RSC East Midlands newsletter "intouch" - Summer 2009

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he 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. This edition celebrates progress in e-learning in the region.

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<ul><li><p>Celebrating progressIn this edition of intouch we look atthe successes achieved in e-learningacross the region. If you want toknow how far your organisation hascome, then why not undertake ane-Progress Review (Page 2).</p><p>To see examples of good practiceturn to Page 4 or come along to thee-fair on 23rd June in Leicester. And if youve got your own examplesthen why not share them with us.</p><p>intouchthe termly newsletter produced by RSC East Midlands Summer 2009 Volume 7: Issue 3</p><p>Stimulating and supportinginnovation in learning</p><p>Contents1 A celebration of </p><p>e-learning2 Regional News2 Taking e-learning to </p><p>the top2 New e-Progress Review3 Working together3 New RSC staff4 e-learning prize draw4 Success in the region5 Best practice around</p><p>the UK5 Resource Corner6 Hints &amp; Tips6 RSC support updates7 Focus On: Accessibility7 JISC news8 Sustainability8 MIS support</p><p>It doesnt do any harm every so often toreflect on where you are, and lately Ivebeen doing just that as we reach the partof the RSC year where we review whathas been achieved in 2008/09 and plan for2009/10.</p><p>RSC support started in 1999 and Ivebeen RSC East Midlands manager sinceSeptember 2003. In that time much haschanged in the world of new andemerging technologies, both in thesector and in the support provided bythe RSC.</p><p>Drawing on a carefully constructedsample of my own unbiased perspective, Iwould identify at least four significantachievements for the East Midlands post-16 education and training sector to beproud of:</p><p> There is much better understandingof what e-learning is, what it can dofor the learner experience and thebusiness case for investment.</p><p> The technology is much more reliableand user friendly and there is a lotmore of it about.</p><p> We are using the technology muchmore thoughtfully and creatively.</p><p> The region has active and inclusivenetworks of those interested in theeffective use of technology, and I am</p><p>particularly proud of the RSC role inestablishing and supporting these.</p><p>So, lots of progress have a look atthe examples on Page 4. But providershave nowhere near reaped the fullbenefit of technology. This is partlybecause the potential is continuallymoving on as technology continues toevolve, but it is mainly because we havemuch more to learn.</p><p>Providers still need to be better at:</p><p> Realising the benefits consistentlyacross whole organisations sharingeffective practice.</p><p> Understanding the pedagogy; thetechnology is a means to an end notan end in itself. What is the best blendof technology and traditional ways ofteaching and learning? What is thebest way to take advantage of thepersonal technology learners have?</p><p> Integrating systems together. This ispartly a technical matter, but moresignificantly it is to do with ways ofworking, of only doing things once,of making the technology simplyanother tool everyone can use.</p><p>Thats the way I see it. Id beinterested to hear from you as towhether you agree.</p><p>Chris Hill, Manager, RSC East Midlands</p><p>Celebrate e-learningJust take a moment to stop and think and youll find theres alot to be positive about with regard to e-learning in the EastMidlands. Here are the views of the RSC Manager, Chris Hill. </p></li><li><p>2Regional NewsFeaturing the latest news on e-learning around the region from the learning providers that the EastMidlands RSC supports.</p><p>LIG 4 funding successThe Association of Learning Providers(ALP) has funded projects involving anumber of learning providers within theEast Midlands region. Congratulationsto all those who were successful!</p><p>There were several consortium bids:</p><p> Acorn Training Consultants Ltd(Look and Learn)</p><p> Barnardos Lincs Training (TA Todays Assessing)</p><p> Charnwood Training Consultants(Virtual Academy)</p><p> Institute of Swimming (AASE onlineNVQ learning resources)</p><p> The Derbyshire Network(Implementation of e-portfoliolearning and assessment)</p><p>As well as one individual bid:</p><p> KM Training Ltd (Personalising andPromoting Flexible E Learning in theWork Based Sector)</p><p>To find out more about thecollaborative approach taken byCharnwood Training Consultants cometo the e-fair on June 23rd.</p><p>Latest on e-portfoliosA joint event hosted by the Universityof Nottinghams Centre forInternational ePortfolio Developmentand Leap Ahead (the Lifelong LearningNetwork for Nottinghamshire andDerbyshire) will look at how e-portfoliosare being used by several learningproviders in the region.</p><p>Towards a Regional Ecosystem: e-Portfolio Showcase, StreamliningProgression Pathways, 14-19landscape will take place onWednesday June 10th in Nottingham.</p><p>To read more details about SouthNottingham Colleges part in theproject read the case study atwww.excellencegateway.org.uk.</p><p>CorrectionOur apologies go to Mas Sore atNorthampton College whose surnamewe printed incorrectly in the featureabout Information Skills in the Springedition of intouch.</p><p>As a result, the RSC Steering Group,which is responsible for highlightingregional learning provider needs, hasproposed that the RSC offer support toGoverning Bodies and Corporations.</p><p>So far, several colleges have taken upthe offer and agreed dates for an RSCinput into a Governors meeting or</p><p>training activity. The planned inputsprovide a strategic overview of the roleof technology such as What willlearning be like in ten years time? orThe e-mature organisation and areadapted to the particular priorities ofeach organisation.</p><p>The RSC emphasis is not a technical onebut focuses on how technology canimprove the learner experience and theeffectiveness and efficiency of thebusiness operation.</p><p>If you think that your organisationwould benefit from input at this level,and would like to discuss how the RSCcan help, please get intouch with ChrisHill, RSC Manager on 01509 618114or chris.hill@rsc-em.ac.uk.</p><p>Taking e-learningall the way to the topThe use of technology has to be embedded in the strategic thinkingof the whole organisation for a learning provider to gain themaximum benefit.</p><p>RSC East Midlands is now offering thenewly designed e-Learning ProgressReview (ePR).</p><p>Currently only available to furthereducation and sixth form colleges, ePRprovides your organisation with astatement of your position in relation to theuse of new technology, based on the viewsof your senior and middle managers. </p><p>It is an approach to strategydevelopment and transformation that willenable progress towards fully embeddingnew and emerging technology.</p><p>ePR Benefits</p><p> A means of supporting culture change A picture of where your institution is in</p><p>relation to organisationalimplementation of technology</p><p> Recognise and address opportunitiesfor further developments</p><p> Increased involvement of key playerswithin the organisation</p><p> An aid to self-assessment An opportunity to reflect upon and</p><p>evidence good practice</p><p>The process produces an individualanalysis of your current e-maturity and aprofile based on your responses. </p><p>This forms the basis for a discussion withkey stakeholders from which guidanceand action points will be drawn. These,along with our recommendations, willhelp you make progress towards fullyembedding the use of technologyacross your organisation. </p><p>If you would like to benefit from anePR, please contact Judi Millage on01509 618115 or judi.millage@rsc-em.ac.uk who will arrange for an RSCadvisor to meet with your SeniorManagement Team nominee to discussthe process and make arrangements tocarry out the ePR.</p><p>An opportunity forcontinuous improvement</p></li><li><p>Peer to PeerRSC East Midlands was recently invited to contribute to an Adult andCommunity Learning (ACL) providers Peer Review group as it soughtto look at the role that technology could play in teaching and learningfor their respective organisations. The Peer Review group comprises sevenAdult Learning providers in the EastMidlands region and they meet on atermly basis to benchmark their activitiesand share ideas. The focus of the Springmeeting was to re-visit the providersInformation Learning Technology (ILT)strategies and their supporting documents.</p><p>Prior to the meeting the RSC was asked toprovide a list of factors to be consideredwhen devising an ILT Strategy. SharonCope, Quality Manager at LeicestershireAdult Learning Service who hosted theevent felt this was useful. </p><p>Members of the group were thereforetasked with making judgements on theappropriateness of the strategies againstthis range of criteria and the list was usedas a framework for discussion.</p><p>The participants split into small groupsso that they could spend time focusingon a couple of strategies from otherlearning providers in the review group,before everyone came back together toshare their observations.</p><p>Kathryn Robinson and Ben Williams fromthe RSC were on hand to support thediscussion between peer reviewers andalso presented their overall thoughts on ILTstrategy development in the ACL sector. </p><p>Anna Bridges, Adult Learning Quality &amp;Training Manager at Northampton AdultLearning Service was one of theparticipants in the day. She commentedthat it was very useful to meet withother ILT co-ordinators and managersto discuss the issues relating to how ILTstrategies and visions are beingimplemented in different authorities. </p><p>The sharing of ideas and best practicewas the main benefit for me.</p><p>Meeting the RSC support staff wasalso helpful in knowing that there is asource of help for future strategies inenhancing ILT within our local service.</p><p>For a copy of the document Questionsto ask when judging an ILT strategyplease contact Kathryn Robinson on01509 618113 or kathryn.robinson@rsc-em.ac.uk. Alternatively you can find iton the ACL forum on our Moodle athttp://moodle.rsc-em.ac.uk, although itis suitable for all sectors to use. </p><p>If you are part of a Peer Reviewgroup, whatever the sector, then theRSC may be able to help facilitate asession that focuses on the use oftechnology in learning. Just getintouch with the details.</p><p>Portland College has initiated a projectto pair up colleges with universityprogramming students to produce smallexamples of open source software thatmeet accessibility needs for learners. </p><p>Matt Harrison, Research andDevelopment Manager at PortlandCollege, explains that in the Coding ForAssistive Technology Solutions in(C4ATS)Project we envisage the pairsidentifying particular accessingdifficulties, or short-comings in existingsoftware, and then working togethertowards a solution by creating a smallpiece of software. </p><p>The software will be available to all,free of charge, as open source. Thiswould allow others to develop eachprogramme further and potentiallyexpand its audience.</p><p>This project is in its infancy, and is lookingfor interested parties to participate. Initiallythey would like to hear from FurtherEducation, Sixth Form and SpecialistColleges within the East Midlands.</p><p>For further information go towww.portland.ac.uk or emailmharrison@portland.ac.uk.</p><p>Need a Hand?</p><p>New HE advisorWeve recently welcomed SteveSaffhill to the RSC team.</p><p>I startedworking with theRSC in January2009. My mainresponsibility isas HigherEducation (HE)Advisor where Ican help with thedevelopment anduse of learningtechnologies specifically in the sector.</p><p>Current topics include thedevelopment of HE strategies, now arequirement for HEFCE, howtechnology can help with the IQERprocess; and the role that newtechnologies could play in enhancingstudent reflection.</p><p>I have worked in education since 1994 atthe University of Sunderland, GranthamCollege and Loughborough College,during which I have been involved withthe delivery of HE programmes in an FEenvironment for 12 years.</p><p>One new service that Ive been workingon with some regional learning providersis using learner surveys to ascertain thelearners experiences with technology.This is a great tool that colleges havefound really useful in helping to buildtheir strategies.</p><p>Tel: 01509 618117Mob: 07833 058925Email: steve.saffhill@rsc-em.ac.ukWeb: www.twitter.com/stesaf</p><p>And one more additionWeve also been joined by PhilHardcastle on a part-time basis for a fewmonths. Phil has plenty of experiencewithin theregion, workingin a 14-18communitycollege, a localauthority adulteducationservice and alsospending acouple of yearsat NIACE.</p><p>Hes currently carrying out a number ofdifferent projects for the RSC and hasrecently produced and delivered a courseon e-learning and e-safety, the resourcesfor which are available on our Moodlesite (see page 5 for more details).</p><p>Tel: 01509 618110Mob: 07935 341845Email: phil.hardcastle@rsc-em.ac.uk</p><p>3</p><p>The ACL Peer Review Group tackling ILT strategy</p></li><li><p>4Celebration ofe-learningprize drawTo celebrate e-learning progress in theEast Midlands region we are collectingdetails of effective e-learning that havetaken place recently, preferably withinthe last year.</p><p>Is there something that you are proudto be involved with? Is theresomething that youve done thatwould be of interest to others? If sothen please take a few moments to letus know what youve been up to.</p><p>To enter the prize draw simply go towww.rsc-em.ac.uk and fill in thefollowing details: Name Organisation What have you done? How has it improved learning?</p><p>This prize draw is open to all supportedlearning providers from within the EastMidlands post-16 education andtraining sector and can cover anypractice relating to e-learning. </p><p>For example it could be based in learningand teaching; strategic planning;technical; staff development; quality;learning resources; or teacher training.</p><p>All entries will be entered into a prizedraw that will take place at the end of theRSC East Midlands e-fair on 23rd June.</p><p>The prizes for the draw are:</p><p> A USB Camcorder An MP3 Player A Digital Dictaphone</p><p>We look forward to hearing aboutwhat youve been up to. With yourpermission we will look to disseminatethis through our variouscommunication channels so thateveryone can benefit.</p><p>If you have any queries then pleaseget intouch with Kevin Spencer,Information Officer at the RSC, on01509 618112 or kevin.spencer@rsc-em.ac.uk. </p><p>Full details of this prize draw areavailable at www.rsc-em.ac.uk/prizedraw.asp</p><p>The first principalsfirst principle</p><p>When I became Manager of the EastMidlands Regional Support Centre in2003, the first Principal I spoke to wasJim Mutton, Principal ofLoughborough College. I asked himwhat he felt was the most importantsort of support for the RSC to provideand his reply was simple. I want toknow what others are doing that wecould usefully do here. That principlehas been behind much of what theEast Midlands RSC provides.</p><p>Its a sound idea because there is muchgood practice across the East Midlands. Ihave just browsed the East Midlands casestudies on the Excellence Gateway atwww.excellencegateway.org.uk. Theycome from all parts of the post-16education and training sector and there ismuch of value to share. Heres a selection.</p><p>Some case studies show a direct linkbetween the use of technology andimproved recruitment, retention andachievement statistics, for exampleNorthampton Colleges innovations ininformation skills and Care Training EastMidlands mobile classroom.</p><p>Others are examples of improving accessto learning by taking technology toplaces it is currently not available,especially in the workplace. Charnw...</p></li></ul>