Highlights of ALT-C Conference

Here is a collection of the highlights from the ALT-C Conference held at the University of Warwick, 1-3 September 2014.

Keynote: Jeff Haywood

(Quote Jeff Haywood: “We JUST NEED a lot more leaning designers/technologists, and they must work as a team.”)

See “Learning technology and groundhog day” – Terry Mayes (1995) – hype of technologies and not much happens. Patience and persistence are important.

See Horizon Report 2014:

  • One year or less: Flipped classroom; learning analytics
  • Solvable challenges
    • Low digital fluency of faculty
    • Relative lack of rewards for teaching
  • Difficult challenges
    • Competition for new models of education

Keynote: Catherine Cronin

We can ask students – how do you work online, what tools do you use, what could we use together in this class, do we want to try a new tool together? E.g. Kahn Academy videos

Keynote: Audrey Watters

Google – Ngram viewer – shows use of a particular word over the years, e.g. ‘luddite’.

Working with academics in terms of learning design

Univ of South Wales: Wales OER strategy:  Champions networks – focus groups to get going

Univ of Manchester Library: Rapid development of e-learning resources. Search: My Learning Essentials (see example on proofreading etc.)


  • Getting the time of Subject Matter Experts
  • Appreciation for expertise
  • Avoiding an info dump
  • Managing feedback from Subject Matter Experts

Univ of Northampton (winners of team award for learning technologists of the year): streamlining design and structure of VLE courses:

  • Quality matters
  • Ed’burgh Napier’s framework

They employed a VLE administrator – liaison point. Copy material across for staff to new site. Admin side of supporting academic staff. What can we do to support you?

Foundation template (bronze)

  • Jan 2012: they came up minimum standards – quality checklist (double sided doc) – they will post it online
  • Rubric used in the creation of the new VLE sites
  • Contextual help for tutors
  • Positive feedback from students – “transparent, readable materials”
  • Less confusion for students
  • Accessibility benefits
  • They are mentors for staff, encouraging them to use the new template

Univ of Liverpool:

VLE minimum standards to avoid student dissatisfaction

Univ of Nottingham, School of Health Sciences:

Used Laurillard’s conversational framework.

Collaborative curriculum development: worksheets and cards – opens up a conversation, in a workshop. Used Ulster’s set of cards to facilitate workshop: http://jiscdesignstudio.pbworks.com/w/page/60261367/Curriculum%20Design%20at%20the%20University%20of%20Ulster

Dave White: School pupils are developing independent learning habits – find the quickest and easiest way to get their homework done. These are the seeds of the skills we want them to develop. They’re almost self-identifying themselves as digital natives – “we’re good at this; we can do this now”.

London Met: Create a group of digital ambassadors – create resources with us. Workshops with digital ambassadors – pay them something.

  • Conversation between staff and students (think about WebLearn ambassadors)
  • Use the students’ enthusiasm to attract lecturers into the dialogue and re-evaluate their practice.
  • Get students and staff into the partnerships. Create a focal point for dialogue… students are enthusiastic and they want to get involved. Want to talk to their lecturers.

How do you share good practice? See website: LondonMet e-learning matrix. (Staff point of view)

University of South Wales: Podcasts of learning technologists interviewing academic staff and providing hints and tips:

‘Electric Sheep’ – 16 episodes, one hour long. Big international audience. Engage with and learn from staff and students.


Two parts: team members each discussed a new website or tool; move on to an interview, discussion section with a new topic each week. How they use tech in their field, which tools they use, how they felt about the use of tech. Pick a particular task or problem that they wished tech could solve, then we came up with a tool to solve it. What they were using and why they were using it – go the participants re-engaged and re-excited.

Learner analytics (LA)

CETIS – Centre for Educ Tech and Interoperability Standards

  • See Cetis conference, June 2014 (good list of issues to consider)
  • Learning Analytics Community Exchange (LACE)
  • Greller, W. & Drachsler, H (2012). Translating learning into numbers: a generic framework for LA. Ed Tech & Soc 15(3), 42-57.

Lecture Capture and video

Set up a few recoding booths – for people to use themselves. Make sure the tools are what academics are used to working with – not something new they need to learn.


University of Southampton: MOOC on the new subject of Web Science. Done through Future Learn.

Who is behind a MOOC? Good team diagram: digital content producers, rights specialists, facilitators, educators, back end s/w developers, front end designers, CURATORS (learning designers) – overall view of it all.

University of Northampton: Open Northampton

Drivers and benefits

  • Belief in openness and sharing
  • Raise profile of the academic
  • Raise profile of the university
  • Improve quality of the material

Reflections on open practice:

  • Design material with openness in mind
  • Raised awareness of copyright
  • DL materials development
  • Reusability and transferability


  • Copyright – esp use of artwork, diagrams, tables
  • Time constraints
  • Concern over ‘losing control of my material’.
  • Concern over ‘is my material good enough’

Archiving policy

Glasgow Caledonian Univ: recommends working on digital strategy and archiving policy. Clear process for archiving modules and making space for ongoing creation of new ones.


WordPress-based system called Sensé

Online survey tool: Polldaddy

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