Learning Technology jottings at Goldsmiths

Thoughts and deeds

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Engaging academics in professional development for technology-enhanced learning – the report

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As I mentioned in a previous post, the Higher Education Academy funded me to carry out a synthesis of literature on engaging academics in professional development for technology-enhanced learning.

This was a beneficial experience in terms of my personal and professional development. It improved my understanding of what is required in my role and the findings prompted me to change the way I go about my work.

I’m pleased to say that the report is now available on EvidenceNet (home of many other relevant pieces of work – do browse).


Written by Mira Vogel

August 6, 2010 at 16:33

Emerging findings from ‘Researchers of Tomorrow’ study

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Received by email:

Emerging findings from Researchers of Tomorrow study

Emerging findings from the first annual report of a major three-year study into the information seeking behaviour of Generation Y doctoral students show that there are striking similarities between students born between 1982 and 1994 and older age groups.

Researchers of Tomorrow was commissioned by JISC and the British Library to establish a benchmark for research behaviour, against which future generations can be measured – and also to provide guidance for librarians, information specialists and policy makers on how best to meet the research needs of Generation Y scholars.

Download the report at <http://www.researchersoftomorrow.net>

The first annual report of this longitudinal study has just been completed and includes evidence-gathering from three groups of doctoral students in the UK, including: a cohort of 60 Generation Y doctoral students from 36 universities; responses to a national context-setting survey returned by over 2,000 Generation Y scholars and responses to the same national context-setting survey returned by 3,000 older doctoral students.

Generation Y students and older students concur on a number of areas:

–    Open access and open source – like students of other ages, Generation Y researchers express a desire for an all-embracing, seamless accessible research information network in which restrictions to access do not restrain them.  However, the annual report demonstrates that most Generation Y students do not have a clear understanding of what open access means and this negatively impacts their use of open access resources, so this is an area to be followed up in the next year.

–    Networked research environment – both Generation Y and older students express exasperation regarding restricted access to research resources due to the limitations of institutional licenses.  This is born from a sophisticated knowledge of the networked information environment and students regularly speak favourably about sector-wide shared services and resource sharing.

The research indicates, however, potentially interesting and important divergences between Generation Y and older doctoral students; for example, where students turn for help, advice and support and attitudes to their research environment.

–    Supervisor and librarian support – Generation Y scholars are more likely to turn to their supervisors for research resource recommendations than older doctoral students.  Also, 33% of Generation Y students say they have never used library staff for their support in finding difficult to source material.

–    Using library collections and services – Library collections are used heavily by students in their own institutions, but only 36% of Generation Y students have used inter-library loan services compared to 25% of older students, with 42% of arts and humanities students using these services regularly compared to 13% among science students.

Charles Hutchings, JISC’s market research manager, said, “What is striking about these interim results is the current overlap between the behaviours of these young researchers and their older counterparts. While JISC will use these studies to provide guidance for librarians, information specialists and policy makers across the UK on how best to meet researchers’ needs, we should also be aware that these behaviours are changing all the time with the advent of new digital tools for research.”

Dr Joanna Newman, the British Library’s head of higher education, said, “The first annual report of this three-year study provides an overview of the Generation Y research environment.  These emerging findings will ensure that the Researchers of Tomorrow study will focus on critical areas such as the role of supervisors, use of the academic library network, effective research support, open access and the main work base for doctoral students.”

Dr Newman concluded, “Consultation is at the heart of how the Library and JISC engage with their researchers.  We know that research behaviours are evolving and changing and it is through studies like ‘Researchers of Tomorrow’ that we will start to understand in depth the future needs and requirements of Generation Y students.”

Find out more and read the report at <http://www.researchersoftomorrow.net>

Explore JISC’s support for researchers at <http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/campaigns/res3.aspx>

Written by Mira Vogel

July 26, 2010 at 13:19

Posted in project, research

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British universities must become much more radical with technology, or sink into obscurity

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A salutory warning received by email from JISC:

“British universities will lose their leading international standing unless they become much more radical in their use of new technology, a JISC commissioned report says today.

British universities occupy four of the top ten world rankings and the UK is one of the top destinations for international students. But the Edgeless University, conducted by Demos on behalf JISC, suggests that a slowness to adopt new models of learning will damage this competitive edge.

The research showed that the recession has put universities under intense pressure as threats to funding combine with increasing demand. A wave of applicants is expected to hit universities this summer as record numbers of unemployed young people seek to ‘study out’ the recession.

The report says that online and social media could help universities meet these demands by reaching a greater number of students and improving the quality of research and teaching. Online and DIY learning can create ‘edgeless universities’ where information, skills and research are accessible far beyond the campus walls.

Malcolm Read OBE, Executive Secretary for JISC, which supported the research, said: ‘The UK is a leading force in the delivery of higher education and its universities and colleges have been punching well above their weight for some time.

Safeguarding this reputation means we have to fight harder to stay ahead of developments in online learning and social media, and embracing the Web 2.0 world.

‘This is a great opportunity for UK universities and colleges to open up and make learning more accessible to students who would not traditionally stay on in education. ‘Edgeless universities’ can transform the way the UK delivers, shares and uses the wealth and quality of information its institutions own.’

The report also calls for universities to acknowledge the impact of the internet by making academic research freely available online. Author of the report, Peter Bradwell, said: ‘The internet and social networks mean that universities are now just one part of the world of learning and research. This means we need their support and expertise more than ever. Just as the music industry may have found the answer to declining CD sales with Spotify, universities must embrace online knowledge sharing and stake a claim in the online market for information.’

The report makes a series of recommendations for opening up university education, including making all research accessible to the public. It says teaching should be placed on a more even footing with research in career progression and status and teaching which uses new technology rewarded.

Read the full report www.jisc.ac.uk/edge09

Read more about Demos here www.demos.co.uk

Written by Mira Vogel

June 23, 2009 at 16:59

Posted in change, research, technologies

Tagged with ,

Eight classic e-learning texts

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Tony Bates selects eight classic e-learning texts.

Our study, Designing for Learning in Virtual Learning Environments, contributed to one of them – Effective Practice With E-Learning, a series of project reports published by JISC, which he describes as providing “a continuous stream of excellent, pragmatic publications on e-learning”. They’re freely available, too.

Written by Mira Vogel

May 19, 2009 at 16:21

Posted in research

Staff and student use of learning technologies when Goldsmiths was closed in the snow

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I put up an opportunistic, entirely anonymous survey of staff and students on our VLE (learn.gold) shortly after the snow closures back on Feb 2nd / 3rd 2009.

The text of the question:

“During the recent college closure due to bad weather, did you use any of the following communication technologies to study with, or facilitate the study of, others?

By ‘study’ we mean learning, thinking and responding together, rather than organisational/operational stuff like rescheduling or submitting work. Please select N/A if you didn’t use the technologies for studying with others (which is, of course, perfectly fine by us – but we’d be interested to know).

  • 1 = slight use
  • 5 = heavy use
  • N/A = non-use”

There were 86 respondents.


Type of technology Average scale value / number of N/As
Video conferencing (eg Skype video) 1.7 / 75
Online telephony without video (eg Skype calls) 2.0 / 71
Instant messaging aka ‘chat’ (eg GoogleChat, Skype or Facebook chat) 3.6 / 47
‘Shared desktop’ (Skype or MSN Messenger) 3.2 / 64
Editing documents collaboratively (Google docs, wiki) 2.4 / 72
Discussion on blog(-type) posts or bulletin boards (Facebook, blogs) 3.0 / 48
Email 3.4 / 22
Landline or mobile phonecalls 3.4 / 33
Text messaging (SMS) 3.8 / 28

A bit of discussion

As somebody remarked in the Comments field (see below)

“Why did anyone want to communicate any more than to say, ‘Uni is shut today’? You should have been outside playing in the snow!!”

Quite. But those who did learn with others on those days primarily used text-messaging, phonecalls and email, and used them moderately. Somewhat fewer used web chat moderately. Still fewer used blog or bulletin board discussion moderately, and even fewer made moderate use of shared desktops. A tiny minority used video conferencing and online telephony slightly.

Other technology / comments

  • did anyone study that day?
  • I found it helpful to know I didn’t need to struggle in. Got on with some work at home.
  • I talked to my roommates – face to face, the good old fashioned way
  • I trudged to Goldsmiths on foot through the blizzard–only to find the college closed; it would have been nice if the History dept had had a phone round saying not to come, like other colleges didhad
  • N\A
  • Photo messaging
  • pigeon post
  • the communication from university was dreadful. did not hear untill 10.30 that it was closed… i start my journey at 6.30am!!!!
  • There is not enough room in here to fully communicate my rage on this issue. There is not enough room in the world to fully communicate my despair at the constant amateurish failures of Goldsmiths
  • Turns out i don’t study with others at all.
  • Why did anyone want to communicate any more than to say, ‘Uni is shut today’? You should have been outside playing in the snow!!

Conclusions / limitations

So there we go. At Goldsmiths, email and phones are still the go-to technologies for learning together when it’s impossible to get together.

Unless… unless the more intrepid technology users didn’t stop by our Virtual Learning Environment to take our survey. This is possible – perhaps likely – but hard to ascertain.

Written by Mira Vogel

April 7, 2009 at 11:35

Posted in learn.gold, research

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e-Benchmarking closing event – 26 June, City University

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Written by Mira Vogel

June 27, 2008 at 10:14