, students, teachers and staff.
Sally Brown is an Independent Consultant in Learning, Teaching and Assessment and Emerita Professor at Leeds Beckett University where she was, until 2010, Pro-Vice-Chancellor. She is also Visiting Professor at Edge Hill University and formerly at the Universities of Plymouth, Robert Gordon, South Wales and Liverpool John Moores and at Australian universities James Cook, Central Queensland and the Sunshine Coast. She holds Honorary Doctorates from the universities of Plymouth, Kingston, Bournemouth, Edinburgh Napier and Lincoln. She is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA) Senior Fellow and a National Teaching Fellow.
The impact of covid has brought with it the potential to rethink, maybe radically, traditional pedagogies. However, the emergence and adoption of new technologies may not necessarily be used in a consistent manner across modules, courses and institutions. This diversity of teaching and learning situations in which learning technology might be used, coupled with the heterogeneous nature of the tools themselves, can also have a bearing on how we understand the impact of technology within education.
A plethora of data (gathered through surveys or interventions) highlight the benefits of technology -enhanced learning, particularly the way in which they can facilitate student engagement both within and outside the classroom, but there is a lack of scholarly consensus on the impact of technology on student engagement with their learning. In this chat, I explore how we might define or differentiate different types of engagement with technology. For instance,
Is academic engagement (time on task, completion of assignments) distinct from behavioural engagement (attendance in online forums) or cognitive engagement (strategies for learning, self-regulation)?
Should emotional engagement (enjoyment, enthusiasm) be subsumed within affective engagement (a sense of belonging to an online group)?
Momna Hejmadi is a Professor of Bioscience Education & Technology, Department of Biology and Biochemistry, and Associate Dean in the Faculty of Science, University of Bath. She oversees the Faculty of Science’s undergraduate and postgraduate taught learning, teaching and student experience for the 7 departments within the faculty. She was awarded the UK National Teaching Fellowship (NTF) in 2015.
Given the current gap in literature, Momna has a thematic analysis underway on student engagement with learning technology. In the meantime, the reviews by Christenson and Reschly 2019 might be of interest.
When you are teaching, to what extent do you feel like you are performing, acting, or entertaining your students? What inspiration might we draw from the skills and techniques of actors, singers, dancers, stand-up comedians, improv troupes, and other performing artists? These are some of the questions that we will explore in this LTHEchat.
In some educational contexts and cultures, teaching as performance is well established as a way of thinking about the performative aspects of a teacher’s role. In North America, for example, colleagues seem accustomed to reflecting on their vulnerabilities as teachers, and on how their teaching role relates to the performer’s craft. See Sarah Rose Cavanagh’s piece All the Classroom’s a Stage for an illuminating reflection on this topic.
In the training of primary and secondary school teachers, there are often courses exploring the links between teaching and performance. During my own PGCE in Secondary Modern Languages, for example, we had input from actors and singers to help with confidence when speaking and presenting, and to practise breathing techniques and voice projection. This seems to be less the case in the higher education context, though some universities offer one-off sessions in performance as part of professional development for staff. In my previous role working with Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs), I developed a course called ‘Performative Aspects of Teaching’, in which participants explored their own feelings of ‘stage fright’ and aspects of their teaching performance. With yoga mats, breathing and relaxation exercises, and wacky activities inspired by acting and improvisation, this course provided a different way for participants – STEMM doctoral researchers – to think about their teaching role.
I hope this LTHEchat will spark some interesting discussions, both from those who are sceptical of viewing teaching as performance as well as from those who have experience of applying creative, performative approaches to teaching in higher education.
Intro: The technologies behind video games have been applied to a range of sectors. The playful nature of games combined with their intractability and aesthetic quality make them highly engaging. As such, serious games, and general gamification of content and process have become popular tools in many sectors. However, more recently people have been looking at applying the technologies of games more broadly to address challenges. Hosting conference calls in online role-playing games, or used building/sandbox games to teach basic mechanics. In many cases other (non games-based) software exists to tackle these issues, but occasionally the games platform provides additional benefits ranging from reliability to accessibility. In this LTHEChat we will discuss what, if any role Games-based technologies have to play in Higher Education.
Chris Headleand is an Associate Professor and the Director of Teaching and learning in the School of Computer Science at the University of Lincoln. His research interests include Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, and Student Engagement, with a specific focus on to gaming applications and platforms. He graduated in 2009 with a degree in Design Education, a MSc in Computer Systems, a PGCHE, and a PhD in Computer Science from Bangor University. Beyond his Higher Education experience he has teaching experience, in the secondary and further education sectors, and he currently acts as a Governor for the Lincoln UTC. Chris has been exploring the use of video games in educational, and student engagement initiatives for 6 years.
Dawne and Nathalie want to say thank you everyone for joining us during our tenure running the LTHEchat in the first quarter of 2020! We had over 3700 blog visits in March and are delighted to have been able to support the community and help gather resources and encourage conversations during the beginnings of a global pandemic, the outcome and reach of which is yet to be determined.
Colleagues and students alike have and are facing a complex multitude of challenges and we want to encourage you to stay connected, use the #virtualcoffee hashtag or revisit the resources on the blog here or visit the Wakelet in which we tried to curate some of the key resources.
If you want to catch up on the Covid19 Special Edition chats and resources, please feel free to use this open Google Sheet. The LTHEchat community has shared not only their thoughts and debates but also many resources.