Tuesday, 2 December 2008

JISC insert with the Guardian

There was a fascinating insert in today's Guardian called "the digital student". The supplement provided a range of examples of good practice in e-learning. There was an article on podcasting featuring Professor John Fothergill who has been an inspiration to us through his work with Gilly Salmon on the Impala project. There was also a short article about our own APT STAIRS project under the heading Collaboration is the Key. It is good to see that JISC is now actively promoting the potential benefits of e-learning using the numerous case studies that they have funded over the last few years.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Appropriate and Practical Technologies - Google Apps?

The RVC is lead partner in a JISC funded collaboration of Bloomsbury Colleges. This initiative (APT STAIRS) is testing new collaborative technologies to create a common space where users (students, teachers, administrators and researchers) with different skills can work online together. The project is focusing on the use of Google Docs and other online document creation tools to ensure uptake and adoption across the six partners in the Bloomsbury Colleges consortium.

At a "Demonstrator Lunch" last week ten of the pilot projects were presented by colleagues from each of the six Bloomsbury Colleges. All these projects had used Google Apps in different ways to support teaching, research and administration. This included a project at Birkbeck where students were able to contribute research data in a practical class to a Google spreadsheet and graph using Asus laptops. The RVC profiled a project where our library staff had created a common Goggle Doc where they could keep a collective list of books that had been requested by students - a simple application that has saved many hours of work.

More information about the demonstrators can be found here. Information on a cross campus survey of technology use is available here - this shows the different profile of staff and students when it comes to technology use.

Monday, 13 October 2008

eVet News

We set up a veterinary news Wiki for our focus group students. This has proved to be so popular that it's been opened up to all RVC students. This wiki pulls together news items from around the World relevant to our veterinary students. As of today we have 115 news items and 423 views. Students can subcribe through an RSS feed allowing them to keep up to date without having to navigate to the Wiki.

Friday, 10 October 2008

The Launch of WikiVet

Yesterday saw the launch of the WikiVet project (www.wikivet.net) at an event in Newcastle University. This is a joint initiative between four UK veterinary schools with funding from the Higher Education Academy and JISC. It is based on the development of a veterinary version of Wikipedia. However it has a number of features which distinguish if from it's big brother:

  • all the content has been written by veterinary students and graduates from the particpating vet schools
  • the content is peer reviewed by recent veterinary graduates and subject specialists in each vet school
  • access to the wiki is restricted to registered users who are either students or recognised veterinary graduates
These features mean that WikiVet has the advantage of having some level of Quality Assurance - something which reassures academics who dislike students using Wikipedia as a reference source. It also means that the content has a specifi veterinary and education focus which is much more relevant for veterinary students than a simple search of Wikipedi which will mainly throw up medical references.

WikiVet has been in genesis for the past 12 months prior to the launch. It already covers sections such as Anatomy and Physiology, Pathology, Immunology and Bacteriology totalling over 1,000 pages of text and many thousands of images. The wiki has been developed around a series of subject areas each with their own content map (CMAP) - the map not only helps to determine the structure of the wiki but also provides a clickable navigation system.

The site has a few unique features. Fo example the student authors have developed a simple Flash card system which involves mousing over white text to make it visible - simple but highly effective. There are also various signposting systems to resources developed by the different vet schools such as Computer Aided Learning, Digital Videos and Powerpoints. Finally registered users can a simple Zeemap to see who else around the world is using the site and add their own pin to a Google map.

You see a one hour Elluminate recording of the launch here - this includes presentations by some of the principle developers and students involved in the project.

Friday, 3 October 2008

What is this blog about?

For sometime we have been using an internal blog running within our Blackboard VLE (Learning Objects LX). This has been a useful team building tool, though we all find it takes a bit of discipline to keep adding to it. So it seems only natural to take the next step and produce a public blog linked in to our web site.

It feels a little indulgent to set up a blog publicising our own work. However we are not trying to suggest that we know better than anybody else out there what the solutions to e-learning are - far from it. Rather this is an attempt to share our experience and hopefully get the chance to learn from others - so please do feel inspired to add your comments to our postings.

The e-media Unit at the RVC is a talented team with a wide range of skills. This embraces everything from Coldfusion development, streaming video, podcasting, computer aided assessment, VLEs, e-CPD and online classrooms, digital images, clinical case recording, wikis and Google Apps. I hope that this blog will come to reflect a range of our experiences with different members of the team describing their own activities.

As a starting point you might like to take a look at our review site to get an idea of the kind of projects we are involved - see if you can save Jess, in our emergency clinical simulator.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Archived e-RVC Newsletters

The e-RVC Newsletters have now been replaced by a e-media blog. Links to past issues can be found below:

e-RVC issue 04 Summer 2006
e-RVC issue 03 Spring 2006
e-RVC issue 02 Autumn 2005
e-RVC issue 01 Summer 2005