So the third and last day of ALT-C 2012 came around pretty quickly, what with so much exciting stuff so far from the conference. Day three was no exception, filled with lots of inspiring sessions and conversations.
The main theatre kicked off with Mark Stubbs, Head of Learning and Research Technologies at Manchester Metropolitan University. He was talking about transforming the curriculum, mainstreaming learning technology and improving student experience.
Mark has pioneered overhauling the structure of the university to improve student experience. His research found that the university staff were claiming that ‘’we can’t do anything, because we’d have to change everything’’, for example changing one thing might affect many other systems and processes within the institution. The answer to this, so that MMU could improve student experience, was ‘’lets change everything!’’ Which is what Manchester Met have now done, with successful results.
The University has made many changes including their curriculum, admin systems and setting up a new VLE. Mark talked about how they achieved ‘’wrapping the institution around the learner’’ and gave examples of how students might want their calendar to work in the same way a familiar, personal web-based calendar they already use would, and be able to sync this to personal devices.
Next up was Sarah Porter from JISC. Sarah talked about the many forthcoming changes that are happening within JISC. She showed us some detailed market research results, which included quotes from existing customers such as ‘’help me deal with real term cuts’’ and ‘’help me to stay ahead of changes in education technology’’.
Sarah explained that a new, simpler organisational structure will be put in place with new communications, customer support and community engagement. She finished by saying that JISC must strive to be innovative – in everything – to add value to the customer and the community.
The final keynote at ALT-C 2012 was from Professor Richard Noss from the University of London with a session entitled TEL research – who needs it?
TEL stands for Technology Enhanced Research Programme and Richard spoke about the below 12 key themes:
One of the things he talked about was how we should exploit the power of devices and explained that devices that support our human behaviors are good for social and cognitive development. Richard told us that we are going to see artificial intelligence research for emotional engagement in teaching and learning.
After giving lots of great examples (including some complicated mathematical ones!), Richard ended with saying that the reality was that circumstances, rationale and representations for learning have changed – lets confront it.
We had a really lovely time at our first ALT-C, and met some great people and saw many interesting and innovative speakers. Thanks to ALT for having us, and I hope we’ll be back next year in Nottingham as it sounds like you’ve got some nice stuff planned!