Friday, 12 February 2010

From Post 92 to Post Digital

I and a mix of other staff and students attended Lawrie Phipps' (from JISC) excellent seminar today, here at the University of Plymouth.

To quote Lawrie's abstract:

'...explore the journey that universities have made from the early days of technology in learning, through to what appear to be ubiquitous VLEs and on to post digital universities, where technology is both invisible and essential... [to]...argue that, as part of this journey, institutions must re-evaluate the meanings of knowing and understanding and adapt their work to accommodate the new demands placed on individuals and organisations by the digital era.'

Included in the presentation was the following video (Slide 5 'In the Beginning'), which rather humorously depicts a sort of medieval approach to modern day tech support for 'a book'. The parallels of this to new and emerging technologies make this video rather poignant and Lawrie's reasons were to emphasise that technology should be intuitive. If you need a manual the technology is not really that good. Amusingly 'a manual' is mentioned in this video (English subtitles provided):

Lawrie also asked the attendees to role play in groups of 6 (Vice Chancellor, Head/Dean of School, 2 x Academics, a Learning Technologist and a student). Each group was given a scenario, ours was related to improving academic support for students, and to report back to the Senior Management Team (SMT). Although we were suppose to pretend to be someone else, I still ended up as a Learning Technologist (LT)...

If you're reading this Lawrie, sorry, I know you wanted roles changed... However, from my own perspective it was very interesting to see 'how' pivotal the LT is when it comes to linking in the needs of the user with the technology. I will add that some expectations were even above and beyond job role! We did however come to some sort of solution (we only had ~15mins) and that was to use web cams (video meetings etc), perhaps a forum (for questions and answers) for students not having access to this technology. Students could also be placed in charge of monitoring the forum content to ensure smooth running. This would further reduce the amount of support required of academics, hopefully improve support, but equally enrich the student experience. The main outcome from all the groups was that of empowering the students or the over riding student voice, at the end of the day, this is what it is all about.
Further details on Lawrie's presentation are available on Plymouth University's Technology Enhanced Learning website.

Download Lawrie's Video by Dave Hurrell (University of Plymouth TV and Broadcasting Services)
~29mins - Lawrie talks covers timeline slide Post 92 to Post Digital
~33mins - Give students admin rights?

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