I attended a Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series webinar on Monday which discussed how Blackboard Learn can be used to support Chickering and Gamson’s Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education . This was a very nice presentation from Ronald Scott Wennerdahl and Crystal Sheu of the Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. And there are some good ideas that I will need to think about in relation to my own teaching coming up next semester. The video has just been published on YouTube.
 Chickering, Arthur W. and Gamson, Zelda F, “Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education” American Association of Higher Education Bulletin vol.39 no.7 pp.3-7 1987. URL: http://www.aahea.org/aahea/articles/sevenprinciples1987.htm
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Last October Aleks Krotoski, presenter of of The Guardian’s Tech Weekly podcast, chaired a series of special “Tech City” talks. The first of these was on Skills and Education (Audio recording here) and the panelists, which included David Willets, all criticised to current Schools ICT Curriculum by stating that it didn’t actually include any coding. This issue has been raised recently by many commentators but was highlighted by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s criticism of British Education at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, and the fact that it was the “Google View” perhaps gave it more prominence than it would otherwise have had.
Well, perhaps by coincidence, there are now two free online initiatives that are trying to change this. The first that I came across was the Joy of Code — an online tutorial from Michael Kölling of the University of Kent at Canterbury that is using Greenfoot and Java and is aimed at people who:
Want to find out how to write a computer game; [are] Interested in learning programming; Curious about object-oriented programming and Java; Heard about Greenfoot, but don’t really know what it is [or are] Teaching programming to others.
The course was announced on January 1st and there have already been 7 episodes!
As a teacher of coding and developer of code throughout my career, I shall be watching both with interest and playing along. And if you want to learn to code, why not join me?
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As noted in Innovating e-Learning 2011 : JISC and Poacher turned gamekeeper I am attending the Innovating E-Learning Online Conference during the gaps in my full calendar. Today there was a quite large gap between the morning session (on Work-based Learning) and the final plenary session on Theme 1: Learning Landscapes and I was able to fill in a locally arrange Swansea Academy of Learning and Teaching (SALT) seminar lunchtime seminar on Multiple Choice: The smart choice or dumbing down?
During this session we learned about a local HEA funded project that is looking at the value of single selection versus elimination-style multiple choice questions in the life sciences and this was followed by an excellent presentation from Steve Draper of Glasgow University called Improving deep learning with Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and Electronic Voting Systems (EVS).
Following on, as it did quite by chance, from an excellent Activity-Week introduction to PeerWise (mentioned in Steve’s talk) and conference sessions on Assessment and Feedback and Students as Agents of Change (at which EVS came highly recommended by students in the Business School at Exeter), I feel justified in struggling with computer-based assessment and eager to try some of the new-to-me techniques mentioned by Steve and my colleagues from life sciences here at Swansea.
Having been excused from a staff-student committee by my Head of Teaching in order to attend this session, I hope that I will also be able to pass back the message that MCQs and EVSs are legitimate and powerful learning tools when used correctly.
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