Tuesday, September 04, 2007

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 :-)

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Anonymous Chris Jones said...

Hi Haydn
Thanks for the feedback and for stepping in and facilitating the sessions. If you get time please visit me at our trade booth.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007 11:47:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll certainly try Chris

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 12:14:00 pm  

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