So, what should we call... err... students?

I'm wrestling with a particularly slippery, err, customer. What do we call university, um, subscribers? "Those who pay for their tuition"? Technically they are 'students' ("a person who is studying at a university or other place of higher education") more than they are 'customers' ("A person who buys goods or services from a shop or business") or 'consumers' ("A person who purchases goods and services for personal use"). Anyone who's tried to debate this soon comes to the inevitable yet unhelpful conclusion that "[s]tudents are not customers nor are they not customers" (Trachtenberg, 2010). At least we can all agree that they are, at least, definitely 'students'!

But is the term 'student' sufficient? And, what might we risk if we seek to change it to 'customer'? Do we run the risk of overlooking valid, customer-style expectations if we glibly dismiss the term 'customer' as …

On pedagogy: I of II

I'm gradually working through Matt Bower's Design oftechnology-enhanced learning. I'd have read it by now but for the desire to take it reflectively and to blog my thoughts and impressions, which is actually a solid endorsement for Matt's work! It's given me the opportunity to consider my own perspectives of TEL based on the ideas of someone who's clearly given it a lot of thought, and who has a broad, coherent view as to its effective practice.
This is post 1 of 2; this first sets out my own perspective of pedagogy as a step toward consideration of Matt's chapter called "Pedagogy and Technology-Enhanced Learning".The next post will consider the -isms Matt discusses in his third chapter. 
So, in his third chapter, Bower confronts the spectre of pedagogy. I say spectre, because it's a word with mixed reviews in my experience; people either assume they know enough about what it is, or else have never heard of it. When it comes to pedagogy, you…

Teaching at a distance using lecture capture

Elevator tale: Lecture capture is often used to make lectures available to students who couldn't attend class - but they are sometimes also used as the basis for extending on-campus provision into distance education. This post suggests ways of maximising lecture capture for the purposes of distance students, who can often feel like second-class citizens when watching recorded classes. Technical, presentation and pedagogical tips are included. 

Synchronous lecture capture is a distance education approach often used to provide study options for students unable to attend a class. It is a very accessible means of extending education beyond the classroom. It is also widely used as an incidental optional output for on-campus students looking to revise, or who else may have missed a lecture. If capturing synchronous lectures for the purposes of educating at a distance is your goal, read on!

From a distance learner's perspective, synchronous lecture capture can be an alienating medium…

On ‘evidence’ in higher education

When it comes to suggesting change in higher education practice, one of the questions often raised is “where’s the evidence in favour of this?” Not having absolute, robust proof for a new or different approach can lead to nay-sayers claiming the high-ground, and make even the open-to-change somewhat wary. It’s not that evidence isn’t important or needed; asking for evidence is a fair request! However it's helpful to consider just what evidence in higher education actually is, and how far it can take us. Discussion around evidence and higher education should really begin with one word: caveat.
Suggesting adjustment to any education practice is far from straightforward, particularly where an incumbent system is in place. David Didau has said that, regarding beliefs around teaching, “We are predisposed to fall for a comforting lie rather than wrestle with an inconvenient truth. And we tend to be comforted by what's familiar rather than what makes logical sense...” (What if every…

An update to "Reading and studying from the screen"

Elevator tale: this post provides an overview of literature that has emerged since my 2016 paper "Reading and studying on the screen". It's a much longer post than usual, but most is supplemental. A review of additional studies comparing reading text from print and digital devices, four not considered and a further seven of which were published subsequent to or alongside my own, confirm my 2016 findings and recommendations. It is clear that future studies need to explore further dimensions if we are to learn more. In particular, studies should move beyond a simple, print-based comparison (applying digital design intentionally), and should also seek to measure differences that might come from briefing participants as to how to read effectively from digital media (removing the over-confident approach readers tend to apply when reading from digital sources).
One perceived barrier to digital education is that it requires students to read from a screen. In actuality the on-s…

TPACK Part 2: ODE implications

Elevator tale: this post tries to place TPACK in an ODE context. ODE works best when design is consistent, creative, collaborative, and comprehensive across the student tuition experience. These suggest a team-based approach to TPACK, involving specialist TEL and learning design roles working with subject experts. This teamwork often leads to tensions, which might be managed through a sound design methodology (such as Agile).

In the previous post I provided an overview of TPACK and noted that "The goal for all TEL practitioners and online educators is the nirvana of TPACK, where Technology, Pedagogy And Content Knowledge all synergise into an optimal learning experience for the student." In this post I want to suggest how that nirvana might be reached in online and distance education (ODE) contexts.

It's important to begin with a description of the main elements of the online and distance context of practice. Four foundational principles for effective online distance edu…

TPACK Part 1: An overview

In a previous post I mentioned reading through Matt Bower's Design of technology-enhanced learning, and how more posts would likely be sparked by it. Bower's second chapter prompted this post, as, he rightly points out, TPACK "highlights the interconnected nature of key dimensions of technology-enhanced learning" (p.20). This is the first of two posts, 1) explaining TPACK and 2) suggesting a nuance to it for the purposes of open and distance education (ODE) and effective TEL. 

If you're unfamiliar with TPACK there are various introductions on YouTube, with options depending on how much of a hurry you're in. There is TPACK in 3 Minutes; TPACK in 2 minutes; and, what looks to be the record holder for brevity, a 1:49 introduction. This somewhat longer clip by Matthew Koehler provides a very useful history of its development, and introduces its open future.
A very useful reference website for TPACK is that of Matthew Koehler: The w…