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UPC Faculty Technology in Practice: A showcase of activities from across the partnership 2011


Welcome Welcome to this year’s Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) update from across the UPC partnership. With a changing landscape within the HE in FE sector we must further our innovative approach to embedding technology appropriately within the curriculum. As always, technology is developing rapidly and as practitioners we must ensure they are being used effectively to support teaching and learning. To ensure success, staff require continual support guidance and training in the appropriate use of technologies to enable sustainability. Along with the use of technology it is the continual mission for UPC Faculty to ensure all students have access to e-resources remotely, comparable to those studying on main campus to support and enhance learning opportunities. If anyone wishes to discuss technology enhanced learning please contact me. Hope you enjoy the read,


Julie Swain UPC Blended Learning Co-ordinator


Current TEL Research

Dates for your Diary:

The Universities & Colleges Information Systems Association (Ucisa) Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) survey 2010 which in summary noted that ”enhancing the quality of learning and teaching activities” remains the primary driver for using TEL with the “availability of TEL support staff” representing the highest ranked factor in encouraging TEL development within an institution.

UPC Summer Conference: Pedagogies for a brave new world

“Web 2.0, mobile computing, e-assessment and support for multimedia and lecture capture are identified as the leading new demands on institutional support. Staff development, resourcing (time and money), technical infrastructure and specialist support staff reflect the key challenges in meeting these new demands, with staff development, strategies/policies and support staff seen as the primary remedies – echoing similar responses to the 2008 Survey.” (ALT,2010)

10am - 4pm

6th June 2011 Rolle Building University of Plymouth

Book now: EventsUPCFaculty@

The full survey can be found at groups/ssg/surveys.aspx The Higher Education Funding Council for England have announced through JISC a press release: ‘Online learning needs a strategy’ - 27 January 2011. “Universities and colleges need to make online learning a central part of their strategies if they are to stay competitive globally, says a new report” (HEFCE, 2011) The full report can be found at : pubs/hefce/2011/11_01/



Key points from the report are: • The need to take advantage of rapidly developing technology and rich sources of content, and invest in high quality learning, to remain globally competitive against the challenge from international and private providers. • The report makes six recommendations to institutions and the wider HE sector. They include use of online learning to enhance student choice and meet learners’ expectations; realignment of training and development to support academics to play a leading role in online provision; and the development and sharing of open educational resources to enhance efficiency and quality.

•to enhance Foundation degrees by offering flexible work based learning opportunities •allow learners to access study at HE level through flexible delivery •to develop and offer innovative teaching and learning opportunities

As you will be aware UPC has a Blended Learning Strategy and the current 2010-2012 strategy can be found on our moodle site at under the UPC CPD Enhancement site. The strategy links into the University of Plymouth Teaching & Learning Strategy 20092011 in which ‘Key Theme 9 ‘ foucsses on TEL. The strategy is available at:

1. Pedagogy, curriculum design and development. 2. Learning resources and environments. 3. Lifelong learning processes and practices. 4. Strategic management, human resources and capacity development. 5. Quality. 6. Research and evaluation. 7. Infrastructure and technical standards.

The UPC Blended Learning Strategy has taken a technology enhanced learning approach in order to: •be innovative, forward thinking, enterprising and offer flexibility and opportunity to all •support flexible delivery mechanisms and development of learning opportunities through continuing professional development •support distinctive academic portfolios focused towards the professions and employment •break down barriers between education and work by providing flexible and convenient working opportunities that enhance work and personal prospects

A tabular version of the complete framework is embedded within the UPC Blended Learning Strategy 2010-2012.

The strategy also embeds the suggested framework for institutions as guided by HEFCE 2009 to enhance learning and teaching through the use of technology. This framework highlights 7 core activity areas and focuses on the priorities giving examples of development goals. The core activity areas from HECFE suggested framework are:

Dates for your Diary: e-Learning Conference Digital Futures – Learning in a connected world 6th - 8th April 2011 Roland Levinsky Building For more information: http://www2.


JISC Regional Support Quite simply, your JISC Regional Support Centre is here to help! We are simply charged with “Inspiring Innovation” by supporting the development of your Institutions Technology Enhanced Learning provision. We’re also there to offer advice on other processes within your organisation where the application of technology can facilitate progress. We are a team of 11, situated within various offices across the South West, who understand the particular geographical and social issues that post-16 educators face in the region. We have a tremendous residual knowledge base within the team, with advisors having developed “chalk face” expertise via their professional practice and specialised training in a variety of areas, including: •Learning platforms (ePortfolio/Virtual Learning Environments) •Accessibility and inclusion •Learning resources •Technical support (e.g. Systems Integration) •Bidding/Project management

We also link directly to the full range of specialist advisory services provided under the auspices of JISC Advance, including: •JISC Legal-Specilaist legal advice on technology issues •JISC TechDis-Specialist advice on accessibility and inclusion •JISC InfoNet-Specialist advice for managers on technology e.g. project management •JISC ProcureWeb-Specialist advice and assistance for the technology procurement process …and many other (again!) We can also link you directly with the plethora of JISC project teams nationally who have received funding to develop resources and case studies which could prove invaluable in informing your institutions technological evolution, and assist you with bidding (and establishing consortia to bid) for JISC and other funds. For further information on our service, please contact Dan McCaffrey, eLearning Advisor (Higher Education) for the JISC Regional Support Centre South West: danmccaffrey@

…and many others. We are particularly vested with proficiency in relation to the application of technology to any aspect of your present practice, and are able to offer sound, pedagogic rationale for the adoption of these methods of delivery. With significant cost and efficiency savings now incumbent across the whole gamut of postcompulsory provision, we are also able to offer specialised advice on the various strategic approaches to incorporating technology into your institution, including the facilitation of a number of toolkits which will allow all strata of staff to audit their present skills level, and develop new approaches. 6


TEL Advocacy Scheme UPC has successfully launched the Technology Enhanced Learning Advocacy Scheme 2010-11. This virtual community comes together at moodle - UPC CPD Enhancement / TELA community to share and innovate technology practice across UPC. Working collaboratively allows a cross – fertilisation of ideas and practices which are being explored and evaluated and shared accordingly. TELA work includes :• Advocacy and promotion of Higher Education Technology Enhanced Learning opportunities within their college • Support and signpost staff to staff development opportunities as required • Disseminate UPC and TEL agendas - raising awareness of the ‘value added’ • Contribute where appropriate with internal HE forums/ conferences and TEL updates • Assist in the development of a UPC TEL Community of Practice (CoP) to share good practice and discuss issues and feedback within colleges, contribute to college TEL & HE strategy, and embedding the HEFCE enhancing teaching and learning strategy through the use of technology framework. In collaboration with JISC RSC SW we have started to develop a ‘Ning’ site to dissemnaite case studies of practice. This is available from: http://teachersvoicesw.ning. com/

and practice. Please log onto the site to view them, listed below are some of the key documents available on the site. Please feel free to join into this community and share your experiences as well as gather support and feedback from other practitioners from the network. • TELA forum - sharing good practice • UPC Blended Learning Strategy 2010-2012 • HEFCE Enhancing teaching & learning through the use of technology • HEFCE e-learning strateg • JISC Effective Assessment In a digital age • E-resources presentation - links to useful free materials & resources for teaching & learning • UPC Staff Information and Opportunities Brochure 2010/11 (PDF or Issuu versions)

Lillipad To support our UPC students in accessing e-journals, e-books and all of the UoP e-resources we have developed ‘Learning Information Literacy In Plymouth for Academic Development’ (Lilipad) which is available at LiliPad hosts tutorials, videos and guides about using the library and its resources effectively.

Other areas of the virtual community host key documents essential to those supporting and delivering technology enhanced learning along with a forum for sharing ideas 8


Turnitin in Pebblepad Your e-portfolio just got better with the integration of Turnitin! Turnitin is an Internet-based originality checking tool which enables your documents to be compared for matching content with the Internet, journals and an archive of previously submitted works. The system is based online allowing you or your students to access it from any Internet enabled computer, anywhere and at any time. It makes it easy for students to review their citations and referencing as an aid to developing good academic practice. This functionality has now been plugged into Pebblepad, the software that powers your e-portfolio! Documents that you have uploaded to your e-portfolio are known as assets and these can be submitted via your e-portfolio to Turnitin for originality checking simply by clicking on the Turnitin icon located in the top right hand corner of the page when viewing the asset. After a document has been submitted to Turnitin an originality report is generated for you to view via a new icon appearing when the e-portfolio asset is viewed. To find out more about Turnitin and what its reports are telling you please see our plagiarism page where you will find our latest 2 page guide that we are launching today! To go straight to your e-portfolio go to http://e-portfolio. and log in with your usual University of Plymouth username and password.

Colleges’ Showcase 10

All our colleges have been invited to contribute to this publication and showcase how they are developing technology enhanced learning to support UPC students.


Contributed by:

Bicton College

Bridgwater College

Contributed by:

Sim Taylor

The information available on the Bicton College Student Intranet has improved in the past 12 months with a separate page for Higher Education learners with FAQs on obtaining resources from the University of Plymouth and getting full-text articles from the electronic Library (Metalib). Part-time learners are better able to utilise the support available from staff by submitting enquiries using the dedicated library email address on the student intranet.

Since September 2010, I have been working with the PES (Public Emergency Students) in developing the use of mobile learning. We have been attempting to use learners own mobile devices to develop higher learning skills and the use of a wider variety of information than may previously have been experienced.

Max Sauter

Resources such as flip cameras, digital dictaphones and digital cameras are available to borrow from the LRC Helpdesk and this has enabled students to record and utilise electronic devises in their assignments and particularly their Independent Research Projects. This is important in some vocational areas for example Equine and Outdoor Leisure Management as audio and visual presentations can be used in teaching and learning practice. The staff in the LRC continue to support all learners in their use of the Plymouth Portal which has been made easier by the use of the support via the Lillipad tutorials and the help guides on the UoP library webpage. An initial session on the Plymouth Portal is delivered in the first week of the Autumn term and is followed up by ondemand sessions as part of the Professional Development module where more in-depth information is given on the use of Metalib and the support offered by the UPC webpage and UoP Library webpage. Additional oneto-one support is offered by the LRC Co-ordinator for learners who need more tailored sessions to help in using the Plymouth Portal and for general study skills.


To do this we have had a ‘pre-recorded’ debate. This required students to split into groups as for a normal debate but had to use their mobiles to record their presentations. This required them to consider what arguments may be presented by the other side, and prerecord their responses to them. Moreover, they had to consider the points they wished to raise in advance, and pre-record these. In the debate, students would only be able to use the short videos they had recorded, and hope that they had thought of all the possible questions they may be asked, and dealt with. This project did not give the intended outcomes yet has the potential to develop further. Students did attempt to debate but require further support in advancing these skills. We will develop this, and, with these lessons learned, will run this again next year.


Contributed by:

City College Plymouth

Kevin Burrows

At City College we have been working on several areas of technological development within the past year. One area of particular interest which has resulted in further development is the use of cameras within the classroom to record not teachers, but students. We have run a programme of Problem Based Learning at the College for many years now, where students are set a topic and have to go away and research that topic. Students are put in charge of their learning and the teacher facilitates their research by providing guidance only when necessary. Students set objectives each week for their peers, to go and find additional material or answer questions the group generally has. The new part this year, was that moodle was used to post students’ minutes, agendas from the meetings and the discussion outside meeting times. In addition, video cameras were used to capture the meetings, which were also posted to moodle for the group to see.

electronically. Furthermore, the College uses RSS feeds in order to make up-to-the-minute resources available to students, and has also recently opened a dialogue in relation to using interactive Adobe software to teach and formatively assess some accounting subjects online. The UPC Technology enhanced learning community has not only given our staff access to other experts in the college network, but also enabled the college to continue the change in culture to a more blended approach to teaching and learning. The main feedback so far has been the fact that the technology advocate is a practitioner – who is in the best position to understand which technology is working to enhance learning – and helping staff to work smarter.

After four group meetings PowerPoint was used to present findings to the lecturer who then marks the work. This is also videoed and posted on moodle, which gives added benefits - this provides students with immediate verbal feedback from the teacher, and enables it be reviewed several times after the session. This proved especially successful for our international students, who at first were sceptical of being videoed, but soon realised how much they can learn from it. At City College Plymouth, we are working on several other innovations for technological enhancement for our students, such as making moodle more user friendly and using it to make grades and feedback available 14


Contributed by:

City College Plymouth (Cont.)

Sue Atkinson

The concept of the Complete M’e’ evolved last year from a collaborative project between City College Plymouth and UPC to support staff delivering e-pdp. This model has been widely received by HE in FE practitioners across the sector and has been disseminated both regionally and nationally at blended learning conferences. From this, the tool is being transformed into an interactive webfolio creating a complete training resource supporting the requirements defined by the QAA to ensure PDP ‘is an inclusive process, open to all learners’ (QAA,2009). This will support staff delivering this aspect of the programme and throughout the foundation degree. With the reduction in credits of the FD, this tool will enable staff to support students with a bank of case studies and e-resources to demonstrate how to embed pdp throughout their programmes. These case studies have been selected as examples of good practice from across UPC and have been collated to demonstrate a collaborative approach. Furthermore, it aims to support colleagues with recording and developing higher levels skills such as ‘reflective practice’ and ‘critical thinking’.

traditional presentation tools the flexibility and interactivity enabled through their webfolios gives an exciting and interactive presentation which can be accessed through google. To view a good example of a student e-portfolio please Google : Sallyann Ball. The first link will take you to a great example of what a webfolio can look like.

City College has embraced the e-portfolio tool to record professional practice across its HE portfolio. This year the part time students have been developing webfolios to use as interview presentations for further promotion and potential job opportunities within their organisations. The feedback from employers has been positive, as they are seeing a direct link between professional development and employment enhancement with the students gaining the much needed skills to progress successfully. In addition students have used their webfolios to give community talks to residents and community teams. Rather than using 16


Contributed by:

Cornwall College

Celia Webster (Camborne)

Our school of education and training has set up a working party to investigate using Facebook to support learning and teaching. Group members consist of staff in a range of e-learning roles from across Cornwall College. They are looking at examples of use as interactive notice boards by some college teams and are compiling a set of case studies. Another aim is to formulate an acceptable use policy supported by guidance on safe use. Our use of ‘e-assessment’, notably online submission, feedback and recording of formative and summative assessment has increased steadily since completion of the investigative project we worked on in conjunction with UPC. The many benefits are appreciated by all and alternative applications of the process such as for reflective logs and personal video clips are being developed.

A wiki was created collectively by students exploring multinational business to form a PEST/PESTEL analysis for a range of nations. This was part of the assignment and the research was shared amongst the entire group by allocating country responsibility to teams/pairs. A total of 97 ‘updates’ were made during a three month period. During the summer of 2010 we piloted the use of Moodle as a resource and communication tool for a cohort of pre-enrolled social science students. The results of our evaluation were very positive particularly with regards to confidence building and students felt ‘part of the group’ from the outset. We are currently extending this idea and creating online areas for our HE applicants to maintain student interest and also to reduce the administrative burden.

Two effective uses of technology enhanced learning on our business and enterprise courses have been the use of forums for capturing ‘enterprise’ and wikis for sharing research. Both applications were simple for staff to implement and they and their students are reaping the benefits. These have enabled greater participation with many students surmounting inhibitions; there is a total of 56 postings on one of the forum threads. The following ‘YouTube’ link about a 24 hour lecture is part of an advertising campaign by enterprise students for their fund raising project which has been supported by the use of forums:



Contributed by:

Exeter College

John Fitzsimons

Web 2 and Employment: Pushing the buttons? One of my ex foundation degree TV students came to see me just before Christmas. Now with a BA Honours in Television Production, he is disappointed. There are no jobs in the South West. However, he has linked up with 4 fellow ex students and they are going to start their own business. What kind of business? A Web 2.0 business. Web 2.0 is about many things but it has at its heart the ability to communicate with diverse groups of people in innovative ways that are, in comparison to pre web 2.0 days, very cheap.

deadline. Nor can you pop around to your mate’s house or meet up for coffee to discuss the next stage of the project. Nor can you show up late for the meeting; video conferences have to be booked in advance. They start on time, they end on time. Expectations and ambitions rise. This is part of a raft of skills he learnt. So when considering a business idea, thinking local may be a beginning but it’s not the end. Communicating across the globe, thinking about diverse audiences and customers opens new ways of thinking about employment, and enterprise. That is what is so important about using these technologies. Pushing the buttons is the easy bit.

On his foundation degree, for his collaborative work module, he joined the video conference group. This meant he was in regular contact with students in the USA, deciding on projects, planning their development and producing outcomes for an audience based, not here, but over there, 3000 miles away. This meant video conferencing, Facebook, You Tube and Skype, just four of the myriad of web 2 technologies available to set up communications across the globe. But what is of greater interest is ‘What did he learn by engaging with web 2.0?’ Is this really just about how to use these technologies, or is there more? There is. A whole baseball park full of “more”. The use of web technologies within an international project meant learning how to manage projects. Now, yes, students can learn to manage projects in all kinds of ways. But when it’s an international project it’s a bit different. You are no longer simply producing work for a course 20


Contributed by:


Martin Rowe

The blended learning developments this year can be best viewed from the perspectives of reflection, employability, and scholarly activity. We have managed to generate a significant Pebblepad uptake at the College. Students in FdSc Computing, FdA Early Childhood Studies, FdA Events Management, and FdSc Sport Development are now using pebblepad. Not all students warm to the idea – a case of different technologies suiting different students I think. What is noticeable is that those students that do warm to this particular tool can be seen to be developing good reflection skills.

Century). The Moodle pages have the Wiki set up to facilitate online discussions after the meetings. We now have the iPhone App development environment set up. Two students are at present at the beginning of a project working with others from South Devon College to create an interactive iPhoneApp using GPS. The South Devon College students are creating the narratives for the Apps, the Petroc students are creating an environment to enable people to upload information. We are also starting to make use of a Digital Signage Board that can be setup to show relevant data during the lesson. The current plan is to use the RSS link on the Digital Signage Board to link to research sites and research papers to encourage scholarly activity amongst the students.

From an employability perspective students (and lecturers) now have the opportunity to record their presentations and to make them available online. The software we are starting to use for this is Camtasia. A start has been made within the Foundation Degree Computing Business Communications module, of recording student presentations and synchronizing them to the camera recordings made of the presentation. Once the lecturers and students are fluent with the technology it is only a short step to enable students to upload these to their pebblepad site. A development of this kind will provide students with the opportunity to record their CV through this medium and upload it to the Web, either to their own site or to ‘YouTube’. From a scholarly activity perspective we now have a specific VLE site for our HE Scholarly Activity Group (Lecturers deliver Scholarly Activity to other HE in FE Lecturers on a specific theme e.g. The City in the 21st 22


Contributed by:


Gary Jones

Use of Google Docs Background The intention of using Google Docs was to help students avoid the difficulties of not being able to access documents from outside of college due to accessing different versions of the software. Google Docs would provide students with the facility to access their files anywhere as file would be uploaded to Google and converted to their format. The added bonus of using Google Docs was that there were also other applications offered with the package which would include Google Calendar, Googlemail etc. Googlemail would also provide students with a greater storage limit than the college based email system. Progress to date Setting up the services was relatively painless from a technical perspective. Once we had decided on the domain suffix we then had to register with Google apps for their education services. This provision is free unless you require their archiving and security service for email which is supplied by another department. After our registration was verified by Google we then had to make some internal changes to ensure that the mail and network service were synchronized. This involved installing a Google application on one of our servers as well as a 3rd party module to enable the students’ accounts to be in tune. After some initial teething problems we were able to have all mail delivered seamlessly to student Gmail accounts as well as their passwords synching up within minutes of changing on the college network.


Currently all HE students have been issued with a Google mail account as their main college email. There have been no reported problems using this system and it works well with Moodle. Some programmes are making use of Google Calendar and have created both staff and student calendar showing key events, coursework hand in dates etc. This has proved beneficial as the calendar can be controlled centrally, but is shared with students and staff so that they are up to date with current events. Once staff and students had been set up with their accounts, training sessions were organised. Students attended a session in their induction week and were taken through logging into Googlemail and accessing the shared calendars. Staff were taken through this on the Academic planning day before the summer. The process was straight forward as once they were logged into the system, it was relatively straight forward as many of the functions are similar to Microsoft Outlook, to main college system. Results There have been very little complaints from staff or students regarding the use of Google mail, most people have accepted it for what it is. Many students already have a web based email account and so are more than familiar with its uses. Using this service also takes some of the strain from college resources. In the past all email account were closed down at the end of each year. By using Google mail we can allow HE students to retain their accounts which can go on for the duration of their degree. There is also the possibility of moving the accounts to an “alumni� section so that they can take the account with them after 25

they leave college. Remaining issues/Future Actions There are limitations of using Google Docs, the main one being that Google docs limit the individual file sizes which could particularly impact upon the rise of PowerPoint for example. Also the Google Docs software does not offer the full range of tools that Microsoft Office for example offers. Due to these limitations, a decision was made prior to the start of the Academic year that we would not enforce the use of Google Docs by making this the only system students could use. Therefore students were given My Documents space on the network and access to the software. This has resulted in students not using Google docs at all Staff also have a Highlands College email account and consequently do not use their Gmail accounts very often. Some have logged into this account and set up forwarding to their main address, whereas others do not use it at all.

are being offered this way it is only natural that we investigate more ways to integrate these new facilities with existing ones. Increased use of web based facilities and the retention of larger data structures are placing additional burdens on college resources. To try and offset some of these requirements as well as facilitating the use of different working methods needs a different approach to what we have traditionally been used. Cloud based or online storage coupled with the use of VLE’s , web based email and mobile applications are becoming the norm with most of the colleges students. Staff as well as students should be encouraged to use these tools, albeit within a controlled environment.

What have we learnt? Google Apps offers some extra facilities such as sharing calendars more easily, but much of it does the same as systems we are currently using. Therefore in order to progress the use of Google Apps, it needs to be made the main system and staff and students need to be trained on its use. If they can use other systems, that they are more familiar with, then they will not explore the advantages of Google Apps. Overall it would appear that Google mail has seen the most activity. It is used not only as a communication method (mainly via moodle) but also as a storage location to access file on and offsite. As more and more services 26


Contributed by:

Somerset College

Andrew Hobbs

College leads the way on ‘books’ with a difference Bags laden with books may no longer be the hallmark of future students, if trials at Somerset College are a success. A pilot project to download huge text books onto tiny Kindles (the portable electronic reading devices from Amazon), is putting Somerset College in Taunton at the forefront of technology - on a par with major universities around the country.

the first time they had such a request from a college library rather than an individual user. The college already has over 3,000 ‘e-book’ course titles which students can view on computer, many of them given through the National E-books Observatory Project, run by the government until 2014. Its aim is to gather knowledge and stimulate the course text e-books market.

If the project is successful it means thousands of course book titles could be downloaded onto the hand held Kindles, which are the size of thin, small books. The project is being trialled by the College library and the Technology division, with 94 text book titles downloaded onto four Kindles, to be assessed over several weeks by students and staff. “There are wonderful advantages in being able to use course books on Kindle,” said Jolanta Peters, Research & Library Services Manager. “Students can view thousands of text books on one small Kindle, take it wherever they want, change the print size to suit their needs, have text converted to speech, and much more. “From the library point of view it could save enormous amounts of space as more and more book titles and editions come out.” It took Jolanta just over three hours to download the 94 titles onto four Kindles and, the supplier told her, it was 28

Research & Library Services Manager Jolanta Peters, with student Alan Bohdanowicz, right, carrying a few of the 94 titles being trialled on a Kindle, held by student Edward Russell. These plus potential widespread use of Kindles, adds up to a wide range of technological possibilities for college students. “We have researched the use of Kindles and don’t know of other education establishments using them for text books, but if there is, it would be good to work together and plan for the future,” said Jolanta. 29

Contributed by:

South Devon College

South Devon College

Contributed by:

Emma Whittaker

Developing Interactive Narratives for Mobile Technologies within Arts Education

South Devon College acquired six iPads in September 2010. The Learning Technologies and Resources team are currently using them to demonstrate our range of e-books, to do internet research, watch video clips and use educational Apps.

Sarah Beach

With growing interest and development in mobile technologies this investigation builds upon arts and educational research to investigate how to conceptualise, devise and produce Interactive Locative Narrative experiences (ILNs) using the capabilities of smart phones and similar devices. Exploration of narrative is pertinent to many disciplines within arts education from design communication to digital media, theatre and performance practice. The GPS capability of mobile technologies enables the physical space to become an interactive component of a narrative. Mobile technologies offer a number of affordances to arts practitioners that have yet to be widely formalized within arts education. From a constructivist perspective this research is utilising a research-in-action model. After exploring the context of ILNs and presenting findings from the development of prototype ILN applications, this interim report puts forward a seven point criteria for the development of ILNs with Level 4/5 arts students: critical contextualization; awareness of linear and interactive narrative structures; practical experience and evaluation of ILNs; developing a working definition of the required user experience (specific to the individual ILN); developing a location specific story; maximizing the production quality of story content; iterative and incremental development of the ILN.


In addition we have started to use the iPads to encourage HE students to engage with e-Portfolios on PebblePad. Some of the students have already created a webfolio for their Developing Research and Practice module, using a normal PC or laptop. However, many of the students have not developed their e-portfolios further than the requirements for the assignment, or thought about how it might look to others; an employer, for example. Cue the iPads – a new piece of technology to help demonstrate how valuable an e-portfolio could be. As well as introducing a new way of using e-portfolios, thereby hopefully creating an interesting experience for the students, the mobile nature of the iPad would also give students greater flexibility in when and where they choose to add to their e-portfolio. Furthermore, the iPad is a good viewing tool, and may encourage students to be more creative in how they present their skills and achievements. Unfortunately, as the iPads do not support Adobe Flash, we cannot access PebblePad in the usual way. Instead, we downloaded the PebblePad app, available from the Apple Store. The layout of the PebblePad app is much more basic, but the last 50 assets already created can be viewed on the iPad. They look the same as they do when accessing PebblePad on the web, but they cannot be edited. You can create new assets but are limited to a ‘thought’ or an 31

‘activity’. However, students could use this app in the same way that they might use a social networking or blogging application on their phone, such as Twitter or Facebook, posting ideas that can be expanded and reflected on later in the full Web version of PebblePad. iPad and e-portfolio workshop The FdSc Animal Science first year cohort is just beginning to use PebblePad for their Developing Research and Practice module. To get them thinking about how they could use the e-portfolio system for continuing professional development and reflection, I took the iPads into their weekly tutorial session. First of all I asked the students to view Sallyann Ball’s webfolio, a former UPC student. This led to a discussion on the use of iPads in viewing e-portfolios, and the students overall had a mixed response. Some of the initial comments were: “Good picture” “Useful to record tasks completed on the degree course” “Might look good [in interviews] but might not be appropriate for all professions” “Might not have time in interviews to look at portfolioit would be better to send the link [to the webfolio] beforehand” “Good for mobile use” “Nice to be able to take it in [to interviews] with you” “It’s a show offy thing” “There’s not as much on the app as on the normal PebblePad” “Could be good for headhunters, or recruitment agencies...more information here than on the bog standard form” “Good for recording experiences when out on work placement” 32

The students then logged into to the PebblePad app and created a ‘thought’ about the iPads and PebblePad. The final step was to logon to PebblePad on a laptop and ‘share’ the thought with me.

As you can see the response was varied with a few concerns over the technology! The students suggested that they needed more practice using the technology, but they liked the mobile aspect. The session got them thinking about reflection, and overall the students seemed to appreciate the benefit of creating an e-portfolio for an employer. The session enabled the students to work with a new piece of technology, and I hope to continue the workshops with other students to give them the same opportunity. 33

Contributed by:

Truro and Penwith College

Graham Tysall

There have been a number of areas where I have focused this years TELA developments, some of these may be seen as curricular developments whilst others may be viewed from an administrative, but still crucial standpoint. Reflecting on the administrative functionality the main developments have been driven from a need to easily share crucial data between disparate groups, all of whom have a wide range of access needs to the information in question. Perhaps the greatest effort has been in the development and trailing of Google Spreadsheets as a means of collating students marks for the higher education academic, pastoral, managerial and administrative staff. The system must be robust enough to allow multiple views of the same data with each user having the necessary permissions to edit or view the document. The initial trail has centered on my own FdSc in Web Technology and at the last UPC Panels & Boards all the required data was delivered through this means, and although edits were not required to any of the documentation this functionality was at least possible. The project has since been expanded and we are now investigating allowing wider access to the relevant documentation in order that others not directly involved on the programming can track, perhaps a better term may be monitor, student progress. The next step is setting the system up so that students have an immediate view of their marks and progress on any particular module in the form of a focused feedback sheet. Additionally I am investigating the linking of these spreadsheets to the programme and module documentation, feedback from individual assignments and all the course work and resources for the programme.


Why not use the current Moodle VLE? Well, experience has clearly illustrated weaknesses in the system when it comes to access from off-site computers and the ability of students to use their college defined gmail accounts means that all their assignment work can be stored in the Google cloud. Global accessibility to our data is essentially the way forward and it is this expectation that has driven the more academic focused developments with access to resources being the initial driving force. Latterly the emphasis has changed from the static stored resource to that of a more dynamic approach with resources being developed on-line with students both on and off site. This does of course open up more possibilities of distance learning, student support and even specialist input from other agencies and bodies who have been invited to participate. The involvement of employers with these on-line systems, at no cost, is about to be tested using a company for whom a number of projects have been agreed, and it is our intention to use the Google environment as a development tool where real, live on-going projects can be monitored and evolved. Does the Google system allow for such involved interactions? Well, the answer at this moment in time has to be a reserved yes, all manner of co-operative work can be done, but the methodologies can be counter-intuitive and usually involve much thought and testing by myself, and my team, in order to improve the functionality and allow the desired usage. However, change is on the way and Google is fast improving its facilities - com/google-d-s/intl/en-GB/whatsnew.html - and will shortly be offering facilities such as live on-line document editing, greater drag & drop functionality, as well as vastly improved collaboration with the resources.


Contributed by:

Weymouth College

Darren Morgan

To meet learner expectations, we are currently building a new, fit for purpose Personal Learning Environment (PLE) to integrate both internal and external systems. Our new student learning portal will use and mashup existing web technologies to provide a dynamic new application that enables learners and staff to personalise their own learning and teaching spaces.

become a platform for the sharing of knowledge, using mechanisms common on social networking websites. It recognises that learners are not going to stop social networking whilst they are in college, so it embraces this concept and exploits it as an integral part of the PLE.

Each learner will be able to choose and arrange the modules and digital assets that will form part of their personal learning space, these will include Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and online systems including Weymouth College’s own e-ILP, VLE Moodle and library catalogues together with employer and sector specific information sites. Learners will have control and flexibility and, through collaboration with lecturers, peers cross-college, employers and others in the community, they will be able to gain easy access to specific course materials and other resources to aid them with their learning. These will be a combination of those chosen by the learner and those supplied by college staff.

An initial design for the new system: a prototype will be trialled with select students by the end of February 2011

A PLE driven approach does not only provide personal spaces, which belong to and are controlled by the user, but also requires a social context by offering means to connect with other personal spaces for effective knowledge sharing and collaborative knowledge creation. The web interface and learner activity will be closely monitored and secured for learners utilising the resource. This project seeks to adapt a traditional VLE system to 36


Contacts With thanks to the following for their contributions: Sim Taylor

Bicton College Max Sauter Bridgwater College Kevin Burrows City College Plymouth Sue Atkinson City College Plymouth Celia Williams City of Bristol College

Andrew Hobbs Somerset College Emma Whittaker South Devon College Sarah Beach South Devon College Graham Tysall Truro and Penwith College Darren Morgan Weymouth College

Celia Webster Cornwall College


John Fitzsimons Exeter College

Julie Swain UPC (University of Plymouth)

Gary Jones HIghlands College

Dan McCaffrey JISC

Martin Rowe Petroc


UPC Technology in Practice 2011  
UPC Technology in Practice 2011  

2011 edition