a new hashtag is born #LTHEevent

Recently, I was asked to identify Learning and Teaching conferences that are happening, which might be useful for colleagues to attend and present and we could share regularly with our colleagues at MMU.

There is so so much happening and it is hard to decide which ones to include in the small selection we have added to our website and through our monthly newsletter. We added a section to the website which links to regular events that are happening throughout the year as well as a link to a really useful website which is linked to a database on conferences worldwide not exclusively linked to learning and teaching. To access this page, please click here.

Then the idea popped into my head that in order to keep the order fresh and versatile, it would be great if we could find a way to curate such events more widely so that it doesn’t become a task that one or a few people do but the wider community.

lightbulb

image source here

Eureka!

We can use a hashtag and invite colleagues to share their events and conferences with all of us. I tweeted this yesterday and hope that people will find this useful so that we can share exciting events that are happening throughout the year.

The proposed hashtag is #LTHEevent

Please use this if you think, this is a good idea, to collaboratively curate LTHE events that will be useful for others. Thank you ūüėČ

 

#DAPP162 session 4 >>> 1+1=20

Yesterday, was our last session.

I was full of excitement and had prepared a double surprise. I couldn’t wait and despite the rain, we went ahead. Dr Nikos Fachantidis from the University of Macedonia (Greece) joined us who is a valuable collaborator on the #creativeHE course with his students and it was a great opportunity to share some of the work we do and enable him to get a flavour of some of the work we do with our academics.

I based the ‘session’ on a game I have played before. It is a mix of PBL and game-based learning. I have played it many times. Each time it is a unique experience and it always seems to be valuable for those participating. This time there was no cash for getting an artefact/object/resource that could help turning something tricky into something exciting and make learning memorable and stick.

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in action… image source

It was very interesting that this created an additional challenge, which was however overcome through collaboration and resourcefulness that did develop through the conversations and explorations, it seems. Colleagues from different disciplines worked together and helped creatively problem-solve a teaching situation that didn’t work well. I was amazed at the ideas and the result and it was definitely time well spent outside the classroom that will lead to specific changes to practice. There is really something about changing environment and getting outside! I am really looking forward to find out how the ideas will continue to grow and how they are implemented in the classroom.¬†

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findings… image source

I would like to share two things I learnt today.  

  • The game works with really large, medium, smaller and really small groups, which is good to know. Adjustments have, of course, to be made and were made. My key question, is how can we make such experiences buzz-full regardless group size?
  • Examples don’t always work. They seem to be channeling thinking… and leading… and directing… we need to find more sophisticated ways when using them. I need to think about this a bit more. (Often) It is not what you do it, but how and why…

Only one out of 20 #DAPP162 students came to this class. How would you feel?

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Thank you Niko for joining in. Image source

This was our last session today. 

Missing you all already. 

#DAPP162 session 3 >>> planning for learning

A session around planning for learning and learning theories…

The plan today was to model self-directed learning. In my work process and modelling is perhaps more important that product… does this make sense? After sharing the outcomes for the session and reminding colleagues about the assessment for the unit, I deleted the presentation.

Yes, I deleted the presentation in front of my colleagues eyes and asked the group to design the main part of the session… I did help a tiny bit by providing a series of resources as well as suggesting a circuit training approach… perhaps I helped too much?

What follows are my thoughts as it was happening… using a sort of line poem approach… inspired by Dr Sam Illingworth and a Greenhouse session around using poetry in teaching.

Slow

Slower

Time

The right time?

Conversations

Conversations

Slow

Delete

Done

Was this right?

Discussions

Lost?

Wondering

Wandering?

Purpose

Going somewhere?

Anywhere?

Lost?

Can this work?

Silence?

Lost?

Confused?

Confused?

Very confused/

Coming together

Slow

Thinking

Questions

Sharing

Progress?

Discussions

Questions

Laughter

Smiles

Thinking

Designing

Coming together

Negotiating

Laughter

Confused

Negotiating

Going somewhere

But where?

Smiling

Laughter

Determination

Doing it

Doing it

All coming together

Almost done

Time?

Almost no more time

No more time

Excitement

Done?

Done.

Did it work?

For some?

Rollercoaster…

poem

drawing the poem… using Doodlefan

Some pictures follow or the above story in pictures

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designing for learning and learning through designing (image source)

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Taking learning outside the classroom… follow me… (image source)

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Threshold concepts in action (image source)

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How you felt and what you thought of this process… (image source)

Next week is our last session and I am taking you all to Manchester City Centre. I can’t wait!¬†

#DAPP162 session 2 > The HE landscape

This was an high impact session, it definitely felt like it. Was it because of the meat tenderiser? … keep reading… Was I more organised and managed time better? Did, I learn a little something from last time? I suspect that it was a combination that made this cocktail work.

¬†As I told everybody in the first session that they don’t have to come to any of the sessions, it was wonderful that everybody actually did return this week. Voluntarily. Finding out from my colleagues what they got from the first session was important for me so I asked everybody to reflect on it and share it via the value jar. Not sure everybody did reply as we were more in class…

  • “creative examples of engagement”
  • An idea of peer observation and its advantages. I appreciated the effort/planning you put into your session”
  • “Observation ideas, how to collaborate with colleagues”
  • “Speed dating experience”
  • “The value of observing even above being observed”
  • “Getting student to go through Moodle page wa sbettern than tutor going through it”
  • “Structure of the unit and greater understanding of reflection”
  • “Good idea of asking one student to show the rest of the class the Moodle content”
  • “Observation is ¬†common practice in HE to improve teaching and learning through reflection”
  • “Inspiration. Way we teach. Care about teaching”

I decided from next time to capture the responses on #101creativeideas cards as these could then also be submitted to the project.

This second session was about the HE landscape. A taster of it in the classroom and a main course as we “eat” it everyday. It would have been possible to purely report on all the changes that happened in the 50 or 60 years, but I didn’t. My colleague Stephen had prepared some flashcards inspired from John Lea’s book, which I decided to use in a group activity to spark some conversation about some of these changes in the UK.

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in action… image source

The activity worked well and while it was all text-based it did trigger interesting conversations. Perhaps we could create timelines linked to our own academic journeys as students and staff. Would this have been more useful? It could have been done on paper or digitally as well? I felt that something was missing from this activity… an opportunity to contextualise and synthesise more. Further ideas are emerging which I will put together and adjust for next time. ¬†

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Just what we needed… image source

Ok, some of you might think, what did she do with the meat tenderiser, I mentioned at the beginning (see picture below). The idea was to run a debate in class. I have done it in the past around learning theories and it did work and generated a thinking classroom. 

Now my problem was that we didn’t have weeks or even days to prepare for this (as I didn’t warn anybody in advance!!!) and I wasn’t sure if it would work. Time was I think an issue… and not everybody understood how the TEF vs Open Education really could be a debate in the short preparation time we had. I witnessed a really well managed and civilised debate… maybe a little bit too civilised?¬†

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Can you see the (wooden) meat tenderiser? How as it used? image source

I hope the debate triggered some thinking and generated the need to read more about both arguments that will help colleagues formulate their own position and better understand how the current big picture actually translates into their own professional context. Next time, I really should place colleagues in groups at the end of the previous session so that they would have sufficient time to prepare their case and co-ordinate related online and offline activities in preparation for the debate. How would it have worked then? 

Session 3 will again be different. I have plans… and also thinking of session 4 already. ¬†¬†

See you on the 9th of November, in the purple room

Better late than never…

… how time flies…

I am buried in revising my draft thesis and the new academic year has started. There are ongoing open initiatives I support and new projects starting, internally and externally. All exciting stuff!

However, it is about time to write a little something here about what happened early in September. I did make a start on my tablet a while back… I think at least twice, but today I ¬†decided to start fresh and finish the post in one go while sitting at my desk at home. Here we go…

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Congratulations to all! Image source

ltawards-2016-individual-runner-upIn September this year, I was awarded runner up ALT Learning Technologist of the Year 2016. I feel humbled and honored to receive this award for my work in open education. Thank you Dr Cristina Costa for encouraging me.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate everybody for their individual and team awards and all highly commended colleagues.

It was fascinating to read about their achievements and  successes.

I really enjoyed the one day at the conference at Warwick University (lovely campus!!! the ping pong table was such a great idea!) and meeting so many innovative colleagues. It was especially wonderful to see Daniel Scott (the big individual winner!!!) and Iain Griffin (Highly commended!!!) and have chats with them. We agreed to stay in touch, which we have, and collaborate on a little project to give something back to the ALT community. We are going to make this happen ;). 

As an academic developer, digital and open practitioner, with a passion for experimentation it has been a fascinating journey and a pure pleasure to work with many colleagues in my own institutions, nationally and internationally. I feel that I have learnt a lot and their support has given my imagination wings to come-up with ideas that have become reality and are helping us all to engage in new and exciting professional development activities. From my work you will see that I have shared my ideas openly with many others. I guess for me collaboration is not a strategy, it is more a way of being, a philosophy. I also know that ideas can only grow if we share them. My dear friend and colleague reminded me a few years ago of the following African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go on your own. If you want to go further, go with others”.

Below are some of the key projects I initiated. You might find some of these useful for your development or they might give you ideas to develop something new in your area.

The openly licensed course Flexible, Distance and Online Learning (FDOL), which is a postgraduate module that was opened-up and became a cross-institutional collaboration initially between the University of Salford and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden (Lars Uhlin was my partner) and later Manchester Metropolitan University when I changed institutions.  FDOL an idea that originated from my MSc dissertation, was offered three times, with varying length up to 12 weeks. One of the iterations became a case for my PhD as it had collaborative open learning features using a problem-based learning approach.

FDOL provided the foundations for the openly licensed Bring Your Own Devices for Learning (BYOD4L) course. I was keen to experiment with something much shorter and enable different forms of collaborative learning that are community-based. Again it was inquiry-based and scenarios were used, this time in additional video format presenting student and academic staff perspectives  I shared the concept with Sue Beckingham and we became partners. BYOD4L was offered for the first time in 2014 and since 2016 the community itself organises it. I think this is an important move and a necessary one, if we want to sustain OEP and create capacity. The next iteration is in January 2017 and I am looking forward to supporting our three musketeers (Neil Withnell, Sheila MacNeill and Alex Spiers), in the background.

BYOD4L does have a daily tweetchat feature which was the highlight of the day and attracted large numbers of participants. This triggered a new idea in my mind for a weekly tweetchat that would be a regular CPD opportunity for all of us. While the idea was fresh in my mind, I shared the idea for the Learning and Teaching in HE chat (#LTHEchat) with Sue Beckingham, David Walker and Peter Reed and we decided to go ahead with it Since September 2014 the #LTHEchat has grown and the introduction of rotating organising teams as well as the collaboration with the #HEAchat has enabled it to grow further and become a popular weekly gathering of practitioners with rich and varied exchanges and debates around learning and teaching.

I had in mind to do something with FDOL, to take it into a new direction and this was materialised through using it and building the openly licensed course Flexible, Open and Social Learning or short FOS (Do you know that this means in Greek?). Again, I invited Sue Beckingham to work together on FOS. It was an opportunity for me to become more playful with the original formula, introduce a game-approach, create scenarios, with Ellie Hannan’s help, that were visual and engaging. As FDOL stretched over a series of weeks, again, I wanted to experiment with offering something like this over a week. We have offered this once so far.

Creativity for Learning is a postgraduate module I created at Manchester Met and opened-up. We call it #creativeHE and it has become more of a community and an ongoing collaboration among the Creative Academic network and many colleagues from different institutions nationally and internationally. One of the iterations (8 weeks) became my second case study for my PhD as it had collaborative open learning features in groups which were different from FDOL and it was a useful opportunity to explore how participants experienced it. It is a wonderful opportunity to become more playful and creative in our practices and the work we have done so far evidences that this is happening. This year we decided to launch the Creativity in HE project led by Prof. Norman Jackson with many happenings until the summer 2017 via #creativeHE.¬†The ¬†#greenhouse community at Manchester Met has lined up with the Creativity in HE project and I invited Ellie to lead the micro-project #101creativeideas. If you haven’t seen this yet, please have a look and contribute your ideas to this OER project.

Then there are the Teaching and Learning Conversations (TLC) webinars which start again this week. An initiative I brought to life when I was at Salford University, which has now grown into another cross-institutional collaboration with rotating organising teams. I guess the OER series Food for thought dates also back to that time and is something I would like to continue developing as well as find a way forward for my wheels idea.

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The journey continues… image source

Yes, an exciting and full academic year is ahead of me. I plan to finish my PhD studies (must work hard on this until then!!!) and work with many colleagues on learning and teaching projects that open our minds to new possibilities and practices.

… and I also decided to reflect on my journey as a digital and open practitioner and submit my CMALT portfolio. It might all have started when my dad sent me to college to become a computer programmer and then working as a programmer in the Hellenic Navy for 5 years… then leaving the army to go to university as a mature student to study… ¬†or when we moved from Germany to Greece… and then the UK… the story continues…

What will you do this year?

Chrissi
ps. A very special thank you to Neil Withnell.

#DAPP162 week 1 > 12 Oct 16

I am one of the tutors on the Developing Academic and Professional Practice unit aas part of our PgCert in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education and this week was our very first session.

When you come back after the summer break of non-teaching… you ask yourself… can I still do ¬†this?

I said that I would reflect with you all this term and this is my first entry. I decided to use Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle but with a twist… with images… they say, 1 image is worth 1000 words. Ok, there will be some words, but not many… Let’s give it a go.

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DESCRIPTION: I met my new group and my group  met me. At the heart of what I wanted to acheve was laying the foundations for a learning community to grow out of this session using creative and playful approaches with my colleagues. Image source

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FEELINGS: I felt excited, as I really want to take all my colleagues on an adventure to boost their ¬†confidence in trying something that they would never have done before. A lot of preparation went into this session to make it varied and stimulating…¬†Image source

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EVALUATION: The best part was when colleagues worked together in groups. They didn’t really need me there and it shows that we just need to trust our students. I loved how colleagues engaged in this task and the other activities. There was a warmth in the room. The bad thing was… that I had over-prepared… but if I haven”t shared this… nobody would know… Why did I share it? I know… but do you? Image source

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ANALYSIS: My bag was too full… I think my excitement to model a wide range of approaches in just one session was too ambitious…As it was a larger group, i found it difficult to engage with everybody and while I could see that many participated enthusiastically, others might have been thinking… “what is all that?” However, my strategy to bring colleagues closer together started working and it was wonderful to see how they opened up and many shared very honest accounts and fears… As I was a new person for most of my colleagues and they were new to me… we did test the waters in this session and it gave me a useful insight into the different personalities. The fact remains that I did prepare too much. Image source

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CONCLUSION: Despite the challenges, we explored reflection and observations of teaching, which were the most important learning outcomes on my list. Ok, the UK PSF were mentioned briefly. But their significance was highlighted and engaging with these should be an ongoing process anyway… I could have removed or combined better some of the initial introductory activities. This would have saved valuable time. Also I completely forgot to use the name tags and the activity that I had prepared for this purpose…¬†Image source

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ACTION PLAN: Less is more! I guess, I need a plaque to remind me,. A badge or a T-short wouldn’t help as I wouldn’t see it! How did you experience this session? The journey continues… We will be back next week… Image source

Would you consider trying this approach?

Creativity in Higher Education project, open invitation!

What a fascinating year this will be.

3813913Based on our past year’s success with #creativeHE and the various iteration we offered with many colleagues from different institutions in the UK and further afield in collaboration also with the Creative Academic Network, we have decided to put together a whole series of activities under the umbrella project Creativity in Higher Education led by Prof. Norman Jackson.

Many colleagues have joined us and we are grateful for their commitment to the wider community, for sharing their expertise and learning with us so that we can together advance our understanding around creative learning and teaching approaches. Check out the current list of planned community-led activities by clicking here.

It is wonderful that we will be able to continue offering facilitated open and cross-institutional versions of #creativeHE as part of our PgCert and MA in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education at Manchester Metropolitan University in collaboration with London Metropolitan University and further collaborators. If you want to join us, all you have to do is check out our community. We also use the hashtag #creativeHE on Twitter. You might want to say hello there too ūüėČ

greenhouse230The #Greenhouse¬†our community for creative practitioners is also part of this year-long initiative and is at the moment contributing the #101creativeideas project. More are in the pipeline so to speak… I invited my colleague Ellie Hannan to lead #101creativeideas and I am pleased she said yes¬†as she is already bringing a lot of creative energy to this project!¬†This is an OER project that is developed collaboratively and shared back with the community so that we can all benefit. It is a fantastic opportunity to share creative ideas we have used in our practice with others and learn from each other to make our teaching more stimulating and exciting. To find out more about this particular project and to submit your idea(s), visit the project site by clicking here. I have decided to submit one idea per week until the deadline which is in January sometime. My ideas will also be added to my blog and we encourage you to do the same.

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If you would like to participate in our Creativity in HE project, please get in touch.

If you have an idea for a mini project, please get in touch.

If you would like to lead a mini creativity project, but need a little bit/lot of help to develop an idea, please get in touch. We are here to help!

Speak again soon!

Chrissi