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JISC RSC Northwest eLearning Focus eLearning Content Creation (ECC) Pilot Programme update ...by Colin Gallacher The eLearning content creation (ECC) pilot programme funded by the SFA (Skills Funding Agency) supported by BIS (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) and delivered by ALP (Association of Learning Providers) has come to a successful completion. The ECC programme has enabled three ECC lead providers to pilot new approaches to the creation of flexible learning materials with the aim of improving access to quality eLearning content. The three successful consortium bidders have produced new and innovative learning materials in the following three areas: • The League Football Education consortium have produced an interactive learning resource for Functional Skills themed around Sport and the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics. • The Voyage Training consortium produced a comprehensive training

resource targeted at the Care sector but equally suitable for all WBL staff especially for staff who work with learners with Learning Disabilities or Difficulties. • The Nuneaton Training Centre consortium has produced a wide ranging eLearning resource aimed at the WBL/ Skills sector for Initial Teacher/Tutor Training DTLLs, PTLLs and CTLLs qualifications. David Rowe, JISC RSC WBL eLearning adviser working with the ALP ECC team said “It has been a great experience to work with the ECC project managers and consortiums as they have developed their eLearning materials. I am confident that the materials developed are of a high quality and will be of great value to the wider WBL/Skills sector" Further information on how to access the eLearning materials developed by the three ECC providers can be found at http://bit.ly/gwkxev

eLF-4LPs

May 2011 RSCs - stimulating and supporting innovation in learning

In this issue... Power Conduits The Need to Manage and Understand Business Processes The 2010 Equality Act Reflective practice The Increased Importance of IAG in Post 16 Learning Monthly uNET Online Worshops Thinking Green....Going Green The Institute of Technology Online choice NEW for you!


Power Conduits ...by Keith Wilson

The Need to Manage and Understand Business Processes

I'm feeding back on some things that I've had brought to my attention recently.

JISC infoNet Senior Adviser John Burke looks at the issues of not understanding how your business processes work.

Simple but effective if you are thinking of distributing power in a new classroom, office, workshop etc and can't decide where the sockets should be. This makes it flexible for next year too when the room has to change its use or has different layouts and/ or occupants.

http://bit.ly/gvu849 According to the rep from Steljes who are the distributors, he was saying that they also do a data and power conduit too, although it isn't on their website. They are currently developing a conduit/ trunking that will contain both power (Continued on page 3)

Since Incorporation in 1974, the FE and Skills Sector has been subject to a constant series of changes, both to mainstream funding arrangements and to varying areas of central priority via targeted funding and measurement. Such pressure can result in the lack of time and resource to undertake wide reviews at a process level. Instead, short term evolutionary changes and problemsolving approaches by practitioners can become so commonplace as to become the culturally accepted way of reviewing and improving processes. Where the focus is on problem-solving and evolutionary development, there may be a lack of holistic reviewing of processes from start to end. In many cases this would mean that processes are not fully documented and that no one has a full understanding of the entire process beyond a few steps in either direction from their own participatory involvement. This lack of a wider understanding of the

process can lead to issues arising when a large scale change to the process, perhaps by way of procuring a new system such as e-portfolios or learning platforms, is necessary. Governors and executive management are aided in their decision making by a robust knowledge of the interactions of processes between departments, teams and services and how interfaces between staff, learners and technology lead to benefits and are managed. 'Siloed' working approaches can adversely affect understanding of process and information flow across an organisation. When changes are implemented at local level there is a need to understand how outputs from current processes (perhaps seen simply as by-products, or worse, without any knowledge of use by others) are used as inputs by other processes within the organisation so that changes acknowledge and cater for this to continue. Without regular periodic review there is a danger that processes originally designed with a focus on delivering benefits to (Continued on page 4)


The 2010 Equality Act ...by Kevin Hickey In October last year the Equality act came into force. This new piece of legislation aimed to collate and extend over 20 pieces of existing legislations which had addressed range of equality issues including race, sex, and disability. The 2010 equality act is a single act which covers the following protected characteristics; • • • • • • • •

Age Disability Gender Reassignment Marriage and Civil Partnership Race Religion and Belief Sex Sexual Orientation

The legislation specifies the following as acts of prohibited conduct; • Direct Discrimination • Associative discrimination • Discrimination by perception • Indirect discrimination • Harassment • Harassment by a third party • Victimisation • Discrimination arising from a disability

• Failure to make reasonable adjustments The Public Sector Equality Duty As part of the act a Public Sector Equality Duty was implemented in April of this year. This means that all public sector organisations, including educational organisations have a duty to; • Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation • Advance Equality of opportunity • Foster good relations. Further Information Further information about how the Equality Act and Public Sector Equality Duty affects you and your organisation, are available from the following links; Equality and Human Rights CommissionGuidance for education providers;

http://bit.ly/hwP2e1 LSIS- The New Equality act 2010- what does it mean to the FE & skills Sector?

http://bit.ly/fz0kpH Government equalities Office

http://bit.ly/eBH0uH

Power Conduits ...continued (Continued from page 2)

and data points, plus telephone cables. This could be useful and fits into some of the comments made about more laptops and user owned laptops on site to make teaching space more flexible. The representative was also saying that some universities sell the connector to the student and then it's theirs to take with them around campus as they wish connecting to points in the library, classroom, and other learning spaces. Whilst this looks useful there could well be other similar products available and I cannot find out which institutions already use this product to get an endorsement.

If you use this and/ or other similar products do provide Keith with some feedback; email him at kwil@rscnorthwest.ac.uk


(Continued from page 2)

students may, through a long series of small changes, end up with the focus being on making things easier for staff. In mergers or restructures, managers have to make important decisions about people, processes and systems, often without the evidence needed to compare the efficacy, effectiveness and efficiency of alternative processes with a view to designing a single process for the emerging organisation.

Reflective practice ...by Hilary Thomas Arguably, reflection is one of the most important elements in any learning process. Thinking over an activity and reflecting on where it was successful - or where things might have gone astray -can help to improve the chances of repeating or developing it, or of tacking it differently next time. The intention of a reflective journal is to promote this process and in some instances to harness the reflective process to an element of programme design.

At times of such largescale change, there is a need to review processes to identify whether total redesign, rather than a series of spot improvements is necessary. JISC infoNet has some relevant resources for review and design of business processes. Their Process Review infoKit has been joined by the Embedding BCE infoKit which has a process review methodology at its heart and these can be accessed from the website at http:// www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk.

The reflective journal Of course, the reflective process can take place without record, simply within the classroom or the workplace; but by the process of making a record – keeping a journal – learners are not only prompted to reflect regularly, but increase their awareness of the development of their ideas and patterns of thinking. And by encouragement to

relate their ideas to wider bodies of thought learners can situate and identify themselves within the field of their subject discipline. ePortfolios provide an electronic version of the reflective journal, but it should be noted that not all ePortfolios are designed or used for this purpose. NVQ programmes, for example, often use ePortfolios designed specifically for storage in order to record evidence of achievement to mark against award criteria (e.g. One File: www1.onefile.co.uk ); and ePortfolios used for Personal Development Planning (PDP) while sometimes designed along the same lines as those used as reflective journals, may be harnessed not to learning needs but to showcase experience to prospective employers. What distinguishes the reflective ePortfolio is essentially the purpose for which it is used; and what determines your choice of ePortfolio should be guided by this – indeed you may decide to support reflective practice through applications other than those labelled ePortfolio because alternative applications (such as blogs like tumblr (www.tumblr.com ), for


example) may perhaps have the functions – and informality - that you decide best meet your purpose. Stimulate critical thinking Structured reflection has a part in any learning process, at all levels and in all subject areas, although common practice is often to regard it as the domain of higher education. What may need to differ across different contexts is the approach used to foster reflective practice. One approach that can make the process feel more directed is to shift away from the esoteric connotations of reflection and use the term, ‘critical thinking’ instead. This tends to prompt a more focussed understanding of what is expected by the process and a role for guidance to develop practice. (For ideas see Jenny Moon’s work in this area: http://bit.ly/ ha5vQy) The term, critical thinking, also tends to highlight that the process is not necessarily something to be carried out alone. Where reflective ePortfolios come into their own by comparison to paper-based versions is in the way they enable the learner to share their thinking with tutors, supervisors and peers, and in turn for tutors,

supervisors and peers to offer their contributions. Public? Private? Who’s in control? Practices vary with reflective ePortfolios. Those hosted by a Learning Provider (e.g. as part of a VLE) will often, though not necessarily, have sharing functions set by the programme tutors/ administrators without a facility for the learner to decide. Others hosted independently may leave that choice to the learner. Needs vary according to the purpose of the ePortfolio and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, though generally those portfolios over which learners feel control tend to be those that are used most effectively, (see the JISC publication: Effective practice with ePortfolios: http://bit.ly/hhrPcj ). What is important regardless is for there to be transparency over who does have access. So, too, is guidance for the learner to be mindful of their audience when deciding what is appropriate to keep private and what to share. There also needs to be care and consideration when using reflective portfolios for assessment - either formative or summative bearing in mind that the anticipation of judgement can sometimes inhibit the

continued reflective process, or at the least the elements that the learner is happy to record.

Variety is the spice of life A key feature of the ePortfolio Is the range of formats in which data can be added, which means that critical thinking can take many forms of expression and be applied across all subject disciplines – text, imagery, sound recordings, video, performance replay can all be used to illustrate or capture and develop thinking, and stimulate less linear thought processes than text alone.

For supervision too As well as supporting all subject disciplines, the reflective e-portfolio can be ideal for supervision purposes from both the point of view of learners in the workplace who need to reflect on and evaluate their experiences, and from the point of view of the supervisor based elsewhere who can help guide and prompt that evaluation, e.g. teacher education (Continued on page 6)


Reflective Practice

...continued (Continued from page 5)

students often use ePortfolios like PebblePad (http://bit.ly/f9XDKU) whilst on their teaching placements. [With a large number of learners to support, being able to access portfolios remotely can also be a good way for supervisors to manage their workload!]

Stay true to your purpose If intending to promote the development of reflective practice in your learners, think clearly about what exactly it is that you understand by this, what it is that you want to foster and how you might set about it. Then take time with your learners to discuss it and allow their ideas to shape your thinking. Only at that point, when you know what you are aiming to achieve and the ways that you all would like to work, should you start thinking about the ‘tools for the job’.

The Increased Importance of IAG in Post 16 Learning ...by Judy Bloxham Those learners who first entered secondary school in September 2009 will be the first cohort who will have the mandatory age of participation raised to 18. With this shift in the requirement for young people to remain in education or training came a greater responsibility on both schools and post 16 learning providers for the provision of improved Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG). There is a requirement to ensure that young people are better informed about what is available for them, and that that information should be impartial. Funding for the young peoples’ advice service Connexions ceased on 31st March and in many places the service has already closed. There is now a gap in provision. The new All Age Careers Service is not due to be in place until September 2011 and will not be fully functional until April 2012. So the requirement for post 16 IAG this summer from providers is greater than ever. With restrictions on funding everywhere, the need for a solution to providing IAG

needs to be cost effective and rapid to implement. To make this transition from a service which is heavily reliant on personal contact to one which is widely accessible, will most likely require a technological solution. There are already many web based information portals which can be utilised, what will be needed is a solution which links them together to join the information and make it relevant to the learner. The current situation is “Only 16 per cent of businesses believe the UK is offering its young people the right mix of academic knowledge and practical skills” (Economy hinges on practical skills investment, say businesses, 30 March 2011 FE News). So what does this mean for IAG? The requirement to advise young people about the right path is increasingly important, but the agencies previously with the main responsibility for the coordination of this are no longer there. For this summer’s cohort of young people the IAG will need to come mainly through learning providers. The study conducted by the Department for


Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) into the Economic Impact of FE concluded that “Learning could also mean that individuals are more likely to be in employment, not just immediately after learning has taken place, but over the course of their lifetime.” In a time when unemployment is high and probably rising, the need to make yourself valuable in the workplace is ever more important. “FE plays a crucial role here, with an estimated 400,000 unemployed learners in the system” it is the mechanism for providing skills required for employment, not only in the near future, but also as a means of adapting to future employment requirements. The challenge as always will be to get the right people on the right courses, and the responsibility this year will fall even heavier on the learning provider. Online IAG resources, accessible 24/7 by young people and their parents, with links into one-to-one advice is seen as one possible solution to this. There are already some good examples out there of learning providers who are doing this, and there are probably others with good provision that is not publically visible. Yet there is a real argument that it is

worth while making this information public. What learning providers need to do is ensure they attract the right people, and ensure they get learners who will complete, as it is the outcome which determines funding not the mere number on the course. All learning providers publicise their provision of courses, many of these through an on-line presence, but the choice of which course to undertake should also be influenced by the paths that can follow. So alongside the course information, the inclusion of links to HE and careers information is equally valuable. The good examples referred to earlier, do just this. When people embark on a course of training or study which they feel they are right for, they are more likely to invest in the continuation and completion of that course. This confidence in the right course of action is gained through effective IAG. The act of getting the choices made at 16+ matched to personal preferences and future aspirations, plays a great importance in the personal investment made. The right IAG can help excite and inspire people about the possibilities for their future. Possible ways to link up

IAG...continued the information to provide a clear path are: • Accessible information which shows where past learners on that qualification have progressed to or the jobs they have. • Capturing the voice of previous learners on the course so they can say what they enjoyed and why they took the course and what they are moving on to. • The inclusion of videos of professions available when you have completed that career. • Virtual job tasters. • Ways so the learner can clearly see what progression is (Continued on page 8)


IAG

information is vital but

Institute of Employment

also for choices for older

Studies identified that the

learners, so this affects

‘Advice and Guidance’

available in higher

the Community and Adult

following ‘Information’

education.

learning sector too. From

were the really important

this August a scheme is

parts. These provide the

being piloted “ For each

personalisation and help

college and provider, 2.5%

the user see the relevance

of their adult funding

to them and increase their

allocation (the outcome

commitment. Technology

incentive payment) will be

could again make this

...continued (Continued from page 7)

• Alternative related areas of study if you decide that course isn’t quite right for you. • Ways to access

contingent on helping to

possible through the use of

information dealing

get unemployed people

facilities like video

with finance,

into work.” (Geoff Russell

conferencing. One

childcare, housing

Chief Executive of the

example of this is where

etc.

Skills Funding Agency)

students at Shrewsbury

This means that the IAG

College linked to the

undecided make

for older learners is equally

University of

choices about what

important and so the onus

Wolverhampton to find out

path to follow by

on what is possible

about the interview and

analysing skills and

afterwards needs to look at

application process.

aptitude.

the longer term

• Tools to help the

John Hayes, Minister

opportunities.

For Work Based Learning (WBL) there is an

of State for Further

The one snag here is that

opportunity. Employers

Education, identified

the use of a web

recognise the value of this

"Careers guidance is

presence, whilst being

form of training, but quite

at the heart of

accessible and meeting

often it is only promoted to

increasing social

the need to reach a wide

those at lower level ability

mobility, and a vital

audience at a time and

who are not seen as

part of the machinery

place that suits them, is

suitable for progression

of social justice." It is

that it only addresses the

through academic routes.

not just the 16-18 year

’I’ part of IAG. A study

Vocational learning,

olds where this

commissioned by the

however, is now a


potential route to higher

continuation, choosing

education as equally as

to create a public

through the traditional

information portal could

academic route. If WBL

well provide a good

providers take the

promotional link with the

provision of IAG on

public, go a long way to

themselves more pro-

getting that right person

actively they can promote

on the right course, and

the future possibilities of

improve the positive

this choice of learning to

outcomes.

Monthly uNET Online Workshops ...by John Dalziel 1: We asked... “Please sign up if you are interested in a monthly using New and Emerging Technology (uNET) Online Workshop”

include these wider

49 Learning Providers, that we support, Expressed an Interest!

opportunities.

2: We asked...

This requirement for an

“Which day of the week and at what time would you prefer?”

increase in IAG provision may be seen as a short

71% selected THURSDAY and 48% between 12:00 & 13:00

term one to bridge the gap between Government provisions, or it can be

3: We asked...

seen as a means of promoting and selling your services in a wider context. For longer term sustainability and

I am currently looking into IAG provision and hope to provide an online event to look at some of these aspects of good provision towards the end of May.

Health & Safety Myth ...Visit http://bit.ly/gU90qX

Download a pdf and/or see other Myths that could be used in Teaching & Learning.

“which of the listed areas you would like to see included in the proposed Monthly uNET Workshop and/or to add a suggestion(s) of your own” The TOP 5 were... uNET for • Multimedia 81% • CPD 62% • Communication 57% • eAssessment 52% • Games & Simulations Authoring Resources & Safeguarding all 48% (Continued on page 10)


uNET Workshops ...continued

Thinking Green....Going Green ...by Helen Metcalfe

(Continued from page 9)

4: We asked... “Is there anything else you would like us to take into consideration when planning the uNET Monthly Online Workshops?” You said that you would like the Workshops Recording as.... • There will be times you can’t attend; • You will be able to use them as JiTT 24/7 (Just in Time Tutorials) and/or share with colleagues.

Thank you for your responses. I will (with help from the team)... Hold the uNET Monthly Online Workshops on Thursdays between 12:00 and 13:00, starting with Multimedia and sharing a recording of the workshop. Further details will be in May’s eMagazine.

“Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” World Commission on Environment and Development, quoted by Jones (2010) Between 01 September 2010 and 31 March 2011, the JISC RSC NW have hosted 21 events. 13 of these events (62%) have taken place online. In total this has saved the travel costs and time of 111 delegates.

What is the RSC NW doing? Following a review of the sustainability of our event management, we aim to... • Where appropriate deliver events using a suitable online platform • Wherever possible, use electronic formats: to publicise events, for event bookings, for delegate confirmations, and to collect feedback. • Whenever possible, select venues which are within walking distance of public transport links.

• Provide delegates with links to websites, which will enable them to make informed choices about their method of travel. • Where possible, ask venues to provide tap water, rather than bottled water – have you ever thought how far your bottled water has travelled? What will happen to the bottle containing it? • Where possible, use generic event signage, that can be reused. • Continuing to reduce the amount of printed material generated and used for events. • When purchasing items for events, consider

‘Reduce- Reuse – Recycle’ What can you do • Think about the small changes you can make (Continued on page 11)


(Continued from page 10)

to improve your own sustainability – Print double-sided; powerdown and switch off at the end of the day.... • Consider the impact of your travel arrangements. Visit sites like http://bit.ly/gZklX9** which show comparisons between various methods of travel. • Take a look at the sustainability page on our website: http://bit.ly/ihleF7 “No-body makes a greater mistake than he who does nothing because he could only do a little” Burke, quoted by Seventeen Events

about.... ? If the RSC NW provided a facility, at face-to-face events, for delegates to return unwanted USB sticks for recycling or donating to a charitable organisation –Is it something you would use? ? If the RSC NW Used Bluetooth technology to communicate information to delegates mobile devices at face-to -face events – would you find this useful? ? What things prevent you from using public transport to travel to face -to-face events? Email your thoughts, comments or ideas to events@rscnorthwest.ac.uk

Online choice ...by John Dalziel As Helen has stated in her

Thinking Green....Going Green article, on this page, we have looked carefully at what we currently do and what we would like to do, as well as talking to and listening to YOU! It is important we offer, all supported Learning Providers, equitable support, and channels of communication that meet the preferences of our clients. Some of the changes made include...

JISC RSC Northwest Annual Event 2011 ...on Thursday 30 June 2011

A “drip feed of ‘Finds’, Blogcast and Vidcast alternatives and recordings of the ‘INTOUCH’ Live TV Broadcasts” via my blog— http://bit.ly/f61O5A

“The Institute of Technology”

All of the above can also be accessed via a mobile website at

Please let us know what you think

** RSC NW cannot accept responsibility for content of external websites.

Open for one day only Enrolment for this special one-day event, in central Manchester, opened on 4 April, as this newsletter was edited, just 34 of the 150 FREE places are left! To find out more, visit: http://www.rsc-northwest.ac.uk/event11 For details of all upcoming JISC RSC NW events: www.rsc-northwest.ac.uk/eventcalendar

http://acljohn.posterous.com/

Does it work? Well 1,014 have, at the time of writing this, viewed April’s TV broadcast at a time to suit them! 17 watched live and joined the chat.


RSC Northwest team... Manager  Andrew Quarmby  aq@rsc‐northwest.ac.uk 

New team member for JISC RSC Northwest ... A warm welcome to eLearning Adviser Judy Bloxham, who, since our last Newsletters, has joined the JISC RSC Northwest as an eLearning Adviser.

Administrators  Christine Hulme  Sandra Harris  admin@rsc‐ northwest.ac.uk  eLearning Advisers  John Dalziel   (Adult & Community  Learning; PCDL & OLASS)  jd@rsc‐northwest.ac.uk  Colin Gallacher  (Work Based Learning)  cg@rsc‐northwest.ac.uk  Kevin Hickey  (Inclusion)  kh@rsc‐northwest.ac.uk Anita Holt  (Further Education)  ah@rsc‐northwest.ac.uk  Judy Bloxham  (Further Education)  jb@rsc‐northwest.ac.uk Hilary Thomas  (Higher Education)  ht@rsc‐northwest.ac.uk  Chrissie Turkington  (Senior Adviser)  ct@rsc‐northwest.ac.uk Keith Wilson  (Technology & MIS)  kwil@rsc‐ northwest.ac.uk    Events Co‐ordinator  Helen  Metcalfe  hm@rsc‐northwest.ac.uk

NEW for you! The ‘RSC NW Event News’ blog is now live. Subscribe at http://rscnweventnews.wordpress.com/ On 31 March 2011, Helen, our Events Coordinator posted her very first blog entry! Check it out and be amongst the first to find out about events in planning and other snippets of event news. Use the ‘comments’ to let us know what you think Email: admin@rsc-northwest.ac.uk

Twitter: @jiscrscnw

JISC Regional Support Centre Northwest www.rsc-northwest.ac.uk 2nd Floor Bailrigg House, Lancaster University Lancaster. LA1 4YE Phone: 01524 510067 Fax: 01524 593798

All JISC RSC Northwest staff contribute to the online newsletter. Please send any feedback about the newsletter to John Dalziel, Editor, at:

jd@rsc-northwest.ac.uk "please don't print this unless you really need to!"


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