Having returned from the ALT-C conference, I thought I'd pen a few of my highlights from the three days.
I think the standout element for me, was the chance to either catch up with some great people I haven't seen in ages, like Richard Hall (@hallymk1); or people I've known online for a while but not met met, like the Learning Technologist of the Year - Sheila MacNeil (@sheilmcn), Martin Hawksey (@mhawksey) and Lesley Gourlay (@lesleygourlay); and people whose work I've been aware of but again never met, like Martin Oliver. And of course there's been plenty of other people I've spoken with but I can't go on to list them all.
From a conference session perspective, there were also a few faves.
- I love David Kernohan's (@dkernohan) way of tackling issues related to education (and in particular issues around open ed and MOOCs) on his Followers of the Apocalypse blog. David didn't let anyone down looking at the journalism covering MOOCs in contrast to other open education initiatives. Really interesting stuff and his blog post covering the same topic is a must read - I'd definitely recommend 10 minutes to take this in, and actually have read it again after seeing the presentation.
- Nottingham have been well into open education over the past 5 years or so. I've seen and used XPert over the last few years, and you may be aware of their UNow site, or tools like Xerte. The Xpert tool is along the search engine lines for finding reusable content (specifically licensed for reuse opposed to Google's customised search [like Tim Bullough's Kritikos Tool which I've previously blogged]). Well a new development to the Xpert search is to automatically append the license/attribution for images within the image itself. Absolutely great little addition that will enable people to search for images (licensed for reuse from Flickr) and reuse quickly with appropriate attribution.
- My old colleague Rachel Forsyth (@rmforsyth) from CeLT at MMU, along with the excellent Cath Ellis (@cathellis13) from Huddersfield presented on Assessment Analytics. The main thrust was around the abundance of information we have related to assessment of students - not only overall grades, but through the use of online rubrics (e.g. through Tii/Grademark) we can analyse performance across a class against specific learning outcomes. This session contained an activity for tables to discuss a SWOT analysis related to the ethics of sharing such data with students, employers, professional/regulatory bodies, etc. Interesting issues there when you start to unpick them.
- Dame Wendy Hall, the second most influential woman in IT, keynoted 'What a Difference a Web Makes'. It was a very interesting and nostalgic talk, but for me I would have liked for Wendy to discuss the future of the web and its impact on learning a little more, rather than the few minutes towards the end on the semantic web. Having said that it was interesting and lively.
- The final keynote was from Stephen Downes (@oldaily). Again, very interesting discussing various things including the development of networks. A few people commented on the distraction of having the twitter backchannel on display, but Stephen maintained his stance on that, and yes, I was one of those to tweet silly messages early on :-)
The downsides were that I missed getting into an overcrowded room for a couple of sessions on lecture capture, and there were a few sessions cancelled on eAssessment stuff.
The Reed Diaries by Peter Reed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License