LTD Manager (Research Projects)
I work in the Learning and Teaching Development team in the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University. My role is to get involved in a wide variety of research and development projects, with the aim of determining new tools and practices which will benefit the university's teaching and learning strategies. (You can get an overview of the sort of work the Learning and Teaching Development team does by looking at the publications that various members of the current team have led or contributed to since the team was formed in 2004).
My current and recent projects include:
- LACE (Learning Analytics Community Exchange)
I'm working on a study of Visions of the Future in learning analytics. This will be informed by experts' views and perceptions of what is desirable, what is feasible and the obstacles to making what is desirable happen
- HOME (Higher education Online: MOOCs the European way), which aims to develop and strengthen a European network of organisations interested in cooperating about open education in general, and MOOCs in particular.
- Metis (Meeting teachers' co-design needs by means of Integrated Learning Environments)
In this project I'm working with the Metis partners to produce and run a series of workshops on designing elearning activities. The first workshop on designing collaborative activities was held at the OU on October 24th 2013.
- Maseltov "Mobile Assistance for Social Inclusion and Empowerment of Immigrants with Persuasive Learning Technologies and Social Network Services"
My work included developing an initial version of 'Incidental learning framework' in collaboration with others here at the OU and partners from Spain and elsewhere in the UK. I edited and co-wrote Deliverable D7.1.1 "Incidental Learning Framework".
Past work includes
- Work on the OU learning design initiative the aim of which is "to develop and implement a methodology for learning design composed of tools, practice and other innovation that both builds upon, and contributes to, existing academic and practicioner research". Most of my work within this initiative has focused on the development of CompendiumLD a software tool for designing learning activities using a flexible visual interface.
- Pelagios "Pelagios: Enable Linked Ancient Geodata In Open Systems'"
A JISC funded project to help introduce Linked Open Data into online resources that refer to places in the Ancient World. Applying linked open data in this way will make lots of things possible, including new modes of discovery and visualization for scholars and the general public. Working with Liz Fitzgerald and Juliette Culver I organised requirements gathering surveys and usability testing events to help develop some visualisation widgets, and reported on this in a series of blog posts. (Liz focused on the research aspects, and Juliette did all the technical development work).
- Bridge to Success
I wrote a review of literature related to teaching maths online, focusing on best practice, mechanisms to engender peer support, and mechanisms to deal with the anxiety that affects some people when they encounter maths in school or elsewhere.
In general the aim of a technology roadmap is to provide a consensus view or vision of the future landscape available to decision makers. I have worked on several roadmap studies aiming to define future research activities related to educational technology. The first of these aimed at creating a roadmap for research into e-learning relevant to Higher Education in Europe and is described in the paper "Determining Research Questions in e-learning" (McAndrew, Brasher, Hardy, 2004). In the Mobilearn project I led the development of the Mobilearn roadmap which considered ways that the lessons from MOBIlearn can inform future research and activity on mobile learning.
In 2005-2006 I worked on a roadmap for e-assessment (funded by the JISC e-Learning programme). This work has attempted to combine inputs such as governmental and organisational policies with the views and research outputs of domain experts into a coherent vision of the future of e-Assessment in the UK HE and FE sectors. My colleagues Denise Whhitelock and Simon Cross have just started a study of the current state-of-art in e-assessment: it'll be interesting to see how (in)accurate our roadmap is even after such a short time has passed.
Structuring of content, description of content
I am interested in how content (e.g. web pages, Word™ or text files, images, movies, or any multimedia combination of these) may be structured so that it provides some form of added value for its users. Related to this is how content can be described in ways which add value for users. In particular, I am interested in the human factors affecting the design, creation, and exploitation of structures within educational resources and descriptions of educational resources. My work in this area includes semi-automatic generation of audio versions of learning content which built on investigations into issues concerning metadata (e.g. the paper "A Model For The Creation Of Human-Generated Metadata Within Communities") but it also covers a variety of topics including schema design and vocabulary selection.