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IET researcher and project officer blogs

Open Learning Analytics (Amsterdam)

Filming the OLA Summit

Back in 2011, I was part of a group of practitioners and researchers that published a proposal for an open and modularised platform for open learning analytics.  In it, we outlined the development of an integrated and extensible toolset that would help academics and organisations to evaluate learner activity, determine needed interventions, and improve advancement of learning opportunities.

Siemens, G., Gašević, D., Haythornthwaite, C., Dawson, S., Buckingham Shum, S., Ferguson, R., Duval, E, Verbert, K, and Baker, R. S. J. d. (2011). Open Learning Analytics: An Integrated and Modularized Platform (Concept Paper): SOLAR.

We moved forward on this idea in spring this year when,  following the LAK14 conference, I was invited to spend a weekend on the outskirts of Indianapolis, at the Open Learning Analytics (OLA) summit. One outcome of that event was the identification of domains in which future work may be conducted: open research, institutional strategy and policy issues, and learning sciences/learning design and open standards/open-source software – and ethical issues related to all of these.

At the start of December, there was another meet-up, this time in Europe and organised by the LACE project, together with the Apereo Foundation and the University of Amsterdam. In a room littered with classical sculpture, at Amsterdam’s Allard Pierson Museum, participants from across Europe gave presentations on their interests in, and vision for, Open Learning Analytics and its application to education or training.

  • Niall Sclater, from JISC in the UK, talked about developing the infrastructure for basic learning analytics systems.
  • Thieme Hemmis, from DelftX, talked about an open research framework – a standard instrument for collaborative research that can give access to data, people and instruments.
  • Erwin Bomas, from Kennisnet and the LACE project is working on a system to gain informed consent for access to data
  • Wolfgang Müller, University of Education Weingarten, is focusing on providing analytics to teachers to they can provide better formative feedback. The aim is to provide informative data on learning processes.
  • Patrick Lynch, University of Hull, introduced Apereo’s work on connecting up data, analytics and data presentation.
  • Vladimer Kobayashi is researching ways of linking the skills of graduates with the labour market.
  • Adam Cooper is leading a strand of the LACE project that is focused on  interoperability and data sharing.
  • Neils Smits, VU university Amsterdam, usesg cluster analysis to understand student activity on the Blackboard virtual learning environment. This analysis accounts for 50% of variance in later exam performance.
  • Alan Berg, of the Apereo Foundation, talked about the grand challenge of learning analytics.

Following these presentations, we brainstormed ideas for action, exploring objectives for collaborative projects that could be achievable in 2-4 years, the methods to achieve these objectives, and the nature of an Open Learning Analytics Framework as a means of coordinating action. A next step will be to work together on bids to Europe’s Horizon 2020 funding programme in order to make these ideas into reality.


Double Feature! November and December at the Hub

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 09:36

Originally posted on :

Team Hub wishes all its supporters, collaborators and friends all the very best for the forthcoming festivities and 2015! It’s been an amazing year and thank you for your continued support; we couldn’t do it without you all.

We’ve had a busy November and December (as ultra observant readers of our blog may have noticed, there was no monthly review for last month!)… so, where has the team been and what have we been up to?

Conferences, workshops and travel 

November began with researcher Bea participating in this year’s International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) Blended and Online Symposium. Read Bea’s review of the conference and check out her slides on the impact of OER in the K12 classroom here.

Beck headed over to Washington DC early to carry out some visits and conduct interviews as part of case study work for OpenStax College, before heading to the…

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Newsflash: Women, Fashion, Power at the Design Museum

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Mon, 08/12/2014 - 13:53

Originally posted on Theatre of Fashion:

        Image from @violettaboxill

As the days get colder and festive adverts start tugging on our collective heartstrings, the burning question on everyone’s lips is, ‘forget Christmas, what do I have to look forward to in 2015?’ Well – dear reader – let me enlighten you, as I’ve been invited to guest-curate a series of events as part of the Women, Fashion, Power exhibition at the Design Museum. The series examines how women use dress to negotiate issues around power throughout history and across cultures, from Muslim dress and modest fashion to West African spirituality, and the use of uniforms in western fashion from the 18th century to the present day. Come along!

January 27th:Faith, Fashion & Power in Muslim Dress: Barjis Chohan in conversation with Professor Reina Lewis. The dress of Muslim women continues to spark debates surrounding oppression vs empowerment, but often the question of fashion is conspicuous by its absence. In this discussion…

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Learning design & learning analytics – building the links

After presenting at the SoLAR Flare learning analytics event last month, I was invited to the London Knowledge Lab to present at one of their regular What The Research Says seminars. This month, the subject was on ‘Designing a MOOC’, and I talked about building the links between learning design and learning analytics. This included a look at patterns of engagement in MOOCs, and how they vary according to pedagogy and learning design.

Other speakers at the event:

  • Diana Laurillard: Introduction to designing MOOCs: Theory, practice and evidence
  • Russell Beale: Social Learning the FutureLearn way
  • Matt Jenner: The research says very little: Designing a MOOC Platform
  • Natasha Bonnelame: Tate / Khan Project: Learning in an Altermodern World
  • Tim Powell-Jones: Encouraging learning through social dynamics in a MOOC

Teaching in MOOCs: Unbundling the roles of the educator

Last week I gave a talk at the Design4Learning conference at The Open University, Milton Keynes, on the roles of educators in MOOCs. The paper was based on analysis of materials relating to six FutureLearn MOOCs, and was co-authored with Denise Whitelock.

Abstract

Educators in massive open online courses (MOOCs) face the challenge of interacting with tens of thousands of students, many of whom are new to online learning. This study investigates some of the different ways in which lead educators position themselves within MOOCs, and the various roles that they adopt in their messages to learners. Email messages from educators were collected from six courses on the FutureLearn platform, a UK-based MOOC platform with 36 university partners. Educator stance in these emails was coded thematically, sentence by sentence. The resulting typology draws attention to the different ways in which educators align themselves in these settings, including outlining the trajectory of the course, acting as both host and instructor, sometimes as fellow learner, and often as an emotionally engaged enthusiast. This typology can be used, in future, to explore relationships between educator stance and variables such as learner engagement, learner test results and learner retention.


Outstanding ICT Initiative of the Year

Congratulations to all the team for winning ‘Outstanding ICT Initiative of the Year’ at the THE Awards.


Learning futures in Athens

The Plato Academy in Greece invited me to talk about ‘Visions of Future Learning’ at their Technology-Enhanced Learning conference on 14 November.

I talked about how we create visions of  learning futures, how we use them, and why we keep developing new visions. I covered visions of education, visions of school, visions of massive open online courses (MOOCs) and visions of pedagogy, the theory of teaching and learning.

Speakers

  • Maria Gregoriadou, University of Athens: Plato Academy – The Roads of Knowledge
  • Stella Vosniadou, University of Athens Benefits and traps of technology for learning
    Discussion
  • Rebecca Ferguson, The Open University, UK: Visions of Future Learning
  • Alberto J. Cañas, Institute of Human and Machine Cognition,: CmapTools: Towards a Worldwide Network of Knowledge Constructors
  • Kyparissia Papanikolaou, School of Pedagogical & Technological Education: Opportunities and challenges of digital technologies to support modern educational planning
  • Pantelis Balaouras, Kostas Tsimanis, Lazaros Merakos, Greek Universities Network (GUnet): Open courses at the University of Athens and Greek universities
Visions of future learning from Rebecca Ferguson

Innovating Pedagogy 2014

Innovating Pedagogy 2014 has just been published and is available as a free download. It is the third in a series of reports I have co-authored with colleagues at The Open University that explore new forms of teaching, learning and assessment for an interactive world. While many of these are enabled by technology, these are not reports on new gadgets, but on new ways of teaching and learning.

This year’s report focuses on

  • Massive open social learning
  • Learning design informed by analytics
  • Flipped classroom
  • Bring your own devices
  • Learning to learn
  • Dynamic assessment
  • Event-based learning
  • Learning through storytelling
  • Threshold concepts
  • Bricolage

One of my favourites is learning through storytelling. Of course, this is not a new pedagogy. Writing up an experiment, reporting on an inquiry, analysing a period of history – these are all examples of the use of narrative to support learning that have been used for hundreds of years. However, the use of technology opens up new possibilities. We are increasingly able to create virtual story worlds in which guided exploratory learning can take place. A storyline can also be used to build engagement and provoke discussion in massive open online learning, or in other learning environments where participants spread across the globe build a narrative together. This is an example of technology opening up new possibilities that allow us to expand our use of a tried and trusted approach to teaching and learning.


SoLAR Flare

Speaking at the SoLAR Flare

On 24 October 2014, the Learning Analytics and Community Exchange (LACE) project invited everyone interested in the research and use of learning analytics to a one-day networking gathering event in October at the Open University in Milton Keynes (UK).

This Solar Flare event – co-chaired by Doug Clow, Simon Cross and I – formed part of an international series coordinated by the Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR). SoLAR Flares provide opportunities to learn what’s going on in learning analytics research and practice, to share resources and experience, and to forge valuable new connections within the education sector and beyond.

Around 50 people attended in person, with another 356 from around the world tuning in via the livestream.

There were two keynotes: one from Alan Berg, talking about the Apereo learning analytics initiative, and another from Chris Lowis, talking about learning analytics on the FutureLearn MOOC platform. In addition, there were 13 lightning presentations from people working with learning analytics in multiple countries and contexts including the UK, France and Spain. My lightning presentation focused on patterns of engagement identified in FutureLearn MOOCs from a variety of different universities. In the afternoon, participants split into four sub-groups that discussed evidence about learning analytics that can be added to the LACE Learning Analytics Evidence Hub.

Recordings of all the LACE SoLAR Flare presentations are available online.


Innovating Pedagogy

OU Innovation Report series - Wed, 12/11/2014 - 20:30

The series of reports explores new forms of teaching, learning and assessment for an interactive world, to guide teachers and policy makers in productive innovation.

View the Innovating Pedagogy report.

This third report proposes ten innovations that are already in currency but have not yet had a profound influence on education.  You can see a summary of each innovation at the menu on the right. Please contribute your comments on the report and the innovations.

EC-TEL

Mike Sharples and I presented at EC-TEL 2014 in Graz on Innovative Pedagogy at Massive Scale: Teaching and Learning in MOOCs.

We examined the implications for pedagogy of education at a massive scale. Educational approaches designed or adapted to be effective for large numbers of learners include direct instruction, networked learning, connectivism, supported open learning, and conversational learning at scale.

We used a grounded approach to analyse data from 18 MOOCs run on the UK-based FutureLearn platform. This enabled us to identify benefits and challenges for learners, for educators and for society as a whole of learning at massive scale. These need to be addressed in two ways, through learning design and through platform design.

After our presentation, Yishay Mor interviewed us about it for the Open Learning Europa website.

Also at the conference, I presented a poster co-authored with Denise Whitelock, ‘Taking on different roles: how educators position themselves in MOOCs’.

Abstract:

Educators in massive open online courses (MOOCs) face the challenge of interacting with tens of thousands of students, many of whom are new to online learning. This study investigates the different ways in which lead educators position themselves within MOOCs, and the various roles that they adopt in their messages to learners. Email messages from educators were collected from six courses on FutureLearn, a UK-based MOOC platform that had 26 university partners at the time. Educator stance in these emails was coded thematically, sentence by sentence. The resulting typology draws attention to the different ways in which educators align themselves in these settings, including outlining the trajectory of the course, acting as both host and instructor,  sometimes as fellow learner, and often as an emotionally engaged enthusiast. This typology can be used to explore relationships between educator stance and variables such as learner engagement, learner test results and learner retention.


One Year On: The Journey of “Open Research”

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Tue, 04/11/2014 - 12:08

Originally posted on :

The following blog post was originally published on School of Open’s blog on 4 November 2014.

It’s now been a couple of weeks since we formally ended our four-week Open Research course on P2PU … And what a month it was! We had 139 people sign up to the course, which looked at the theory and practice of open research, how you can be ethical and open, how to disseminate in the open and open reflection. You can view the course materials here.

From the very first discussions about the course last fall with Jane Park at Creative Commons to the team brainstorming the course early in 2014, spending several months co-authoring the course and developing assets, going through School of Open’s community review, getting the course up on the P2PU platform, creating our badge, and running the course itself, it’s been a fascinating and rewarding process. Collaboration was central…

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MozFest14

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Tue, 28/10/2014 - 12:33

Originally posted on :

Last weekend saw over 1600 people get together at this year’s Mozilla Festival. I made my way down to Ravensbourne College on Saturday and have put together a quick Storifty to capture some of the amazing collaborations, sessions and people that participated. You can check it out here.

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Opening Educational Practices in Scotland (OEPS) Launch

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Tue, 14/10/2014 - 12:35

Originally posted on :

Yesterday I was in Edinburgh, Scotland for the Opening Educational Practices in Scotland (OEPS) project kick-off meeting and to run a “highly interactive session” to capture experiences and thoughts on OER and OEP in Scotland. Martin was also there, speaking on his forthcoming book (to quote, an “ideal stocking filler”) The Battle for Open. I’ve created this Storify to capture some of the discussion and activity. Enjoy!

OEPS Advisory Forum: “Magic happened here…” (CC-BY Beck Pitt)

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FutureLearn Academic Network, Southampton

On 10 September, I was at the University of Southampton, talking about the evaluation of MOOCs to the FutureLearn Academic Network (FLAN). This group is open to members of FutureLearn partner institutions who have an interest in researching MOOCs. If you fall into that category, and you’d be interested in joining, search for the group on Facebook. It’s a closed group, but straightforward to join, if you send a message introducing yourself.

The video shows the second half of the morning – start around 40 minutes in if you are interested in viewing my talk. There’s also an account of it on Sheila Webber’s blog.

http://new.livestream.com/accounts/5200181/events/3373306/videos/61656496/player?autoPlay=false&height=360&mute=false&width=640

 


Learning analytics data sharing workshop

Concept mapping at the LACE workshop

On 16-17 September, I was in Graz with the Learning Analytics Community Exchange (LACE) . Before our consortium meeting, we held the 1st Learning Analytics Data Sharing Workshop. This brought people together from across Europe to discuss possibilities for data sharing.

The workshop was designed to act as a bridge between research and practical action. It also dealt with the technical, operational, business, policy and governance challenges involved with data sharing – with a particular focus on privacy issues.

The workshop was followed by a consortium meeting, and plans for developing this Europe-wide learning analytics community further.


Super September: Monthly Review

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Thu, 02/10/2014 - 09:22

Originally posted on :

It’s been a super September at the OER Research Hub: here’s an overview of what we’ve been up to over the past month:

Open Research Course 

We had 139 people sign-up for our School of Open course Open Research! This four-week community reviewed course explores the nature and practice of open research and takes a closer look at how to conduct ethical and open research, dissemination and the relationship between reflection/evaluation and openness. We are just over half way through the course at present: if you’ve missed some of the great discussions and our weekly Hangout sessions, or just want to watch some of our videos, head over to our YouTube playlist or to the Discourse forums. There’s an overview of everything course related also available here.

Out and About 

Earlier in the month, Martin and Rob headed up to the University of Warwick for ALT Conference. Rob…

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Writing for Change: Pre-Course Survey

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Mon, 29/09/2014 - 11:05

Originally posted on :

Picture Credit: Nomadic Lass on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

This post was originally published on Peer 2 Peer University’s blog on 29 September 2014. 

Are you participating in Peer to Peer University’s (P2PU) Writing for Change course? Did you recently complete a pre-course survey? Curious as to what the survey was about or what the findings were? Well, read on!

First, the survey was conducted by the OER Research Hub in collaboration with P2PU. Who are the OER Research Hub? Well, we are an award-winning Hewlett funded project based at Institute of Educational Technology (IET) at The Open University (UK) and we collaborate with great organisations and initiatives such as P2PU to look at the impact of open educational resources (OER) such as Writing for Change. We’ve also been conducting some research with School of Open; you can find out more about our findings to date here. I’m

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OER Research Hub: August Review

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Fri, 29/08/2014 - 14:26

Originally posted on :

As September beckons, here’s a quick round-up of what’s been happening at the Hub over the past month:

Join us to explore Open Research

As you might be aware, we’ve been working on our School of Open Open Research course over the past few months … August saw the launch of our four-week exploration into of the concept and practices of open research, including how to conduct research ethically and in the open, dissemination and the relation between openness and reflection.

Sign-up is open until Friday 12 September with the course formally starting on Monday 15 September 2014. We’re super excited and honoured to have had so much interest in the course and hope that you’ll be able to join us!

You can read our blog post announcement here and also check out the course and sign-up here.

Your Open Research course facilitators! (Clockwise: Bea de los Arcos, Beck…

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Site Migration – New Home

openmind.ed - Dr Rob Farrow's blog - Tue, 19/08/2014 - 12:16

I have decided to move openmind.ed from server space provided by The Open University and onto a general WordPress.com site.  This will make the site more independent and give me a bit more control over how it works – but the content is essentially the same.  I will only be updating the new site from now on although some of the stuff in the sidebar will continue to update automatically.

You can find the new version of this site at:
philosopher1978.wordpress.com

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