RSC East Midlands newsletter "intouch" - Summer 2005

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The 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.


  • Summer 2005 Volume 3 Issue 3

    the termly newsletter produced by RSC East Midlands

    Welcome from the EditorHere at the RSC, were busy getting ready for the largest event weve held to date, the first

    RSC East Midlands e-fair.

    In this edition of In touch, Chris Hill, the RSC Manager divulges more information on the

    e-fair, including details of the Keynote speakers, and some of the organisations wholl

    be contributing.

    This months newsletter also includes articles from the DfES, UKERNA, the Higher

    Education Academy and the East Midlands Science Learning Centre, as well as the regular

    contributions from RSC staff. So, put the kettle on, sit back, and take a few minutes out to

    catch up with this terms ILT news for the East Midlands.

    Rachael Stacey, e-Learning Advisor (HE)


    EVENTSApril7th The Learning Journey

    13th Using ILT in ModernForeign Languages

    14th Getting started with MS Producer

    14th Learner Centred Process Review

    21st Going further with ILT

    26th Learner Centred Process Review

    26th Assessment andCommunications for e-Learning

    May3rd 17th Making Moving

    Images Work

    26th ILT in teacher Training

    June23rd e-Fair

    For further details see our

    I N S I D ET h i s i s s u eWelcome

    Course Genie: Issues arising from creatingyour own e-learning materials. Part one.

    Support for E-Guides in the East Midlands

    All the fun of the e-fair

    DFES e-Strategy

    JANET Network Reliability Study

    The Higher Education Academy

    Forthcoming events

    Focus on: Science Learning Centre East Midlands

    Hints and Tips: Creating online quizzes

    IntroductionThe biggest change in working practice brought about by theintroduction of end-user content creation tools is that materials aredeveloped by tutors, rather than being produced to order by amaterials development team. CourseGenie is perhaps a more obviouschoice of content creation tool, because it integrates with MicrosoftWord by running a macro, and should in theory make life easier forteaching staff, because assuming they are familiar with Word, theydont have to be particularly competent at web programming andcontent packaging. There are however, numerous issues outside thetechnical domain which are raised when central control of theproduction of learning material is delegated to those who own thecontent. This article will attempt to address some of the majorbenefits and potential problems that may arise for a college whenattempting to do such a thing.

    IssuesOne of the most pressing issues that could arise from such adevelopment is that the materials team will lose the uniformity oftheir materials. The potential is there for tutors to create contentwhich doesnt reach the same standards as materials created forthem. Although this is a problem it can be successfully addressed in anumber of ways. Course Genie could be made a staff developmentpriority: plan training sessions before tutors create their first chunk ofmaterial; outline a structure to work with; and, assist in thedevelopment of good practice. Practically speaking, we could

    perhaps set up a structure on the colleges VLE whereby teaching staffwould be expected to upload material in specific places. Forinstance, a course can be broken down into weekly chunks, and thenfurther still into course specifics and even templates. Assistance couldalso be given in the use of metadata. If all course materials arecorrectly indexed they will be more easily used and adapted by othermembers of staff. Content will also integrate seamlessly with pre-existing materials, and be more user-friendly to the student. It isimportant at this stage of planning, however, to be aware that if theproduction of materials is seen as being too rigid and structured staffmay feel that they dont have ownership over their content, and mayeven feel that what they upload wont be up to standard.

    To combat this, one suggestion is to promote the idea of subjectspecific working groups, so that creation of materials can be sharedacross a department. Often content creation flounders whendevelopment within a subject is patchy, in that one or twoenthusiasts within a department create all the materials and sobecome reluctant to share resources. This is undesirable when weconsider that sharing is one of the most important ethosesunderpinning e-learning. The technology behind Course Genie cango a long way to resolving this issue, because teaching staff have theopportunity to convert existing electronic materials into interactivedocuments, and most will have something that they can publish. Thisbrings with a whole new set of issues which we will explore in thenext RSC newsletter.

    Chris Bell, Specialist Colleges Advisor


    What Issues Arise from giving Subject Specialists the

    Tools to Create their own E-Learning Materials?

    As part of the national network of ScienceLearning Centres, the Science Learning CentreEast Midlands has been providing aprogramme of innovative CPD for all thoseinvolved in science education, at all levels. Wehave provided courses for all those involved inscience education, from colleagues teachingearly years, primary and secondary to FE. Ourcourses also support technicians andclassroom assistants.

    Science Learning Centrecourses have evolved anddeveloped from focus groupmeetings, discussion at eventsand meetings with individualschools & colleges. We areable to be both reactive andproactive, focussing on theneeds of colleagues across theregion. Reaction to our courseshas been extremely positive:

    I have really enjoyed thecourse. I am taking someexcellent ideas away with me.One of the best courses Ive been on. The styleand presentation was excellent. A veryvaluable day.

    As an NQT, I find these sessions very helpfulfor building on my current subject knowledgeand ways of teaching. As a supply teacher italso keeps me in touch with current issues?

    I will be teaching spectroscopy fromSeptember 2005 so this will be a good startingpoint for resources and teaching A2. A mostenjoyable day, thank you.

    In addition to our courses we havecollaborated with the DfES on a ScienceTeaching Rave! aimed at KS4 and post-16teachers in schools & colleges. We are alsoproviding a days event Chemistry: HandsFree & Hands-On for teachers and students ofpost-16 chemistry as part of the Aimhigherproject Chemistry: The Next Generation.Throughout 2005 we will be hosting events forLEAs, the Association for Science Education,

    Royal Society of Chemistry andthe examination group OCR.

    Our publicity is sent to schools &colleges across the region at thebeginning of each term. Look outfor the brochure and book early!

    Drop-inEvery Tuesday evening from4pm until 6pm we have aninformal drop-in session basedat the Centre at the Universityof Leicester. These sessions areFREE - all we ask is that youcall us to let us know you are

    coming! Come and view the latest scienceresources, try out software or refine your ICTskills with support from our ICT specialist.

    To contact us about any aspect of scienceeducation and how we can help in yourprofessional development,, or visit our website

    Sue Bull, Science Learning Centre East Midlands

    Hints and Tips:Many of you who have attended our ILT subject days have experiencedhow easy it is to create an online quiz. For those of you who havent, hereare some tips to get you started:

    There are lots of packages available to help you build your quiz. By using theaction buttons option in PowerPoint you can create a simple interactive quizthat can be placed on your Intranet and used as a self assessment tool. Moreadvanced quizzes and exams can be created by using specialised softwarepackages, such as Quia, TOIA and Hot Potatoes.

    With Quia, you can create 16 types of educational games and activities,quizzes with eight different question types, surveys and web pages. Thereare also around 2 million shared activities on the site, which can be useddirectly or modified to suit your own needs. Quia does require subscription(from US $49 - approximately 25 - for an individual licence).

    TOIA is an advanced online assessment management system, funded by theJISC Exchange for Learning (X4L) programme. TOIA can be used to createand share 9 different types of questions, including essay questions. TOIA isfreely available to all UK FE and HE institutions until August.

    Hot Potatoes is a suite of six authoring tools, which can be used to createweb-based exercises of several types, including multiple choice questions,crosswords and gap-fill exercises. If you work in a non-profit makingeducational organisation, and are prepared to share your exercises bymaking them publicly accessible, then you can use the software free of

    charge. If you password-protect your exercises or distribute them only onan Intranet, you will need to buy a licence.

    Creating an exercise using Hot Potatoes takes 3 steps:

    1. Entering the data (questions, answers etc.)2. Configuring the output (instructions, button captions, appearance etc.)3. Creating web pages (compiling your quiz into HTML pages)

    For example, to create a crossword exercise using Hot Potatoes, simply:

    Open the JCross program and give your crossword a title Enter your letters in the grid by clicking on a square and typing a letter Click the Add clues button Select an answer, type in a clue and click OK Configure the output. Click Options>Configure output. The dialogue box

    enables you to add subtitles, feedback etc, and change the appearance ofyour quiz

    Save your quiz Create your web page. Click File>Create web page>Web page for v6

    browsers, and your crossword is complete!

    All of these packages come with detailed tutorials to guide you through thecreation of your quiz, so take a few minutes to read through and look atsome example exercises. In no time at all youll have made your firstonline quiz!

    Rachael Staceye-Learning Adviser (HE)

    Creating online quizzes

    w w w. r s c - e a s t - m i d l a n d s . a c . u k w w w. r s c - e a s t - m i d l a n d s . a c . u k

    Course Genie: Part one...

    Science Learning Centre East Midlands

    F O C U SON...

  • intouchintouch

    The study is set against a backdrop ofincreasing dependency on networkconnectivity, as seen by JANET organisations.It will seek to help organisations identify andunderstand the risks facing their networks andtheir connection(s) to JANET.

    Results from the SuperJANET5 requirementsanalysis highlighted JANET reliability as anarea of growing importance, and whilst JANETdoes provide good reliability there is alwaysroom for improvement. UKERNA iscontinually striving to improve the reliability ofthe SuperJANET backbone and RegionalNetworks: one of the aims of SuperJANET5 isto reduce the number of single points of failurewithin regional networks and theirconnectivity to the SuperJANET backbone.

    This study focuses on the edge of the networkas the final part of the delivery chain ofservices to end users.

    The study will initially seek to conductinterviews with key staff from a range of JANETconnected organisations, in order to identifyand characterise the key areas of dependencythat organisations have on their local networkinfrastructure and their connection(s) to JANET.This information will help generate a widersurvey of JANET connected organisations. Theinformation gathered from interviews and thesurvey will be analysed to provide a summary ofthe approaches taken to risk management andstrategies currently in use to mitigate these risks.Detailed work will be undertaken with JANETconnected organisations and Regional Networks

    to assess the effectiveness of current riskmitigation measures. Practical advice on therange of strategies for risk mitigation, includinga number of case studies will be produced.

    If any organisations would like to take anactive part in the interviews, survey ordiscussions, please contact the author. If youreceive a request to take part in the study,UKERNA hopes you feel able to participate. JNT Association 2005

    Henry HughesSuperJANET Development


    The DfES e-strategyOn 15 March 2005, the Department for Education and Skillspublished the e-Strategy Harnessing Technology: Transforminglearning and childrens services.

    This strategy describes the use of digital and interactive technologiesto achieve a more personalised approach within all areas ofeducation. It is an ambitious strategy covering all sectors for the nextfive years and beyond.

    The aim in five years time is to build the common ground that bringseducation to the critical baseline of being able to use the technologyeffectively. In ten years, building on the newfound capabilities ofour workforces, our newly skilled graduates, and our new appetitefor innovation, we could be anywhere - if we have the ambition andthe imagination to go there.

    The strategy sets out to achieve four overarching objectives:

    transforming teaching, learning and child development, enablingchildren and learners of all ages to meet their highest expectations

    connecting with hard to reach groups in new ways opening up education to partnerships with other organisations moving to a new level of efficiency and effectiveness in

    our delivery.

    It is designed to harness technology to the needs of children, learners,parents, teachers, carers, employers and all our stakeholders. We areonly able to do this if we are clear about what we want as well whatwe need, and how by using ICT this will be achieved.

    The e-Strategy also has the following six priorities:

    an integrated online information service for all citizens integrated online personal support for children and learners a collaborative approach to transforming teaching and learning a good quality training and support package for practitioners a leadership and development package for organisational

    capability in ICT a common digital infrastructure to support transformation

    and reform

    To find out more about the DfES e-strategy, see the summary on the RSC website, or download the full document from

    Courtesy of the DfES website Crown Copyright 1995 - 2005

    Plans are now well advanced for thefirst East Midlands e-fair organised bythe Regional Support Centre.

    It will be held at the main Kedleston Roadsite of the University of Derby on June 23rd2005, starting at 10.00am. The theme ismaking Information Learning Technology(ILT) normal - not an optional add on forenthusiasts, but a valuable tool for everyone.

    Keynote speakers include Sal Cooke, Headof Techdis, and Alan Noble MBE, Head ofAdult and Community Learning forBuckinghamshire. There will be workshops,seminars and an exhibition, with somethingfor every role - teaching and learning,management, staff development, technicaland business support - and every sector theRSC supports - FE, Specialist and Sixth Formcolleges, Adult and Community Learningand aspects of HE.

    Contributors include the biggest collectionof acronyms and initialisms ever assem...