The Annual Association for Learning Technology conference (ALTC) took place from the 8th – 10th September, with the theme of ‘Shaping the Future Together’. I attended the second day of the conference as it had elements of Learning Spaces that I was interested in. This post are my highlights, along with a recording on the third day of the conference on Learning Spaces. I spent much of the day using my iPad to take notes, as illustrated below

Voting Clickers in Mathematics and Life Sciences at Kingston University

The first break out session I attended entitled ‘Opening-up Education: Promoting Active Learning with Students and Staff presented by James Denholm-Price and Suzan Orwell from Kingston University, was a Mathematics and Life Sciences rollout of physical voting clickers for a pilot to engage students in the teaching of Mathematics and Life Sciences, which was supported locally in both subject areas. The lecturers found the hardware clickers (Turning Point) easier to use than a web-based solution as they required less change to their teaching materials. The clickers were given to the students to keep for the duration of the project. The students accessed Numbas (an open educational resource) before the session and this informed the lecturers of the pair/share questions that they would answer in class. This was an example of flipped learning. The staff teaching were trained by champions in the schools and not the learning technologist. The pilots also used the clickers for attendance, however the students did not care about seeing this data in a widget via the virtual learning environment and did not like staff using the clickers for attendance.

If you’d like to use Poll Everywhere, a web-based voting system with your students, find out more on our guidance pages.

Designing a virtual learning environment course at the University of Huddersfield

The second session I attended was on the building an aesthetic VLE for creative visual learners, presented by Jess Power and Vidya Kannara at the University of Huddersfield, which looked at a project to enhance a series of creative arts modules and the presenters from the University of Huddersfield argued that visual design is important and as a result of the project, all staff increased their digital literacy.

If you’d like to design better Moodle modules, please see our guidance pages on Moodle.

Learning Spaces design workshop at Kingston University

The third session I attended was entitled The Cube and The Poppy: Participatory approaches for designing technology-enhanced learning spaces presented by Dr Diogo Casanova at Kingston University, which looked at the theoretical design of two learning spaces – a large lecture theatre and a small seminar room, named respectively after the one hour workshop with staff and students as the cube and the poppy. The large lecture theatre would have the lecturer in the middle with only a tablet and no Podium PC and the small seminar room would have a series of tables with no Podium PC. In both cases tablets would be used to interact with the class and the lecturer.

The slides below provide a useful overview of how to go about designing a learning space

If you’d like to use active and collaborative activities in your teaching, see our guidance page.

Interactive Teaching Tools at the University of Manchester

In the afternoon, I attended two sessions focused on creating interactive teaching tools to enhance the traditional lecture. Firstly Jonny Crook, and Dr Julian Jones from the University of Manchester discussed a project to flip a business finance module using Articulate Storyline and assessment elements after the lecture and Responseware clickers in class. They also used Google Analytics to monitor how much the students engaged with the material and the project received some positive feedback from the students.

Learn more how interactive teaching tools were used to enhance the traditional lecture from the slides below.

If you’d like to use Poll Everywhere, a web-based voting system with your students, find out more on our guidance pages.

Gamification in Medical and Dental Education at the University of Plymouth

The next session entitled Quizit – crowdsourcing personalised formative assessments presented by Dr Arunangsu Chatterjee, and Robert Hart from the University of Plymouth’s Peninsula Medical School’s Technology Enhanced Learning team looked shared their work on gamification of formative assessment bringing a sense of BBC’s University Challenge to formative assessment in higher education. The team won funding via Changing Learning Landscapes to develop an app, which is called Quizit, released October 2015.

Teaching Essay Writing on a MOOC

The following session discussed Essay writing on a massive scale: delivering feedback to and through the crowd presented by Elisabeth Wilding from the University of Reading. This involved the MOOC provider FutureLearn and peer feedback to enable learners to write more effectively. A rubric was used to scaffold the feedback, model best practice and students encouraged to submit multiple reviews of their work. The FutureLearn polls and quizzes were used to engage students. Elisabeth asked the audience and those on Twitter for their feedback on where the course should go next.

Skills Teaching in Social Work at the University of the Witwatersrand

The final breakout session I attended was Situated blending: the value of blended learning in developing 21st Century graduate attributes for from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa presented by Liana Meadon discussed the teaching of social work attributes in South Africa and how the discussion posts that students posted were coded against the attributes and capabilities. The online forums were used by students to extend their classroom time and discuss real world problems. Using the forum tool, the students demonstrated linguistic acts that evidence 21st century public good professional capabilities.

Engaging Students

There was a panel discussion I attended on Engaging learners in active dialogue around their digital expectations and experiences with Ellen Lessner, Sarah Knight, Helen Beetham, John Webber, and Dave White. The main points raised here were that student need to feel they belong to a service and institutions need to allow them to be recognised. Also, students can be a drive for change and this was the case at the University of Southampton’s programme Mission Employable.

Learn more about how JISC are working with other organisations to enhance the student experience

ALT-C YouTube recordings of keynote speakers and photographs
Check out the keynote speakers via the ALT YouTube Channel below and the photographs of this year’s event


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2 thoughts on “Shaping the Future of Learning Together – Day 2 at ALT-C 2015

  1. many thanks Santanu for such an informative post – I feel updated re the world of learning spaces. I missed ALT this year but this really makes up!

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