Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Turkish Vocational Qualifications Authority Exchange Ankara

It was an amazing privilege to be invited to make two presentations, chair and  participate in a series of workshops in Ankara following catching up with the Turkish delegation in Scotland some seven months ago.

I was on familiar ground around talking occupational standards, national awarding , accreditation, credit and levelling and quality control at national and centre level, but my talk was about how centres can use technology to support innovative delivery  and personalised assessments which is my current day job, reflecting the work of our team. 

I know we as a centre can support centres and training staff in Turkey to innovate their practice. I hope a partnership can grow around that. 

Interesting opportunities too with a large centre in France for learner and staff exchange and with a centre in Italy keen to figure out portfolios, microcredentials and digital badging with us. I'll take these back to our international team. 

It was great to hear the progress that has been made in Turkey where they have broadly adopted the Scottish Vocational system. Like many other countries. Unit based awards with clear approval criteria for centres and a sensible sampling quality assurance process is a sensible option. Well done SQA who were along to support event and great to catch up with Roderic Gillespie and Donald Paterson two former SQA colleagues supporting the developments in Turkey. Well done too to the SCQF partnership who were truly european trail blazers around setting up a national qualifications framework. 

We visited a really well equipped training centre and sampled their processes. These would be familiar to any training centre or College in Scotland. One thing stood out, when assessing candidates on solar panel installation or working at height on powerlines, all of the practical assessments are videoed as evidence and kept for later sampling. At moment evidence is required to be kept for 100 years. In Scotland we just need to hold evidence for around 12 months, though we do keep records of resulting for 3 - 5 years.

It was good to hear too the progress that has been made in France, Italy and Germany who made presentations on their own systems. 

All have clear employer levies that support employers and trainees. France and Italy have perhaps the most flexible system to support employers and employees upgrade their skills.  Germany is looking to modernise their established system - the delegates knew that many countries look at their system as leading.  It was interesting to hear them describe their own system as like Sputnik - a world first but now in need of upgrading. Their system is creaking a bit in terms of it ability to innovate and on the ground they are having challenges around recruiting and retaining assessors. 

My own reflections - 

  • I think we need clearer line of sight in Scotland between the employer levy and where money is then committed to the vocational system. It is clear that is an essential element of a successful vocational system. 
  • Ankara is a modern metropolis of 6 million people, it's very cold in winter - but with warm friendly people and amazing food. Turkey has a population of 84 million. 
  • I've encountered the massive success of Scottish vocational system all around the world. It is easy to forget for a tiny country, we have always hit well above our weight on educational exporting, developing global thinking not at institutional but at national level, this around our vocational system - not school assessments nor the Scottish University system. I am still concerned this will be seriously disrupted or even lost when reforms come to SQA. 
  • Other countries are making strong progress around digital certification. In Turkey you can request your certificate in any major language. 
  • It was great to meet again colleagues from the European Training Foundation and from GOPA  and great to hear that expat Glaswegians in their ranks  follow my wee brother's Lost Glasgow Facebook and Twitter pages

Here in full flow speaking and chairing and  presentation linked to this blog post.  The work here is a reflection of work across the Learning and Teaching Academy at City of Glasgow College. I'm taking some Turkish delight back to my team


Tuesday, January 09, 2024

Year in Review 2023

A quick year in review - next post will be looking forward.

I managed to fit in a lot of personal and business travel in this year.  Thanks in the main to external organisations who are interested in what we are getting up to at City of Glasgow College. From Cupboard to Keynote - our work around AI has been picked up on a number of fronts. 

That combined with some of my friends' big birthdays and some major sporting events. It's  been quite a year.  Tinged with sadness as I lost one of my big cousins and just before Christmas my 88 year old uncle. 

Had lots' of nice nights out with old pals down the pub , combined with St Mirren and Scotland having great football seasons and caught a number of great gigs including Pulp. 

Venice was great fun for the Carnivali in February, Barcelona was great en famille as was short return to Ile De Re at the start of the summer. 

Our big escape was a tour of France for the Rugby World Cup. Which was just superb - Rheims, Lyons. Bandol , Marseille , Villefranche , Nice and repeat on homeward leg, just great. 

Made even better that our family came out for different legs of the tour and we had a lot of old rugby chums to meet up with along the way. 

That combined with speaking in London (BETT) , Amsterdam (Edutech) , Liverpool (Instructure/Canvas) and Inverness  (#OER23) among other places made for a busy year. 

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 https://gamma.app/ 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