Glass orb with reflection of the landscape in it

Over the course of the last couple of weeks, I’ve been doing a fair bit of investigation into the ABC model for learning design, something I mentioned last week. We ran 3 workshops last week, trying to get to grips with adapting a face to face activity to an online scenario. This week, the decision to move to Ultra Courses in Blackboard was confirmed. It’s something that we’ve been looking at for some time. It’s a different way of interacting with Blackboard, and generally a significantly better experience for both staff and students. That said, there are some (admittedly fairly niche) features of Original courses, that probably only 2% (if that) of staff are really using.

I can see why some staff will be apprehensive of the move; they’ve not only got to adjust their whole approach to teaching, to then have to put it into a seemingly “different” VLE will be challenging. I’m hoping that when people see what the Ultra interface is really like, they’ll realise that rebuilding their module would mean probably changing about 95% of their content in any case. So adding it to the VLE, in an smoother way, perhaps won’t be the challenge they fear.

However, I remember the move, when I was at Portsmouth, from WebCT to Moodle. Perhaps unsurprisingly,  I was one of the early adopters, then spent time supporting others who weren’t as keen to move; though challenging at times, it was a good way to get to know people I’d not really spent time with before.

Luckily, the move we’ll be undertaking at Dundee, is sticking with the same underlying tool. It’s much easier to copy content within a VLE than between them, and the terminology etc, is generally the same. It’s not going to be easy for many staff; and they will need a lot of support, though I’m definitely of the “teach a man to fish” school of support – not doing it for them.

2 silhouetted children fishing
Shared by © 2014 Kanani. Licensed under CC-BY on SketchPort

Things I’ve read this week.

James Clay asked What have we learnt? from the last few months, his point

I don’t think we’ve seen so far could be described as online learning as in the sense of what we would have described as online learning pre-covid-19.

What we have seen is an emergency response to a crisis and a swift move to remote delivery

rings true with me.

Zoom Fatigue has been discussed by a variety of people – and this sums it up well. The other thing I’d add is that as well as a wall of faces – you’ve not got that ability, that you have a in face to face meeting, to make eye contact with either the speaker, or someone else – often when the speaker makes you think of something that you know someone else will also be thinking.

The Pivot to online education is discussed a lot I tend to think of a pivot being delicately balanced, to me, we’ve more been through someone upsetting the apple cart (a whole fleet of apple carts. Tansy Jessop, in Wonkhe earlier this week made some really good points, though I did agree with the comment that Emily made, that Lecture Capture doesn’t (didn’t) lead to students not attending lectures. It was also good to see familiar names in the comments!

A few weeks ago, I shared a photo of the Lego set I’d started building over Easter. It took some time, though it’s now been finished for a while. There’s so much detail in it!


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To do next week …

Having just installed CampusPress’s Accessibility tools,  I realise I’m going to have to change to that themes – or at least update this one. However, as I also installed their Flex Theme, that’s probably a good start. It’ll also help me get used to the block editor, which I’m not so keen on …


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