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update – flexible learning forum

April 18, 2008

I thought I might try and get down some reflections on the session at The School of Art last week before they leave my head forever…

It was a good session with a good turnout – I have 26 people who signed the e-mail list, but i think there may have been a couple more people there who didn’t. And that I know of – there were at least 11 different Schools/departments from the Polytechnic there…so it’s nice to know that there is some solidarity to what we’re doing, and it’s spreading wider than one area. I do think that a lot of those people were either from the School of Art or on the networked learning e-mail group already though…

The session

As it was the first time all these people were in the same room together I was quite keen myself to see what would happen! I hoped that people would bring up some topics and move themselves into areas they wanted to pose questions about or solve. I’m not sure this happened exactly, and I think I could have worked harder to make the session more dynamic…BUT i remind myself that it was good to lay the ground and just get introductions from everyone and their ideas/projects and that I was only facilitating and not leading…As bossy as I am I don’t want to be running any new initiative…(who has the time?!)..but I am happy to be part of a group that makes things happen.

Anyway some topics covered:
School of Art Digital Literacy Project – brief overview
iPod project from the cookery programme (in development)
Elluminate: Problems with students not engaging
Digital Literacy, rather than learning software (This was a discussion that popped up a couple of times during the session and for me it’s a fundamental point of understanding before any digital literacy project can happen.)
Context Driven projects versus Generic Resources. (Arguments made for both sides of this. e.g. the School of Art Digital Literacy course is context specific, although the learning resources are generic. This has been seen as necessary to engage the understanding of the learners undertaking a BFA.)

Overall people were keen for something to happen next but perhaps at a bit of a loss as to what that could be. I suggested that everyone keen to stay in touch (assuming it was everyone in the room!) could get themselves on the networked learning e-mail group and continue discussions there – it doesn’t appear to me that there are too many people ‘talking’ on that list who didn’t come to the session anyway. I’m about to invite people from the session to do just that, but I want to get a consensus from the people who started that group first. I know there are some people not keen on the idea from a practical point of view and they’re suggesting either another e-mail group or or space to collaborate in. I can see the thinking behind this. BUT it’s hard to have that discussion without everybody communicating in the first place?!
Also – I am aware that some people are already asking for collaboration and as it has been in the past – smaller groups of people working on similar projects, so it may continue in the future. Perhaps we are only widening the network of interested parties at the moment?
Another idea from Leigh and David are to hold regular presentations/session showcasing someone’s project each time. I was hoping that people would do this more at the session last week…
Leoni is writing up her notes from the session so I’ll add anything I have missed (which I am sure is plenty!)


4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 24, 2008 12:36 pm

    I was at this session and I think that you have covered it pretty well here. It was good to see the level of interest in digital literacy and the similar concerns across disciplines in the Polytech. I do feel that this meeting was a stepping off point and it would be good to see if we can identify how we could work together to overcome common problems. Digital literacy is certainly one of those. I think there are problems in introducing a new course on digital literacy within programs as the curriculum and hours in courses are already in place. I am wondering if digital literacy could be incorporated in some way within existing courses rather than being separated out. This would be similar to the initiatives being explored in the Polytechnic currently about the general academic literacy of our students.
    Thanks for organising the get together Rachel and for this post, which I have only just located. Carolyn

  2. April 24, 2008 7:38 pm

    I reckon you add the new people to the NL email forum. Creating a new forum seems to defeat the purpose to me, and hopefully the new faces will help stimulate discussion AND action.

    Of all the email forums I have been a part of (jeez thats a few) it isn’t until membership numbers get up around 200 that things really start to self organise. Up until that point it always seems to take more energy and nothing really seems to roll on its own. Perhaps soon, we can look at getting outsiders involved as well. The issues are very common.

    Since your meeting, The Community Learning Centres are throwing their weight behind the creation of a blogging handbook, learning support services, and actual workshops if there is a need. This is meant to try and support the departments and their students with extra options for help, as well as providing services to past and future students who may not have access to your facilities.

    I’ve done some more thinking about the generic vs contextualised and keep coming back to the same point.. if we start from the contestualised end, how do we know what we are doing is not already being done just 2 doors down? If we started on or made efforts to stay involved in a generic development, then we would know what the left hand was doing and would save ourselves time.

    Dunno if you noticed the small edits I made to your course wiki? But I certainly saw bit that could be well supported by a generic development.

  3. April 27, 2008 11:01 am

    A movement towards a generic digital literacy project across the Polytech would be great and is very necessary I believe. I do think we need to do it, maybe this is a stepping off point for that. Lets take what art and design have done and use it as a starting point to make a generic project to cover all disciplines. Can we do it as a separate unit, would it be possible to have a digital literacy project which was embedded in other courses?

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