New learning analytics community, digital pedagogies, reasons to keep blogging: what sheila’s seen this week

So this week I am no longer the newbie in our department as a new administrator joined us on Monday.  I’m starting to feel more like I am part of the institution and am actually starting to make a contribution to things.  I’ve submitted a bid for the HEA Challenges of Web Residency project, and it’s been great work with Evelyn McElhinney on that. Regardless of the outcome writing instead of reading bids has marked quite a sea change for me.  Marion Kelt in our library is making great progress developing our institutional policy on OER and it was catch up on progress with the working group this week. I’ve also been involved in discussions around some other internal projects exploring potential new initiatives – hopefully more on that in the weeks to come.

As I’ve been thinking about some possible future directions, they serendipity of twitter brought me to this post from Christina Costa. Outlining a lecture she had given about teaching in the 21st century, Christina clearly outlines some of the key challenges and affordances of using technology effectively for learning and raises some key questions, but ends with this “Can digital technologies, and the philosophies of practice associated with it, finally deliver on the promise of critical pedagogies?”  Just now I think the answer is sometimes, maybe . . .

I also spotted the website for the EU funded Learning Analytics Exchange Project (LACE). I’m hoping to be as track/be involved as much as I can with this. We’re really at the early days of learning analytics here at GCU so this could be a really useful place for us to get advice from others and start sharing and developing the key questions we want data and analytical approaches to help us answer.

Over the years I’ve really enjoyed blogging, and it certainly has paid off for me in terms of my career progression and other recognition. I start blogging from a non tradition academic post, and so my motivations weren’t academically driven.  This post from Deborah Lupton gives a really balanced view of the pros and cons of academic blogging and the need for continued research into its impact and development of practice.  As I become more and more engaged with institutional projects, and hopefully more “academically focused” (aka I need to write more papers)  I can see my approach to blogging will also have to change. The upside is that should have more focus for my writing, but the downside is that I will have to be far more considered. Actually that’s not really a bad thing is it? But having the motivation to keep blogging is an issue. It’s one of the reasons I started the (almost) weekly posts.  My old Cetis buddy David Sherlock sums up some of the practical “challenges” of blogging here  including the importance of fun – which sadly is sometimes lacking in educational contexts.

Sometimes you can’t beat old technology, and this pen my colleague brought back from the Blackboard Conference last week in Durham has been useful for various notes this week too.

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