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

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

ELESIG Evaluating Learners Experiences of e-learning Special Interest Group Conference Input

 I was scheduled to deliver a short presentation for ELESIG  but was at short notice invited for a long weekend in Barcelona.  So input was pre-recorded and shared here. 

Slides and recording for ELESIG 

and back-channel Joe Wilson (@joecar) / Twitter


Monday, May 22, 2023

Turkish Delegation

Nice to meet and give Turkish Govt vocational delegation tour of City of Glasgow College and chat about the technologies we use to support learners. Technical chat too about SCQF and Articulation routes and what works and what still does not work in Scotland.

Turkey has just created a national qualifications and credit framework and now trying to get all institutions to implement this. 

Well done SQA for supporting this critical international work. I'm sure rest of programme will go well.

Among other things we visited College TV studio -  no sound ;-) 


Thursday, May 18, 2023

Summary of First Scottish #Canvas #Instructure Users Group. #SCUG

It was great to meet the growing user base of Canvas by Instructure at Stirling University Business Centre.  Fitting too as Stirling was 2nd institutional Canvas user in Scotland. Glasgow School of Art (GSA) being the first. 

There were attendees from both institutions and folks from 

  • Clyde College
  • Borders College 
  • City of Glasgow College 
  • Data Lab (Edinburgh University) 
  • Edinburgh Business School (Edinburgh University)
  • Heriot Watt University 
  • QM University 
The community is growing fast - really as Canvas gives us a robust and user-friendly platform with global reach. Mainly, between excellent sessions, it was an opportunity for the system admins and users to exchange some great tips and experiences of rolling out Canvas or simply running the system.

Some of the themes of day went beyond Canvas.

How for instance do we get staff and users to make the most of Artificial Intelligence that is already present in Word and PowerPoint and a range of tools. How we use AI ethically in assessment and how our assessment processes need to change. We've been thinking about that already at City of Glasgow College.

How Canvas data can potentially help shape learner pathways. The new skill sets needed by teaching staff and learners around AI prompts and lots of new tools that will support learning materials become more accessible from better automatic transcription of video, to automatically creating assessments around all kind of artefacts including video and building and creating learning materials. There was some discussion of tools that prompt you to keep on task if you have ADHD (note to self must find that one) 

Some of the talk much more hard-core Canvas 

  1. How you manage, roll out and maintain a sensible Canvas template or templates. We have one at City of Glasgow College some Universities have undergraduate and postgraduate even faculty templates. Not a path we will go down. You can catch a glimpse here. Canvas allows you to publish open courses and we will be doing more of this.
  2. Everyone is enjoying using the new Canvas Icon Maker (though important for accessibility always include an appropriate ALT tag).
  3. Some institutions like ours have clear update cycles to allow everyone to review content. Some only do this for programmes that are targeted on basis of a range of factors. 
  4.  Generally, learners love the consistency of Canvas and templates. The challenges lie in ensuring there is cross faculty adoption and that staff come to have an understanding of very basic learning design. A course should not simply be a collection of PDF documents or PowerPoints. 
  5. One way to solve some of these issues is to build in content review to a college or University quality process. In colleges that might include sampling the appropriate use of the College template in internal verification processes. 
  6. For all ensuring the accessibility of content is continuing issue. There are lots of great tools in Canvas that support this. Our centre uses Ally to take this further but ultimately staff need to take ownership and publish learning materials in an accessible format. 

We showcased how we are using Canvas Folio and how it can give a learner a portfolio for life and can be built into normal assessment processes. We talked around how we could use Canvas Credentials as open badges/ micro credentials. Canvas have made two great acquisitions in Portfolium and Badgr. 

We highlighted the opportunity that we have as Scottish Canvas users to make more use of Canvas Commons and specifically to work together and share content through a consortium on Canvas Commons. Its available if you look for it under admin consortiums. Called "Scottish Canvas Users Group" We should all be sharing content here and to the wider global community to align to UNESCO principles around Open Educational Resources. We will share our template and some of our Canvas courses here.

Also. covered our approach to ABC learning design and the range of tools our staff have access to, to embed in their Canvas courses.

Some suggestions we will take back. 

  1. Use blueprints very sparingly and only update once or twice a year. 
  2. Look at some additional links that might be useful embedded in template - so always in front of learners - how to install canvas app - where to find Canvas essential course for students. Stirling has this as a Stirling essentials course covering just about everything a learner needs to know. Would be interesting to get student feedback on this. 
  3. Perhaps have link to instructions on accessing the Canvas App on front page of template - but mainly ensure that Canvas home screen/dashboard has key links that students need.
  4. We will have a sharing session with our graphics lecturers and GSA staff. 
  5. We all agreed to sign up for an online community so we can stay in touch more regularly and we will try and have a face to face gathering every six months.



Monday, May 01, 2023

#oer23 #oer2023 #OpenScot Open Scotland Reflections on Pre-Conference Workshop and in Conference Plenary

To mark 10 years of the Open Scotland initiative we held two events as part of the OER23 Conference to bring together members of the education community in Scotland and some of the international delegates to reflect on how the open education landscape in Scotland has evolved over the last decade against the backdrop of global crisis and uncertainty (Campbell and Wilson 2021).

We held a pre-conference workshop and an in-conference plenary.

As ever grateful to ALT and the University of the Highlands and Islands for this opportunity. The OER Conference took place in Scotland for the first time since 2016. A main theme of the conference was.

“Open Education in Scotland #OpenScot – celebrating 10 years of the Scottish Open Education Declaration."

I'm grateful as ever to Lorna M. Campbell my co-founder of Open Scotland and the many supporters we have found across the international and Scottish learning community. It's now been some weeks following the conference allowing me some reflection time (as well as time to do busy and full-on day job) We both juggle workplace commitments while championing open educational practice.

It’s ten years since we set off on what we thought would be a short journey to get Scottish Education to embrace Open Education and open practice. Please dig into the commentary on our slides. It's been more of an uphill journey than we ever anticipated.

It's taken us and the Open Scotland Declaration all around Europe, but it has not had the impact we need in Scottish Education in the round.

Thanks to Jim Groom reclaim hosting for Polaroid.

The workshop and plenary went well but at #OER23 we were talking to the converts. It is really apparent that other countries have embraced the UNESCO declaration and are moving ahead of Scotland at a rate of knots. 

The Scottish system seems - and to use a good Scottish word "thrawn" Everyone we've reached out to sees the Open Scotland Declaration as an achievable aim but equally College Principals, agency policy makers all think that it is someone else's responsibility to drive change across the system. 

Have a look at the output of the workshop and the plenary below. The will is there but the policy leavers and policy makers remain tantalisingly out of reach. 

The padlet is still open but as it has now been shared on the open web input is now subject to approval - but please chip in your ideas. 

The padlet - highlights what might be. The output from the Padlet will become a manifesto for change from #OpenScot.

As a footnote I asked ChaptGPT about Open Scotland. The text it created is below it shows we've been making all the right waves- how else could ChatGPT pick up themes like this. 

But Open Scotland is not yet a Scottish Government initiative - it shows how ChatGPT could create an alternative reality - it created a fantasy. 

We've still to make adoption of UNESCO declaration on Open Education a reality in Scotland.
I hope we don't have to wait another 10 years. 

Once again thanks to the community around the #oer conferences - you give us the strength, love and enthusiasm to keep pushing at the open door.  My last post I hope reflected all the great things happening around the world. 

Made with Padlet

"The Scottish Government has been a strong supporter of Open Education and Open Educational Resources (OER) in Scotland. In 2013, the Scottish Government launched the Open Scotland initiative to raise awareness of the benefits of Open Education and promote the development and use of OER in Scotland.

As part of this initiative, the Scottish Government has provided funding to support the development of OER and the implementation of Open Education practices in Scottish schools, colleges, and universities. For example, the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has provided funding to support the creation of OER through its Open Educational Resources Programme, and the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has developed a framework for the use of OER in the development of qualifications. Education Scotland and HMIE support a number of Open Education initiatives across the school and College system. 

In addition, the Scottish Government has endorsed the principles of the UNESCO Paris OER Declaration, which calls on governments and institutions around the world to support the development and use of OER. This endorsement demonstrates the Scottish Government's commitment to promoting the use of OER as a means of improving access to education and promoting social inclusion.

Overall, the Scottish Government's support for Open Education and OER has helped to raise awareness of the benefits of open education and has supported the development and implementation of Open Education practices in Scotland."

Would be nice if it was remotely true ...