IBLC 10 - Session - Peter Bullen's Keynote
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6 April 2010
Changing practice - reflections on the Blended Learning Unit
"One of the key challenges facing the Higher Education sector is to realsie the opportunities of technology enhanced learning and teaching. The challenge is to encourage, persuade and support academic staff to adopt technolgy and to integrate its use with face-to-face teaching in effective, efficient and blended ways. A personal reflection on the work and achievements of the Blended Learning Unit (BLU) will show how the BLU took up this challenge and will discuss factors critical to its success. These factors cover a wide range of issues including culture, partnership, community, academic led processes, innovation and the importance of understanding the learners' experiences. The presentation will include a number of examples of activities illustrating BLU's approach to these issues and will highlight important aspects of these activities. It will conclude with comment about the future informed by a career in Higher Education and beyond, by my role as Director of BLU and by my current role as a Critical Friend working with a number of Universities on JISC and HEA technology enhanced learning projects."
Peter R Bullen
14:55 on 27 May 2010
These are my notes from Peter Bullen's keynote - Changing Practice - Reflections on the Blended Learning
Warmly introduced by Pro VC Dr Andrew Clutterbuck and Jon Alltree who both highly praised the work Peter has done with the BLU CETL as passionate advocate for the use of technology to improve learning.
These will be personal reflections on the work of the BLU which has been a huge success. Reflection is an opportunity to learn from what we do and he will suggest why the Unit has been so successful.
In the beginning...
- Exploiting computing technology
- VLE was being developed pre-2000 and is extremely well developed - which makes things easier for staff
- StudyNet champions developing the VLE/MLE itself and also the use of the MLE
- Innovation in Learning and teaching
- A DIY philosophy not DIFM (do it for me!)
- Work in industry (engineering) and teaching
- Colleagues, educationalists and others eg John Seddon - Systems thinking, W Edwards Deming - understanding and managing organisations, Taiichi Ohno - Toyota production system, Peter Senge - Learning organisations, Ralph Stacey - Managing complexity.
- Initial involvement with eLearning in mid-90s with Ford (developing online masters in automotive engineering)
Who are the BLU?
- Small core group who represent a range of disciplines all enthusiastic about the use of technology
- All practitioners
- Contacts at all levels
What do BLU do?
- Minimising barriers (infrastructure, and availability of technology, working with academic staff' actualities and perceptions)
- Evaluation (using student experience to guide what they did)
- BL innovation and development (in the use of technology for learning, assessment and collaboration) with a focus on good principles (using Chickering & Gamson Seven Principles, 1987 as a framework)
- Dissemination - communicating and engaging (developing the use of audio, workshops for staff, support, incentives and proper resourcing)
Changing the emphasis
Moved from dissemination to transformation (changing practice) which led to the development of CABLE - Change academy for Blended Learning Enhancement which has seen, and in continuing to see, significant achievements.
The impact of blended learning upon students experience has been profound.
Critical success factors
- People working in partnership, learning from each other, taking a lead.
- Principles and processes which support those people, providing blended learning solutions.
- Institutional readiness (buy-in of all stakeholders) and embedding.
The future? We should:
- adopt a philosophy of continuous improvement and the culture of a learning organisation
- try to better understand the 'value' of every 'learning activity' and then concentratye on VALUE not cost
- adopt some of the more sophisticated tools currently being developed to support staff to develop and share their practice (curriculum design)
- Concentrate on value - reflect on everything we do
- Reduce the emphasis on committees and build BL communities
- Remember the object is to improve the students learning experience
10:11 on 16 June 2010 (Edited 10:14 on 16 June 2010)