Reflections on the ALT Conference 2022

The in-person ALT Conference experience

By Paul Astles
How did it feel to be at a conference “in person” again?

With the uplifting melodies and syncopated rhythms of some of my favourite bands soundtracking my journey to Manchester, not even the (at times) slow moving motorway traffic could take the shine off what I anticipated to be an interesting few days ahead. The last time I was in Manchester it rained a lot; this time was no different.

As I drove deeper into the city centre, the rain added a rather lovely percussive addition to the music in my car. I was not quite sure what to expect as I approached the conference venue, would there be a sense of community? Or would it feel like a commute on the underground in London?

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Working together in module design

By Amy Leon and Catherine Du Baret

High quality, online and distance education materials, building on a huge legacy of groundbreaking distance education. This is what Learning Designers and editors, working alongside academic colleagues, at the Open University shape and hone during the creation of new modules.

The Open University (OU) creates around 150 new modules each year, to sit alongside over 350 represented modules offered to students. The Learning Designer and Digital Development Editor roles are pivotal to the development and production of new modules and are involved right from the start, working alongside authors and faculty colleagues, to support and advise on plans. Other specialists, such as video and audio producers, interactive developers and graphic developers, are brought in at various points in the development, as and when they are needed. If you’re not familiar with Learner and Discovery Services (LDS) at the OU, LDS teams work closely with colleagues across the University to design, produce and deliver online and printed learning materials for students. This is a collaborative arrangement which engages our dedicated Learning Design, Learning Innovation, Development and Production, and Commissioning teams.

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Mix, stir then blend gently: co-creating a remote community of practice

If you read our last blog post, you’ll know that like most people, we’ve made some changes to the way we work here in the learning design team thanks to COVID19. One of these has been a change to our community of practice. Before lockdown, this was informal – members of the learning design team would learn by observing one another, discussing challenges and sharing useful tips and resources. Much of this took place in the office kitchen. Continue reading “Mix, stir then blend gently: co-creating a remote community of practice”

A virtual biscuit tin: creating a community of practice for learning designers in lockdown

It wasn’t just students who faced a sudden change in how they were learning in March when the UK locked down. Learners in the workplace were affected too – including our learning design team here at the Open University. We were dispersed to our homes by lockdown and overnight, lost our ability to learn from one another.

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