The shortlisted candidates for the Times Higher Education Awards 2010 have been unveiled for various categories including the Outstanding ICT Initiative that will be judged by JISC.
If you have not heard about all the six contenders, they are listed below with a few words on some of the innovative work that they have been doing.
The University of Bristol ChemLabS is a CETL that also provides e-learning tools for chemistry and science subjects. They produce resources for individuals, schools and universities, via their LabSkills software and Dynamic Laboratory Manual.
The Open University iSpot is a website aimed at helping anyone identify anything in nature. You can add an observation to the website and suggest an identification yourself or see if anyone else can identify it for you, as explained by Chris Packham.
The Harper Adams University College Open Fields site is an internet library designed “to meet practitioner and student demand for knowledge that supports and stimulates the development of land-based industries”.
The University of the West of England SHE (Simulations in Higher Education) initiative enables students to experience simulations of events and situations that are difficult or impossible to organise, before they put their skills into practice in the real world, by using Second Life.
The University of Ulster SLOODLE initiative is an Open Source project which integrates the multi-user virtual environment of Second Life with the Moodle learning-management system. It connects the two environments via chatrooms, quizzes, voting mechanisms, note writing tools and presentations.
The University of Leicester Media Zoo is a research dissemination forum and a supportive, experimental environment for staff to understand the design of learning activities using learning technologies. It has physical, online and 3D manifestations, as well as someone with a very cool job title.
Good luck to all the nominated initiatives for awards night!
Here is a round-up of news items about information literacy, e-learning and the Virtual Training Suite as picked out by @VTStutorials on Twitter.
- RT: @timeshighered: World University Rankings #THEWUR results out now! http://bit.ly/thewur
- Tweaching with Twitter http://goo.gl/fb/74wpg
- RT @uhlr How Scholarly Is Google Scholar? A Comparison to Library Databases – http://is.gd/f8aXR
- Matterhorn – open-source platform to support the management of educational audio & video http://www.opencastproject.org/project/matterhorn
- New website methods@manchester: research methods in the social sciences http://www.methods.manchester.ac.uk/
- Education at a Glance 2010: OECD Indicators http://www.oecd.org/edu/eag2010 “Govt should expand tertiary study to boost jobs & tax revenue”
- If you need to do lots of link checking of websites, try this Firefox addon https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/532/
- Search results in an Instant http://goo.gl/fb/8TaIP
- RT@aliss_info Recommended free library induction/ information literacy resources from ALISS http://www.alissnet.org.uk/ http://ow.ly/2Cc15
- Google Instant with Bob Dylan http://youtu.be/qcm0rG8EKXI?hd=1 subterranean search results as you type
- hopes all delegates at #econnet will recommend the Internet for Economics to their students http://www.vts.intute.ac.uk/tutorial/economics/
- the @VTStutorials team was at the Economics Network e-learning symposium http://www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk/events/elearning #econnet
Last week the Virtual Training Suite team attended the Economics Network e-learning symposium.
Among a series of presentations on how economics lecturers were using technology, Paul Latreille of Swansea University spoke about “Tweaching for Economists“.
Paul emphasised the thought process that he had gone through before using Twitter in his teaching. Economics Network surveys have highlighted the absence of a shared responsibility in learning and a desire amongst students to have a more active role in their learning.
Paul was looking for a way of encouraging greater student engagement to produce learning via interaction, but it was important not to use a tool just for the sake of it – technology last, not first.
He recounted a number of ways in which Twitter can be used to enhance teaching:
- By using course codes or a course based accounts you can Tweet interesting websites / readings to students.
- You can contribute items of more than 140 characters in length by using TwitLonger.
- Add pictures, images and graphs by using TwitPic.
- Manage personal, professional or course based accounts in one place via HootSuite with the added bonus of being able to schedule Tweets e.g. reminders about assignment deadlines or lecture times.
- As an alternative to PRS (Personal Response Systems) or clickers by using TwtPoll.
- And he heard about all these possibilities, just by following people on Twitter.
Or to put it more formally, you could see some suggestions for Tweaching via this Framework for Teaching with Twitter (Rick Reo, adapted by Mark Sample).
Twitter is a difficult service to recommend within a Virtual Training Suite tutorial as students are often reluctant to engage with Social Media for educational purposes, but it is refreshing to see such innovation in teaching that encourages more active learning.
More top tips and links to websites are available by following @VTStutorials on Twitter.
Google Instant provides search results as you type, but is this necessarily a good thing?
The latest search innovation from Google is to provide search results as you type. It aims to deliver faster searches, smarter predictions and instant results.
However, this appears to be at the expense of some key features that savvy searchers may have come to depend upon over the years.
Alex Chitu over at Google Operating System has highlighted some of the features that are no longer available in instant search mode, including the fact that it only returns results 10 at a time and that it stops users from searching within a set up results.
But it certainly does appear to save time as Lifehacker has tried to show …
What effect will this have?
The race to the top of the Google Rankings may become even more fierce, as sites compete to become the first predicted result for each letter of the alphabet.
People will become used to this level of speed and responsiveness from search products and will come to expect it elsewhere.
But will it help searchers to get to the right answer or just to get to an answer a little bit quicker?
At least, it has lead to some creative videos showing how it works …
On a purely personal note, my preference to see 100 search results per page when I query Google means that for now I’ll be turning off Google Instant.