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:

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