rsc east midlands newsletter "intouch" - spring 2004
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DESCRIPTIONThe JISC Regional Support Centre (RSC) for the East Midlands produces a termly newsletter "intouch" that highlights current practice in e-learning/ILT in the region.
Spring 2004 Volume 2 Issue 2
the termly newsletter produced by RSC East Midlands
Welcomefrom the Editor
In the last newsletter I mentioned that the remit of the RSC had expanded to
include support for specialist colleges and some aspects of higher education. Since
then, our remit has been extended further and we are now also supporting the
Adult and Community Learning Sector (see the article beneath for further details).
To help us maintain effective support for all sectors for which we are now responsible, we will shortly
be joined by two new members of staff. In addition Chris Bell, our e-Information Officer will be taking
on the role of Specialist College Advisor.
There are interesting and increasingly busy times ahead for us here at the RSC, as we venture into sectors
new, but I would like to assure all our customers, old and new, of our continued commitment and support.
Judi Millage, ILT Advisor
Derby College sprang into existence in 2002following the merger of three local colleges.Although sprang might be an inappropriateepithet for such a traumatic upheaval. We arefortunate to have an enlightened seniormanagement team that felt that it was importantat this time to create a dedicated team addressingILT issues. In our case this involves every activityrelating to ILT, ranging across staff development,curriculum support, VLE administration andmaterials development as well as collegeadministrative systems development. We have ateam of 5 staff and are supported by a dedicatedband of 15 ILT champions seconded for a fewhours a week from their normal duties.
Working in ILT its easy to assume that everyoneelse is of the faith, that everyone understands theadded value that the appropriate use of technologyoffers us. It is sometimes a surprise that not all staffare of that view and need to be sold on the idea;that we have to take a step back and articulate theILT vision and demonstrate how ILT can enhancethe learning experience. Thats where we believethe FPP can help. It offers us a comprehensive toolthat we can adapt to whatever training situationwe find ourselves in. Through the JEB TILT awardit also offers us the opportunity to offer attractiveaccreditation at Level 4.
We were too late to be involved in the FPP pilotscheme but were keen to start work with thematerials as soon as they were available and ourChampions spent a day a week through thesummer term working through all the modules.We began in earnest by running I LoveTechnology week; a two day staff developmentcourse repeated within our administration week
in July for 120 staff. This involved the first fourmodules of the FPP interspersed with a range ofhands-on sessions, including deliverytechnologies, materials, and applications. OurILT champions led small groups of staff throughthe FPP modules and all the activities werecompleted online following a group discussion(often animated!).
Since then we have become licensed by the JEBto run TILT and our champions are taking 30 staffthrough the qualification as a pilot. This activityis operating as distance learning through our VLEwith tutorial support.
FPP activities are also incorporated into the ILTmodule of our Foundation Degree in SupportingLearners, which is classroom-based. We havefound, not unexpectedly, that our teaching staff,like the majority of learners, are social animals,motivated by working with others. Isolateddistance learning activities, even with learnerswho are committed and have good intentions canbe de-motivating for the learner and also for thetutors attempting to manage them.
To address this need we will be offering FPP/TILTgroup workshops led by the ILT team using all thetechnologies and ILT methods at our disposal.Not only to preach but also to practice good ILT.We aim to inspire and motivate by example.College certificates will be offered for thesuccessful completion of each FPP module whichwill be accepted as a unit of essential criterianow required of all staff in order to gain the nextsalary increment with their post scale.
Lynne Brandt, e-Environment Manager, Derby College.
C O L L E G EFOCUS
RSCs Support Adult andCommunity Learning
Black Arrow is a Java Executable tool that allows NLNMaterials to run with navigation on a PC with noSCORM compliant Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)installed. Once opened by Black Arrow, the materialsare supplemented by a navigation pane which runsdown the left hand side of the browser. Usually this willconsist of forward and back buttons and a breakdownof the different elements contained within the materials.The tool allows for limited customisation of the lookand feel of the materials, including changing coloursand different style Forward and Back buttons.
To allow Black Arrow to run, the Java Executable fileJava2 Runtime Environment Standard Edition (J2re)version 1.2 or later has to be installed on the computerthat is to generate the navigation page. Black Arrowcan be downloaded from:http://www.nln.ac.uk/materials/technical/black_arrow_docs.asp
Once downloaded, Black Arrow can be opened bydouble clicking on NLN_Navigation_tool_v1.jar. Thenselect the manifest.xml file from the unzipped
material. Once the output file name has been selected,clicking on the Generate Output Files button willprocess the files and create the navigation.
When the output files have been generated you will befaced with a directory structure appropriate to theparticular set of materials that you downloaded. Withinthis structure will be a new index page generated byBlack Arrow, this is identified by a _ba suffix on thefile name; double clicking on this will launch thenavigation frame page together with the content.
You can find out more about the NLN Black Arrow toolby visitingwww.nln.ac.uk/materials/technical/black_arrow_docs.asp.Alternatively RSC East Midlands has its own NLNMaterials page which can be accessed by visitingwww.rsc-east midlands.ac.uk/teach_and_learn/teach_and_learn_resources.asp.Here you can find a useful list of problems andsolutions users have faced when using the tool.
Chris Bell, e- Information Officer
What we are doing with the FPP
U s i n g t h e N L N w i t h B l a c k A r r o wH i n t s & T i p s
EVENTSApril20th Technical Forum
21st Using ILT in English
22nd ASET OrientationWorkshop: Accreditationand funding for the FerlPractitioners Programme
29th Using ILT in Catering& Hospitality
May6th Using ILT in Teacher
11th FPP Forum(provisional date)
13th Finding Images forTeaching & Learning
18th Using ILT in Basic Skills
20th MIS Forum
26th Using ILT in Business
June9th ILT Forum (provisional date)
10th Using ILT in Key Skills
15th LRC Forum (provisional date)
17th Web Forum (provisional)
22nd NLN Workshop: Re-craftingthe Content
23rd Creating an MLE
24th Technical Forum(provisional date)
For further details see our websitewww.rsc-east-midlands.ac.uk
I N S I D ET h i s i s s u eWelcome
RSCs support Adult andCommunity Learning
RSC Mailing Lists
Meet our new ILT Advisor
Focus on Security Software: Secure your Network
Paving the Way to Excellence ine-learning: e-learning standards guide launched
College Focus: Derby College
Hints & Tips: Using the NLN Materialswith Black Arrow
Regional Support Centres already support FE colleges, Sixth Form colleges, Specialist colleges, and aspects of HE (HE
colleges and HE students in FE colleges). From February 1st 2004, the list for English RSCs gets even longer. We are very
pleased to welcome new colleagues from Adult and Community Learning (ACL). For us this means a great deal of work -
but we are looking forward to it.
All the services we offer the existing community
will be extended to include ACL, such as events,
visits, e-mail lists, forums and the helpdesk.
However, in some ways working with ACL will
be a little different. ACL is a very diverse sector,
with a big majority of part time staff and
thousands of delivery locations. Our work with
ACL will focus on the managing agents. In the
East Midlands these are the local authorities (of
which we have 9) who have overall responsibility
for ACL in their area. Some of these local
authorities deliver the service directly themselves,
others sub-contract, others do a mix of both. The
early priorities are to support them all in
developing an ILT strategy, which has to be
submitted early in 2005, and connecting them to
the internet through JANET. This differs from other
sectors where there is more emphasis on working
In the RSC we know already that we have a lot to
learn. To concentrate on the ACL work, we are
appointing a new team member with an
understanding of the ACL area and the
development and implementation of strategy. We
will of course continue to work as a team, sharing
the workload and our individual expertise. When
our new Advisor for ACL is appointed an early
priority will be to visit all the ACL providers in the
East Midlands to start the dialogue going. Before
then, well do the best we can!
The whole initiative has a really effective
support website at www.aclearn.net. It is being
led nationally by the National Institute of Adult
Community Education (NIACE) which is based
in Leicester; their website is www.niace.org.uk
Talking to people at our events, it is clear that
the different sectors already supported by the
RSC have much to learn fro