About Pete Roberts

By day I work as an Academic Developer / Learning Technologist in the Teaching & Learning Innovation Centre at Goldsmiths, University of London. By night I'm an electronic musician. Views expressed here are my own.

The second Goldsmiths TOOC kicks off today

I’ve just started our TOOC going (Tiny Open Online Course) which is open to all staff at Goldsmiths and covers how to use a VLE to support face to face teaching. It’s a distance learning course and uses techniques that are equally useful in a campus environment.

Participants receive two emails a week with instructions – usually a link to an activity in which they participate. Help and support is provided by email. It’s also social – with forums used to facilitate discussion and for some of the activities. It lasts four weeks.

Yes, the name is a cynical attempt to continue to cash in on what’s left of the MOOC hype – but it is quite a useful model as staff can do the activities when it suits them. It’s quite difficult to get 30 staff together twice a week in a room for half an hour – but online, much easier.

What’s your experience of staff workshops and development? How do you use your VLE?

Worth reading: Innovating Pedagogy 2014

Here’s a really nice report from the OU that I’d managed to miss until now – Innovating Pedagogy 2014 – where they look at ten innovations that are bubbling under the surface or already making an impact. Some topics you might expect to see, but with an interesting and informed twist. Also look out for Pressey’s Automatic Teacher (around 1929).

http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/innovating/ (small blog with downloadable PDF report)

You can’t beat a MUGGL part 1: Turnitin

The Moodle Users Group for Greater London (MUGGL) meet roughly every term somewhere around London, as you might expect.

Greenwich University

A drizzly day down the old Naval college

This Wednesday it was at the University of Greenwich, which I walk past every day so it seemed a chance to have a proper look around the place. I also then walk past Rhodes bakers on the corner of Greenwich market every day – tho’ that’s more a case of walking in. Their Chelsea buns are the stuff of legend. I digress.

The MUGGL is a nice mix of pedagogy and technology and is always crammed with useful, practical stuff and useful, practical, nice people. This one was themed around assessment and Turnitin UK were present, which was quite brave of them.

Gary Finnegan (Integrations Solutions manager) outlined their new direction regarding VLE integration. Basically their next generation offering will use an LTI plugin and replace all the other integrations in time. This approach is more like the old Basic integration, with content loaded from them in an iframe but with a local stylesheet to enable some branding. There will also be an easy upgrade path from Basic to their ‘Next gen’. This much we knew already and is why we took the strategic decision to stick with Turnitin basic at Goldsmiths for another year. We felt it made more sense to wait, rather than have a painful upgrade to something that was itself doomed. Still, it was nice to hear it was progressing along. We expect to be able to start testing it out in ‘Q2′.

I’ll post some other stuff over the next few days. Big thanks to the MUGGL organisers and Greenwich.

Mahara UK 2014

Last week I packed my bucket and spade and headed off to thunderstorm-struck Brighton for Mahara UK 2014 – not much use on a pebble beach as it happens.

Two day conferences can be a bit thin on compelling content, but fortunately not in this case. Before we went m’colleague Tina and I were getting a bit jaded about Mahara – we’ve had mixed success I think it’s fair to say – some inspiring, enthusiastic adopters and a fair amount of polite disinterest or people put off by the learning curve.

By the end of the first day I was convinced again – Mahara rocks. It was inspiring to see and meet people with so many great ideas describing how they’d used Mahara. Also nice to meet the developers themselves – and later on meet some sea life at the evening event.

By the second day I had a notebook full of spontaneous ideas about using it here at Goldsmiths – I won’t bore you with them here, I’ll blog again as and when we try things out and describe how it goes.

Here’s the Twitterings about it all: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23MaharaUK14

Roll on 2015 and a big thanks to Brighton Uni and Catalyst! And the people at the UMI hotel were really nice too.

Fancy working with us?


Join us!

We’ve a vacancy within the team for an Academic Developer (Technology Enhanced Learning) in the e-learning team at Goldsmiths. You can probably guess the sort of thing it involves – but here are the details :

Get your skates on – closing date is the 18 July.