Continuing its commitment to provide the UoD with a forum in which to share good practice whilst debating current innovation in technology informed pedagogy, LEI hosted an event at Derby by the Media Enhanced Learning Special Interest Group (MELSIG) on Friday 20th April.
An independent organisation focusing on the use of digital media to support teaching and learning in HE, MELSIG brings practitioners together from across the length and breadth of the UK. This was the first time the group had visited the University and they left proclaiming it to be “up there with the best of their events!” Having attended previous events and deciding that theUoD had a great deal of innovative practice to share, Charlie Davis and Glenn McGarry, both LEI, invited MELSIG to Derby and with the help of various colleagues organised the event.The event was introduced by Dr.John Butcher, LEI, who welcomed academic staff from both Derby and beyond. After the scene was set, a range of presentations and sessions were kicked off by Claire Scott, a BEd Stage tutor. Claire demonstrated how along with her colleague, Ani Thomas and the Learning Technology Team, they had created video materials to support students’ academic writing skills at Level 6. The videos were made available to students as feedforward materials and their findings provided those in attendance with ample food for thought, particularly when hearing how positively students had received them. Claire was followed by Fiona Shelton, BA (Hons) Educations Studies, and five of her students to discuss the inventive manner in which they had used lecture capturing technologies to produce presentations for summative assessment purposes. Everyone who attended this presentation reflected on how refreshing it was to hear both the teacher voice and student voice working in tandem. Perhaps the most enlightening aspect of the presentation was the frank account both Fiona and her students gave of their perceived affordances and non-affordances such approaches had provided them with.
Natasa Lackovic, a PhD researcher from the LSRI at Nottingham University, was one of numerous presenters from outside the UoD who provided valuable input. Along with Maddy Hallewell, a fellow researcher at the LSRI, they gave compelling accounts of their respective studies into the impact of image-based approaches to representing learning. Andrew Middleton of Sheffield Hallam University, and the MELSIG steering committee, gave a session on Media-enhanced employability. This session provided LEI with an opportunity to showcase various video simulations, which aptly demonstrated employment scenarios in a range of contexts. One of the videos from this series has recently been shortlisted for the British Universities Video and Film Council’s “Learning on Screen” awards.
Not wanting to miss out on the lively collegiate atmosphere, several other members of staff from the UoD also seized the opportunity to give 10-min informal presentations on their use of technology to support teaching and learning in their individual areas of practice. An especially busy Glenn McGarry, LEI, presented two sessions on podcasting, one of which was with Alex Spiers of Liverpool John Moores.
Judging by the overwhelming positive feedback registered on the day, and a flurry of complimentary emails since received by Charlie Davis, we can confidently state that the event was a huge success. Those who attended the forum welcomed the opportunity to share ideas and practice with colleagues from across the far reaches of the Academe. Delegates openly commented on how welcome they had been made to feel by the UoD and how particularly inspiring the facilities in Kirtley and B226 were. Notwithstanding these excellent facilities and slick organisation on the day, it was the exceptional and innovative practice of staff at the University which came in for particular praise. This was most pleasingly reflected during the plenary session, throughout the course of which numerous delegates indicated their intention to engage with technology in similar ways to those discussed and demonstrated during the day.