Learning Our ABCs: Project Update

By Clare Gormley

It seems safe to state that there are challenges in learning design that almost all institutions face: limited staff time, a modular focus, and a tendency towards ‘lone ranger’ thinking to name just some of the potential barriers to successful course design. These types of challenges have significantly influenced the team-based ABC methodology developed originally by Clive Young and Nataša Perović of University College London (UCL) which continues to grow in popular use worldwide as a model for blended learning design.

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Dublin City University’s (DCU) Teaching Enhancement Unit is currently engaged in the ABC to VLE Erasmus+ funded project to further develop the ABC Learning Design methodology. As relative newcomers to ABC (DCU first experienced it in 2017), this project has been a great opportunity to apply the approach and benefit from the experience of UCL and the 11 other European partners involved. For those not familiar with the format, ABC offers a rapid-fire, hands-on workshop approach where in just 90 minutes academic teams work together to design or redesign modules and programmes. By the end of the process, teams have discussed, debated, and discovered a range of potential activities and technologies, communicated their overall vision of their course, and ultimately created a storyboard of an intended learning experience. Not bad work in under two hours, especially when it all goes according to plan.

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The overall goal of this particular European project is to develop ABC as a downloadable toolkit that can be used and adapted by any institution. Clinical-Exercise-Science-Programme-Team-.jpegAt DCU we have adapted the ‘classic’ materials to suit important strategic priorities such as flexible learning modes, enhanced feedback mechanisms, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Furthermore, by using the approach with several teams, evaluating it, and learning how different aspects perform on the ground, we hope to continue to develop our own expertise in using the approach in different contexts. We also plan to do our bit to promote conversations amongst the Irish learning design community about using and tailoring the method to optimum effect.

You can read more about some of the lessons learned along the way on Clare’s person blog post reflecting on this initiative.

A Day of Talks with Handful of Spaces Still Available to Join a Conversation with Professor Paul Prinsloo

unnamedOn the 8th April 2019 the NIDL is hosting a number of events. The first is an all-day Learning Design Cross Institutional Network, a professional network which is led by Simon Walker, Head of Educational Development at Greenwich University. As part of this event Gabi Witthaus will give a talk on:

“Knowledge Exchange on Open and Distance Learning for Refugees in Higher Education”

This session is very appropriate given that Dublin City University (DCU) was Ireland’s first University of Sanctuary and continues to develop both online and campus-based initiatives for refugees and asylum seekers. Unfortunately at this stage the all-day workshop is full but we do have a handful of spaces still available for this follow up event.

NIDL Visiting Scholar Series

Paul Prinsloo.jpgWe are delighted that in the early evening on April 8th Professor Paul Prinsloo from University of South Africa (UNISA) has agreed to give a talk on the topical issue of using student data. Paul is a Research Professor in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) in the College of Economic and Management Sciences at UNISA. His academic background includes fields as diverse as theology, art history, business management, online learning, and religious studies. His current research focuses on the collection, analysis and use of student data in learning analytics, graduate supervision and digital identity.

Title: Using Student Data to Inform Design and Pedagogy: Some Pointers

Abstract: 

Higher education has always collected, analysed and used student data for a variety of purposes e.g., reporting, strategic planning and operational resource allocation. Due to the increasing digitisation and institutionalisation of online learning, as well as advances in technology, analytics tools and software, higher education institutions now have access to more (volume) student data than ever before. We also have access to more nuanced data (granularity and variety) as well as the increasing possibility to collect real-time behavioural data and provide feedback and intervene in real-time. The year 2011 saw the emergence of learning analytics “the measurement, collection, analysis and use of student data for purposes of understanding and optimising learning and the environments in which it occurs.” Since 2011, learning analytics as research focus but also as field of practice matured and continue to provoke discussions and research pertaining to its impact not only on student success and retention, but increasingly also in shaping resource allocation, learning design and pedagogy. While evidence of the impact of learning analytics on improving student success is varied and often context-specific, there is increasing interest how student data can be used to inform learning design and pedagogy. In this presentation I would like to provoke some discussion surrounding some of our assumptions pertaining to student data before mapping evidence of how student data can inform learning design and pedagogy. I hope to conclude by locating the collection, analysis and use of student data to inform learning design and pedagogy in the nexus of ethics, responsibility and care.

Where: Q303/Q304 Business School, Dublin City University, Glasnevin Campus

When: 5:30pm Monday, 8th April 2019, followed by networking and light refreshments

Registration

As the number of seats available for Paul’s talk is limited and to assist us with catering requirements, it is essential that you register for this event. There will be a wait list should additional seats become available. Click on the following link to meet Paul and join us for this talk…

https://nidl-visiting-scholar.eventbrite.ie

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