Tag Archives: e-learning

LLAS e-learning symposium 2013 pt1: A sense of community

I’ve just come back from attending the LLAS’ 8th e-learning symposium at the University of Southampton. I really enjoyed the event: the talks were great, full of ideas and directions to explore (the keynotes in particular), but above all it is really the people who made it worthwhile for me.

When I presented at this event last year, I met a few fellow HE language tutors, a good number of which I got to see again this year: @AngloFLE, @CeciliaGoria, @languageforall, @nkthorne and @Citricky, to name a few. And it was great to see the ever-enthusiastic organisers @AliDickens, @johngcanning, @KBorthwick, @laurencegeorgin, @eri_llas, @37Nasher and the rest of the LLAS team.

The event was also the oportunity to meet face-to-face with a few people whom I’d been following, reading or and interacting with on Twitter. It was really great to meet @WarwickLanguage, @nikpeachey & @mikeneary!

By the end of the second day, I’d spoken to people from dozens of institutions, teaching every language you can think of and sharing an interst for technology-enhanced learning and innovative teaching practices. It really was a breath of fresh air in the middle of a busy academic year!

But the best thing about this event is that I truly began to get a sense of community. This is probably the most important thing I’ll take back with me: the feeling that I’m starting to know a few people around the country, whom I meet online or offline once in a while, and I have an idea of who they are, what they do, and we can count on one another for ideas, support, inspiration and so on. It was great speaking to you all – see you next year!

My next post (or two) will be about the content of the event. Too much to write about in just one post!

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A fresh start

 I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. And the longer I wait, the more difficult it seems to get back into writing. My last post dates back to April so it’s more than time I resumed my blogging enterprise.

A lot has happened since then, so the purpose of this post will be to try and summarise the last five months as concisely as possible.

In May I conducted a short survey among my colleagues to try and formalise some of the observations I had made during the various e-learning sessions I had organised. I focused specifically on uses and attitudes towards three different learning technologies, namely Interactive Whiteboards, VLEs and social media (in the broadest possible sense of the word – and it is broad). The results were rather interesting, showing a (predictable) lack of engagement with IWBs and a lack of awareness of all things relating to social media. I presented my conclusions in more detail at the LLAS’ annual conference in Edinburgh in July.

In June I also presented in Paris the results of a study which I had been working on (and discussed some preliminary elements at the LLAS’ e-learning symposium 2012 in January). The presentation was well received and the feedback was very useful. I am currently working on take-awayable guidelines for fostering collaboration among students on online platforms.

Pen and paper

Then there was the job thing. After five years working at Manchester Metropolitan University as a language tutor, I accepted a job at the University of Manchester’s language centre, in a position involving some coordination as well as language teaching. It’s now been 6 weeks and although it is keeping me very busy, it’s an extremely enjoyable and refreshing experience. I’ve just volunteered to deliver a couple of e-learning sessions which will soon be made available on these pages.

Anyhow, this was my dreaded attempt at getting back into blogging. I’m thinking of following fellow blogger Eljee Javier’s advice and to undertake one of those 30-day challenges for better blogging. So, you’ve been warned – there is more where this post came from.

LLAS e-learning symposium 2012 – day 2

Better late than never – I’ve finished my post about the second day of the LLAS e-learning symposium 2012 (#LLASelearn12). It’s been a busy week catching up with everything after spending Thursday and Friday in Southampton.

I particularly enjoyed Professor Claire Warwick (@clhw1)’s keynote entitled ‘Tweeting and teaching: how scholarly is social media?‘. It was really refreshing to listen to Prof. Warwick defend social media as a scholarly practice, as she meticulously dispelled one preconception after the next on the matter. Least I can say is that I wish I could make such a convincing -and so thoroughly informed- case when I try and defend the use of social media in general (and discussion forums in particular) in my job as a language tutor.

Other speakers included Margaret Southgate who gave a very insightful and up-to-date overview of blended language learning and Dr. Mark Stansfield who defended the value and useful of game-based learning. Game-based learning is a topic I’m always very curious to hear about as I haven’t yet seen another practitioner implement  it in my (short) teaching career.

I was lucky enough to have my proposal accepted and the symposium and therefore gave a presentation entitled “Using social media for peer feedback in a translation class: a case-study“.

Although not yet available at the time of writing this post, a video recording of my presentation should shortly be posted on the LLAS website. In this talk, I looked at the set-up of our departmental social network and how I have been using it with my translation class for student peer-feedback. The results discussed are preliminary as the study will be concluded in March 2012.

I was very happy with the feedback I received and it was particularly useful to compare experiences with Andrea Zhok and Elena McNeilly from the University of Bristol, who have been working on a similar (though apparently far more successful) project to mine.

Next step now is finishing my study, hopefully with some useful findings. Fingers crossed…