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R S C Newsletter

a bi-annual update from the Regional Support Centre West Midlands

Discover-e 2012 - Online Conference

From 12th-13th June, RSC West Midlands will host its annual online conference, ‘Discover-e 2012.’ This year’s event, themed ‘Preparing Learners for a Digital Age’, will feature live, interactive sessions facilitated by regional learning providers and supported by our e-learning advisers. The event will showcase examples of good e-learning practice and include a host of supporting resources which can be accessed during and after the event. Session topics include Shared Services, Digital Literacy, Technology for Learning and Staff Development. Discover-e is now in its sixth year as an online event as we continue to receive positive feedback from participating delegates. Comments include: “This was my first time using the software….Overall it was a good experience and I found that Blackboard Collaborate was a great tool for this type of event. I would consider using it in the future” (FE delegate)

“I found it enjoyable and good to be able to be at my place of work. I could listen to what was being said at the comfort of my desk and still continue to “work.” Also it is recorded, so I can go back and view in more detail the parts that were most relevant to me - which is really useful. It is very reliable and straight forward to use no problems” (FE delegate) “It was a positive experience and something that I would use again.” (ACL delegate) RSC West Midlands Manager Greg Vivash says, “There are so many benefits to an online conference. For example delegates can take part in the conference without having to leave their desks and so don’t need to worry about taking valuable time out of the office.” He adds, “It also gives delegates the chance to experience an online event which in turn, has given many of our participants ideas for delivering CPD, learning fairs and meetings in a similar format.” To find out more and to book your place (from April 2012), visit our events page at:

Issue 8– Spring/Summer 2012


1. Discover-e 2012 2. Good Practice From Our Region - College Benefits from RSC Mobile Learning Project 3. Innovative CPD Delivered by South Staffordshire College - RSC Support at Staff Development Events 4. Website Cookie Legislation - Are You Legal? - Specialist College on Track with E-Safety 5.Top Tips for Getting Started with Facebook - JISC TechDis Voices 6. JISC Advance Provide Funding for FE and Skills Sector - RSC Events...Making a Difference 7. RSC Produces Web Conferencing Guide 8. Forthcoming Events - Promoting Your LRC Service with Technology

Latest e-Learning Good Practice from Our Region

College Benefits from RSC Mobile Learning Project internet access where wi-fi was unavailable. Matt reported, “I can give feedback to the learner and employer whilst on site – not just on a single observation, but on overall progress which employers really value. I can upload my report along with any evidence submitted and show the candidate what they need to do next.”

Since the last issue of our newsletter, a further 3 case studies from the region have been published on the Excellence Gateway: Shrewsbury College of Art and Technology: Increasing staff engagement with the VLE Stourbridge College (see opposite): E-portfolio system and tablet device saves time and reduces workload (see opposite) Burton and South Derbyshire College: Using Moodle to capture learner voice Hereford Sixth Form College: Space-saving technology for effective learning spaces To read these case studies in full, and view more examples from our region, visit: Do you have an e-learning project that has made an impact on your staff, learners, or your organisation? If so, we want to hear from you. Please contact Kirsty Hill Information Officer by e-mail:

From left to right: Alex Speed with Construction and Plumbing Assessor Matt Thompson and RSC West Midands E-learning Adviser Allen CrawfordThomas

Editors’ note: RSC West Midlands was shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden passing in February of Stourbridge College’s Director of IT & ILT, Alex Speed. Alex took part in many RSC events and initiatives, including the Learning Journey Made Mobile project which has since become the subject of an e-learning case study for the Excellence Gateway. Alex often called upon members of the RSC team for e-learning advice and guidance. He will be greatly missed by us all. Learner Journey Made Mobile Project In 2010, RSC West Midlands devised ‘The Learning Journey Made Mobile’ project, to help workbased learning providers explore the use of mobile technologies in teaching and learning. Stourbridge College had recently implemented a new e-portfolio system and put in a bid for funds to purchase a Samsung Galaxy Tab. The aim was to complement the e-portfolio by offering improved access to online materials whilst in the field, and recording evidence for easy upload to the e-portfolio. Following a successful bid, the College trialled the tablet device with Construction & Plumbing Assessor Matt Thompson. They also purchased a data plan to facilitate


The tablet also allowed Matt to make appointments whilst out in the field, and respond more quickly to learner queries. The college also reported significant impact in several areas as a direct result of using the e-portfolio system in conjunction with the tablet device, including valuable time saved by the assessor of an average of 5-6 hours per week On completion of the project, Alex commented; “If it wasn’t for the Regional Support Centre, we wouldn’t have been able to trial a tablet device. The project gave us a real opportunity and it was important for us to demonstrate some tangible outcomes and benefits. We had their support during the project and were able to share experiences with the other successful providers.” To read the full case study on the Excellence Gateway, visit Visit the project wiki page to find out more about the other successful learning providers who took part:

Innovative CPD delivered at South Staffordshire College The expertise of RSC West Midlands was recently called upon by Steve Wileman, E-learning Manager at South Staffordshire College, to support the delivery of their annual ‘Innovations’ CPD day. Steve says, “Previously, our Innovation CPD day has taken place at one of our campuses. Whilst well attended, the travel time for many staff was up to 45 minutes which impacted on staff time, and also on costs to the College as well as a negative effect on the College’s carbon footprint.” To address this, the E-learning & Quality Team decided to stream a mixture of live and pre-recorded sessions across all four college campuses. Steve continued, “We purchased two online Smart rooms through our existing Smart assessor e- portfolio software which combined, costs less than £10 per month. The idea was to deliver training live to attendees at Tamworth and Rodbaston and stream those sessions to the other campuses.” The E-learningTeam approached two of the RSC’s e-learning advisers, Christa Appleton and Alison Wootton for advice and guidance on delivering CPD in this way. They also agreed to deliver two sessions on the day – one on E-safety, and the other on Accessibility and Inclusion. Steve adds, “I have attended online events hosted by the RSC many times so I knew they were experts in this area. Christa and Alison gave us lots of useful tips and things to think about such as audience involvement, positioning in front of the webcams and session content. They were able to share their delivery experiences what had worked well and things to avoid.”

RSC Support at Staff Development Events

The event included a blend of live sessions, desktop sharing and prerecorded items. Feedback from College staff was very positive and included the breadth and quality of the provision. Participation also increased enabling even more staff at the College to develop their skills further to enhance the learner experience. “We proved that we could stream CPD activities with minimal hardware investment whilst demonstrating different uses of the technology,” said Steve. “It also meant that we were able to present standardised CPD from the same people across all of our campuses.” The success of the day has given the E-learning team more ideas for using the technology such as online staff meetings and Workforce Development assessor / learner online one-to-ones. Steve concluded, “We would definitely run an event of this type again - the next focus would be on how to maximise the technology when delivering to learners.” For advice and guidance on web conferencing, or delivering a CPD session online, e-mail or call 01902 322001

RSC Roadshows are an opportunity for our e-learning advisers to support your CPD day by offering advice and guidance, share good practice from across the region, demonstrate e-learning technologies and, with prior arrangement, provide some short training sessions on e-learning topics. It is also an ideal way for your staff to engage with us and find out more about the services that the RSC and JISC Advance can offer. Stratford-upon-Avon College held its first ever Teachers’ Fayre in 2011. The RSC set up a ‘roadshow’ which attracted a lot of interest from the staff. Nicola Sparkes, E-learning Leader says, “I invited the RSC to the Fayre so that they could promote their services to college staff, and provide advice and guidance on the use of e-learning. The feedback that we had from staff was really positive – they found it useful to learn about assistive technologies and were really pleased to have a contact to ask for further advice and support.” To book an RSC Roadshow at your staff development event, please e-mail or phone 01902 322001.


Website cookie legislation - are you compliant?

Specialist College on Track with E-safety thanks to RSC support

Have you registered with the Gateway?

Last year, new laws came into force in the UK surrounding the use of cookies by websites. The new legal requirement is that cookies and similar technologies can only be placed on a user’s machine where the user has given their consent. This particular law has ramifications for any organisations, including FE and HE, which host websites that use cookies. Web portals and some VLE’s also store cookies on student devices to store their login credentials. In addition to seeking consent before placing cookies on websites and devices, the organisation must inform its users about the information they are storing. Organisations have been given until May 2012 to comply by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). If the ICO is of the view that organisations are not making adequate preparations to be compliant by May 2012 a warning may be issued as to the use of the Information Commissioner’s future powers. From May 2012, the ICO will follow the approach to enforcement set out in the Commissioner’s Data Protection Regulatory Action Policy. For more information about the new law, how to comply and how it could affect your organisation, visit JISC Legal’s page, ‘What does the new legislation require us to do?’ at JISC Legal will also host a webinar on 30th May - for details visit


Regent College in Stoke on Trent recently approached RSC West Midlands for help with meeting their e-safety duties through the RSC assist initiative. Wendy Williams, Principal at Regent College says, “We wanted to develop an e-safety policy and materials to help the college promote and use technology safely. We also wanted help with carrying out a risk assessment” Jason Curtis, RSC West Midlands Learning Technologies Adviser and E-safety specialist worked closely with the college to provide the support they needed. Initially, he provided sample e-safety policies to use as reference materials, which with Jason’s help, were adapted to meet the college’s individual needs. Jason says, “An e-safety policy is a key document that helps an organisation manage and identify online activity and the risks associated with that activity. It acts as a blueprint for which an organisation can provide a safe yet flexible working environment.” Jason also advised Wendy to consider CEOP training (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) for a couple of members of staff. CEOP courses focus on how young people use technology, and how professionals can educate them about the opportunities and risks.

Wendy says, “RSC Assist gave us an excellent opportunity to address a key area for development. Thanks to Jason’s advice, we now have an e-safety policy in place, e-safety awareness has been raised across the college and it is being widely promoted. Staff training via CEOP will strengthen the college’s safeguarding team.” RSC assist gave the college the springboard they needed to move forward. The next steps for Wendy and her team include; • Ensuring that staff training is carried out on an annual basis • Annual revision of the e-safety policy • Two members of staff from Safeguarding Team to access CEOP Training with a view to becoming Ambassadors • Implement, review and amend the e-safety Risk Assessment on a regular basis Wendy adds, “The level of support provided by the RSC has been excellent. I would definitely recommend the RSC Assist initiative to other learning providers who want help with a specific project.” For more information about RSC Assist, visit the web page at e-mail or call 01902 322001

Top Tips for Getting Started with Facebook

JISC TechDis voices - coming to a computer near you!

JISC TechDis are pleased to announce the creation of two new, modern and youthful synthetic voices, one male and one female, which will be freely available to learners and staff in post 16 education in England.

Facebook and its use in education continues to be a very hot topic amongst learning providers in our region. Some have taken the approach to prevent access across their organisations whilst others have embraced it as a marketing tool, or even to support teaching and learning. If your organisation has decided to go down the Facebook route in a teaching and learning setting, it’s worth considering the following: • Keep updated with Facebook privacy settings - use them to control who sees your content • Think before you post. ‘Friends’ can pass things on, meaning your posts could be viewed by an unintended audience • Use ‘pages’ to provide information for your institution, subjects or courses. This removes the issue of learners trying to be ‘friends’ with you. • Use ‘groups’ for interaction ie. class activities and collaboration, study groups or field trips. NB You must have your own Facebook profile (not a page) in order to create a group

• Groups can be private and managed by an admin to control membership. You can invite nonfriends into a group and interact with them just within the group. • Remember it’s a public space and your professional persona is potentially on show to the world even when you do not intend it to be. • If you use Facebook with learners, teach e-responsibility and e-safety. For advice in this area, visit out e-responsbility pages at:

With funding from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), JISC TechDis has worked with CereProc to create the voices, which will be formally launched at the 7th National Digital Conference (ND2012) on the 30th & 31st of May. Learners and staff in further, higher, and continuing education across England will be able to download the TechDis voices, Jess and Jack, for use in their educational institution. Learners will also be permitted to install the voices on home computers.

Why not join the RSCWM Facebook Forum? (you need to join Facebook first). This is a closed group for members to discuss issues about the use of social media but particularly Facebook. Only memebers of the group will be able to see content. It’s a useful way to gain confidence and test the interface. There will also be RSC led activities to address specific issues, improve understanding and provide ideas on how to use Facebook safely.

Sal Cooke, Director of JISC TechDis, explains:

For more information about the ‘Facebook Forum’ or general guidance with Facebook for teaching and learning, contact or call 01902 518931

For more information visit

“JISC TechDis has long been campaigning for a suitable, freely available, quality synthetic voice for learners in England and I am thrilled that BIS agreed to fund the project. Our involvement has ensured that many of the learners who will use the voices have been involved in both choosing and testing them.”


JISC Advance provide funding for FE and Skills sector

RSC Events..... Our events continue to be popular amongst our learning providers. Here, we wanted to share some thoughts from our delegates on how RSC West Midlands events make a difference to them, and their organisation, and how they put into practice what they have learnt:

In February, JISC Advance announced, as part of a ÂŁ1.4 million project, that they were seeking proposals from learning providers to enhance or repurpose existing resources for use in the FE and Skills sector across the UK. Bid submission is accepted up until 31st May at 12:00. Full details of the funding call, including the bid submisison process and a link to a recording of the online briefing, are available at RSCs play key roles in supporting bidders seeking to submit bids and manage projects in this programme. JISC RSCs can support you through: 1. Generating ideas in groups/ forums by facilitating meetings and shared activities 2. Direct support with formulating ideas and the development of bids 3. Online events to brief and train participants e.g. bid writing 4. Finding partners with similar interests, ideas or proposals 5. Signposting and information about resources available for access through this programme; and 6. Supporting links to national services. To contact a member of our team about the funding, e-mail:


...Making a Difference

RSC Produces Web Conferencing Guide

JISC RSC South West has produced a practical guide to web conferencing. The guide covers the benefits, tips on delivery, and the key features of some of the major web conferencing tools available. Matt Ewens, Information Officer for RSC South West says, “Web conferencing is a potential growth area in the future. The guide is aimed at practitioners and anyone really that works in the post 16 FE and Skills sector that is either interested in finding out a bit more about the benefits of web conferencing, or those that are already using systems to help them plan more effectively “

You can keep up to date with our events programme by visiting our website at You can also subscriibe to an RSS feed so you will recieve instant notifications as soon as an event is advertised on the website. We look forward to seeing you at our events throughout the academic year!

The guide includes information on Blackboard Collaborate (formerly known as Elluminate) - the tool which is widely used by the RSCs for its online events and webinars. The guide is available via the RSC website at 7

Forthcoming Events

Promoting Your LRC Service With Technology

For full details, visit the events page at: westmidlands

April • Preparing Learners for a Digital Future: Webinar • Getting to Grips with Web Conferencing for Teaching • Getting Started with Augmented Reality • Staff Development Managers Online Forum • May • Improving Assignment Feedback and Transferable Skills with Successful Group Work and Peer Assessment • Midlands Blackboard Regional Group Meeting • e-Portfolio Forum • Moodle Users Forum • Learning Technologies Forum • LRC Induction Webinar • LRC Benchmarking Webinar • Joint RSC East and West Midlands Learning Resources Forum: Sharing practice June • Discover-e 2012 • Assistive Technology and Access Apps • eSafety for Vulnerable Learners Webinar • ACL Network Forum

Contact us JISC RSC West Midlands Technology Centre Wolverhampton Science Park Glaisher Drive Wolverhampton WV10 9RU Tel: 01902 518982 E-mail: Web:

RSCs West and East Midlands, Northern and North West will collaborate on a series of free webinars for library and other support staff on a range of key issues for providers. The first of these attracted over 50 delegates and focused on service promotion with tools such as blogs, social networks and the Microsoft tool, Sharepoint. The event also looked at case studies on planning a marketing strategy and using Kindles and i-Pads for promoting services. The providers who presented were Walsall College, North Warwickshire & Hinckley College, New College Nottingham, Wigan & Leigh College and Trafford College. You can view a recording of the Webinar and download presenter resources from the session at Feedback from delegates who attended the first session:

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“Very interesting sessions, I liked listening to other delegates experiences and ideas.” “The content was relevant and informative” “The presenters were

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obviously experts in their field by the information presented and the questions answered at the end of each session.” “As it was my first Webinar I was pleased to find that all the topics covered were areas that we are looking at in our study centres “Very useful to have practitioners talking about their experiences.” “Listening to the contributions from across the regions was really useful. I was pleased at the wide range of topics covered”

The next webinars in the series will be available for booking on the RSC West Midlands website a few weeks before each date: • 9th May: Making the most of Induction • 30th May: Benchmarking for Libraries and LRCs If you’d like to discuss how you can best promote the services of your library or LRC, please contact our Learning Resources Advisor, Matt Gallon:

JISC RSC WM Spring/Summer Newsletter 2012  

The latest news and developments in e-learning from the JISC Regional Support Centre West Midlands