Thursday, 10 February 2011

Module in Learning Technologies - Project Symposium (Part 2)

Last Monday (31st Jan) we hosted the second Project Symposium associate with our PG Diploma module in Learning Technologies. In my last post, I gave the background to the module and the expectations around the project. As before, we were treated to a range of projects, at various stages of development.

Gary (@GaryGillanders) spoke about how he is developing video material to supplement laboratory manuals in Physics. He is using short video clips, accessible via the VLE (Blackboard) to replicate in-lab demonstrations of equipment, software and procedures. So far, he has used Jing for screencasts of software demonstrations, and also recorded some equipment demos and put them up on Although it is still too early to evaluate the usefulness of the videos, initial feedback from students in positive.

Anne (@annecegan) told us of her plans to use podcasts to support students of Family Law. She has a plan to match short podcasts with tutorial topics, summarising materials and pointing to additional reading. She has some concerns over the possibility of excluding some part-time, mature students.

Martina (@mkellygsac) spoke about using wikis for supporting first year programming students. She is hoping to promote active learning, improved collaboration and to improve the first year experience.

Mark (@MarkKelly7) gave a very entertaining talk called "..distracted from distraction by distraction.." (quoted from T.S. Elliot) where he describes his investigation of the contribution of various web 2.0 technologies to the learning space. He has been using podcasts for providing feedback on student work; he has developed a blog specifically for the module; students will be asked to blog as part of the assessment and Mark is developing a rubric for evaluating these; and an accompanying twitter account has been set up. Initial results are positive.

Finally, Una (@unafitz) described her development of a module on Scientific Writing for postgraduate students. She has started to use screencasts and described her frustrations around learning to use Camtasia to produce short videos. Ultimately, the module will be particularly useful as a shared resource, available to a range of postgraduate programmes via the VLE.

Now that our participants have presented their work to peers, and received some encouragement and feedback, I am looking forward to watching their projects develop. Project reports are due in now and, together with recordings from the presentations, will provide a fantastic record of the development of the use of learning technologies in Teaching and Learning at NUI Galway.

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