Where Sheila’s been this (well technically last) week #ascilite

As a follow up to my previous post on the keynotes and overarching themes from the Ascilite conference last week, I thought I’d highlight a couple of the sessions that resonated with me.

Open education was a theme running through sessions, and I attended a number of sessions around institutional approaches to fostering open practice.  Martin Weller’s “the battle for open – a perspective“, which I saw last week too, gives a really good overview of the current struggles around open-ness in general in education.  I like to think of myself as an open practitioner, but I am aware of how my open practice has evolved, driven not only by the altruistic drivers of open, but also by my previous role in Cetis. Now I am in an institution I can only too clearly see some of the practical difficulties around developing openness.  Cultural issues, time, and not quite on the radar are some of the key issues. So continue with Martin’s military metaphor although the battle may be won, many of the troops actually might not even been aware of the battle and the negotiated settlement aka institutional policy.

One of the key ways to change practice is through professional development of staff, and I particularly enjoyed the paper and symposium from Keith Smyth, Panos Vlachopoulos, David Walker and Anne Wheeler around cross institutional development of an online course for educators: confronting current challenges. and imagining future possibilities. Their collaboratively development Global Perspectives in HE course is not only exploring some of the very real challenges to developing cross institutional staff development, but is also doing so in a truly open manner.  I think their work and the fact that a number of them have moved institutions since the project highlights the importance of individual practitioners to actually get things done.  They also won a best paper award too.

There was quite a lot of discussion around learning spaces, blended learning and mobile learning.  I particularly enjoyed the Revisiting the definition of mobile learning paper by Helen Farley, Angela Murphy and Sharon Rees and being introduced to their work around creating a framework for defining mobile learning. More information is available on their website.

As ever with a conference it’s hard to make sense of everything, and as usual I did tweet a bit and that will be a large part of my shared, and open (with the usual twitter open caveats) memory of the conference.

 #ascilite top tweeters

Next post will be about the paper and workshop I was involved in.

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