The Heads of eLearning Forum (HeLF) is a network of senior staff engaged in promoting, supporting and developing technology enhanced learning (TEL). We have 140 nominated Heads from UK higher education institutions and a regular programme of well attended events.

10 Nov 2014

HelF Workshop: Blending Physical and Virtual Spaces

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The 33rd HeLF Meeting  was on the 12th November, 2014, on the topic of Blending Physical and Virtual Space. Registration starts from 10.00, with the fist session from 10.30. The workshop will finish at 3pm.

We had a number of speakers from during the day from within UK HEIs and Sarah Knight from JISC.

We would like to say a very big thanks to Hilary at University of Bristol, for hosting the event.


Sarah Knight: JISC

Mark Gamble: University of Bedfordshire

Peter Bryant: LSE

What did attendees take?

We are starting to offer Mozilla Badges as recognition for attending our workshops. To collect your Open Mozilla Badge the attendee needs to reflect on what they have taken from the session. The following is some of their reflections.

  • Talk to Charlie Davis (Derby) about their implementation of Panopto and Kaltura for video feedback (we have similar pilots in the works).
  • Read UCL's Learning Spaces Guidelines document and pass on to relevant person in AV Services in preparation for new build.
  • Explore feasibility of using JISC/Ulster's Viewpoints approach to cultural change within our newly formed gasification community of practice.
  • As usual the day was a good mix of practitioner led sessions and thought provoking discussion. In relation to how this will impact on my own practice, I already have a few new ideas on how to make the most of lecture capture.
  • Looking forward to the next one :-)"
  • Creating resources similar to those demonstrated by the speaker from the School of Pharmacy at UoB as a means of flipping the classroom. I also picked up some really useful insights into issues that need more in-depth pedagogic consideration when creating learning spaces. The best presentation for me in terms of taking something away was that of Peter Bryant. I thought it was refreshing to here how things hadn't worked and it has given me the confidence to adopt a similar tack when presenting findings from a pilot I am currently coordinating.
  • For me, one of the most interesting things from the workshop was looking at the 'toolkits' of the various institutions represented. I hadn't yet contributed to this, but am now very keen to do so. This piece of work will be very helpful in getting an idea of how what we have compares with other institutions, and also knowing who to contact if we want to discuss the use of particular tools or technologies. This conversation also brought up some interesting discussions around confidentiality. Whilst all the attendees are committed to maintaining confidentiality of any information shared within the group, as necessary, it is definitely worth thinking about whether this commitment should be clearly stated as a condition of membership. If we were to ‘sign up’ to this commitment, this would also help us to make other people aware of this commitment, not only for this group, but also for other areas of our work too.
  • I have already written up the summary of the event and distributed to several teams. We are following up on Change Management (JISC Infonet); institutions who are currently doing VLE reviews; improvements to learning spaces and the guide created at UCL.
  • I meet Rob Howe on the way to the meeting and we had a long talk about current practice and development, which really help both technically and pedagogically.
  • I didn't find the introduction speaker that useful. its nice to set the scene but i would recommend that in the future someone reviews what happened at the last session ,and the main topics of conversation on the HELF message board. kind of like reviewing the minutes from the last meeting, so it 'seems' like we are processing:)
  • The break was really useful. i would suggest that the first sessions could have had another coffee break in to allow more informal chatting. there are so many people to get around and not enough time. Having Peter Bryant talk about stuff that 'missed the mark' was really useful to. Although its hard to stand up and talk about the things that went wrong its very useful to hear and discuss.
  • The notion that students inhabit a different cultural space to ourselves as members of the same university; this emerged throughout the morning session as an underlying theme.
  • I have admired the clarity of the Viewpoints methodology for a while and Sarah Knight's talk was very timely for my own institution. I will be using it in the near future.
  • The afternoon session that struck a cord was Peter Bryant with the thinking around an emergent third way for technology uptake within institutions. I believe most successful HEIs use this method when they are successful, but do not necessarily record it very well as it has a lot to do with the culture of the organisation and where it is at in its evolution. Which takes me back to thinking about 'culture of the members of the university'.
  • "I think most of the presentations touched in an issue or project I am currently involved in at my institution. And for me the power came from the synergies and connections that were relevant to me from across all the presentations.
  • The first speaker challenged me to broaden my view of what 'digital literacy' might mean for staff and students - that it is essential for us to be both informed consumers and producers/contributors. The last part I hadn't really thought about in any great depth, focusing on the former. The final speaker, when talking about the new 'middle out' approach of tackling change and development also offered a glimmer of a new approach that offers new opportunities. So some re framing and scoping of our 'digital literacies' project (although intend to rename it).
  • The presentation on ChemLabS linked into a new oncampus facility I am taking my students (new academic staff) to visit this week - our STEM building which is an outreach initiative with schools. Potential links there. I am also using learning spaces as a theme to bring together different strands of the module I am delivering on teaching and professional practice and the presentation from UCL was really relevant - rushed straight off and downloaded the policy.
  • It was of great interest to me to deputise for Fiona at this meeting. The landscaping of which (e)tools different institutions are using will be something we watch with interest as it will help inform our choices. The discussion following my presentation on physical space design and the challenges of building project teams helped further my understanding of how other institutions tackle similar issues.
  • "Very useful to hear similar priorities mentioned by colleagues in the sector, e.g. Digital literacy of staff needs major attention, students as creators. Good to know the areas we are pushing forward on are important across the sector and to fellow professionals.
  • Good presentations highlighting some of the challenges, lack of pace of change in institutions, not using potential of technology, sceptical view of reaching the 'tipping point'
The location was: Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol.