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newsbytes Issue 29 – Summer 2009

Stimulating and supporting innovation in learning

e-Fair 2009: Highlighting success at new campus

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e-Fair 2009: Highlighting success at new campus


Events Publications


Committed to our community Key results

4 On 3rd July 2009, over 150 teaching and learning staff from around the region, descended upon the new campus at Epping Forest College for the annual RSC Eastern e-Fair. Welcomed to Loughton by glorious July sunshine, delegates kick started the day with an inspiring keynote speech from Lawrie Phipps, JISC Programme Manager for Users and Innovation. Lawrie highlighted some of the key aspects of ‘Accidental Staff Development Through Technology’, which emphasised the need for staff development to be more exciting and akin to the needs of teachers. At the fair there were many examples of e-learning best practice from around the region. For example, The College of West Anglia (COWA) had their Springboard TV team roaming around the campus creating professional news reports.

Springboard TV is a new web TV channel (JISC funded) created by staff at COWA. It is designed to enrich curriculum delivery by providing enhanced resourcing and an output for students’ work at the college. Other showcases on the day included: • • • • •

AccessApps across the college Pain Free Schemes of Work; Lesson and Assessment Plans Controlling the ICT Classroom Xerte Toolkit e-Skills for e-Learning

In ‘The Street’ area of the fair, a variety of services and resources were on hand to provide helpful advice. (Article continues on next page)

Work Based Learning event debut is a success Resources

Events October 16

Technical Managers Forum ACL/WBL Forum e-Learning Forum


e-Portfolios: Effective Uses in Teaching and Learning

November 20

Learning Resources Managers Forum

For more info visit: click EVENTS

Publications JISC Flourish: Continuing professional development using PebblePad Appropriate & practical technologies for students, teachers, administrators & researchers

Delegates were encouraged to ask each exhibitor a question in order to enter the ‘Paper Chase’ competition to win a digital video camera. There were other opportunities to win prizes including our annual ‘Diary Room’ where attendees were invited to leave their views of the day on camera. Some of the comments included the following: “I’m really enjoying the e-fair. Most interesting was the keynote speech to see how CPD has been embedded and how technologies are becoming more transparent so that teachers and learners can engage with the technology” “It’s fantastic. I have been shown lots of ideas by lots of people and I have upskilled.” “I found today very informative.” The fantastic weather provided the perfect setting for the ‘get on2get on’ mobile learning bus, which has an array of desktops onboard powered by liquid cell batteries and a mobile satellite internet connection. The ‘get on2get on’ scheme was designed to bring learning to deprived communities where access to education can be difficult and so far it has been very successful.

The venue alone was an eyeopener for many as it is one of the first completed new build projects in the region. There is an overwhelming sense of space and light created by the feature central atrium glazed on three sides and extending the full height of the four floors. Another important feature is the integration of IT throughout the College including all the practical areas from science labs to the motor vehicle workshops. Richard Everett, a Consultant from Intelligent Buildings, commented: “For me, I found it very instructive coming here to this college to see some of the things they have done to make it a vibrant atmosphere for the students.” The focus of the day is mainly showcasing e-learning developments, however, there is an underlying emphasis on networking and getting educators to share their ideas and experiences with each other. This is what makes the fair so popular year on year as reflected in our event feedback:


“The workshops were run effectively and were informative especially the Mahara in Moodle session. A really good opportunity to meet others and share good practice.”

Writing Higher Education strategies

“Show & tells are an excellent way of networking and gathering new ideas and info.”

For more info please visit, click EVENTS

Committed to to our community JISC RSC Eastern success is built on quality assurance that is driven by the community. Your views and opinions are key to ensuring that the type and level of support given fits the needs and requirements of learning providers with the Eastern region. Over the past 3 months JISC RSC Eastern have invited colleagues to participate in the following surveys: • •

Communications Survey Customer Satisfaction Survey

The Communications Survey was designed to assess how effectively we communicate with our audience through various online and offline channels including RSS feeds, website, e-mail and print. The feedback has been very positive with lots of useful comments including: “I have found the RSC-Eastern team’s commitment at creating an effective and efficient communication process to be exemplary”

Customer Satisfaction Survey The customer satisfaction survey is an annual process, which allows us to assess our overall performance as a service. The overall respsonse this year has been very supportive. The results have provided a clear understanding of the areas that have been successful and others that need improvement. A key statistic to emerge from the survey was the overall impact RSC Eastern has had on each organisation that took part. Over 72 per cent had said that this impact had been positive or very positive. Nearly 97% of respondents also said that at some point they had looked or referred to information/ resources provided by RSC Eastern. For other key facts and figures see column (right)

For RSC Eastern newsletters please visit: Newsbytes: e-bytes:

Taken from sample of 66 respondents: Top 3 areas of RSCe support •

e-learning technology (50%)

Staff Development (41%)

Resources (48%)

RSC support/communications meeting the needs of organisations (Top 3) •

Events (86%)

Forums (82%)

e-communications (77%)

Future requested areas of support (Top 3) •

Middle Management (29%)

Organisational Improvement (27%)

Data Management (24%)

Engagement with RSC •

Frequently (40%)

Occasionally (32%)

Comments ‘Death by email’ is a growing hazard and although emails have their use, an away day to network/conference or get training is worth its weight in gold.”

A key trend in the results was the need for greater audience involvement with outgoing communications. Therefore, RSC Eastern are opening the floor to contributions for our upcoming e-bytes (e-newsletter) and Newsbytes. If you have an interesting article or piece of information regarding the use of technology in teaching and learning please contact:

Key results

Your views and opinions are highly valued as they help us to provide and continuously improve our support to you and the community. If you have any further suggestions that you feel could help improve our service please contact us via:

“It is always good to know that somebody with expertise is constantly evaluating and watching out for new developments.This saves us lots of time trying to keep up to date. They organised really good and useful training and networking events” Communications Survey prize draw winners of the Kubik Media Player: James Wilson - Writtle College Abigail Baker - University Campus Suffolk Roger Woods - ACER Anne Harris - West Herts College

Resources ‘Libraries of the Future’ documentary JISC’s ‘Libraries of the Future’ debate has gone digital, with a speciallycommissioned documentary. Over 200 people have already viewed the ten minute video, which marks the culmination of a year long campaign. The documentary showcases interviews with leaders from JISC, Oxford University and LSE as well as students and academics who discuss what the library of the future will look like.

Work Based Learning event debut is a success The first RSC Work-Based Learning (WBL) E-event for the Eastern region has been hailed an outstanding success. A joint event between the Eastern, London and South-East regions, the day saw over 65 WBL providers from the three regions descend upon central London for a highly productive day.

For more info:

JISC Second Life guide helps lecturers teach in the virtual world Getting Started in Second Life’ answers some common questions like how to set up in Second Life, what the rules of the world are, how to plan lessons and how best to help students use it effectively for learning. Lawrie Phipps, JISC programme manager, said: “With more institutions exploiting online learning it is important that JISC provides the tools to ensure that UK institutions remain at the forefront of this area.” Read more at.

Contact Details JISC Regional Support Centre Eastern Anglia Ruskin University CU House Southernhay Basildon Essex SS14 1EZ Tel: 01268 273277 Fax: 01268 293145 Email:

Opening the event was Victor Farlie from the London WBL Alliance who offered a stimulating strategic overview of the sector from a senior management perspective. Key issues addressed included current business trends and the relationship between employers, trainees and skills providers. It was also emphasised that the investment in IT must be about reducing business costs, raising productivity and improving the learner experience; and not as the IT managers pet project! Ron Mitchell and Danny Atwere from the Learning and Skills Network (LSN) ensnared the audience with their exploration of the many free applications that are available on the web and how to utilise devices that students already use for personal use e.g. MP3 players, mobiles etc…for evidence gathering and communications.

Jane Hart presented views on current models of technologybased teaching and learning using web 2.0 technologies, which embrace informal learning e.g. social media sites; and how to approach both the positives and negatives of using such media tools. An Introduction to Moodle and how it can be used to support teaching and learning in a WBL context was presented by Richard Goddard. JISC TechDis’ Dr Simon Ball gave a very informative and enthusiastic presentation on inclusion and accessibility. All the delegates were asked to complete what should have been a simple exercise: folding and tearing a piece of paper while trying to follow “instructions”. The confusion and wrongly torn pieces of paper reiterated his point that even the most receptive and alert person may not be able to always understand communicative instructions.

A hands on session by Rob Anderson from Qwizdom finished the day, by showcasing the electronic voting system amongst delegates. The outstanding and positive feedback from delegates on the day has resulted in an unanimous agreement that a similar event must be held again next year. The question is - how can we top it?

Newsbytes 29  
Newsbytes 29  

Stimulating and Supporting Innovation in Learning