CISM ran a successful Blended Learning (BL) staff development day in January at the Lensbury in Twickenham. Mark Russell from the “Bended Learning CETL” (Centre of Excellence in Teaching & Learning) from the University of Hertfordshire kicked-off the day with a motivational overview, showing that it’s appropriate to consider BL as a continuum, not just in terms of what can be done using a range of technologies but also what’s appropriate in a given subject/module context.
The rest of the day was devoted to well-appreciated talks from a variety of Kingston and SWan volunteers that provided opportunities for networking (blending) and learning:
Dave Rayner (SWan), Nick Lock (HSCS), Adèle Atkinson (HSCS) and Maria Martini (CISM) teamed-up to showcase various uses of the Wimba audio/video-conferencing tools for Blackboard.
Luke Hebbes demonstrated KUOLE (“KU Online Learning Environment”) which is being developed in CISM to provide an alternative to some of Blackboard’s functionality, integrated with a “virtual PC lab” that’s been successfully live-tested on some of CISM’s PG modules.
Jonathan Briggs explained how he’s been using weekly assessed tasks and guaranteed 24-hour feedback to challenge & encourage student participation.
Tony McNeill (ADC) braved the Lensbury’s dodgy wireless network to showcase BL resources from other faculties.
Chris Hutchison showed just how much one can do in Second Life to facilitate learning, teaching and assessment, and how much CISM and KU have already created, essentially for free, in a virtual campus development to rival the largest of “real life” building projects.
Islam Choudhury and James Orwell discussed different aspects of objective/computer-based tests, both oriented around the use of question banks and shared resources that ease the initial e-assessment front-loading burden.
Finally John Lindsay took us on a tour through the meaning of blending when it comes to learning, bringing us all back to the need to consider the context when considering BL
Overall it was an excellent taster event and the faculty will be running additional follow-up sessions based on the feedback we gained from the BL day’s evaluation.
James Denholm-Price, L&T Coordinator, Faculty of CISM
Chris Hutchison (also online at http://www.slideshare.net/hutchison/second-life-blended-learning-presentation).