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Some Flexible Learning News from Scotland

April 18, 2007

Coming from Scotland, I keep an eye on the ‘goings on’ and it is interesting to read that universities and Higher Education facilities are going through the same things over there.

TECHNOLOGY

Lectures cast in new light

Glasgow Caledonian University could be among the first educational institutions in the UK to allow students to download lectures as podcasts. Under the possible new scheme, essays could also be posted on networking sites including MySpace and Bebo. Research by the university suggests that the new techniques could make learning more accessible to students. Director of the university’s Research Academy, Alison Littlejohn commented: “Traditionally, people had to learn Latin and then there was the big revolution when people learned in English, and now people are communicating in so many different ways and using different technologies which could alter how students learn and how we teach them. Some of these technologies aren’t seen as valid ways of learning when they could be. They can upload resources to MySpace or can text in different ways.” (The Herald)

-I am really interested in the way that podcasts are used as interactive resources for  arts projects – that people can download to their mp3 player an element (let’s say a description) of an exhibition and then take it and play it while physically walking through the exhibition. I can imagine this as a teaching tool – where we regularly encourage students to go and visit an exhibition in town, and sometime organise a group outing with discussion in the gallery, this type of tool could enhance the student’s own visit by having some comment from the artist/lecturer/other as they visit in their own time. This of course, cannot replace the ‘participative’ learning that a group discussion with peers would enable, but might enrich the experience of a student who cannot get to the exhibition at this time.

IU no longer an open university

The Interactive University is to close its doors at the end of the month. The joint venture between Scottish Enterprise, Herriot Watt University and Robert Gordon University was intended to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for foreign students accessing courses from Scottish universities. The move to shut down comes after the majority of Scottish universities failed to get on board and a £1.5 million bid for emergency funds was turned down by Scottish Enterprise. It had been hoped the IU would bring in millions in revenue for Scottish universities, with the institutions using it as a means to offer supported learning to students at partner institutions in up to 40 other countries. However, less than a quarter of the anticipated number of students was attracted to the venture. (The Scotsman)

-sounds to me like perhaps this was an ambitious plan that had been simplified too much without the relevant research to backup its implementation? 

Read all today’s technology news from scotsman.com

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