Reflections on ALT-C

Last week I attended day 2 of the ALT-C conference in Manchester and presented a session under the theme ‘Participatory approaches to the development of learning technologies’ which explored the collaborative approach that this project has taken and shared the activities and outputs of the project as they currently stand (see below).

Although I was only there for one day, I was struck by the recurring messages around the increased importance of:

  • students in driving change
  • social networking (by students and the implications for institutions)
  • a ‘student-centredness’ approach by institutions

The importance of the digital experience of students was also highlighted in the Jisc session ‘Engaging learners in active dialogue around their digital expectations and experiences’ – the panel of which included 3 very articulate students who gave some extremely thought provoking and interesting viewpoints. The findings shared during this session certainly resonate with the research that has been done as part of the scaling up online learning project (and in particular the strand around how to enhance the discoverability of UK online courses):

Sarah Knight from Jisc speaking at ALT-C
Sarah Knight from Jisc speaking at ALT-C
  • Learners first experiences of university are often online
  • Learners like to (and do) compare their digital experiences and provision
  • Learners want to use their own devices and services to access, organise and record their learning
  • Learners expect college/university to prepare them for employment in digital workplaces and life in a digital society
  • Learners sense of wellbeing and belonging are tied up with the quality of their digital access

Many of the above points are even more important when the learning is taking place mainly or wholly online or at a distance.

Although only one day, I found the conference to be very useful and inspiring – and I’m looking forward to next years conference!

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