Archive for the ‘Wales Wide Web’ Category

More on online conferencing

July 10th, 2009 by Graham Attwell

Yesterday we held the first of a series of online conferences for the Jisc SSBR project which supports the 40 odd projects presently being funded under the Jisc Institutional Innovation programme.

We gad about 70 attending the confernce which used Elluminate as the main platform. I have organised and participated in a lot of on-line events over the past 18 months and though we have much experience in organising such events by now we are still, I think, in a learning curve. Therefore it is worth a  few reflections on what works, what doesn’t and what might be improved.

First something (short) about my main role in the event. We ‘wrapped’ the conference in an internet radio show, broadcasting before the conference opened, at the coffee, lunch and tea breaks and with a  follow up evening programme. the daytime broadcasts were also streamed into Elluminate and we continued on internet radio in the morning to allow those not registered for the conference to listen to John Cook’s keynote speech on ‘Surfing the Moble Wave’ (podcast available here shortly). I think this worked well. To get the stream into Elluminate is easy – we merely hijacked the feed as a microphone in Elluminate. Although the sound quality in Elluminate is not great, from what people tell me the radio provided continuity to the conference.

In the main event the presentations went well. we are well rehearsed in organising and moderating these by now. The one thing we were most nervous about was moving people into breakout groups in the afternoon. Somewhat surprisingly this worked well at a technical level. However people felt that these sessions were too short. And one session in the morning where we invited people to give short reports to the whole room was not so successful. Overtly the problem was technical, with sound breaking up and poor quality audio at other times. I am not quite sure what the problem was. It may be lack of bandwidth from participants although elluminate claims to work on low bandwidth. More likely I suspect, was poor quality headsets. The quality of the microphone seems to make a huge difference for online presenters. I also think that 70 is too many people to organise a high degree of interaction in online events. Merely managing so many provides problems. If we want to organise interaction, participation and discussion in large online conferences, it is probably better to divide into groups with feedback in short plenaries.

As always in such conferences when technical problems occur, people were extolling the virtue of various different platforms. I am unconvinced that any are better than Elluminate. However some rethinking of the user interfaces would be helpful. especially to make groups management easier (allowing people to move themselves int0 a group would be good – anyone listening at Elluminate? – and also a larger chat box).

At the end of the day, organising and managing online confernces is not that different form face to face events. But there are some significant differences and we still need to keep thinking how we can best facilaite interaction in online events.

Reshaping our practice

July 8th, 2009 by Graham Attwell

Yesterday I received a message from Miles Berry reminding me I had agreed to deliver a keynote at the Open Source Schools conference in Nottingham on 20 June (have to admit it had slipped my mind!). So I searched the web to dig out what the conference was all about and arrived at the conference wiki.

What a fabulous site! This is an unconference with contributors being invited to develop themes, presentations and and collaboration around sessions being through the wiki. This exemplifies what I have been banging on about for the last few months. We need to use technologies – not just as a teaching tool – but to shape and reshape our own practices. As a community of practice we need to explore how we can use the potential of social software in our own daily practice for collaboration, for our own (collective learning) and for developing and sharing knowledge within our community. And that practice will inevitably change how we have traditionally organised our work – for instance through conferences seminars and publications.

This is also true of research into technology enhanced learning. It is almost impossible to research the use of technologies for learning  without experiencing the use ourselves. This not only means using technology as an adjunct or aid to more effective research practices but also rethinking methodologies towards a more action research oriented approach.

Congratulations to Miles and his colleagues for having a go!

A day of internet radio goodness

July 7th, 2009 by Graham Attwell

This Thursday features a day of LIVE internet radio to support the Jisc Institutional Innovation programme online conference on Institutional Impact.

We will be broadcasting four programmes during the day.

The Morning Programme

The morning programme starts at 10.00 CET (9.00 UK Summer Time) and will run until 1215 CET. The will feature music and chat. At around 11.00 CET we will brodacst Professor John Cook’s keynote speech on “Scaffolding the Mobile Wave”

  • How can learning activities that take place outside formal  institutions, on platform of the learners choice, be brought  into institutional learning? New digital media can be regarded as cultural resources that can  enable the bringing together of the informal learning contexts in  the world outside the institution with those processes and contexts  that are valued inside the intuitions. The big problem is that reports show that Social Software and Google  are not enabling the critical, creative and reflective learning that  we value in formal education.

The Lunch Time Show
The lunch time broadcast will be from 1400 – 1430 CET (1300 – 1330 UK Summer Time. The show will feature interviews with Ruth Drysdale from Jisc and David Morris plus more music.

The Afternoon Show
The mid afternoon show from 1600 – 1630 CET (1500 – 1530 UK Summer Time)  will feature guest slots from Howard Noble from the Low Carbon ICT project and from Luis Francisco Pedro form Portugal on introducing PLEs throughout the institution.

The Evening Show
The evening show kicks off at 1930 CET 18.30 UK summer Time. Besides providing a chance for quick reflections on the conference, it will also be featuring interviews with leading researchers and practitioners on institutional innovation from all over Europe (we have some great gusts lined up – I will try to provide you with a trailer for them tomorrow). From 2000 CET (1900 UK Summer Time) onwards it will also be streamed into Second Life for participants in the Institutional Innovation conference social event. The show ends at 2030 CET (19.30 UK Summer Time).

How to listen to the programme.

You can access the internet radio feed by going to in your browser. This will open the stream in your MP3 programme of choice (e.g, iTunes).

Please feel free to just sit back and enjor the show. But if you would like to come on the show live to provide your reflections and ideas about the issues being discussed then please skype or email Graham Attwell – graham10 [at] mac [dot] com or GrahamAttwell on skype.

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    News from 1994

    This is from a Tweet. In 1994 Stephen Heppell wrote in something called SCET” “Teachers are fundamental to this. They are professionals of considerable calibre. They are skilled at observing their students’ capability and progressing it. They are creative and imaginative but the curriculum must give them space and opportunity to explore the new potential for learning that technology offers.” Nothing changes!

    Graduate Jobs

    As reported by WONKHE, a survey of 1,200 final year students conducted by Prospects in the UK found that 29 per cent have lost their jobs, and 26 per cent have lost internships, while 28 per cent have had their graduate job offer deferred or rescinded. 47 per cent of finalists are considering postgraduate study, and 29 per cent are considering making a career change. Not surprisingly, the majority feel negative about their future careers, with 83 per cent reporting a loss of motivation and 82 per cent saying they feel disconnected from employers

    Post-Covid ed-tech strategy

    The UK Ufi VocTech Trust are supporting the Association of Colleges to ensure colleges are supported to collectively overcome challenges to delivering online provision at scale. Over the course of the next few months, AoC will carry out research into colleges’ current capacity to enable high quality distance learning. Findings from the research will be used to create a post-Covid ed-tech strategy for the college sector.

    With colleges closed for most face-to-face delivery and almost 100% of provision now being delivered online, the Ufi says, learners will require online content and services that are sustainable, collective and accessible. To ensure no one is disadvantaged or left behind due to the crisis, this important work will contribute to supporting businesses to transform and upskilling and reskilling those out of work or furloughed.


    The European Commission has published an annual report of the Erasmus+ programme in 2018. During that time the programme funded more than 23,500 projects and supported the mobility of over 850,00 students, of which 28,247 were involved in UK higher education projects, though only one third of these were UK students studying abroad while the remainder were EU students studying in the UK. The UK also sent 3,439 HE staff to teach or train abroad and received 4,970 staff from elsewhere in the EU.

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