Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Challanging Dreams - Michael Wesch on Technology Enhanced Learning and Teaching

Michael Wesch's introduction is about his time working on a national science grant in Guinea.

Harvesting Spiders and Snakes. Now Snake innards as a menu item - looks interesting??

Need a sleeping bag to avoid the bugs, but this is the equator so way to hot. So sleeping bag is off and bugs about.

The challenge was no one could read or speak his language, nor could he speak theirs. So his identify was challenged. His pride at national science meant nothing here. His identity had been media mediated. But building identity without media was a huge challenge. Who are we without the trappings of recognition.

So to the thesis of the piece is that we shape new media, but it then shapes us. And using his famous Video he comments on the student changing experience.

The juxtaposition of students looking bored in lectures and being eager in American Idol auditions. They are the same people, so what is the difference?

A look at 'Whatever' and its changing meaning in American Culture.

Charles Taylor argues that the need for authenticity can lead to:
  1. Self centred modes of self-fulfillment
  2. Negation of all horizons of significance
So how does this work in the new media rich age. Nature of identify in this environment. See his video on you tube.

The video he highlights is 'It is not you I'm talking to not this (the webcam)' this is true of Facebook, Twitter and blogs. So who do I think my audience is now as I write this. The future me, or even you dear reader??

Key concept - from being knowledgeable to being knowledge-able making not only knowing knowledge but creating new knowledge. Are we enabling our students to engage with knowledge not now, but for ever?

"Power corrupts, Powerpoint corrupts absolutely." Tufte

Students good at entertaining themselves on line, but not yet good at interacting with the world to enhance their learning experience.

Our challenge to reach our of the lecture theatre and into the world outside.

Labels: , ,

Blogging from ALT

Well, this blog really doesn't get the use it should. One year since my last post, here I am again at ALT-C blogging about this year's conference a year since I last did this.

Having been editor of the proceedings this year I've been more closely involved in planning for the conference than in previous years. So let's hope it goes well.

Now a welcome from Cathy the President of ALT to introduce the day.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Blogging ALT-C 2008

It has been ages since I last blogged, but being at ALT-C gives me the opportunity to be back in touch with the blogging world and to share my thoughts as I listen to the thoughts of many of those others who are sharing their thoughts online at ALT-C.

The first keynote is by Dr Hans Rosling, Professor of International Health, Karolinska Institute, Sweden. Anyone who wants to hear the talk and interact can do so on Elluminate and access the talk here

I'll be noting my thoughts as we go along on this blog.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Theme Review - Social Networking (Live blog apologies for any typos)

Marion Miller - Jisc Rsc Manager Yorkshire/Humberside

Evidence of a much greater focus on the learner and the learner experience throughout the sessions.

Learner Control or Learning Enabling might be an overarching theme.

Which technologies empower learner, in learning and learning resources - wikiversity starting to use new spaced for learning, but using a tradition subject based category - I would guess this will change over time. Introducing scholar also had a large element of control, but user defined tags are now developing.

Great that we have moved a long way from VLEs to content and collaboration across institutions.

Shared ownership federated searching, mapping of resources to curriculum structures. Rss feeds linked to user entered complex searches - see the details elsewhere in the blog

Some reluctance to share or recommend resource to others - learners confidence seems to need to be strengthened.

Reducing sustainability risks by spreading content across sites - but what about the Intellectual; property rights issues.

Copyright and IPR issues kept emerging. Plagiarism is podcasts is more challenging to check than on text. Licensing material, has it been agreed before it is uploaded.

Inclusively has been a key issue in a number of talks - TechDis of course being key.

Learner Readiness foe Web 2.0. Are learners ready for it. Are they comfortable with using these technologies? How do we avoid excluding people. Clear evidence has been shown that Web 2.0 tools are not being used by students as much as we expect - so digital natives they are not.

Locus of control moving to the learners, but learners can resist. Some like strict boundaries between formal and informal learning.

Some new learners need social time with the technologies - start them out having fun before they engage. Help avoid the fear of the unknown.

Podcasts - see this post for what informed this part of the talk.

PDAs and blogging - technology barriers - issue about openness and lack of ownership. Learners went off and made a separate wiki because they preferred it - don't enforce - allow.

Wiki-based peer tutoring - OU Netherlands - reported here.

Support is a key issue - how do we support staff, how are they encouraged in its use - key questions, maybe less clear answers.

Pedagogic planners were a useful insight and could help enhance the staff development issue - see post on this.

14-19 project across local authorities paper - I didn't see this one, but it would be useful for out Blended Learning in Schools project. Team based collaborative sharing around well designed learning projects. Coaching not instructing as the tutor role.


  • What makes for successful social networking?
  • Can they be used in learning?
  • Do the learners want to be engaged with learning in these environments?

Digital Storytelling was also an excellent topic - opportunity to create can liberate learners. Learner has choice with tight focus. Can do it themselves


  • Less mention of technology
  • Greater focus on learner and learning.
  • Learner needs is also a focus
  • Practices and pedagogy
  • Tutors use of tools to understand potential
  • Small steps get people involved not big projects.
  • Learner are the conduit of communication not just receivers.

What do we need next
  • Longer Studies
  • How we measure impact and how we measure it over time
  • How learners perceive web2.0 technologies.
Thanks Marion for a great summary which captured all the sessions I was at, and gave me a flavour for those I missed. Really helpful.

Labels: ,

Blogging or talking

I know I'm not finished yet, but so far I can reflect that blogging live from conference makes me pay much more attention to speakers than is my common practice.

Being able to touch type I don't need to look at the key board, so I can pay attention and capture the words and my immediate response to them, to come back to later to add the reflective element to the process.

Unlike Kathy Trinder who said on her blog:

One thing I have realised today abut blogging at a conference (and this blog was by way of an experiment) is that it's very difficult (for me anway) to 'take notes' in a linear format. I usually scribble bits and draw arrows and circle and things, and you can't do that in text entry, either on the notebook or pda. Even on a tablet the lag behind drawing on screen with a stylus and what you've scribed appearing on screen is too great. The technology has not yet caught up with our needs.
Clearly I do liner process as when I've been forced to paper notes they flow down the page like a set of bullet points., probably evidence of a lack of creativity.

Is the process of blogging anti-social? Well not in sessions me thinks, but I love this post by David Bryson, which shows pictures of many people at ALT ignoring each other and loving their PCs :-) He has captured this really well.

Labels: , ,

Enhancing the learning experience

After live blogging the first hour of yesterday morning and then the key note speech - I then had a session to chair, I can't manage live blogs in that environment - watching time and keeping my laptop on my lap is one task to much for me - so much for multi-tasking.

However the session I was chairing was of such interest to me that I did make copious notes which I am writing this blog from.

I volunteered to chair this session on Monday when the original chair had to pull out due to another commitment. It give me an opportunity to meet people from Ulster and Teeside, where our two new PVCs have come from. It was good to get the gossip on Clive and Brain :-)

It was also good to catch up with Jebar Ahmed who I last met at a conference in Greenwich two years ago.

Though the overall theme was Learning Spaces, I'm not sure that the presentations - as fascinating as they were - actually addressed that issue, but as they were so good I don't think anyone minded.

Jebar was up first his topic was based on a TQF funded project that Huddersfield are undertaking. The project looked at ways of engaging with school pupils of secondary age.

It was an 8 month project which focused on a short-sharp review which informed future strategies.

The project engaged three major actors - HE, Secondary Schools and others, with the stakeholders being:

HE - The School of Education and Learning technology advisers
Schools - 6 schools, students and teachers
Others - LEA ICT coordinators, FE Practitioners, ICT managers in FE partners

The research was undertaken by semi structured interviews and lesson observation, and involved 8 pupils (5 male 3 female). They were split into two groups and given a task of creating a wiki to design an advert for a new brand of chocolate. In addition to the wiki they also used voting pads to interact at various points. Competition between the two groups were encouraged and they used the discussion boards of the Uni's VLE to tell each other what they were doing.

The process was designed to see how engage pupils would become in collaborative problem solving, personalised design for learning and critical thinking.

Jebar's slides showed pictures of the pupils in action, some fascinating mirroring of adult management behaviour and of engaged learners.

The data collection indicated that learners really did feel engaged and had begun to use critical thinking skills that were not usually available to them in the class context. A slide with detailed analysis follows, to detailed to note down but worth following up for future use of our own.

Student responses were fascinating "I think teachers would find this hard, they are set in there ways and it wouldn't be easy to change" but also "I felt we should have written our discussions out not used voting buttons for multiple choice, writing would have given us better preparation for the exam environment". "We don't normally work ion groups, this was an existing challenge to learn to work with others". They noted that Blackboard discussion groups were inefficient and they could find other ways of interacting that would be more appropriate to them. Jebar noted that this reflects other's experience of Bb discussions!

The outcome of the exercises was to review the way Huddersfield does its teacher training. Trainee teachers could see the value of the approach, yet said they spent most of their time facing death by PowerPoint on the course, so see this as a preferred model of teaching that they inflict on their own pupils when they get into school situations!!

At a university strategy the small project has led to proposals to build experience in the use of social networking tools for teaching - so that skills the pupils bring with them as game players and inter-actors can be deployed in learning rather than a structured VLE which is not designed with the end-users in mind.

A radical challenge, but a great piece of research. I hope to put Jebar in contact with my colleague Catherine Naamani who is leading our Blended Learning in Schools project. It would be good data to share, and perhaps replicate the exercise in the Welsh context.

The second presentation was by Alan Masson and Vilinda Ross of Ulster, they were looking at the perceptions of the learning process from staff and students in HE. Using a set of key words around the process of teaching alongside a closed set of leading verbs developed by Sue Bennett the purpose was to get staff and student attitudes to what they saw, experienced and felt were key to the learning and teaching process. A set of Flash cards were created and given to teachers to explore their concept of the teaching process - each card used a key word and a set of the verbs to get staff to reflect on what they do and why. Feedback showed that the ease of use of the cards lead to a much greater awareness of the learner role in the learning process (i.e. it is not passive) and helped the creative thinking process as applied to planning and development of learning opportunities. Being more aware was itself a trigger to action and enhancement.

The exercises has now been undertaken from a student perspective, 2 groups of nursing students, one mature group and one 18-22 group were given blank cards and asked to discuss a case study they had undertaken earlier in the course so that they could explore what they believed were the verbs used when designing that learning experience both from a staff and a learner perspective. On completion these were compared with what the tutors had thought they were doing.

While there was some similarities at the level of the major themes, when it came application of the verbs there was quite a bit of variety. Both learners and teachers felt it was easier to identify the learner verbs that it was the teachers - this highlights that teaching processes are often not as easily understood as learning processes.

The students found the process really engaging, they felt knowing what was trying to be achieved made them more able to engage in what was going on. Phrases like "It helps me to learn better", "I know now what tutors do", "it makes you structure your learning" emerged from the students.

Allan and Vilinda summed up by saying that the implications were that negotiated, articulated engagement between tutor and learner assists both in their learning journey. The work in Ulster will now be broadened out - the cards are available from the Ulster website as a PDF with CC license in place for anyone who wants to use or re-purpose them.

A really interesting approach, with the work we are doing on developing skills in new lecturers and providing CPD for others, then this method might prove really effective.

The third talk was given by Elaine Pearson director of the Accessibility Research Centre (ARC) at Teeside. The talk was very timely for me as we have this week had a staff member join us as Inclusive Curriculum Officer looking at equality, diversity and accessibility in Glamorgan's curriculum.

Elaine was reporting on a project her team had undertaken in creating accessible simulations to raise awareness of the issues facing disabled students. She felt that many staff while conscious of having to take account of disabled students in course design are less aware of the challenges that disabled students can face.

ARC has developed simulations around interacting with the VLE (like us they use Blackbaord). So for example a simulation is provided to reflect issues of viewing the VLE is someone had a cataract or glaucoma. Another looks at issues of motor based response and a further one the cognitive distractors which can face students.

Elaine went on to show some fascinating examples, I'll need to ask our new staff member to go for a visit to Teeside as what they have done is fascinating. One simulation used a fussy screen to help people understand the difficulty in sight, another presented what it might be like to only see a small space in the screen as you might with tunnel vision

The simulations have been well received by staff and have moved them from - why should I make the effort!! - to 'no effort would be to much to help the students learning'. These positive results were also reflected in the post simulation surveys the team undertook.

Wow what a session, I was so glad to be here for all three of these sessions - it just reminded me how much more there is that we at Glamorgan could be doing - time to get on with implementing it.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Assessment in learning - It's crucial

Dylan William focusing on the 'Assessment, learning and technology: prospects at the periphery of control'

The context is school-based education. Dylan set the scene by arguing that in this context quality control is more effective than quality assurance, as learning is not predictable based on inputs but needs to be modelled around outputs - so assessment is critical as it allows for quality control..

You can view the elluminate broadcast of the talk at any time after it is finished or live now.

Structure, Alignment., Governance and Technology all interact: "The future is further away that you think!!"

Technology example, White-boards - no impact on student achievement, as many schools made things worse as those who made it better.

Three generations of school effectiveness research

Raw Results - different schools, different results but taking calls out made the results hardly difference. Value added approaches yet variability of teachers is more critical than variability of Schools 6 months learning can be 2 years for the weakest teachers.

Australian data says teachers don't get to teach well until they are 6 years in and keep gong for the next twenty years. New teachers tend not to be good teachers - we need a love the one you are with strategy.

Folding arms context - Often to learn something you have to do it the wrong way to think about what you are doing.

Teachers do not create learning, they create the context for learning.

Dylan says we needed a pedagogy of engagement and contingency.

"Schools are places where pupils go to see teachers work" - "If teachers go home more tired than the learners the wrong people are doing the work"

Intelligence becomes more critical to people's jobs the older they get, people opt for cognitive nieces that appeal to them. The same happen in learning, the more students engage the more their 'intelligence' goes up - other kids forgo this option and exasperate their disengagement learning process.

Is motivation cause of effect? Dylan is arguing that the right level of challenge is necessary to engage pupils.

The largest impact on learning indicates that feedback makes a big difference. See the work of Nyquist (2003) it is not just feedback but activities that close the learning gap - feedback and the opportunity to inform the development. CF this Scottish view

Design assessment based on what students are attempting to do - Arnold, Steinberg and Mislevy

The question is not what is right or wrong, the learning is what has been misunderstood. Why did people get it wrong, what was the process, here the learning begins. Getting the questions right and exploring the answers are crucial. Don't get it right for the wrong reason - they get it right because they understand. Plausible distractors are so important.

What technologies can help this. We are now starting to see:
  • Automated essay scoring
  • paraphrase analysers
  • graphical analyses
The achievement is between Structure v unstructured and automated v teacher mediated

The big goal is to get automated unstructured feedback. Not enough to say where the students are, we need to provide enhancing feedback. Multidimensional models.

Systems are now becoming available, using hardware and software and less 'teachers bandwidth' - interpreted constructive response must be the vision for supporting learning.

Labels: , , ,

Session on Benchmarking and PAthfinders - blogged live so no links and perhaps gaps. I may try to tidy up later

Just where are institutions going with e-learning? Or the smoothest paths lead nowhere...

Terry sets the scene of Benchmarking and Pathfinder – for more see the HEA website –

On the panel are Terry Mayes (HEA), Derek Morrison (HEA), Veronica Adamson (review the whole programme), Richard Trigg (FE activity in programme), , Gilly Salmon (Leicester pathfinder participant – Carpe Diem), Irene Anderson (Hertfordshire pathfinder participant - CABLE), Each introduced themselves and their role in the HEA project. As I’ve been keeping up to date with the pathfinder blogs I was aware of the roles and projects discussed, but it was useful to set a context for the discussion.

There are lots of Benchmarking/pathfinder people in the room e.g. Peter Chatterton, Paul Bacsisih, Mark Toole, Richard Parsons, David (Derby), I guess I should include me and Mistry too.

Q 1- Are funded programmes like benchmarking/pathfinder the right way to facilitate development?

HEFCW pushing e-learning back to institutions. This is an exocet question – low flying and with a sting in the tale.

Question becomes: Do benchmarking/pathfinder encourage a kind of dependency culture in institutions?

To turn this on its head:

Do programmes like Benchmarking and Pathfinder contribute to the enhancement/improvement of learning and teaching within HE institutions or do they contribute to a culture of dependency in that activities cannot be sustained beyond the lifetime of the funded project?

Not dependency but inter-dependency a network of nodes of the HE committee as a whole. A culture of communities of network of heterogeneous entities.

The message early on in Benchmarking was that this was owned by the institutions not ‘big brother’. An opportunity not a compulsion. Institutions can compare their institutions if they choose to. Pathfinder definition is also about enhancement of institutions and HEA is providing the opportunity.

The tyranny of the project can lead to time-scales with bags of innovation but very little change – Benchmarking seems to have avoided this, it will be interesting to hear what Pathfinders say. Derek suggested the project does not finish when the funding does. A catalyst not a completed project.

Gilly confirms Derek’s description from within the Leicester context – however the validation for the institution comes from bidding and receiving funding. Need to plan sustainability from the first month. This was confirmed by Hertfordshire. The FE rep focussed on the value of Benchmarking to them, while unfunded (supported by consultants) it had a big effect. I would say this echoes our case, where benchmarking drove us to focus on a wider institutional view and comparisons with our partners TVU, Bradford and Brighton.

An interesting debate followed – where should we go in Wales – pump priming for all the institutions, centres of expertise developed to share experience across the other 11 institutions? I guess this is the question for the November HEFCW meeting, certainly a competitive bidding process doesn’t seem the best approach as it advantages good bid writers not good projects.

How embedded in organisations? – It really need to be, says Gilly, but getting that right is a real challenge and is a

See http://elearning.heacademy.ac.uk/weblogs/pathfinder/?p=91#more-91

Question 2. Is the educational landscape in the UK so fragmented that it makes little sense for Pathfinders to speak for anyone but themselves? Different

institutional missions require radically different strategies. Is it sensible to

conduct this debate at the level of the ‘sector’? The Pathfinder programme is

characterised by significant variation in institutional ‘mission’: are different

paths are being created?

Veronica address this question and indicated that while not all Missions are accessible those that are show a variety of missions but evidence of reasonable coverage from Russell, 1994, coalition of modern universities - the post-92 institutions. So there is not one dominant form of University in the context.

Some common themes in them all, posit of education, learning and research –social benefit of education … with a variation between emphasis on research or learning innovation, but all the institutions are in it for education. SO the sectoral mission is pretty well understood.

Student support/experience

Staff development. Efficiencies in staff

Change of policy at institutional level

Technology can be in mission

Curriculum itself – focussed on enhancement and education transformation. Curriculum through course redesign – this is the key issue for the future

Timing matters – right time for them is a common theme in benchmarking and benchmarking.

Different paths yes, but they are all up the same mountain.

3. Should e-learning development be delegated entirely to the discipline

level? Should institutions even attempt to have an institutional e-learning

strategy? This argument acknowledges that subject experts have their own relearning communities, and their own distinct pedagogical approaches. But if

we follow that line, is it sensible to ask each subject within each institution to

develop its own approach? The Pathfinder pilots are taking different positions

on this and the ‘open educational resources’ issue.

Gilly responded to this question. Adele is looking at this in Leicester. What has worked is ‘structured intervention’ to support course design with groups of people who have a common purpose. Working with people looking to change their courses but looking from assistance. They are often from a similar subject-area, but it is not the discipline but shared goals which seems to be at the heart of the success – what do you want from your students. Academics have very little understanding of learning technologies, the pedagogies are so normalised many academics don’t have a language to articulate them. What we do in the centre – shared institutional goals, clear pedagogy and understanding of the use of technology is needed if we are to help people change.

Learning support needs to offer leadership from front, back or side. Shared goals visions and expectations of pedagogic layer, institutional layer, sector layer to create an intervention which provides direction and a sense of where to go which the academics can then build on and develop. Framework of what is offered is the same, so this can be done by the team, and become scalable. After the two day intervention we give the academics tools which they can enhance and subvert into their own subject area.

Generic models and principles are the way forwarded to enhance the overall institutional value with discipline variation.

Paul Bacsish outlines some of the issues which have emerged from subject slices. He feels it is interesting

Mistry asks about groupings which might be country based contacts – Scottish Benchmarking group and the possibility of developing a Welsh Benchmarking group. Derek responds about the Scottish example in ad-hoc they decided they wanted to explore the approach in a particular Scottish context. Derek notes seven Welsh institutions have engaged with the Benchmarking process, even though it was HEFCE funded. The Scottish group have explored methodologies some have decided to do one of the existing methodologies and others have moved into other different approaches. Mistry was wondering whether a Scottish model would work in Wales. Derek is part of the process and will be at the HEFCW event and looks forward to continue to work with us.

Q 4. Should institutions focus their efforts not on further development of resources and environments but rather on the empowerment of their users to exploit the learning power of the Internet for themselves? ‘Beyond Control’may be thought to point to a kind of demand-side approach, where the role of institutions changes from an emphasis on provision to one on empowerment.

A University might do no more in learning technology than ensure that all its users (learners, both staff and students) are skilled in using Web and Web 2.0 resources to the maximum. Empowerment has implications very different from ‘support’.

Terry sets the question George Roberts (Oxford Brookes) says yes this is the answer, the focus is on what students can do and less what we do for them. However we tend to create difference as a way to market our institutions, so it is meaningful to speak of the sector but the individual institutional context remains important but so does the individual context itself. In cycles of change there are many interacting stakeholders. So the focus can be on the place in the cycle and how we can use that interaction of people and cycles in the development of change.

An excellent session – with lots of implications for us.

Peer to Peer - be it students or staff it works

The last session I went to on Tuesday was a fascinating one, all three talks were about peer-to-peer support, but each approached the issue in very different ways.

The first was by Carol Wakeford of Manchester. Carol had been involved in supporting 30 students doing non-lab-based projects in their final year degree. As part of a CETL funded project the students were tasked with creating e-learning resources for their own curriculum. While each student had a one-to-one academic supervisor the programme was blended so that support was also offered by peers. This support was both in giving feedback to other participants on their project and responding to feedback received from others. Carol explained that the team used the Garrison, Anderson and Archer model of social, cognitive and teaching presence and focused on the first two areas.

Using NVivo the online discourse was analysed based on emergent themes (criteria). The analysis also looked at gender, programme of study and a few other factors.

The data showed that contribution per individual ranged from 0 to 65, and while the person who posted 65 times was male overall females contributed significantly more often then men. In terms of feedback there was twice as much feedback provided than there was response to feed back, an interesting distinction. The dyads and triads which formed among the students do seem to have been very useful for social engagement in the learning process, students said they felt they benefited from the process. However their was no improvement in project scores over previous years.

From my view the improvement in scores is less critical - as final year students those might have been driven by other factors, like the learning experience to date. The student impression that they were learning more would be enough to see me on this idea. Something to take to Glamorgan's Life Scientists!

The second presentation was given by Simon Walker from Greenwich. I'd had the pleasure of meeting Simon before at an event in Greenwich, so it was nice to see him again and find out what he has been up to.

Simon's focus was on a CAMELS project which was run at Greenwich, I was already familiar with the JISC Camel project Greenwich had hosted, Simon explained that this CAMELS project was focused on internal developments (intra-institutional) unlike the other CAMEL which had a inter-institutional remit. It was therefore housed on Greenwich's Moodle (if you clicked the CAMELS project link above you will need to sign in as a Guest to see the page).

The project involved a number of the academic schools and one of the Greenwich partner colleges - Bromley College as part of the Camels their were 'visits' to each of the parties in which a 'warts and all' presentation of what was going on in e-learning was shared. This approach, which is dependant on trust between the delivering school and those who visit allow for real two way learning, something which can break the silo pattern which can so easily occur in academic institutions.

Simon outlined some of the fruitful outcomes, highlighting in particular the engagement with Second Life which Bromley undertakes, leading it to inform the University of ways of using SL in learning and teaching - For more on this usage see the Bromley College SL blog.

In the spirit of CAMEL Simon highlighted the things that did not work in this process:
  • Not all partners gave their full commitment
  • Trust needs to develop it doesn't just happen
  • A community of shared interested was created but not really a community of practice
  • Lack of critique, the absence of trust meant people were not able to be as creatively critical as they might have been
From my perspective, having spent two years working to engage cross-faculty collaboration and bring faculty expertise out to the wider institution, I can see how this facilitated sharing from Faculty to Faculty can work. I intended to suggest this to our Faculty Blended Learning Champions at their next meeting to see if we could do something similar across faculties in the next year. A really helpful insight - if I had got nothing else out of the conference (and I have got lots) this would have made it worth attending.

The third session was by Peter Sloep (well I can spell it better than I pronounce it Peter) of the Open University of the Netherlands Peter's presentation was looking at peer-to peer wiki-based student support. Some of the initial work on the project had been presented in an ALT-J paper in Oct 2005 called

"Identification of critical time-consuming student support activities in e-learning"

Peter was looking at ways that the project had developed since then. The system works in a number of stages:
  1. Students post a question centrally
  2. A latent semantic analysis identifies (a) appropriate text (The OU being a text heavy delivery this would be easier for them than for other lecture-tutorial based institutions (b) most suitable peers from the former student group
  3. The system sets up a wiki with the question and text fragments identified by the latent semantic analysis
  4. System links question to three peer-tutors
  5. Answer is developed on the wiki by peer-tutors as a collaborative process.
Peter then used a UML diagram to show the process flow of the system - this was a little to technical for me but got a lot of interest from more technical people in the audience - the system is based on ad-hoc transient communities.

Peter reviewed the key features of the peer-student-tutors they were:
  • Content competent - they have completed the unit
  • Availability - Based on actual availability and past and present workload
  • Eligibility - The best results seem to come from the peer-students closer in study level to the student - linked to the joint zone of proximal development.
A piece of research was undertaken on a Basic Internet Skills course. The group was split into two - one where the peer-tutors were picked by the system, the other where the peer-tutors were selected on a random basis - the results indicated much greater take up for the peer-tutors selected by the system (100 questions posed to 80 for the other group) the system selected tutors were twice as fast as the random responders. Answers were rated higher (4 v 2.4 on 5 point scale).

The presentation was followed by a rich discussion with lots of interest about what had happened and how. In this example the system not only works to improve the process, but also the outcome - what more can you ask?

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Blogging - better online than in a presentation?

As a blogger with a keen interest in how we use blogging in the learning and teaching encounter I looked forward to attending the session from 3.45 to 4.45 which was all on Blogging.

There were three papers:

The first by Niall Watts

The second by Jason Truscott

The third by Peter Maloney

Each of the presentations looked at the differing use of blogs in different contexts with different groups of students.


Niall looked at whether blogs could facilitate reflective learning. And while the subject is fascinating, a strong focus on Kolb's Learning styles meant that the researched seemed to focus more of the usefulness of the model, rather than on the affordances associated with blogs in learning and teaching. I guess my own focus on learning and teaching enhancement means I'm much more interested in how students interact and how blogging might reflect their learning, than in applying a somewhat dated theoretical construct to the review of blogging. This bias of mine is probably why I loved the podcasting session earlier, as the focus there were on the students learning. Niall presentation continued, but I was left wondering why some of the big questions went unanswered while some of the more minor ones were focused on.


Jason is part of the team at the Experiential Learning CETL in Plymouth. He was again looking at blogs, but this time a comparison with e-mail response was being made. Jason referenced Krathwohl, Bloom and Bertram (1973) to focus on the concept of Affective Domains.

Students undertaking Environmental Science in year one were asked to reflect on their experiential learning. One group doing this by e-mail the other using blogs (though it emerged these were personal diaries - closed non-interactive blogs).

The findings of the two groups of students produced some interesting outcomes. Blogs were less influenced by the researcher, had greater student ownership, had much richer material (including images etc), revealed the learners thoughts, perceptions and ideas. While e-mails were more directly responsive to the researcher and had high responses (75%).

On the other hand blogs were used more sporadically, and had a higher drop-out rate. E-mails had far less reflection, no use of images, replies were largely consistent with the questions posed in the initial e-mail from the researcher.

Interesting but my conclusions are that the false situation of private personalised blogs limited the usefulness of the research, the students were restricted not by their own choice but by the research project. A comparison like this would be usefully identify the affordances of blogs and e-mail and compare them on their merits, not necessarily as two ways of addressing the same thing. Still in my own terms it is something I'll be encouraging our environmental scientists to explore as a possible learning method.


Peter had a fascinating subject looking at blogs and autonomous learning in graphic design. He was reporting on a project with 46 second year students who were using blogs to develop reflective activity and peer supported learning. I must get a copy of Peter's talk because it was rich with the processes used with the group he was teaching. Unfortunately Peter read from prepared script in a monotone which made it really hard for me to concentrate on. The slides were also in tiny font with lots of white space, making them hard to read. When Peter ended his formal presentation and responded to questions he became animated and started to report on the actual student experience, when doing this, away from his script, he was fluent, engaging and very clear both about the students experience and on their reflection on the value it offered them. The students were very positive about the experience, and perhaps more focus on the case-study and less on formal reporting would have made this paper fly. It seemed to me, that this paper would have been better blogged than presented - and the focus could then have been on sharing the student experience which was really interesting. In particular the idea of peer-reviewing the blogs in a face to face session on campus seemed to have worked in this instance to make the blogs more important to the students, they recognised them being valued. An important reminder to all those who work with learners that the value-proposition (as we marketers would call it) is still important. Student's using learning tools with value for them, it would be interesting to explore with Peter if the value was personal promotion, pride in their presentation/design or assessment - I got the impression it was one of the first two, but the session came to an end and we had to move on.


Overall some interesting experiences in different contexts which could inform other institutional practice.

Labels: , , ,

Podcasting in learning and teaching - two examples from practice

My attempt to blog through the conference was slightly constrained by the absence of wireless access in the Law and Social Science Building , I must stop winging it is out of character honest, I'm normally a positive person! But while I'm winging I think there should be a bus or ski-lift to the building, not only did it not have wireless, but I thought I might need oxygen after the climb up to it. I know I'm not fit, but this went beyond the normal gentle walk, still I guess with Glamorgan's mountain side campus I can't say much :-)

Anyway in the 2.15 - 3.15 session we had two presentations both on podcasting. Both took the case study approach to report on what had been done in their context and provided data on the student experience/performance based on that.

The first presentation was by Tim Barry of the University of Cumbria, and looked at the use of podcasting in supporting learners of Exercise Physiology (as you can imagine Tim wasn't as breathless as I after the hill walking!!) Tim was reporting on quantitative analysis he and colleagues had undertaken on the impact of podcasting elements of the course. A poster of the qualitative results is in the posted exhibition. The presentation was well structured, used Powerpoint well, and finished 30 seconds before the allotted time (as I was chairing the session it made my life much easier).

Tim was the lecturer involved in the delivery. The project was to address three questions:
  • Can podcasts enhance exam performance
  • Can the supplemental value of podcasts be assessed
  • Cost/benefits of using particular technologies
Key to the data collection was splitting the learners into two groups, one that reviewed the podcasts, the other that got transcripts of the podcasts but not the pods themselves. Pre and post MCQs were used to identify the student progress over four weeks.

Tim shared the url for his podcasts for anyone who wants to listen to them. The podcasts were voiced by two people, Tim and his colleague Grant, in an interview format. I'll make sure I show them to Glamorgan's sport scientists when I get back.

While Tim's data did not show any significance between those using podcasts and those who had the transcripts (The random groups started at means of 42 (podgroup) and 39 (textgroup) and ended up at 61 and 56 respectively. This effect is small. A member of the audience asked whether the key determinant in getting better grades overall was the supplemental material and not the media - Tim was inclined to agree. Details of the data are on Tim's slides which will be loaded to the ALT-C site shortly.

Some of the more interesting data was the limited use of MP3s and iPods among the students, most downloaded on the PC and listened there - a challenge perhaps to the ubiquity of the digital native concept.

The second presentation in the session was given by Ming Nie and Libby Rothwell who are both involved in the IMPALA project which is focused on podcasting. Again a really interesting reflection on the use of podcasting was offered. In this case a level 4 intercultural communication module offered in semester 1 of the first year undergraduate programme across a faculty was the focus.

In this case the focus was on developing understanding and collaboration among the students. The podcasts were made available via Blackboard every two weeks. They included interviews with staff and students, discussion on assessment tasks, top-tips from the student mentors, tutor feedback on relevant student queries or on formative assessment and pointers to additional support for academic and/or personal development. The informal nature of the podcasts is what makes them stand out. In one example we heard to student mentors reflecting on a case study on critical reading, which was part of the student assessment. Again for me the informality made these podcasts sound much more user friendly than more formal scripted sessions might do.

The evaluation undertaken by Ming included staff and student interviews, a student focus group and a final questionnaire. Key issues which emerged:

  • Podcasts capture informal knowledge which is not often captured in other contexts
  • Podcasts allow for flexibility for the learner and more learner control
  • Podcasts work very well for audio-learners
  • Students are motivated not by having podcasts nut when they clearly support their own learning
Next steps are two develop podcasts for the academic support centre at Kingston.

The question and discussion session worked well with many people raises issues and queries, I guess it would be best to have podcast them, but no one had a recorder.

Overall though a useful session which showed the way podcasts could be used in a wide variety of contexts and how different styles of podcasting are useful in different contexts.

Labels: , , ,

Demo - Wikis and Repositories

I attended the 11.30 - 1.00 session in the PC Lab (EMCC3), I wasn't the only one, there were 71 people in a room with 30 chairs, still at least 60 people stayed for the whole period, which shows some commitment to the topics. The sessions included three demos:

The first demo by Cormac Lawler, a PhD student at Manchester, was about Wikiversity
Cormac has made his resources available on the Wikiversity site, so rather than me trying to capture the content I think it best to direct you to his wikiversity page and his ALT-C page in particular.

Cormac spent some time on basic Wiki techniques, but most of the audience were aware of these and Cormac was a bit to detailed. The session got better when Cormac demonstrated some of the existing content and how it was being used.

A useful resource, and a useful repository for content, but my question is - Why here. With all the other locations available to lecturing staff why would they use Wikiversity? I'm not sure that this question was answered by the end of the session.

The second demo was by Liz Masterman and Jonathan San Diego they were looking at Pedagogic Planning Tools. Liz had billed this talk as about a wiki-based pedagogic planner, but since the abstract was written the tool has moved out of a wiki onto a new system.

Phoebe the system being trialed by Oxford is outlined on their project page while Liz had to whizz through he content in the time available it was fascinating to see what was being developed. Liz reminded us that the whole Design for Learning debate has recently been reflected on in Beetham and Sharpe (2007) and made the key point that design is now about planning, but about systematic approaches to developing creativity. This would be based on non-standard steps as learning is fluid and can not be characterised or developed in a mechanistic way.

Given the issues in HE of titles for what we do with students (Lecturers, tutorials, seminar, workshops etc) the Pheobe team have opted for the title of Pedagogic planner rather than lesson planner. See it here.

Tools for planning might be paper, excel, tables in word, LAMS or XML - the key point about a pedagogic planner is not what is used to plan but the questions that are asked in the design process. Liz quickly demonstrated the system and when her slides are up on the ALT-C page I'll come back and revisit them as they will inform our own work in this area, and my design for our new Designing Effective Learning and Teaching Online course - this session can design and content ideas for that course :-)

Jonathan tool five minutes to demonstrate a similar system he is working on in London - The London Pedagogy Planner again the project site gives more information than I could capture in a blog.

The third demo was given by Chris Jones of The Learning Edge. Chris was the most polished of the presenters, managing his time well, I guess as a sales rep for his company he does this presentation pretty often. Still the product Equella has its attractions, so it was an easy sell. In the company words "EQUELLA is a digital repository that incorporates Learning Objects, Learning Content Management and integrated content authoring. EQUELLA assists the educator to discover, classify, compare, document and enhance the power of Digital Learning Resources. Across campus, across the state or across the country." or as Chris described it a 'back-office function for your VLE. Chris demonstrated examples of the product in British Columbia and Florida if he isn't already following this blog, I must let Douglas (our Uni Repository guy) have a look at this as it looks more effective than some of the other systems I've seen demonstrated. Both repositories allow guest access, but the back office functions (Digital Rights management seem particularly strong.

A session that really needed more actual chairs, a chairperson and more chance for questions, but still rich in information - I'm really glad I made the effort to be here for it, even if it meant standing for 90 minutes, not something I'm known for :-)

Labels: , , , , ,

Reading the RSS feed

It is interesting to read the comments of others on the seminars, I've not attended, this will certainly broaden the usefulness of the conference to me, so fellow bloggers keep on blogging.

Frances Bell asked on her blog post about the themes:

As I will be at another conference on Thursday, I am hoping that others will be blogging the theme summary sessions.
I'll certainly do my best to do the one I'm going to 'Large Scale Implementation with Frank Rennie, hopefully other bloggers will do the other three??

Labels: , ,

Theme Speakers - Introducing themes

Tim Rudd - Theme speaker for Designing learning spaces

Creating a challenge - vision is about starting with what we intend to achieve and then devise relevant spaces, there will be different. If we ask learners they may brush up the school but reflect their experience of school. Ford's quote about customers would ask for faster horses sets the scene. Tim believes we need to be more challenging in re-visioning space.

Frank Rennie - Theme speaker for Large scale implementation

A wide topic, lots of vision, lots of trials, lots of good experience which will be of interest to many. How do we move from small-scale to large-scale delivery.

Frank identifies challenges - costs, staff development, student perceptions, working across institutions - all of which will be addressed in the sessions.

Hans-Peter Baumeister - Theme speaker for Learning and internationalism

Cultural context of learning is crucial. Hans-Peter gives some examples and looks at the nature of knowledge and how it is shared within and across cultures. The emigration of the best students (something the keynote addressed) is also a key problem for many countries.

New technologies can be disruptive, they allow for more advanced learning imperialism and western business model. SO multi-cultural itself can be a western module which links with other awareness - "Bend it like Beckham"

Marion Miller - Theme speaker for Learning technology for the social network generation

Web 2.0 wider range of use but a change of control. Are our learners ready for learning in this environment, or do they want to keep social and learning separate.

In this theme learner control and user generated content becomes a key element in learning. But what about learners who do not wish to have control. As networking become dominant (MySpace Facebook) we ask why are they so successful and would students use them for learning. But not only would they but should they.

Moving beyond enthusiasts to the ordinary user. But how much will we go beyond control, how much control are we willing to give to learners.

All of them are interesting, I think though I'm going to dip between them. Partly because I'm chairing a number of different themes and partly because at Glamorgan all of these issues are of relevance.


First Plenary Session

Professor Alan Dodson the PVC (Environment, Infrastructure and Information Services) at Nottingham He says we are about:
Moving beyond the first-movers to embedding the new paradigms in learning and teaching into institutions
Mike Sharples then introduced Dr Michelle Selinger who is talking about 'You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps'. This looked at the way learning has changed. I liked the South Park clib that was used to demonstrate different encounters in learning.

Chasm 1 - Informal and Formal Learning (Education and Industry)

Michelle, explored the changing media consumption of digital natives, some of the work drew on Wim Veen's work. Informal learning becomes the crucial learning engagement, Michelle's move from HE to industry meant a large learning curve for the languages between sectors. This was using a range of learning sources, almost none of them formal.

Stasis - Links with print remains, lecturers, slides, content - not learning. E-learning (According to McConnell is linear and deterministic. A chasm between the type of learners we are engaging with.

Chasm 2 - Schools and HE

A big chasm between school experience and university experience. Schools control assessment and have limited online access. Universities are getting better - group tasks, group work, peer review, eportfolios, online collaboration.

Chasm 3 - North and South

University experience very different. We bring people to the North for education, but they don't go back. How can we help developing countries get the benefit of education without taking them from their home environment.

Technologies are being used which students can;t afford (this reminds me of some of my Ghanaian students who were managers, in their culture only admin staff had PCs, so he got his secretary to access the web and type essays - was it his MSc or hers?)

Impose our forms of pedagogy - learning imperialism


Thornburg used to look at what employers want from graduates.

PLEs are becoming part of the solution for learners to learn in their own way.

Blogs and podcasts with experts help draw the world into student learners.

Big questions for us:

What needs to be taught? What is actually taught? What is learnt?

Knowing is more than content - knowing why, how, where and when and not only what.

Resturucturing teaching - people are watching this on Elluminate, can we use it this way. What about student's authoring content, how will this change what we teach - collaboration is key to all of this happening.

Media Archive, open courseware - all examples of real collaboration adding real value to learning. Students can raise their questions and look at better ways of addressing them.

Human Network, people subscribing to people e.g. Lindked in or Facebook, improve communication, improve interaction, improve learning. (This raises technology issues and bandwidth issues that others will need to address). Mobile phones and their role in learning are also crucial. But also avatars and other forms on online presence.

North-South - Joint appointments, local relevance, global action.


Some times smaller steps are needed, but are giant steps possible. Better links between schools and HE & HE and the workplace.

Not all learners are 'ground breaking pioneers' and we have to teach all.

Assessment is political - how can we leap that chasm.

My Thoughts

Nothing that I'd not already seen or heard about, but presented in a clear context to challenge us all to get this type of message into our own organisations.


First Morning at ALT-C

While this blog is supposed to be focused on the learning I'm doing at ALT-C, I do think I need to add to the comment yesterday about the accommodation. I slept really well, even with the window open the surrounding area is really quiet, the challenges came when it was time for morning ablutions. The sink is a tiny corner sink with no space for a razor or shaving gel, an above sink glass panel is placed at full stretch height, so moving from gel to razor was challenging though possible. The shower was clearly designed for very thin undergraduates. It was about two inches wider than me, so trying to turn around to get the shower gel or shampoo was a challenge, indeed it was easier to get out of the shower turn around and get back in - yes I know what you are thinking, time for me to lose weight!!

Breakfast opened at 7 and it was again nice to meet up with people and meet new people. Marion Miller, one of the theme speakers, was sitting opposite me. Nice to meet her for the first time. Seb, who I had only met online , also came over for a chat. He was discussing whether it would be better to send the abstracts out in advance, some on the table thought yes, I thought electronic copy would be more useful. Given how easy it is to search in an adobe file. Seb mentioned that the online interactive programme has a good search facility. I'd not even noticed there was a site search, but playing with it this morning shows it is actually quite effective. Though to my mind you do need the overall timetable to search it most effectively

I'm helping with the online questions using Elluminate this morning, so I'm going into the main auditorium early to see the set up and check out what I need to do, our initial training for this was online last week, but I'd still like to see it in practice - see blending face to face with online provides a mix of learning experiences, so I'm practising what I preach in our Blended Learning project at Glamorgan.


Monday, September 03, 2007

Programme Committee Meeting

So we begin, a useful meeting with the other members of the Programme Committee, updating what our role is as chair's of sessions.

Having chaired other conferences there was nothing new to that. Thankfully we will have 3 minute, 1 minute and Stop cards to be deployed - any presenters reading this YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED :-)

Met up again with Steve Wheeler who as I mentioned in an earlier post is also blogging about the conference.

Also managed to catch up with Frank Rennie and Robin Mason who came down to Glamorgan to interview some of the team for their research earlier in the year.

Frank had some interesting ideas about the use of Wikis to supplement and update a book. He and Robin have just finished a book on Web 2.0 technologies, so using a Wiki to keep it up to date and extend the discussion to the wider community seems a great idea. After a nice chat,a and a pleasant beer, with Frank I met up with Alyson Dacey from Neath Port Talbot College who is presenting with me. Alyson and I chatted over dinner and were later joined by Lis from RSC Wales and Chris for Swansea University.

I didn't realise that there would be so many people I knew. I managed to briefly catch up with Richard Parsons (Dundee), Peter Chatterton (Hertfordshire) and Paul Bacsish (who is chairing our Blended Learning evaluation).

By the end of the first evening ALT-C has provided a real opportunity to network with people both new and old. So far so good, here is to tomorrow.


Well here I am at ALT-C

Mistry and I had a really easy drive to Nottingham - given this involved negotiating the M42, that is pretty impressive.

I'd gone back this morning and checked every bit of e-mail correspondence from ALT to see if it told me which of the halls I was staying at, but no luck. On getting to the East Midlands Conference Centre - a really nice looking building, I was told I should have had joining instructions by letter. So I guess those are somewhere between ALT and the University of Glamorgan postroom. Imagine a technologists' conference using paper to send out such vital details. As someone who files online really well, but doesn't do paper, it was a shock to know I should have had more information. But I'll get over it.

The accommodation is student basic. Perfectly clean, and once I'd found it - there is work going on near the entrance, so I'd gone way beyond it before a helpful student directed me back - it will suit my needs. After all I'm here for the content not for the room plus, crucially, I am able to check my e-mails and start blogging.

Continuing on the excess paperwork issue the pleasant people who signed me, they were really friendly and deserve any praise the organisers give them, they made me most welcome, provided me with a huge pack in a large carrier bag, I was hoping they had someone to carry it back to the accommodation for me!! It is full of the worst kind of junk mail (without envelopes). I know conferences need sponsorship, but I for one would have preferred to see the trees survive.

Also there was a hard copy of the abstracts and proceedings - something I've had soft copy of since last week. Once I'd found the recycling bin I dumped 7/8 of the paperwork into that, so I now have a small amount that I'll need to carry about for the next few days.

Still here I am excited to get started and just about to head over the to Planning Committee meeting.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

ALT-C 2007 - Others blogging the event

I mentioned in a previous post that I'm going to ALT-C. To get myself into the mindset I've been looking around at some of the things others have been saying about it over the last few weeks.

This is easy to do as Seb Schmoller the Chief Executive of ALT, has set up a shared RSS Feed for those planning to blog from the conference. The Seb's own feed shows his thoughts have moved beyond 2007 already and is now focusing on ALT-C 2008!

Kathy Trinder has gone the whole way and created her own conference blog called Blogging ALT-C she promises that she might be using her Palm to blog, but as a PC in case the Palm proves to small to type effectively on.

Steve Wheeler has been planning even further ahead than Kathy. As editor of the Research Proceedings for the Conference he was worrying back in July about getting it complete. Though he did spend some time yesterday setting out his expectations of the conference. Even more usefully he created a list of the top 7 conference themes and how often they appear.

Steve wonder about the demise of the Distance Learning topic:

I was also interested to note that there are only 6 papers featuring the term ‘distance learning’ (although several more imply it) – but ..... could this be a sign of the decline of this old term? Has distance education now been overhauled in the glittering world of learning technology?
We at the University of Glamorgan began our e-engagement with distance programmes but have since moved to provide learning technology to support existing learners including on-campus learners (Blended Learning) , maybe others are making that same journey.

I look forward to seeing some of you at the conference.


ALT-C 2007

This is the weekend before I head off to ALT-C (the conference of the Association of Learning Technologists) . While in my career in HE I've been to many conferences they have been primarily academic conferences in my subject discipline. What is partially exciting, and partially scary about ALT-C is that it is a wider audience than the mix of academics, though there are plenty of us around, it also includes people who are more closely involved in supporting learning, as learning technologists, systems designers and other technical disciplines. Therefore I'm expecting the flavour of the conference to be different from others I've attnded.

Certainly a look through the links in the online timetable shows examples of papers that would fit in any academic conference, it also shows displays and demonstrations which are very hands on.

So as an ALT-C newbie I'm looking forward to seeing how this balance of backgrounds and contributions works together to deliver a overarching theme for the conference.


Network Learning - Getting to grips with Connectivism

Since I began work on the University of Glamorgan Blended Learning Project I've been very influenced by the work on Connectivism being undertaken by George Siemens in Manitoba,

I don't know how many times I've gone back to the article he wrote back in 2005, it outlines the idea so clearly it is well worth revisiting.

George was also influential through his leadership of the Future of Education Conference while, yet again, work meant I didn't get to engage as much with the conference as I would have liked it gave a real insight into the nature of the debate moving into learning which is truly engaging, interactive and networked.

It was through the FoE conference that I encountered James Morrison and his work. His article US HE in transition was useful for me in providing some external thinking about HE here in the UK. Helping to inform the development of the institutional learning, teaching and assessment strategy we have to deliver to HEFCW .

His article Using the Futures Program as a Tool for Transformation is also insightful for anyone managing organisational change in academic institutions. Another of his articles makes the link between organisational and instructional development. This is one of the key issues I've been trying to explore in my conference paper with Tony Toole during ALT-C. Organisation and deleivery of learning can use similar skills and tools in the Web2.0 world.

Labels: , , ,

Reminder of stuff I've been reading and accessing

Being away from a blog from some time means I need to capture here some of the stuff I've been looking at, thinking about during these months.

As ever there are some bloggers who I spend a lot of my life reading.

One of those is Graham Attwell at The Wales Wide Web

His video on e-portfolios

Has given me plenty to focus on. e-portfolios are an area where I know we need to engage at Glamorgan, but I haven't had time to really think through there implications for us. Which is why Graham's work is so valuable.

I guess I've been putting it off, as I'd expected us to have someone responsible for the area of personal development and work-based learning in post by now, who might have taken a lead on this. But not yet, so I guess I need to make sure I re-engage with this area in the new academic year.

Graham has also done some useful work on PLEs, I really enjoyed the mash-up he created based on the Jisc e-framework for institutional management and his own PLE view which focuses on learners.

I know there have been other influences during this time, but I thought it was worth capturing the sources before they simply became part of 'How I think'

First post since November 2006

Life seems to race away and while I've been an active consumer of blogs in 2007, my contributions have been very close to nil.

Time to do something about that I think.

So if anyone happens to still be looking at the feed from this blog, I hope to capture more of my thoughts and what is going in my thinking and development again for a while.