PeLC10 registrationDay 1 of the 5th Plymouth e-Learning Conference, ‘Learning without Limits: Facing the Challenges’. (8th & 9th April 2010) Not much travelling for me!

First up, a very relevant keynote for me as Josie Fraser talked about digital identity and online communities.

I then chaired the ‘e-Portfolios’ strand and was really pleased to hear how well initially skeptical and slightly resistant UoP staff and students had engaged with PebblePad.  Trainee Teacher, Kasia told how she organised her work via blogs and how good it was to have it all in one place. The final webfolio was hard to create but she’s very proud of it. What was really appreciated by everyone was the ability to be able to communicate with peers through commenting on each others’ blog posts. Students found PebblePad easy to use and through compiling their webfolios, understood more the need for reflection. Excellent feedback!

Next, Julie Swain, Claire Gray (UPC) and Dave Croot, who has been central to the acquisition and rollout of PebblePad here, presented how it is being used to support Public Services Foundation Degrees. Again, the feedback was very positive, particularly from the employers involved.

Carolyn Gentle (UoP) gave an insightful talk about her experiences around online classroom culture – I’m noting this here because we’re currently developing an online tutoring course and her input would be valuable!

Sharing Presentations in Web 2.0‘ (Tobias Jokisch & Mesut Kizilkaya – Uni. of Applied Sciences, Germany) introduced CoCoMa (Collaborative Content Manipulation). The aim of this project is to extend common slide editing with pedagogical concepts. A lecturer creates slides and each student can then create their own version of a slide. This could be used in lectures to give a more thorough explanation to complex ideas, or to get solutions from students to set questions. As this is still in development you are unable to embed audio or video as yet, but slides can be imported and exported to other presentations such as PowerPoint. See for more info.

Roger Emery & Accalia Atkinson (Solent Southampton University) gave some good tips about using audio feedback. Inspired by the JISC-funded ‘Sounds Good’ project they concluded that it saved time; improved feedback quality and students benefited from being able to listen to both the first and second marker and felt they gained more from it. Tips included:

  • put grade in the middle so that students listen to the whole file (about 5-7 mins.)
  • they used Sony UX80 which records direct to mp3 but eats batteries!
  • method accepted by external examiners

Files were uploaded into a Discussion Forum within Moodle which meant that, although students could only listen to their own files, as they were received when they were at home they discussed their feedback through the forum.

Finally I attended the ‘Microblogging in education‘ workshop facilitated by Carmen Holotescu (West University of Timisoara, Romania). Unfortunately there were not many attendees and very few used twitter for teaching. I learnt there are alot more microblogging platforms out there apart from twitter! It’s a shame this was programmed so late as I think it would have been a very informative and fun session had energy levels been a little higher.

So a very long day – but rewarding…