Thursday, November 30, 2023

Talking about how we use range of Jisc Survey Tools at Jisc Building Digital Capability and Digital Experiences Insights Conference

Great to have an opportunity to share way we use a range of Jisc survey tools to inform our approach to digital learning and bench mark our journey with institutions across the UK 

Great learning too to attend event and hear how other institutions use these tools.

You can get a glimpse here too of what we have learned and the tools we are using with staff and students to digitally transform. 

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Talking about Artificial Intelligence @Edutech23 #Edutech23 Amsterdam

I was very fortunate to be a guest speaker at EduTech23 in Amsterdam earlier this month. Candidly without sponsorship I'd have been unable to attend.  Colleges in Scotland are in a precarious financial position currently and staff from vocational colleges don't normally have funding to engage in forums like this. But it is critical that we have a voice - so special thanks to the organisers. 

Artificial Intelligence is not as big a threat to vocational education as perhaps it is to the school and university system. 

Why ?  because in the main we offer authentic assessments.  Learners have to demonstrate they can do something not simply write an essay about how they might do it. That is not to downplay any ethical or other issues.

I really enjoyed #Edutech23 and my session attracted a standing room only audience and some very positive feedback on the day and online following the conference. Links to the session slides and what we are actually doing at the College are below.  I was suited a booted most of time but kilt and creative commons t-shirt on for day of session. 

I plugged too all the good work that is happening across the sector in Scotland and from UK in the AI space. 

The conference was well organised and well curated with an excellent set of sessions and was at a scale that encouraged attendees , exhibitors and presenters to engage.  I made some really good new contacts and reconnected with some colleagues from other roles I have held.  

I am just about to follow up with the useful contacts I made over the two days on the conference. Having returned to busy day job. 

Just to reiterate and before my new contacts flood my inbox with requests for sales meetings  at the moment I am always open to ideas and partnerships but we don't have resources to buy new services now or into the near future. I lead a resourceful team and there is a lot we can achieve without hard cash. We are well equipped for blended learning. Probably worth resharing how to work with Colleges in Scotland too,

We have suite that we are content with comprising at it's heart the tools listed below. These provide a sound platform for staff and students to enjoy a blended learning experience. 
  • Canvas by Instructure , Canvas Credentials and Canvas Folio
  • Microsoft Teams etc
  • Click-View
  • Panopto
  • Turnitin
  • Blackboard Ally 
  • Padlet 
  • Thinglink 
  • OneFile portfolio for apprenticeships
  1. Most immediately I am interested in any European College interested in working around with  Canvas Commons sharing vocational learning materials. 
  2. Projects around staff and student digital teaching skills and digital literacy.
  3. Policy around open educational resources at College level and the use of Artificial Intelligence in learning, teaching and assessment.
I'll follow up with post on some of the great folks I met and what we will follow up on. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

AI in world of presentations Try out Gamma App


This not my presentation for Edutech 2023 - rather me testing out some of the tools I will include in my session.

If  you haven't discovered you should have a look a serviceable and downloadable presentation in under 5 minutes . Quicker than building a Sandcastle - unless of course you use Bing Image Creator 

Monday, October 02, 2023

Talking about digital learning with QAA Scotland

Here is video and  summary transcript of video I was asked to share with QAA Scotland for recent conference. 

What is your role at City of Glasgow College?

I am head of digital skills - but what it means is that I look after College learning technology and push out models for blended learning. 

Biggest task in the last 2 years has been taking College from self hosted Moodle on to Canvas by Instructure. 

We do everything in the open - so most of this is reflected in learning and teaching academy website - along with staff and student support materials. 

What is some recent work that you have been working on regarding blended?

Simply encouraging staff to use full range of tools available to them appropriately. 

Using Jisc survey feedback from staff and students to shape our offer.

Learners want a more standard blended learning experience. 

Staff want more training and support - and time. We can offer the first two.

How does City of Glasgow College approach blended?

We work from a model based on UCL ABC model at City of Glasgow College we call this Active, Blended and Connected. 

Boring but necessary things like consulting on , creating and promoting a standard Canvas template. Students want basic elements in any online course. 

What course is about , a sensible order of course materials , a introduction to teaching staff and  information on how to contact them.

On course materials been encouraging more use of quizzes and different forms of assessment and more use of pre-recorded video ( short 8 minutes) 

Post pandemic courses are delivered in mixed mode some on site and some online.

We have some rooms set up for hybrid teaching - but most staff simply cannot cope with this - it is very difficult to give face to face and online learners a positive experience synchronously. 

What are you hoping for in the future?

My hopes haven't really changed since late 1990's when as a lecturer all my materials were on the internet and available for all my students and for any colleagues that wanted to augment these or adopt them. I think we still have a long way to go before staff and students are confident open practitioners and collaborators around learning and assessment. 

We can see AI arriving and we have a policy in place - but the next thing is really training AI on our own data sets. 

I can see role too for more intermediate tools like Teachermatic .

VR/AR still had enormous potential but challenge is using these tools in a cost effective and sustainable way - tools like ThingLink will open door here.

The CDN/GTCS digital standard for lecturers will become a great driver in terms of professional review. I don't think staff are really aware that they now have a benchmark to meet. 

We are working to a set of College attributes for all learners - remember core skills and meta skills are a thing in College landscape - these attributes will help us move on digital skills. 

We work within a lifelong learning - national system - Colleges can play their part - it would be good to see more examples of resource sharing both across the College landscape and between University system and College system. Colleges should be doing a lot more for schools too. 

We will do more with Canvas commons, Canvas credentials, Canvas Folio  - Commons to share whole courses with other Colleges and internationally. Credentials to support initially our College attributes and then to offer certification for some open less formal provision - open to all.  Canvas Folio to give learners a folio of their own work to take with them when they leave college. 

I'd still like to see more lecturers and managers across Colleges in Scotland maintain reflective blogs or journals. Social media and networking is driven by activities like this - too much practice is siloed across the school , college and university system. 

Friday, August 18, 2023

#Canvas by #Instructure at City of Glasgow College

Yes, it's a promotional video but it really does capture staff and student engagement in our continued Canvas journey!

It's a great advert for the teams across City of Glasgow College that made it happen, the teachers and our students. 

Testament too to the great support we continue to enjoy from Instructure.  Always happy to talk about our Canvas journey.

City of Glasgow College: Improved reliability and user experience with Canvas | Instructure

Thursday, July 20, 2023

That Digital Presence and Social Media Question

We have become enthralled by the ceaseless hum of our electronic companions, those pocket-sized devices that have ensnared our attention and stolen our souls. We wander through life like sleepwalkers, heads bowed in reverence to the glowing altar of our screens, checking our social media, oblivious to the richness of the world that unfurls before us. 

Our digital avatars proliferate, each one a carefully constructed facade, a desperate attempt to assert our relevance in an increasingly disconnected world, and/or how you manage your digital presence actually matters. 

So, should you use; Twitter, Threads, Mastodon, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat , TikTok or Tumblr, or just walk away, or be simply terrified by social media.

And what about good old-fashioned blogging?

I've been using social media since it arrived. In the last century incidentally - though none of the platforms that existed then were actually called social media and they don't exist anymore. (ICQ, MySpace, Vine and many more etc)

I once set out what I use and why and I think given the recent proliferation of platforms perhaps time to do that again. Amusement too by overhearing a teaching colleague on the importance of online networking for learners, but not them ;-) 

Some past observations 

You do need to manage your online presence; it is a good thing to do. You can see 30 years of avatars on some of these sites.
  1. I am old and uncool, I use facebook with friends and family and try to keep it that way. If I don't know you really well, we won't be friends on facebook, sorry and no link with this item.
  2. LinkedIn for professional stuff - no chit chat or jokes - some links that reflect interesting things I am doing professionally, and I link with like-minded professionals. Always useful, I have had some very genuine job opportunities come along through LinkedIn. Be over familiar and or unbusinesslike and you're off my contact list. I only accept contact requests from folks that look relevant. So sorry not looking for a new life partner. Strangely now 6500 followers and over taking ..
  3. Twitter - controversial perhaps - but with #hashtags for topic searching and an established network 4500 followers approx. I post things that matter to me and use it as source of information and for networking. If you want to get the news first twitter is still best. Still a really useful tool. Anyone can follow me on twitter, and I think with one exception, a supporter of Russia's war in Ukraine, I've never blocked anyone. You may have concerns about new platform owner, but system still works well.
  4. Mastodon - I like the idea but seems to be lots of islands and I've had very few meaningful exchanges - has potential but not enough yet to get me to switch off my Twitter account. Usual suspects educational technologists seem to be first of my extended community here. It's too early as some have publicly done to ditch twitter account in favour of Mastodon. Academic posturing? is that a positive or a derogatory term?
  5. Threads even more esoteric. As it brought across everyone that I am linked to on Instagram looks like it may useful and I'm very popular - but the jury's out. No tag searching etc - I am just not sure.
  6. Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and Tumblr - I'm there - dig around and you will find me, but they are just not my thing. They are on my phone as my children wanted a look at these at some point. I can see appeal, but I am not making short video clips etc.
  7. Blogger and Blogging - Yes, I have my own domain and I can run instances of WordPress, but I stick to Blogger, it's simple and I've been posting since almost last century.  If you want to develop an idea and share it publicly, get a blog, would be my advice. You can do things just like this.
If you are a student or a teacher you really should have an awareness of how useful social media is - but it can make you or break you.  

What is your social media strategy ? Only you can figure this out but if done correctly it will help you personally and professionally.

And same sentiments mixed by Chat GPT 

Oh, the tangled web of social media! We've become prisoners of these pocket-sized devices that demand our constant attention, stealing our souls as we bow before their glowing altars. Life's a stroll in Slumberland, with our heads buried in screens, checking social media like clockwork, all while the world around us goes unnoticed.

Our digital avatars are multiplying like rabbits, each one carefully constructed to show off how relevant we are in this disconnected universe. Do we stay in this wild virtual dance, juggling Twitter, Threads, Mastodon, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, TikTok, and Tumblr? Or do we pull the plug and walk away?

Good old blogging! I've been at it since before the dinosaurs roamed the web. Back in the day, we didn't call it social media, and now those platforms are as extinct as the dodo. Time to lay out my online empire.

First up, Facebook – that's where I hang with friends and family, no room for strangers on my digital porch. LinkedIn's my playground for the business world, strictly no chit chat or jokes here. It's all about connections with like-minded professionals, and maybe, just maybe, some job opportunities, if you're lucky. No unprofessional shenanigans allowed, folks!

Twitter, the land of hashtags and 4500 followers. Here, I post what matters to me, find all the juicy info, and hobnob with other birds of a feather. I'm not one to block, but if you're a fan of Russia's Ukrainian war, sorry, but we're not on tweeting terms.

Now, let's talk Mastodon – an intriguing concept, but feels like a bunch of little islands. I've had a few exchanges here, so it hasn't wooed me away from Twitter's snazzy nest just yet.

Threads? Oh, that's an enigma wrapped in a mystery. Since it imported all my Instagram friends, it appears I'm a superstar over there, but I'm not entirely sold on the whole shebang. Jury's still out on this one.

As for Instagram, SnapChat, TikTok, and Tumblr, they're just not my cup of tea. My kids dragged me into these realms, but I'm more of a bystander, not a performer in the short video circus.

Ah, Blogger, my trusty sidekick. It's simple, it's reliable, and I've been rambling on here since the digital dark ages. If you wanna share your thoughts with the world, get a blog – it's just like this ramble you're reading!

For students and teachers, social media can be your best friend or your worst enemy, so plan your strategy wisely. It can catapult you to greatness or crash your dreams like a runaway train. So, what's your social media game plan, folks? It's a wild digital ride out there!

Monday, June 19, 2023

ALT Scottish SIG Agenda and Sign-Up Wed 21st 10am - 2.30pm


Looking forward to seeing some familiar and some new faces from across the sector.

Learning Technology is really under the spotlight. A range of agenda items relevant for Schools, Colleges, University and work-based learning. 

Click here to view the accessible version of this interactive content