Monday, November 26, 2018

A Busy Ten Months at City of Glasgow College

via Gfycat

It has been fun doing quite a bit more than holding the coats, while City of Glasgow College went through a major internal re-structure. It is a superbly appointed and equipped environment to work in. 

I've enjoyed my time as acting interim Head of Centre of Professional and Technical Education and now it is time to move on to my next adventure.

Here is a quick snapshot of some of the things we have achieved. 

Only achievable with some great support from the learning technology team , digital library team , IT team and academic teams across the College and the sponsorship and support of the senior management team.

On systems front ;  

  • We stabilised a wobbly installation of Moodle, upgrading from 3.1 to 3.3.6  while creating a business case for a move to an alternative platform. Refreshing the training materials available to staff and students for the new platform along the way. There was a learning curve around this for the whole organisation as we fell short on our mission  to get to Moodle3.5 but the journey made for an exciting summer. 
  • We brought Onefile on stream and along with providing staff training and created suite of on-line training materials
  • We re-procured the similarity detection engine. We along with the three other Glasgow Colleges are sticking with Turnitin. , the procurement exercise being a useful joint exercise. The new version has even better feedback and marking tools for staff. The next task is to get staff up to speed with all of these feedback and reporting mechanisms. 
  • We changed the in-house video conferencing system from Big-Blue Button to Zoom Meeting -and started shaping a new training offer around this. 
  • We introduced a new Libguides Platform to promote among other things,  new sets of open text books to staff and learners. The platform will support communications on a lot of other fronts too. 
  • We invested and brought on stream the assets from the Blended Learning Consortium and made full use too of the discounts on other services that membership offers.  


On Staffing :

We worked to stabilise Learning Technology team by taking some fixed term posts and making them full-time .  It is clear that learning technology is being used in a positive way, as an entry route for talented graduates into the teaching side of further education .  Clear too that learning technology skills are in high demand, with Universities offering a premium on what FE Colleges pay for this skill set. This does mean that ALT and CMALT have an important role in professionalising teams and it is important that learning technology teams offer sound and broad staff development for those in the FE sector. 

It is particularly challenging to get developers and those who can design and run system analytical reports and shape these into meaningful dashboards. I think this ability to recruit and hold on to staff with these specialist skill sets is a sectoral challenge and not confined to this College. 

With the libraries team we worked to extend opening hours into evening and on Saturday mornings and in expanding the digital support available to all staff and learners. 

On Staff Skills 

  • In context of #Citylearning4.0 (see earlier posts) we did our bit in respect of expanding the support available from the library and  learning technology team and in shaping a vision for the whole organisation.
  • In April to June 2018 the College was one of one hundred FE and HE centres across the UK to take part in the Jisc Digital Capabilities Survey work – this providing a benchmark on staff digital skills. We made great use of the Jisc Building Digital Capabilities study and work . This being driven out by learning technology and digital libraries team in first instance . We were delighted that around 25% of all staff engaged with this . Pleased too that this activity will continue with Organisational Development supporting the future of this work over the next two years. 
  •  A model of shared teaching practice has been agreed with College staff and HMIE and will be rolled out over current session.  
  • We hosted a number of key sectoral events , The Blended Learning Consortium's first Scottish Conference ,  The Association of Learning Technology's Scottish Group conference,  Google Educator training programme for Scottish teachers - each allowing College staff admittance to build their skills and perspective on digital learning. 

On Innovation 


There has never been a better time to drive innovation into further education . There is so much low hanging fruit that can have a direct impact on learning and learners.  


  • We are building a very positive relationship with the Wikimedia Foundation. We held a number of staff development sessions and supported a public editathon for Glasgow's doors open day. The sector needs to learn how embedding Wikimedia in learning supports new forms of practice. We have a number of staff completing the Creative Commons Course positioning the College to be a stronger advocate for Open Education. There is still a long journey ahead to get staff and Colleges to understand open education.
  • We are leading on a new national College relationship with the CLA - thanks to some great work by the library team.
  • We started our first cohort on a Professional Development Award in Technology Enhanced Learning and Teaching. TELT attracting a strong cohort of learners from across Colleges and national agencies . And attracting interest from south of the border around both the model and the SQA Award. 
  • We won funding from a range of sources now around 150K+ in this short period , thanks to innovators in the learning technology and digital collections teams who were willing to shape and engage in a number of bids.  Watch this space as work around VR in Assessment , Blockchain and certification and a distributed model of support for the National Manufacturing Institute of Scotland rolls out from City of Glasgow College,  among many other successful project bids. 
  • We are working closely with Google Education using their service to drive a number of our projects notably a UFI funded project to give every learner a portable e-portfolio to take with them on their lifelong learning journey.  It was a delight to hold the first Scottish Google Educators Train the Trainer session in the College. I know this relationship will only grow stronger.  We are building a College community of practice around this work. 
    

The team is in a strong place to move forward.  We have built too strong relationships with those across the UK who are able to support College development in this space in an ambitious way. It is really worth following the development of Digital Competency Framework for Further Education from the Education and Training Foundation. And full disclosure it was a delight too to be invited to support development of this framework and apply my knowledge of developments in this area. 

Thanks too to the senior management team here for allowing my continued interest in the work of ALT , UNESCO , British Council and the work for the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education to continue and feed into the work of the College. And my continuing role as Board Member of Kelvin College and Youthlink Scotland. 

You can read about what we told staff here - it's been a productive journey.



We will see now what the next chapter will bring. 





Thursday, September 06, 2018

News from the Centre of Professional and Technical Education Citylearning4.0

Had an excellent day today with group of staff focused on moving forward learning and teaching practice in this superbly appointed College .

Thought worth sharing some of the things we have been up to over the last 9 months - it's been really busy and only achievable through the support of some great teams in the library, digital collections team and from the learning technologists along with the innovators in the academic and support teams . Citylearning4.0 is starting to move

I am sure our journey is similar to that of many other institutions .

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Intcas Useful system disruption.

Eighteen months  ago,  I spotted Intcas and saw an organisation becoming a  disruptor in a sector that has for too long relied on very long paper trails. 

It is worth having a root around their homepages to see seamless compliance in action. 

International study is a maze of uncertainty for both the international student and very often just as complex for the receiving institution. 

A signatory to the Groningen Declaration  I've been following Intcas's development closely as they expanded their global footprint

Intcas brings artificial intelligence into international student recruitment,  this offers huge benefits for centres and for learners .  Already affiliated to 500 global banks and connected to students and institutions  across the world .The platform allows learners to explore, design and build their careers using a single system.

As an international recruitment officer, imagine a guaranteed pipeline of learners with authenticated entry qualifications, verified visa entry requirements and with the pre-verification that learner has the funding in place to meet their financial commitments . This including access to  learners supported by national and other scholarship funds.

For the learner and their parents guarantees around the robustness of the degree on offer,  and that an appropriate accommodation and support network is in place - including in some subject areas a clear pipeline to employment .

In the UK domestic market too a glimpse of a system that  with a bit of thought could do much to re-invigorate  a more unified approach to matching employers , awarding bodies and apprenticeships and refreshingly an organisation that is thinking about the expanding global market for both higher and further education. 

Intcas will appeal to learners and their parents and schools , colleges and universities recruiting in the international market place around the world .  It will be of direct interest to agencies and government departments and to global awarding organisations looking for a partner with the systems in place to with the systems in place to support their accredited institutions and learners

https://www.groningendeclaration.org/intcas/

https://thepienews.com/news/intcas-wins-funding-for-ai-platform/

https://bdaily.co.uk/articles/2018/03/19/edtech-company-intcas-secures-2m-series-a-funding

https://www.buila.ac.uk/news/2018/intcas-raises-4-1m-funding-for-ai-platform

Thursday, June 14, 2018

#Citylearning4.0 and #OneCity





Next week, we are doing the all staff development thing - and have a really packed programme.
In among some real gems are some sessions that I think the broader Scottish education community should be tuning into .

Grainne Hamilton is running a session around - Cities of Learning, this is a new place-based approach to enhancing lifelong learning through digitally connecting individuals to learning, employment and civic opportunities across a city. This session will introduce the approach and enable participants to define what a Glasgow City of Learning could look like. Grainne is a star in the vocational sphere across the UK . Grainne's session is on Thursday, June 21, 2018 - 10:00 to 11:30

While Dr Doug Belshaw's track record around educational innovation is amazing - and he continues to amaze - his employers include Mozilla and he is currently a consultant  for Moodle.Net . His session is all around working in the open - The Theory and Practice (mainly practice) of Working Openly on Friday June 22nd 10.00 - 11.30 am

You will also get opportunity to see around the splendid surroundings of City of Glasgow College.

I hope some of the educational innovators from across Glasgow and beyond can join us





Monday, May 21, 2018

Digital Literacy heading to become new Core Skill in Scotland


I had to ask special permission to do this .  The SQA have been busy and have produced some excellent digital literacy standards to replace the current core skill of IT.

This is in line with what is happening across the rest of the UK  and in rest of the world . It has taken our system a bit longer than other parts of UK and rest of the world to get this moving.  But good news that work is now on  the move - I've been dripping in global , EU and UK models for some years now and I think  the fresh approach really aligns well with changes around the world and will empower learners.

I'm particularly pleased as we have squeezed in relevant references to understanding open licensing as part of the core standard.

It is a big change from the current framework https://www.sqa.org.uk/files_ccc/ICTCoreSkillsFrameworkV1.pdf 

I'm sharing frameworks here and inviting you to comment on them.
The links below take you straight to a document you can comment on.

Providing/Creating Information



Accessing Information 




I'm also trying to show SQA that this a more effective way to gather feedback that the more traditional model of emailing the usual suspects and asking for feedback .

If you are a College or a school who has been sent the documents and the invitation to feedback - this model can will help you too . Why not simply add your comments to these google.docs

The formal invitation to comment from SQA team is below .  There is a tight timeline on getting feedback in. In any event I hope you find the new standards of value and this approach useful .



Dear Colleague,

Most of you will be aware that the Research, Policy, Standards and Statistics team has been undertaking a Thematic Review of Core and other essential generic skills. This approach uses research and evidence to inform and support qualifications’ design, assessment and quality assurance. The findings from our recent national survey and from the more detailed focus groups suggest that substantial change in the Core Skill: ICT to include more of a ‘digital literacy’ approach would be welcomed by all sectors.

Working together with representatives from across Scotland’s education community, we have been updating Core Skills Framework standards to make them more relevant for today’s and tomorrow’s digital world.

Please find attached the proposed draft standards for the two components of Accessing Information and Providing/Creating Information. Also, we have provided a link below to the current Core Skills Framework: Information and Communication Technology standards in order that you can compare those current and with the proposed/updated ones.

We wanted to share them with you today, in case of any RED FLAGS! That would tell us there is something specific in the proposed standards that you just cannot live/work with. We recognise that there may be instances where some staff development and exemplar materials might be needed. Following approval of the updated Framework, new Core Skill units for this area are planned, along with associated support.
We do plan to caveat everything with “to be formally agreed/approved”; however it would be good to get your GREEN FLAG to include these as standards in the proposed, updated Core Skills Framework, if possible.

Please can you let us know by 25 May whether this is a green flag or, if there are any specific red ones, please let us know your reasoning. A nil response will count as acceptance of the proposed draft standards.

If you have any questions regarding this final request for feedback, please get in touch with me (andrew.kerr@sqa.org.uk) or Margaret (margaret.tierney@sqa.org.uk).
Thanks again for all your continued support.

Kind regards
Andrew Kerr

Thursday, May 03, 2018

UNESCO is drafting an Open Educational Resources #OER Recommendation. Work from Ljubljana #openscot #Unesco




UNESCO is drafting an Open Educational Resources (OER) Recommendation.

When I have a moment with my #openscot hat on I'm taking this back around the Scottish agencies who still don't get open education .
I hope we get some more engagement in this - for sake of learners and Scottish Education we need a proper cross sectoral policy position on this . Good to see ALT pulling together a UK Response  This is a useful vehicle for folks who want to make an individual or an institutional response.

This is an official UNESCO instrument that will both advise national governments on how to support open education in their countries and report on those efforts.

The draft Recommendation text has been prepared by a group of open education experts from UNESCO, researchers and practitioners from all world regions. The OER Recommendation builds on the Ljubljana OER Action Plan, a product of the 2nd World OER Congress.

The online consultation process is now open. This is an invitation to contribute to the draft. In addition to providing your own comments, please share this opportunity through your networks.

The text is available in English and French:

https://www.oercongress.org/unesco-oer-recommendation

https://www.oercongress.org/fr/recommandation-sur-les-rel


The deadline for submission of contributions is: 1 June, 2018.
You can comment directly here 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

#OER18: Open to All - some quick reflections


Some musings with some hacking of Storify to pull this together - I think that is in the tradition of #OER Conferences - and it will probably be my final 'storify' as another useful tool disappears from the free web. ( I've jumped ship and moved all posts across to Wakelet )

Yes, not hacked very well , I'll tidy up later ;-)




It is always a pleasure to get involved in the organisation and running of an #OER series conference . The open education community across the UK and internationally, may come at Open Education from lots of different perspectives but the shared interest in opening up learning in an inclusive way binds us all together and means too that everyone is open to sharing - The Watershed in Bristol was a great venue . Thanks to ALT and our conference chairs David Kernohan and Viv Rolfe for leading an excellent conference.

Here are some edited highlights with some links at the end This is not a shout out to all the great key notes, chairs and presenters and all the great folks that gather for these conferences you all know who you are - you all make this gathering great !

If you don't know about this gathering have a poke around #oer18 hashtag on twitter or have a dig around this year's programme

Graphics and key messages were just right !







@MarenDeepwell kicks off #oer18 #oerconf and reminds us about #iwill campaign @A_L_T have been really active in leading the battle for open pic.twitter.com/kLFfvlt4bp





@LornaMCambell set conference theme superbly and some great questions from floor

@OERConf #oer18 good question from @pbacsich institutions are good at business cases but less good at framing initiatives that are for the civic good . I’d challenge College Boards and University Courts on this - Still think driver needs to come from Govt policy though #openscot

I must have a root around UCL publications and see what fits with further education . Potentially some useful home grown open publications.




John Casey City of Glasgow College - led great session and looking forward to rolling out handbook across College and beyond.





From many sessions I picked up some great models of open practice in action and I am going to point my own team back to explore some of these

In no particular order I was impressed by work with web.hypothes.is/

How the University of British Columbia uses an institutional wiki wiki.ubc.ca/

The self hosted Splots from Reclaim Hosting http://cogdogblog.com/2017/09/instant-splot/ and some more information on this approach at institutional leve

I've blogged about Reclaim Hosting before - but tool to clone wordpress blog template - is really useful and or will be when more centres realise what a great way blogging is to empower learners https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/ns-cloner-site-copier/

This is a great institutional project to get learners to reflect on their digital identities - and their digital profiles around the metaphor of their digital tattoo digitaltattoo.ubc.ca/

If you want to reflect on what being an open practitioner is and a lot more a good place to start is having a look at Dr Catherine Cronin's presentation https://www.slideshare.net/cicronin/continually-becoming-open-learners-and-open-educators

I flagged up some innovations to my former employers as I watched themes that have been covered in internal papers for years as I watched an open system for standards and outcomes design being presented and a great example of Wales using Wikipedia in formal assessments in the school sector ( waving to SQA higher education board member who thought Wikipedia was an aberration , it was a long time ago ) I can't do them justice here but I chaired an excellent series of lightening talks - hope the images are just enough to get you to go and find out more







I did it again and will probably forget my user name and password - but I have another Reclaim Hosting Wordpress Blog . I really must do something with it . I've stuck by Blogger since 2001,  Gosh if I switched I could have quickly moved this across from Storify ! The clever folk at Reclaim hosting built a system that moves Storify Stories across to a Reclaim hosting Wordpress Blog with the click of a button.

It was great to see the GCU copyright resources released into the wild https://edshare.gcu.ac.uk/2706/ And being given many timely reminders #OpenEducation needs driven by government policies #openScot





Thanks to our splendid hosts and I look forward to following many of you on twitter over the year ahead








And looking forward to next year already !





and now here is Storify to Wakelet version