Open University’s CALRG Conference 2015 – Notes Day 3Findings: #calrg2015

CALRG Annual Conference   17 June 2013

Day 3: Paper Presentations

Jennie Lee Building, Ambient Lab

9:30-9:45 Opening remarks – Canan Blake
  Session V– Chair: Ann Jones
9:45-10:15 Helen Farley

Making the Connection: eLearning and mobile learning for prisoners

  • Project working on for the last 18 months
  • Prisons are overcrowded
  • Education reduced recidivism
  • When  back in the work released prisoners will have to deal with the digital world
  • Australia all time prison population high 34,000
  • Increasing number from non-English speaking backgrounds
  • Asylum seeker
  • Aboriginal prisoners 4% population but about 27% prison populations
  • So project puts emphasis on Aboriginals
  • Prisoners have no access to the internet and limited access to computers
  • Have been offering education into prisons for about 25 years
  • Use a Moodle based Learning Management System and eBook readers
  • Restricted devices because of security concerns – leads to time consuming systems support etc.
  • The prisoners like the dictionaries on the LMS for their Scrabble contests
  • Can now send 2-3 DVDs to the prison educational centre to update server software
  • EEE – eLearning, Empowerment and ???
  • Reverted to hard-book copy because not allowed to use eBook readers but then prison authorities suggested using tablets
  • In 2012 44% tertiary students could not access the internet
  • Project Scope
    • – Also now in Victoria and Western Australia (with interest from other states)
    • – Funded by Australian Government
    • – Aboriginals half as like to finish year 12 school education
    • – Now can been invited into a women’s prison
  • Technology designed to be robust and easily maintainable
  • Important after the project that everything does not just fall over
  • Self marking quizzes, games, etc. but not blogs
  • Now narrowed spec down to one laptop, one tablet and 1 notebook
  • Moodle does not run well on the notebooks to introduced a HTML layer
  • It’s not easy – system and processes are complex to ensure life after the project
  • Now have an off-line authoring environment
  • Course development environment deposits content into a repository – developed a compiler for this so isolation from internet maintained
  • Educational officer can download courses for their institution
  • It’s not just about the technology
  • Looking at English for academic purposes courses – just a 10 week course so ok for prisioners with short sentences
  •  Diplomas:
    • – Arts
    • – Business
    • – Science
  • Looking at incorporating OpenLearn courses
  • Problems:
    • – copyright
    • – prejudice
  • High level endorsement from the University and the Government Authorities
  • Issues of getting funding for prisoner related work – so style it as not internet users on funding bids

Brief question time 

10:15-10:40 Anne Pike

What makes the difference? Understanding the interactions and experiences of ‘at risk’ learner

[This presentation not blogged] 

10:40-11:05 Annie Bryan and Lisette Toetenel

Designing for inclusion: Supporting disabled students at the OU

  • Why design for inclusion?
    • – OU’s mission
    • – Equality Act (2010)
    • Increasing number and proportion of disabled students (> 18,000, 14% in 2014)
  • Legislation is a limited driver
  • Beginning of a journey
  • Increasing online curriculum
  • Online deliver may or may not be more accessible – e.g. OU Live is problematic for many disabled students
  • Satisfaction and pass rates are lower for disabled students
  • Learning Design – should have a big impact if takes into account accessibility (provides visualisations that help analysis for access issues)
  • SeGA (Securing Greater Accessibility)  – a cross university programme to embed good practice for inclusion in business as usual processes
  • Method:
    • – looked at all modules (200+) will accessibility information
    • Analysed SeAM (end of module survey) data
  • Findings:
    • – modules in development might not yet have considered the accessibility issues
    • 49 modules had Accessibility Guides
      • – only 29 Accessibility Guides had specific information for the module concerned
    • SeAM analysis
      • – students value several key things:
        • a supportive tutor
        • special exam arrangements
        • comb bound books
    • Module materials need to be provided in a wide range of formats
    • Learner needs must be anticipated in the learning design
      • – This aligns to the (mostly American) term of Universal Design
    • It is difficult to measure how increasing number of disabled students is impacting on practice [Seale 1996]

Brief question time 

11:05-11:30    TEA/COFFEE
   Session VI – Chair: Doug Clow
11:30-11:55 Martyn Cooper

Learning Analytics and Accessibility – what can be done and pragmatic considerations

[I can’t live blog my own presentation but here is a link to the slides instead]

Learning Analytics and Accessibility: http://www.slideshare.net/martyncooper/learning-analytics-and-accessibility-calrg-2015-mc

11:55-12:20 Jenna Mittelmeier, Bart Rienties, Denise Whitelock

The Role of Culture in Student Contributions to an Online Group Learning Activity

[This presentation was not blogged as I had to be elsewhere on campus]

12:20-12:45 Ann Jones

Informal language learning with mobile technologies: reflections on three recent studies

[This presentation was not blogged as I had to be elsewhere on campus]

12:45-13:10 Ann Grand, Richard Holliman, Helen Donelan, Peter Devine

Linking research and practice: the evolution of “the snakes and ladders of social media”

  • Defining the problem – what do we mean by engaged research?
  • What does “public” mean?
  • A definition that applies across the institution.
  • Used the EDGE tool to identify the issues (a categorization of levels of engagement)
  • Idea of an Open Research University (Profs. Eileen Scanlon and Martin Weller in IET)
  • People start with a blank piece of paper
  • Open/Digital/Engaged – Venn Diagram
  • Are social media work for researchers?
  • Should they work for researchers?
    • The answers to these differ across the university – some parts have no digital presence at all!!!
  • There are so many social media tools
  • Describe an activity a public engagement with research
    • – Very few units identified social-media as part of this
  • Ideal types:
    • – The fully wired
    • – The unconvinced
    • – The experimenter
  • Throw away remark – “Let’s do a board game” -> The snakes and ladders of social-media
    • You sit around, facing each other and talk and play
  • Did a blog post about the game and then other’s got interested in it
  • Used in PhD student workshops; public engagement ambassadors workshop; research Councils
  • The game is a conversation tool
  • Also work across a team to produce online resources – e.g. what is a a digital identity?
  • Research and Scholarship Unit were not on the Web!

Brief question time 

13:10-14:00    LUNCH
   Session VII – Chair: Simon Cross
14:00-14:25 Katy Jordan

Characterising the structure of academics’ personal networks on academic social networking sites and Twitter

[This presentation was not blogged because it is not possible to convey the social-network diagrams in text.]

14:25-14:50 Anne Adams and Gill Clough

The E-assessment burger:  Supporting the before and after in e-assessment systems

[I was not present for this presentation.]

14:50-15:15 Tim Coughlan

Creating Structures for Engagement with Open Knowledge: Interpreting the links between art and location in the ArtMaps project

[I was not present for this presentation.]

15:15-15:40 Lucia Rapanotti, Canan Blake​, Jon Hall

Enriched student context in online professional learning

  • Not a research project but a perspective on evaluating a pedagogical approach
  • Context:
    • – Postgraduate professional computing courses
    • – Students already in a rich context – let’s make use of it
    • – Part of the evaluation of the learning occurs within their professional context
    • – Module on Software Development M813 (there are two other modules as well)
    • – Wide range of learning theories, principles, techniques for software development
    • – Learning organised around fundamental software lifecycle
  • [Diagrammatic overview of the course]
  • M813 Evaluation Questions:
    •  – To what extent does the rich context matter?
  • Use specialised forums
  • Data from formal assessment
  • Tracking the leading-edge
  • Organisation and Scope of the Forum:
    • – Students discus privately with their tutor the sort of context they are in
    • – Determine if their proposed project is suitable
    • – Narrative ideas
  • Analysis of the narratives:
    • – We now know the sort of enterprises the students come from (not previously collected this data)
    • – Many diverse sectors covered
    • – 90% use real organisations with 80% being private
    • – Usually students choose their own projects
    • – 62% pass but completion rate high – pass rate not as high as wished for but consitant with similar modules
    • Qualitative data: “Loved the project”; “Helped me to identify sloppy practices”; …
    • One negative one: “Useless for me”
    • “This is good in theory but it does not work in practice” – useful feedback to revise the course
  • Does the new assessment model work?
    • How is online learning working in this context?
    • Consider the collaborative learning aspects of the course
    • 100s of messages in dozens of threads
    • Looking for evidence that they are making use of their professional learning in their group forum interactions
    • Labour intensive research but no better (automated) way
    • [Examples from the forums given]
    • “Are real programmers a dying breed?”
    • Initial categories of interactions:
      • Greetings
      • Like or don’t like
      • Links
      • Professional experience or work context
      • Discussion of justified opinions
    • Going to follow Kerchner’s framework to look at affordances and other aspects in future work
    • Big data but qualitative
    • Much more to do! – But need to provide evidence that the modules are effective.
    • Appeal for help from the “experts” in the audience
    • Discussion –
      • Could you use NLP methods to code the forums
      • Coding (of forum posts) is a negotiated discourse
      • A programme can go wrong very quickly
      • Forum threads evolve
      • Even in human coding need to work with more than one person doing the coding to get accurate/consistent coding
      • Identify critical incidents (automatically?) then analyse in depth by human assessment

[End of conference presentations]

15:40-16:00 TEA/COFFEE and Close of the Conference

Open University’s CALRG Conference 2015 – Notes Day 2 #calrg2015

CALRG Annual Conference   16 June 2015

Day 2 Paper Presentations:

Jennie Lee Building, Meeting Room 1

This is a semi-live blog of Martyn Cooper’s notes from Day 2 of the OU’s Computer and Learning Research Group’s annual conference in 2015.

9:30-9:45 Opening remarks Patrick McAndrew – IET Director (not blogged)
  Session I – Chair: Rebecca Ferguson
9:45-10:15 Eileen Scanlon

Collaboration and interdisciplinarity in Technology Enhanced Learning Research

  • I am an educational technologist – what is that?
    • – Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) (EU term)
    • – eLearning (also widely used)
  • Missionary zeal about working in TEL
  • Educationalist think they are teaching computer scientists about the real world
  • Computer scientists think they are teaching educationalists how to use computers “properly”
  • The trials of interdisciplinary work! E.g. even a term like “scenario” means different things to different disciplines
  • Need mediating artefacts – e.g. diagrams giving high level system view and function specification
  • The challenge of where to publish when undertaking interdisciplinary work and still score points for the REF (UK National Research Assessment Exercise that takes place every 7 years or so)
  • Are you really interdisciplinary? – It is hard to work this way however necessary and rewarding.
  • Eileen – shows photo of an EU project team and highlights the range of disciplines represented
  • Working with mutual respect even if have to suspend disbelief and work with the methods of another discipline
  • What is the difference between interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary – suggests it is that new knowledge results from the collaboration specifically
  • When you start to look at the complexity of the infrastructure around TEL – bricolage (a tinkerer who works with the tools)
  • TEL is more than research informed products
  • Strategic Research Investment (“OpenTEL”)
  • The OU is investing in this area and in IET among other units – giving funding for additional PhD studentships.
  • Working with colleagues in KMi, Science, NPL, ….
  • Invitation for project ideas for interdisciplinary work to exploit this investment
  • Eileen will be continuing work on interdisciplinarity working with Josie Taylor (former Director of IET) who is returning as a consultant

Brief question time 

10:15-10:40 Mark Gaved, Iestyn Jowers, Gary Elliott-Cirigottis

Makespaces: distributed design studios for distributed design students?

  • A new project – it started yesterday!
  • Interdisciplinary project
  • Manufacturing is changing – globalisation – companies need to move quickly
  • EPSRC – call for “Re-distributed manufacturing”
  • Royal College of Art talks about “Makerspaces”
  • Easier to ship “bits” (digital data) than wood of steel
  • Project draws a network of involved parties together
  • Makespaces – e.g. community workshops with 3D printers as well as traditional wood/metal working skills and tools, knitting and fabric work, …
  •  Work towards personal goals, towards employment, …
  • The OU’s interest is that they teach design and need access to such facilities so that students can build prototypes
  • Informal and formal learning
  • Students have different objectives for their learning and therefore different objectives for accreditation
  • Students very interested in soft-skills
  • Design Dept. has small workshop where students can send in designs over the Internet and have prototypes manufactured
  • Project conducting a feasibility study
  • Working with workshops in Glasgow (MAKLAB) and Milton Keynes
  • Project objectives; 1. Identify key challenges; 2. Investigating models of collaborative learning and 3. Exploring forms of accreditation
  • 2 workshops this summer, the first at MAKLAB the second at the OU around accreditation
  • Case Studies – Students will design a full-sized chair and get it manufactured
  • Thinking about technical skills and communications skills

Brief question time 

10:40-11:05 Shailey Minocha, Steve Tilling, Tom Argles, Nick Braithwaite, David Burden and James Rock

Pedagogical advantages of 3D virtual field trips and the challenges for their adoption

[I am flagging as a live blogger so no notes made of this presentation] 

11:05-11:30    TEA/COFFEE
   Session II – Chair:Beck Pit
11:30-11:55 Annika Wolff

Smart tourists: Using mobile technology to close the gap between physical and conceptual neighbourhoods across cultural points of interest

  • Or “Mobile Technology to Support Tourism”
  • Museum  narratives:
    • – regions within the museum with a  thematic coherence
    • – temporal relationships
    • – conceptual path based
    • – notion of conceptual proximity
  • City Narratives
    • – things are more haphazard (cities have developed organically)
    • – physical coherence (you visit the place that is closest but not necessarily thematically related)
    • – e.g. Shakespeare and Stratford upon Avon but people also visit things not related to Shakespeare
  • Mobile devices can support tourist by:
    • – location services
    • – personalised tours and advise
    • (but people don’t necessarily want to be told where to go!)
    • – propose conceptual tour guide
      • how are things within the city related to each other (but no directive as to where to go)
  • Studies:
    • – 4 Square data – next venue checking data used to create
      • Bath, York and Stratford upon Avon (finding walking distances from Google Maps)
      • People have fairly predictable behaviour – usually nearest place next
      • Next phase to investigate conceptual coherence
    • – Control study (in Ambient Lab) investigating how guides effect behaviour
      • Virtual tour guides using QR codes
      • Preliminary results – 15/20 chose linear route; wanted to know how places were related; wish list for relationships
  • Summary:
    • – Physical and conceptual paths don’t align in city tours
    • – Tourists want to know how places are related but don’t necessarily want (or benefit from) following a physical coherent route
    • – Can be supported in discovering a city’s narratives through a conceptual tour guide

Brief question time 

11:55-12:20 Trevor Collins

Enabling innovation in technology-enhanced learning through co-research

[This presentation not noted because I had business elsewhere in the university]

12:20-12:45 Andrew Brasher, Ann Jones, Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, Mark Gaved, Eileen Scanlon, Lucy Norris

Designing and evaluating incidental learning

[This presentation not noted because I had business elsewhere in the university]

12:45-13:10 Mark Gaved, Richard Greenwood, Alice Peasgood

Location triggered language learning using beacons

[This presentation not noted because I had business elsewhere in the university]

13:10-14:00    LUNCH
   Session III – Chair:Liz Fitzgerald
14:00-14:25 Bea de los Arcos, Rob Farrow, Beck Pitt, Martin Weller

Building Understanding of Open Education: An Overview of the Impact of OER on Teaching and Learning

  • OER Hub – The Hewlett Foundation funded
  • Do people use OER differently than other online materials?
  • Data:
    • – Quantitative and qualitative used is dialogue
    • – 20+ surveys
    • – 60+ interviews
    • – Large-scale survey- 7498 respondents from 182 countries
    •  – 11% declare a disability
  • Does OER improve student performance and satisfaction?
    • – 40-50% respondents think yes
  • To what extent does “open” make a difference?
    • – 80% educators adapt OER to their needs
    • – 38% create their own resources
    • – but only 15% share them online with an open licence
    • – 27% have added a resource to a repository
  • Strong evidence that educators more reflective about their teaching when using OER
  • 60-70% students and educators think OER saves students’ money
  • and 45-50% think saves institutions money
  • 89% students us OER because it is free

Brief question time 

14:25-14:50 Lucy Norris, Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, Andrew Brasher, Ann Jones, Mark Gaved,

Eileen Scanlon, Jan Jones

Conducting a field trial in Milton Keynes: Lessons from the MApp

[This presentation not noted – cigar break!] 

14:50-15:15 Chris Douce, Dave Mcintyre and Jon William

TT284 Web Technologies: The tutor’s experience

  • Module teaches something of the “magic” behind the WWW
  • 4 Blocks from basics of HTML to Web Architecture, Mobile Content and Applications, and Managing Web Development Projects
  • Case studies based on running (as a sport)
  • Objective – to understand the tutor’s experience
    • – to identify their challenges
    • – to understand the connections between the different module levels
  • Methodology
    • – interviews with 14 interviews – but the tutors wrote the interview questions
    • – (had underestimated how hard qualitative research is!)
  • Initial findings
    • – “they would not shut up!”
    • – two types of students – little experience and lots of experience
    • – opportunity to develop skills in practice based computer programming – debugging, coding, algorithms,control structures, etc.
    • Block 2:
      • Javascript, PHP, SQL
      • Regular expressions
    • Not enough context about PHP (i.e. content management systems)
    • Mobile app tool (AppInventor) “an unnecessary diversion”
    • OU Live – differences of opinions and experience
    • In Manchester there is a cluster of Tutors working together
    • Using OU live to demonstrate code – shared screen
    • Using OU Live to record videos (how tos)
    • “Difficult to get students speaking” to each other – tactic stay silent or have an opener
    • iCMAs could be helpful
    • Generally like the tutor notes
    • Module teams really responsive

Brief question time 

15:15-15:35  TEA/COFFEE
15:35-16:00 Session IV – Chair: Canan Blake

Chris Edwards, Maria Luisa Perez Cavana

Improving language learning and transition into second language learning, through the Language Learning Support Dimensions (LLSD)

[This presentation not noted because I had business elsewhere in the university]

 

16:00-16:25 Elaine Thomas, Leonor Barroca, Helen Donelan, Karen Kear, Jon Rosewell

Diverse approaches to using online ‘studio’ based learning in Open University modules

[This presentation not noted because I had business elsewhere in the university]

16:25-16:45 Summary and End of Day 2

Disabled students in Japanese Higher Education – a time for change

The Open University of Japan (OUJ) hosts an annual international symposium on matters relating to higher education.  This year the theme was supporting disabled students in this context and in particular the role of ICT here.  [See:  http://www.ouj.ac.jp/eng/sympo/2015/eng/] This is timely because the Japanese Act on the Elimination of Disability Discrimination was enacted in 2013. From 2016, this means public universities are legally obliged to provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities, while private universities are expected to make diligent efforts to provide this for them.  The Japanese’s own perception is that they are about 30 years behind the USA and UK in this regard.  The symposium consisted of a presentation from the host organisation and four invited speakers, two from the USA, a Japanese leader in the field and myself from the UK.  Each presented on key themes from which the delegates from across the Japanese higher education sector could reflect and draw from in their own context.  Disabled students are currently very under-represented in Japanese higher education; in fact the Open University in the UK alone has more disabled students studying with it than across the whole of the higher education across Japan.

This blog posts discusses some of the lessons I learnt from this my first visit to Japan and impressions I gained.  It is the beginning of an exciting period in Japan that should see an increase in the representation of disabled people in the university student body and significant enhancements in the provision of appropriate support for them.

The numbers game

Takeo Kondo, of the University of Tokyo, gave some detail of the current situation in Japanese higher education and compared it with the USA and the UK.

The official 2014 published statistics showed Students with Disabilities (SWDs) in Japanese Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) numbered 13,449 out of 3,213,518 (0.42% out of all students including undergraduate and graduate students). [JASSO, 2014]

This was compared with  U.S figures for undergraduates in 2009 of  10.8% (19,155,000 out of 2,076,000) [US GAO, 2009];

and the UK figures  of SWDs among the 740,000 first year students enrolled in higher education in 2012 as 73,000 (9.8%). [HESA, 2014]

At the Open University in the UK  in 2013/14 there were over 18,000 undergraduate students declaring a disability: more than 14% of all OU undergraduates. [Internal Data]

The symposium chair, Prof. Hirose, stated that in 2013, there were 90,154 students studying with the Open University in Japan, of whom 698 had declared a disability (0.77%):

  • Visual impairment: 168 students
  • Hearing impairment: 32 students
  • Physically handicapped & sickly individuals (sic): 331 students
  • Others: 167 students

There needs to be some care when comparing such statistics as different classifications of disability may have been used. Further, all these figures are based on self-declaration of disability.  There may be cultural reasons why less disabled students declare their disability at Japanese universities and certainly, with much more limited support currently available for them, there is less incentive for them to do so.  Why declare a disability if it makes no difference to the university’s provision of support?

However, even given these caveats it is clear that SWDs are significantly underrepresented in Japanese higher education compared with the USA and the UK, maybe by a factor of 20.   Takeo Kondo’s presentation went on to give data on the changes of the Japanese data over time and a breakdown of the representation of different disability types.

Reflections on discussions

There was a formal discussion panel at the end of the symposium which addressed selected questions that had been submitted in writing during the day.  The fact that far more questions were submitted than could be addressed in the time was indicative of the delegates concern for the topic.  The speakers had spent 3 hours the previous day having a tour of the Open University of Japan and in less structure discussion with about 10 of their staff.  This section summarises and comments on key themes that arose in both these contexts.

Both from the organisers of the symposium and the delegates it was obvious there was a high degree of anticipatory anxiety about what the change in law means they need to do and whether they have the means to do it.  This could be compared to a commonly expressed anxiety in UK HEIs when the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) was extended to include education with the coming into effect of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (SENDA) in 2001.  As well as anxiety about what needs to be done and how to do it there is also an anxiety about how this will be funded.

It was noted that the pedagogic models of the Open University in Japan and the Open University in the UK were very different.  The former is much more of a transmission of expertise style.  There is little discussion between students and lecturers and they do not deploy tutors.  This has significant implications for how support is best offered to disabled students.  At the OU in the UK if a student with disabilities encounters particular problems it is likely to be their tutor that first aware of this.

The difference in disabled student numbers between Japan and the UK or USA is very marked.  More research would be needed to fully understand this.  Certainly the historical lack of provision of support is a factor.  However other factors may be more significant.  One area here is the impact of the Japanese school system.  From the brief discussions had this appears very proscriptive both in terms of curriculum and style of teaching.  There is a strong emphasis on tradition skills such as well-formed hand writing of Japanese characters.  It appears that if for any reason a school pupil does not fit into this well, which might be because of a disability, they are likely to fall behind educationally and not develop aspirations to go onto higher education.

Concluding Comments

The law is seen very much as a driver for change.  This may well be the case and it was a factor in the enhancement of provision for disabled students in the UK following SENDA in 2001.  However law alone will not affect a substantive change.   Meeting the agenda of widening participation of higher education to be more inclusive of disabled people will have to become part of the value system of Japanese HEIs.  It is going to require a commitment beyond meeting of the letter of the law.  It will need institutional change not just the setting up of specialist support units.  The Japanese perceive themselves to be 30 years behind the USA and UK.  However, it need not take them 30 years to catch-up if there is the political will to affect change throughout the educational system.  I mean to maintain a watching brief on this transition and hopefully undertake some detailed research on it with Japanese colleagues.

References

HESA, 2014 – Higher Education Statistics Agency (2014) Statistical First Release 197: 2012/13 first year students by Disability. https://www.hesa.ac.uk/stats

JASSO, 2014 – Japan Student Services Organization (2014) Fact finding survey on supporting higher educational opportunities for students with disabilities (in Japanese)  http://www.jasso.go.jp/tokubetsu_shien/chosa.html

US GAO, 2009 – U.S. Government Accountability Office (2009) HIGHER EDUCATION AND DISABILITY  Education Needs a Coordinated Approach to Improve Its Assistance to Schools in Supporting Students http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-33

 

 

Notes from CALRG Conference 2014

The Computers and Learning Research Group (CALRG) at the Open University (UK) has an annual conference.  Today and tomorrow is the 35th such conference.  This post is my notes on the presentations I attend (unfortunately I can not make them all).  There is a conference Twitter feed with hashtag #calrg14.  A temporary conference website is at: http://sites.google.com/site/calrg14/ with a link to the programme.

CALRG Annual Conference Day One – June 10 2014

Discussant: Prof Rupert Wegerif, Exeter University

9:30-9:45 OPENING NOTES

Patrick McAndrew (Director of IET) – Own experience over 16 years as an induction to the university.  A catch-up point.  Today the theme is mostly on Open Education.

Session I – Chair: Doug Clow

9:45-10:15 MOOCs, Learning Analytics and Higher Education: Perspectives on a recent study leave visit to the USA
Eileen Scanlon

  • The Americans sometimes slightly hallucinate our experience of Ed Tech
  • First stop – ACM Conference on learning at scale (single track)
  •  Bestthing-keynotefromChrisDide, of Harvard. – “Newwineinnow bottles”
    • It is not about the platform but what you do on the platform
    • Use of metaphors from film
    • Going big requires thinking small
    • Micro-genetic studies of online learning
    • People had forgotten all the learning science previously done
  • DistanceLearningOERs and MOOCs (Eileen’s presentation at conference)
    • The Open Science Lab
    • Edinburgh experience – professional development of surgeons
  • Next stop Berkley (Invitational Summit of 150 people)
    • Impact on residential campus based universities
    • Relying on schools of education to measure student learning
    • ReflectiononEDX platform
      • Transforming the institution (MIT in this case)
      • Learn about learning
      • E.g. required physics course – group learning – lot of use of online assessment
      • Comparison of performance in MOOCs of those taking residential course versus those not
      • Drown in information if Google assessment of EDX
    • Simon initiative at Carnegie Mellon
      • AI and Cognitive Tutors
      • Broader than the institution
      • Global learning council
      • Spin out company called “Cognitive Tutors”
      • Individualized instruction seen as gold standard for education
  • Then visited Stanford
    • TheLytics Lab (Learning Analytics)
      • Using learning science with open educational delivery
      • Moving from fragmented approach to systematic improvement of this type of pedagogy
      • CSCL (conversation) ->MOOC space
      • Scale of work in Stanford on MOOCs is staggering
      • Still individual academic driven
  • Then various other conferences
  • Future Learn Academic Network
    • Originally 26 partners now expanding and going more global
  • ESRC proposal on future of higher education
    • Partners: OU, University of Edinburgh, Carnegie Mellon, Oxford University

10:15-10: 45 Squaring the open circle: resolving the iron triangle and the interaction equivalence theorem
Andy Lane

  • Visual Models
    • How visualization can help with understanding/sense making
    • They can equally conceal
    • The Iron Triangle – sides: Scale, Quality, Cost
      • If one dimension changed significantly it will compromise others
    • John Daniel – open distance learning could break the iron triangle
    • Interaction Equivalence Theorem (EQuiv)
    • Supply-side vs demand-side (what about the students?)
    • Adding a circle of success to the iron triangle
    • A student centred iron triangle
      • motivation, preparation, organisation
    • A student centred Interaction Engagement Equivalence Theorem

10:45-11:15 Exploring digital scholarship in the context of openness and engagement
Richard Holliman, Ann Grand, Anne Adams and Trevor Collins

See: http://open.ac.uk/blogs/per

  • Public engagement with a research mandate
  • Research councils fund catalysts
  • An “ecology” of openness
  • Action Research [Lewin 1946]
  • The Edge tool
  • How do we find ways if assessing where staff are and then support them?
  • Research Questions
    • What methods and technologies are researchers using to: make research public, make public research, enable the public to collaboratively research (citizen science)?
    • how do researchers conceptualize the role of students?
  • Scholarship reconsidered
    • discovery
    • integration
    • application
    • teaching
  • Awareness / Responsibility / Sustainability
  • Institutional strategy for open, digital and engaged scholarship
    • What should we try to change?
  • Types of researcher: the fully wired; the dabbler; the brave trier; the unimpressed
  • “The Open Scholar is someone who makes their intellectual projects digitally visible …”
  • Policies / Procedures / Practices

[The remaining  session of Day 1 I was not able to attend but the programme in included here]

Session II – Chair: Ann Jones

11:30-11:55 The OpenupEd quality label: benchmarks for MOOCs
Jon Rosewell

11:55-12:20 From theory to practice: can openness improve the quality of OER research?
Rebecca Pitt, Beatriz de-los-Arcos, Rob Farrow

12:20-12:45 Open Research into Open Education: The Role of Mapping and Curation
Rob Farrow

12:45-13:10 Strategies for Successful MOOC learning: The Voice from the World Record Breaker
Bernard Nkuyubwatsi
Session III – Chair: Rebecca Ferguson

14:00-14:25 The role of feedback in the under-attainment of ethnic minority students: Evidence from distance education
John T.E. Richardson, Bethany Alden Rivers and Denise Whitelock
14:25-14:50 Evaluating serious experiences in games
Jo (Ioanna) Iacovides
14:50-15:15 Social media for informal minority language learning: exploring Welsh learners’ practices
Ann Jones
15:15-15:30 TEA/COFFEE
Session IV – Chair: Inge de Waard
15:30-15:55 What students want: designing learning to optimise engagement in digital literacy skills development
Ingrid Nix and Marion Hall
15:55-16:20 Recording online synchronous tutorials to support learning
Pauline Bloss, Elisabeth Clifford, Chris Niblett and Elke St.John
16:20-16:45 Open Education needs Education for Openness: a dialogic theory of education for the Internet Age
Rupert Wegerif
16:45-17:00 Discussant – Rupert Wegerif
and CLOSE

CALRG Annual Conference – Day 2 – June 11 2014

Session V – Chair: Mark Gaved

9:40-10:05 ‘nQuire-it’: The design and evaluation of a mission-based web platform for citizen inquiry science learning
Christothea Herodotou, Eloy Villasclaras- Fernández , Mike Sharples

Notes from this presentation lost in the ether :(

10:05-10:30 3D Virtual Geology Field Trips: Opportunities and Limitations
Shailey Minocha, Sarah-Jane Davies, Brian Richardson and Tom Argles

  • Can do things unable to d in a real field trips – e.g. drape maps over mountains, see geological cross sections
  • Us Unity 3D Game Engine to build a 10km x 10km area mapping and imaging the real world (around Skiddaw, England)
  • Can pick up rocks and examine under microscope
  • Includes a chat facility for tutor group communication
  • Leave these tools out of the application so as not to compromise the immersion
  • Addresses accessibility with transcripts and full keyboard only access
  • Able to “fly” and “teleport” (on a real field trip a lot of time wasted travelling between sites)
  • Avatar based environment
  • Students use a paper based notebook as they would in the field
  • Integrate the virtual microscope (existing facility) but now contextualized learning
  • Cloud server can handle up to 500 students at one time

10:30-10:55 Juxtalearn: From Practice into Practice
Anne Adams and Gill Clough

  • Large EU project
  • Driver – not enough taking science and technology at school – employment implications
  • Science and Technology engagement through “creative performance” and reflective learning”
  • Threshold concept (TC)
    • Where students find challenges
    • When they get it it is transformative
    • Irreversible – not readily forgotten
    • Integrative – brings concepts together
  • Learning Pathways and Threshold Concepts (different ways from introduction of concept to internalisation of it)
  • Develop understanding through creative video making
  • Tricky Topic Tool
    • Teachers identify tricky topic
    • Teachers create an example
    • Teachers write down student problems
    • Teachers fill in Taxonomy (linked to student problems)
      • e.g terminology, intuitive beliefs, incomplete pre-knowledge, …
  • Taxonomy scaffolds quiz creation
    • Tool to facilitate this
    • Integrates detailed feedback to the student
  • Demo

Session VI – Chair: Anne Adams

11:15-11:40 Citizen Inquiry: From rocks to clouds
Maria Aristeidou, Eileen Scanlon, Mike Sharples

  • Citizen Science + Inquiry based Learning -> Citizen Inquiry
  • Inquiring – Rock Hunters (Initial Study)
    • 24 participants
    • 12 rock investigations
    • discussion and feedback on chat and forums
    • Data collection – questionnaires, System Usability Scale [John Brooke, 1986], …
  • [Note taking interrupted]

11:40-12:05 Imagining TM351 – Virtual Machines and Interactive Notebooks
Tony Hirst

  • TM351 – New Level 3 30 point module on data
  • Two new things:

1. Virtual machines (to overcome the diversity of machines being used by students)

    • Interfaces increasingly browser based
    • Virtual box installed on student machine and browser used as interface
    • Virtual machine can be on cloud server – then can use on a tablet

2. Notebook Computing

  • Literate programming / reproduce-able code or research
  • Code should be able to be read as an essay (self documenting) – read well to human and executable by the machine
  •  Can’t reproduce data analysis from traditional academic papers – reproduceable research includes the tools to enable this
  • Using IPython
  • Corollary to spreadsheets
  • Task orientated productivity tools
  • Cells
    • write text
    • uses “mark-down” simple text based mark-up
    • other cells contain python code
    • e.g. the software creates the table – avoids errors in production and editing
    • similarly with maps and paths
  • IPython server in VM – interface in browser
  • Exploring using OpenDesignStudio so students can share and critique each others code in executable form (see: http://design.open.ac.uk/atelier-d/cdi1.htm)
  • Example shown

 

12:05-12:30 MASELTOV – mobile incidental learning services to support language learning and the social inclusion of recent immigrants
Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, Eileen Scanlon, Ann Jones, Mark Gaved

  •  Using smart phones to support language learning
  • Addressing those with low educational level and from different culture
  • Incidental learning approach
  • MApp: a range of services
    • Field local mapping
    • Social network
    • Information resources
    • Translation
    • Navigation guide
    • Language learning
    • Serious game
  • These are separate apps but integrated in the platform
  • High penetration of smart phone among target audience
  • Technology uncertainty period
    • Many purchase phone ahead of travel
    • Android phones most popular
    • May have multiple phones
    • Seek out free WiFi
    • Word of mouth expertise highly valued
  • Howdowe enable transition from problem solving to reflective learning?
    • relating immediate situation to broader context
    • Feedback and progress indicators
      • Study planning and goal setting
      • Indicating completion
      • Supporting sense of community
      • Building confidence
      • Gamified approach
      • Quizzes
  • What evidence that this approach to language learning is effective?
  • Are there clusters of tools use?
  • Demo

12:30-12:55 Knowledge Transfer Partnership: Booktrust and the Open University
Natalia Kucirkova, Karen Littleton, Teresa Cremin and Laura Venning

  • Ongoing project started this year
  • KTP-objectives:
    • Extending book trust work on promoting reading for pleasure
    • Contribute to digital literacy
    • New knowledge and understanding of digital technologies and the opportunities they provide
  • Synergy of two organisations
  • Looking at books created on iPads (created by children or parents using words and images)
  • The ability to search for meaning is enhanced by creating stories
  • Book Trust:
    • Charity founded in 1920s
    • Encouraging reading for pleasure among children and families
    • Run book gifting programmes
    • Book-start – packs delivered by health visitors and via libraries
    • Reception year programme
    • Now seeking to develop the digital side of their work
    • Undertake research on reading habits and how reading contributes to peoples’ lives
    • Reading Habits survey 2013-14

Session VII – Chair: ?

14:00-14:25 Flipped teachers’ views of the impact of open practices on students
Beatriz de los Arcos

  • Flipped teacher – move the instruction online more discussion and analysis in class
  • Help with “homework” given by experts
  • Survey of OER use by teachers and how impact on students
  • “I do not treat this curriculum as mine – it belongs to the class and the world”
  • http://sites.google.com/a/byron.k12.mn.us/stats4g
  • Example of a learning activity on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales – kids turned in 82% of homework on time
  • OER enables new ways of teaching and learning
  • How do we measure the success of the flipped model?
    • A lot of teachers respond to do with student motivation and engagement
  • Most teachers informally adopt OER practice (e.g. uploading to You Tube) but don’t know about CC licenses etc.
  • Does flipping with OER give a better “flip” than working with closed resources?

 

14:25-14:50 The pedagogical design, user profile and evaluation of a Mobile app to teach beginners’ Chinese characters
Fernando Rosell-Aguilar and Kan Qian

  • Examples of tones in Chinese where same syllable means different things – but context means in practice mistakes not significant
  • About 10,000 characters in common use with typically 12 strokes
  • No space between characters to denote separation of words
  •  Stroke order is important – but this also aids memory of characters – in Chinese primary schools they would chant this
  • Pinyin (Roman letters) is used to teach pronunciation because no correspondence between character and pronunciation
  • Grammar very simple (no past or future tense) – verbs stay the same – no plural singular
  • Rationale
    • To provide an aid to learning
    • To raise profile of the introduction to Chinese course
    •  To fulfill KMi objective to produce revision aids
  • Pedagogical design
    • Bite-sized learning
    • Progressive Learning 20 lessons must be taken in order
    • Integrating writing, listening, reading and vocabulary
    • Gaming feature
    • Personalised learning
  • 4 Sections
  • Challenges of working with App Developers
    • What can be done with what desired
    • Timing issues
    • Technical affordences vs pedagogy
  • User profile and evaluation
    • More males than females (unlike other modern languages more males than females study Chinese)
    • Median Age 30-39
    • 91.9% describe themselves as beginners
    • 75% learning Chinese informally
    • Why learn Chinese:
      • Personal interest
      • Family ties
      • Non-Chinese living in China
      • Business use
    • False expectation of ability to learn fluent Chinese from app
    • App rated positively 86% very good or good
    • Good ratings for learning to write but better for learning to recognise characters
    • 82% app as additional to other learning but 18% using it as their main resource
  • Conclusion
    • Met objectives towards a large degree but no evidence of people using the app then signing up for the course
    • Varied mix of users (gender, age, etc.)
    • Android version limited character set iOS more comprehensive
  • App Chinese Characters First Steps – http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/chinese-characters-first-steps/id441549197?mt=8#

14:50-15:15 Models of Disability, Models of Learning, Accessibility and Learning Technologies
Martyn Cooper

My presentation so not noted but slides are available on SlideShare at: http://www.slideshare.net/martyncooper/models-of-disability-models-of-learning-accessibility-calrg2014

 

Session VIII – Chair: Canan Blake

15:30-15:55 Computer-marked assessment as learning analytics
Sally Jordan

  • Using in iCMAs in teaching since 2000
  • Ellis (2013) assessment often excluded from learning analytics but this is “stupid”
  • Assessment give deep information about learner engagement
  • Analysis at the cohort level
    • Look at questions that student struggle with (from hard data not student opinion)
  • Example of graphic illustrating number of tries students take to get correct question answer in a maths assessment
  • Look are reasons for repeated wrong answers
  • Measuring student engagement – “750 students used my iCMA”
  • iCMAs in formative use exhibit those that just click on it but don’t engage (about 10%)
  • WhendostudentsuseiCMAs?
    • Strong bias towards cut-off dates
  • Length of response to short answer questions – if say a word limit students tend to write near to that limit (see it as a hint)
  • Student engagement with feedback – comparisons between students and comparison between modules
  • Generally students do what they believe their teachers want
  • Engagement with computer marked assessment can be used as a proxy for deeper behaviour
  • Transcend the testing paradigm and see assessment for learning not assessment of learning

15:55-16:20 Open Essayist: Opening automatic support for students drafting summative essays
Denise Whitelock, John Richardson, Debora Field, Stephen Pulman

  • The SAfeSEA Project, see: http://www.open.ac.uk/researchprojects/safesea/
  • Present summaries of students essays back to students to facilitate their reflection
  • Not tell students what to write (or what is right)
  • Identifies Intro, Main Section, Conclusions, Keywords
  • Generates different visual representations of the essay – one research question is what representations the students find most helpful
  • Nodel graphs represent repeated notions
  • Marked contrast between highly marked and low marked essays
  • Nodes closer together in the better essays – vector length represents the connectivity between sentences
  • In 2014 made available to students on MAODE, University of Herts and British University in Dubai
  • Non-native speakers expressed found it very helpful
  • A lot of students do not see how a computer system could help them with their essays

16:20-16:45 Findings from a survey of undergraduate use of mobile devices for OU study
Authors: Simon Cross, Graham Healing, Mike Sharples

  • ePedagogies of handheld devices
  • Document and analyse the patterns of use of OU students
  • Align with other surveys – e.g. OU Student Survey
  • Becoming a longitudinal study
  • Modules like a Lego set – what students do with it may be different than intended and may be influenced by the technologies they use
  • 82% students mobile phones, 50% tablets, 37% e-readers 8% none of these
  • 30% bought tablet for OU study
  • 16% bought e-reader for OU study
  • Evolving data set – resource for future research
  • Insights for module development
  • Evolving survey instrument
  • Evolving analytical framework
  • Technology barriers -> learning barriers

16:45-17:00 CLOSE

No discussant today – shame because I like this feature of CALRG Conferences.

IET Learning Analytics Workshop (15-05-14)

Today I attended and presented at an OU internal Learning Analytics workshop organised by my institute – the Institute of Educational Technology, at the Open University, UK.  This blog post is my notes from that event.

Introduction
Eileen Scanlon

3rd in this workshop series – IET researchers joined by those from KMi and visitors from University of Amsterdam

Starfish – Networked Knowledge Sharing
Sander Latour and Natasa Brouwer (University of Amsterdam)

  • Starfish – finding a better way to disseminate best practice
  • (Video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6YrdOppk8
  • Community driven network
  • TPACK (Model of teaching good practice and technology) based labels.  See: http://www.tpack.org/
  • Entities linked into a network – aid to exploration
  • c.f. Google+ Communities
  • First working system in place – building network with other faculties/institutions
  • Potential for EU project
  • Research topics –
    • Dealing with difference in vocabulary
    • Effective search and exploration
    • Evaluating quality of information
    • SNA / Expert finding
    • Effect on Teachers of TPACK beliefs (Mishra and Koehler 2006) – e.g. technology used effects how we teach

Analytics insights into Epistemic Commitments in collaborative information seeking
Simon Knight, KMi

  • Link to epistemic games group in Maddison
  • Evolution in forms of assessment – moving away from pure summative towards performance assessment
  • Epistemic beliefs – a lens on learners views (Broome, 2009)
  • Removing the thought element – not decontextualised beliefs but situated and contextualised
  • Moving away from psychometrics
  • In “Search”
    • selecting sources
    • collating information
    • etc.
  • Epistemic commitments
    • The connections people make
    • Certainty characterised as …
  • Surface answers or deeper reasoning – use of search results
    • E.g. question on Marie Currie
  • Epistemic Frames for Epistemic Commitments
    • Views on how we see the world
    • described as skills, knowledge, values, identities, and epistemological rules
    • Discourse orientated
    • E.g. “we should try looking on Wikipedia”
      • select token, make connections
    • Epistemic Frames allows classification of activities in this process
  • Epistemic Network Analysis
    • Edge – indicates communication between nodes – edge gets thicker in proportion to level of discourse between the nodes
    • Move from log data – to keywords and concepts
    • Some maths happens – stanzas – don’t worry about how many times word occurs but how sourced
    • Principle Component Analysis (PCA) across stanzas
    • As analysis builds up some nodes become more central
    • Used a pair and two trios of 11-year-olds
    • Hypothesis – collaboration might be linked to number of sources researched
    • Some questions in exercise open – some closed – students asked to justify their answers and cite sources
    • Differences in groups
      • G1 – Successful “it has got all the important information” – i.e. less sense making more whether source had answers to questions
      • G2 – Also stressful but used different strategies and discourse was thus distinct from G1 (talked a lot about authority)
      • G3 – Poor results so discourse related to this
  • Claim that ENA offers a representational tools and can be used for hypothesis testing

Papers: http://oro.open.ac.uk/39254  http://oro.open.ac.uk/39181

Learning Analytics approaches to target support for disabled students in particular and to identify accessibility deficits in teaching and learning presented on the VLE
Martyn Cooper, IET

My presentation so not noted but slides on SlideShare at: http://www.slideshare.net/martyncooper/learning-analytics-and-disabled-students-iet-la-workshop-may14a

Learning Analytics for Academic Writing
Duygu Simsek, KMi

  • Machine code to identify good attributes in academic writing
  • How use this to support students and academics
  • Academic Writing –
    • Critical for students
    • Need to communicate validity of claims of automatic system
    • Meta-discourse analysis
    • Students find it challenging to learn academic writing but also find it difficult to understand meta-discourse cues
  • XIP – Xerox Incremental Parser uses NLP
    • Pulls out key features in academic writing
    • XML format output but not suitable for the learners
  • What are key features in student writing:
    • relevance
    • demonstration of knowledge
    • linguistic quality
    • argumentation
    • etc.
  • Argumentation:
    • mapping between good academic writing and XIP rhetorical functions
  • XIP needs a learning analytics approach to be useful in this context
  • Research Questions:
    • To what degree can XIP be used to identify good academic writing practice?
    • In what way shouldXIP output be communicated to students and educators?
      • Used a dashboard in a pilot study
    • To what extent to students value this approach?

Six different learning analytics metrics, but which one(s) best predict performance
Bart Rienties, IET

  •  Simon Buckingham-Shum: “We should move towards depositional learning analytics”
  • Learner Data vs Learning Data
  • E.g. from footballer tracker data
  • Study at Maastricht of students on compulsory maths/stats course presented on Blackboard
    • deep learner vs surface learner
    • motivation
    • diagnostic pre-test
    • demographic data
    • Blackboard data
    • Results on quizzes
  • Research Question 1 – to what extent predict performance?
    • Level of clicking in VLE poor predictor
    • More sophisticated tools shown to be better predictors
    • Combined metrics better predictors
    • Best predictions of assessment is assessment itself – so predictions get better after initial assessment on course
  • Research Question 2 – When should “coaches” intervene?
    • After first test good prediction but too late to intervene?
  • Research Question 3 – Dispositions or Learning Analytics?
    • Dispositions combined with early assessment provides good early warnings
    • Dispositions can be changed – feedback

 

— Close, drinks (Dutch treat) and onward discussion —

 

 

Large Scale Collaborative Funding Bids

Today I attended a training workshop on large-scale funding for projects.  I have built my research career on such projects, but it is never too late to learn and gain from others’ experiences.

Anne Adams (IET):

Tensions – Turning Tension

  • Understand the drivers of the partners
  • Manage expectations
  • Managing cultural differences
    • differences can be enablers
  • Working at the OU is like working at a mini-EU (committee structures, scale, layers, etc.)
  • Learn by mistakes
  • Use processes and support : Trouble shooting
  • Funders can be a useful connection point – use them
  • Check understanding
  • Impact and dissemination from early on – impact and engagement
  • Balancing different objectives – your partners are doing the same

Small Projects

  • More focused objectives
  • Smaller budgets
  • Tighter timeframes
  • Researchers often have to do project management as well

Large Projects

  • Inverse of above but effectively made up of a series of small projects

Managing Time

  • Clear-out bid writing time
  • Co-ordinate multiple objectives
  • Larger projects may have tighter financial restrictions

Managing People

Stakeholders

  • Project partners
  • Outside the project who are they?
  • Involve in writing the bid
  • Involve users
  • Expectations
  • Highlight how stakeholders have been involved in bid writing
  • Shifting timescales
  • OU Catalyst Project – Research School
  • Breakdown what will be available when

Roles

  • Administrators
  • Project manager
  • Researchers
  • Academics as researchers / teachers / communicators

Lines of management

  • Issue of part-time staff
  • Commenting on objectives
  • People are overworked
  • Use e-mail sparingly

KPIs / Partners

  • Co PIs / Partners
    • Institutional differences
    • Cultural differences
    • Tensions from misunderstandings

Manage expectations

  • Competing expectations from a project
    • From partners
    • From funders
    • Your own objectives

Be Brave

  • Proactive in getting key players in the bid who may have a previous funding record with the funders
  • Summary of objectives and ideas early on
  • Leverage OU
    • Scale
    • Contacts
    • Systems and procedures e.g. ethics
    • Management systems
  • Don’t be afraid
    • Change adapt ideas, partners even near deadline
    • Bring in additional partners – mid-project if necessary
  • If lose trust in a partner – deal with it – don’t want a disaster during the project

Turning Tensions Around

  • transferable skills from teaching at the OU
  • Learn to take risks
    • Allow exploration
    • Keep it focus
  • Allow partners to shine

Using people available

  • Colleagues
  • Research school
  • Successful bids

Using Processes

  • Re-use processes
  • Other external projects
  • Get feedback from potential reviewers
  • Funders have resources to support

Share your ideas

  • Share ideas early on – get the project name out there!
    • Leaving it to the end means missing opportunities
  • Share your ideas with your partners
  • Different ways of sharing:
    • Posters
    • Speed dating events
    • Plan to create a video early on
    • Create eBooks
    • Websites / data sharing (in project and public)

John Domingue (KMi):

Why:

  • Funding for staff and the latest equipment and travel
  • Good for CV – funding necessary for promotion to Chair
  • Networking
  • It gives you autonomy

How:

  • Need a great idea for a project – the elevator test – can you sell it in 2 mins
  • The larger the funding the more political
  • In Europe saying the US has it is a seller
  • E.g. “turning the web from one of data into one of services”

Reviews

  • Writing for the reviews – able to give up a week of their time so tend to be good researchers but not the best.  They have to read a lot of bids – make yours stand out
  • Also have to write for the EC Section who select the funded bids
  • Make it something beyond the state-of-the-art
  • Clear, pertinent, transparent

Official Criteria

  • Excellence (threshold 3/5)
  • Impact (threshold 3/5)
  • Quality and Efficiency
    • Plan has to match the idea … if you are going to change the world in X do  the resources to do it?
  • The Consortium – probably counts 50%
    • Do you have the big players?  If not why not?
  • Use the relevant industrial associations if appropriate
  • EU projects is a game – play by the rules
  • Make sure the objective aims of the proposals are aligned with the big partners

Consortium

  • Make sure every partner is playing a specific role
  • Exploitation partners hardest to find – but most important
  • Academics will always come aboard
  • SMEs / Industrial players
  • Leading Research Institutions
  • Balance by Country, region, and type

Process

  • Year to 9 months ahead of deadline meeting of core partners – set forward the core idea
  • Pre-consortium beauty contest
    • Needs to be handled careful
  • E-mails, Skype, etc. to develop the bid
  • Set a small team of people who will write the bid
    • The consortium may well change during the bid writing
  • Talk to the funder

Commission Dialogue

  • Go to Brussels for a day, e.g. an info day
  • Get feedback from the Commission after the call is out
  • Be prepared to radically change the bid in response to feedback
  • Study the Workplan early – before the call is published

Proposal Document

  • Template
  • Stick within page limit
  • Coherent
    • Text
    • Workplan (spreadsheets/ Gantt charts etc.)
    • Risk Management
  • Note – unit heads will have their own goals – how does your project fit?
  • Take into account previous EU projects in State-of-the-Art
  • Use strategic reports from the Commission and others to give background information
  • Typically WPs: Management; 3 Technical WPs, Dissemination and Exploitation
  • Get balance of roles between the partners across the WPs right – balance the effort to match the objectives
  • Impact – who are the authoritative sources?  Quote from key reports e.g. Gartner

Writing the Proposal

  • Small team of good writers (native English speakers), separated away from other work, usually in a shared office – use study leave

Submission

  • The deadline is final!

Networking

  • The difference between a good academic and a good academic with project money is networking
  • Info days
    • Often include networking session to find partners/projects
    • ICT Events (different in different fields)
    • Keynotes invite Commission representative to conferences you organise

Easy way to start

  • Become a project or proposal reviewer
  • The OU is a world leader in Pedagogy – lead training workpackages

Sarah Gray (Research Office)

Research Support

E-mail: Research-Grants-Contracts@open.ac.uk

  • Work closely with faculty administrators
  • Review and approve all external bids (to Leverhulme and UKRCs)
  • Sarah is EU co-ordinator
  • Finding funding opportunities
    • Research.professional.com
    • Current oppertunies page
    • Visit UKRO and register e-mail address
    • National Contact Points in UK.Gov
  • Open calls on WWW page URL: search EU Horizon 2020 Participant Portal

 

— end —


Martyn Cooper

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