Archive for category Events

Lea’s Box and Eco

Images from the two projectsJust back from a couple of trips to Luxembourg, where I was one of the team carrying out final reviews for the Lea’s Box and Eco projects. This was my third year reviewing Lea’s Box, but I only joined the Eco team for their final review.

Lea’s Box was ‘a 3-year research and development project (running from March 2014 to [January] 2016) funded by the European Commission. The project focussed on (a) making educational assessment and appraisal more goal-oriented, proactive, and beneficial for students, and (b) on enabling formative support of teachers and other educational stakeholders on a solid basis of a wide range of information about learners.’

Eco was ‘a European project based on Open Educational Resources (OER) that gives free access to a list of MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) in 6 languages […] The main goal of this project is to broaden access to education and to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of teaching and learning in Europe.’

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Barcelona: FutureLearn Academic Network

Tweet about the eventOn 27 January, I travelled to Pompeu Fabra university in Barcelona for a meeting of the FutureLearn Academic Network (FLAN) on The Educator Experience. This was the first FLAN meeting to take place outside the UK and it was held at UPF’s Poblenou Campus. The event was organised by CLIK (Center for Learning, Innovation and Knowledge) and the members of the Educational Technologies section within the Interactive Technologies Research Group of UPF.

During the meeting, FutureLearn partners reflected on the impact and research possibilities of MOOC in the field of education. Sir Timothy O’Shea, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, gave the keynote speech, describing Edinburgh’s developing MOOC strategy, including the production of 64 online master’s courses.

I talked about our recent report MOOCs; What the Research of FutureLearn’s UK Partners Tells Us

If you have access to the FutureLearn Partners’ blog, a video of the meeting and summary notes of the sessions are available.

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BETT 2017: learning analytics

Rebecca talking at BETTOn 25 January, I presented at the BETT trade show on An action plan for learning analytics. If you would like to introduce learning analytics at your institution, where should you start? Drawing on recent studies that consulted experts worldwide, I outlined an action plan for analytics and identified the key points to keep in mind.

My talk formed part of the HE Leaders Summit, a section of the event that was designed to address some of the most significant challenges currently facing senior leaders across Higher Education.

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Symposium with Gothenburg

Rebecca presenting at symposiumOn 23 January I presented at a joint symposium involving The Open University and the University of Gothenburg. Eleven participants from Gothenburg met with ten Open University researchers. Eight presentations, four from Gothenburg and four from The Open University allowed discussion of areas of mutual interest.

My presentation focused on what the UK research carried out by UK partners in the FutureLearn platform tells us. I presented a longer version of the talk to the FutureLearn Academic Network (FLAN) later in the week, so it is embedded in a later blog post.

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Dr Bektik: Duygu’s viva

duygu-vivaOn 14th December, Duygu Bektik defended her thesis successfully, and now only minor corrections stand between her and her doctorate.

Learning Analytics for Academic Writing through Automatic Identification of Meta-Discourse

When assessing student writing, tutors look for ability to present well-reasoned arguments, signalled by elements of meta-discourse. Some natural language processing systems can detect rhetorical moves in scholarly texts, but no previous work has investigated whether these tools can analyse student writing reliably. Duygu’s thesis evaluates the Xerox Incremental Parser (XIP), sets out ways in which it could be changed to support the analysis of student writing and proposes how its output could be delivered to tutors. It also investigates how tutors define the quality of undergraduate writing and identifies key elements that can be used to identify good student writing in the social sciences.

Duygu was supervised by me and by Denise Whitelock, Anna De Liddo and Simon Buckingham Shum (now at .

Her viva examiners were Paul Mulholland and Gary Wills (University of Southampton). The viva was chaired by John Richardson.

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European research and innovation priorities

European MOOC platformsOn 13 December, I joined a Foresight Workshop on Learning Technologies in Luxembourg. The workshop was designed to help the European Commission to set and define future European strategic research and innovation priorities.

The workshop began with a series of ‘Moonshots’. Individual experts presented ambitious, yet realistic, targets for EU-funded learning technology research and innovation up to 2025. For each of these, we considered: What is the problem? How is it dealt with now? What difference would it make if this problem were addressed successfully?

We went on to merge our individual Moonshots into Constellations and then into Galaxies. We made links between the different ideas, linking them with other international activities and trends, as well as to previous EU-funded work. I was interested to see that many of the experts from across Europe presented ideas associated with blockchain for learning, a pedagogy that was picked up in our recent Innovating Pedagogy report.

My moonshot focused on a series of problems: access to tertiary education is unequal, most people in Europe do not complete tertiary education and many people in Europe need to develop new skills. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) offer a potential solution, but these new approaches to learning require new approaches to teaching. Teachers need training and support to work effectively in these new environments. They also need proven models of good practice. Improving educator effectiveness on these courses has the potential to increase Europe’s capacity to respond to its priority areas. It also has the potential to open up education for millions by developing and sharing knowledge of how to teach at scale.

 

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Policies for using Big Data

The PELARS project (Practice-based Experiential Learning Analytics Research And Support) invited me to Brussels for their Policies for using Big Data event on 9 November. The aim of theĀ  workshop was to raise awareness about the potential of analysis of data produced by learning technologies to catalyze the effective design of adaptive teaching, learning and assessment at scale. The aim was to bring together people interested in exploring the state-of-the-art of learning analytics, as well as to be informed about opportunities and barriers for adoption.

I chaired the panel discussion at the event, and was also able to talk to participants about the LACE project, following a presentation on LACE by Hendrik Drachsler.

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