Wednesday already & the final day of ascilite09. Another gorgeous morning in Auckland (the weather has been perfect), and some people slow to turn up for proceedings after the dinner/dance last night.
We began with short plenary session where Matthew Riddle reported on his Blackboard research grant where he asked student to record their ‘day experience’ using mobile technology. Some interesting initial findings that students spend a lot of time at home, and when on campus would like better access to the internet and to powerpoints for laptops in meeting places – particularly after hours. (watch this space)
I then attended a session on eportfolios that explored the benefits & value of the use of a space where students can be reflective learners, collect artifacts, demonstrate acquisition of graduate attributes and professional competencies, complete assessable tasks and developing showcases or representations of their learning to particular contexts. We were challenged to think about the questions that could be asked of staff & students before going ahead with an eportfolio implementation plan. I understand that there needs to be some clear articulation of purpose and context when talking about eportfolios so that people understand how they are to used in a particular way in a particular place/space.
I went to the symposium, ‘Thinking about a new LMS: Comparing different institutional models and approaches’ where we heard representatives from four institutions discuss their evaluation and implementation of a new LMS – all of them went for Moodle. All very interesting as the university where I work has just about completed the evaluation process and about to decide on a new LMS platform. What was useful, was hearing about the planning and implementation phase of these projects and the lessons learned. Lots of great do’s & don’ts and tips & tricks for getting the best outcome for an implementation. There were no papers or presentations available for this session but each institution took a different approach to evaluation and implementation – one complete institution-wide with all courses converted, and another staged implementation with staff having to rebuild their units. Main take-home points for me: communication is key, get buy-in from academic staff, have some departmental champions, have a committed executive sponsor, ensure everyone knows where they are heading, and communicate (in as many ways as possible). You might be interested in Mark Smithers’ blog post Public LMS Evaluations, where he has compiled a list of publicly available LMS reviews.
After another delicious lunch, James Clay gave the final keynote and asked us all to think about what the ‘mobile’ means in mobile learning. He outlined the advantages & disadvantages of (mobile) technology and wondered how well education is coping with the changes in work, culture, & society. It was an engaging presentation that asked lots of questions and challenged us to think about how we respond to this change and what we might do to prepare our students for the future. It was great to see James have the Twitter backchannel displayed during his talk. He used keynotetweet to have tweets from his Keynote slides posted to the #ascilite09 hashtag so that those not present, could follow his slide points in Twitter. Nice!
The handover to ascilite 2010 was made and the host for next year is University of technology Sydney. Hopefully see you there!