In Support of Excellence

It's all about the students

Universities VIsited

The Best Professional Learning Experience of My Career

Thats quite a claim for someone who has experienced as many learning and teaching conferences as I have and interviewed and learnt from 200+ thought leaders in Higher Education for our podcast programme over the years. When I was selected by Apple for the Apple Distinguished Educator’s Global Institute in Cork Ireland in July 2012 I never anticipated what a mind expanding event the entire experience would be. I was thrilled to be one of the 234 ADEs chosen from the 600 applicants and to have the funds to travel from my university award prize money. More of this experience below,but let’s start at the real beginning of the learning experience

Cork minus Four Weeks: About 1995 one of the first pieces of online education jargon I learned was “click brick and click” The idea of starting a learning experience online with the click of a mouse, then meeting  face-to-face (the brick), then continue back online with more mouse clicks.  It is the concept that influenced the development of blended learning. However I have never really seen it work as effectively as I did with the build up to Cork.  A month before the event we started using BaseCamp an online project management tool and putting into practice Challenge Based Learning.  We had four big ideas presented and all 234 of us entered into online community discussion to identify the essential  questions.  The discussion forums were reflective, mind expanding and very active. By the time we arrived in Ireland we had all chosen one of those big ideas areas we were interested in.  It was in these communities around a Big Idea where we split into small working groups for the week to define our challenges and make our pitch i.e. presentations.

For years when I travel internationally I do what I call a network crawl where I visit people/institutions with which I have contact, to learn from them and teach into them.  This trip to the UK was going to be no different. I contacted some colleagues I have met at some of those conferences, and asked would they like to meet and would they like me to talk about iPads. I never expected the response.  Five universities in three countries asked for seven Padagogy Seminars and extra meetings about LAMS. Wow I thought I had better upgrade the iPad seminars we (Ian Green from Adelaide and I) have presented to over 600 participants in Adelaide and elsewhere in Australia.

The Padagogy WheelSeminar Upgrade: I started with the skeleton of what we did and rebuilt it from the ground up using Keynote as the guiding presentation tool. The seminars by necessity are App centric and because not everyone has an iPad and if they do, nor the same apps the seminars need to be show and tell.  Their main function is to present a selection of apps that can be used for L&T.  I wanted more than this so I looked to the most well know learning model around the Bloom’s Taxonomy.  During the research I found all the great work people have done with Blooms and technology. However I had a interesting new idea of mapping iPad apps to the cognitive domain of the taxonomy and using the Taxonomy Wheel The Padagogy Wheel … it’s a Bloomin’ Better Way  to Teach was born. I also identified the need for a third more hands on workshop I will call PADAGOGY 301 which is under development targeted to a more specific audience.

By Popular Demand: I have learnt from the responses in Padagogy workshops, that academics are very interested in Simon Smith’s e-assessment system of marking assignments. I knew I would get heaps of questions from the floor in Singapore and the UK so I recorded a podcast episode with Simon. Quality Feedback: It’s all about the Students. explains more about this innovative e-assessment  workflow using iPads. I mention this in Padagogy 201 and now there is a resource for people wanting more. Its a total win/win for all stakeholders. The teachers save significant time and can enrich the feedback and the students reap the benefit of more personalised feedback.

Let the Games Begin - First Stop Singapore: The time in Singapore was very productive with four workshops/seminars well attended at the new Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine at the Nanyang Technological University.  It is an exciting new joint medical school by Imperial College London and NTU they are developing a very innovative curriculum using LAMS and iPads. The “Padagogy Wheel” created quite a buzz. I presented each of these seminars twice in two days

PADAGOGY 101 What’s all the fuss about iPads in HE: This is an introduction to the iPad and contains reference to 29 iPad Apps from Document Readers to Project Management and links to 12 Video tutorials

PADAGOGY 201 It’s a Bloomin’ Better Way to Teach: This seminar gives ideas of the latest use of the Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy and how the iPad can serve the pedagogy. It has reference to 62 apps with 18 video based tutorials.

I had a great interview with Paul Gagnon Director of eLearning at Lee Kong Chian. Collaborative Learning … What No Lectures!: is about how they are taking Team Based Learning and adapting the pedagogy to use iPads and LAMS.

The London Bridge ready for the OlympicsNext Stop London and a trip down the River Thames: This was a busy time with visits to four universities, but what a way to start, visiting the place where time starts and stops … Greenwich.  Simon Walker head of the EDU at Greenwich University had invited me to meet and talk LAMS.  When I got there I discovered they were doing some ground breaking work on Graduate Attributes. In the podcast episode Graduate Attributes – Spin or Education Simon talks about the long term initiative the University has to develop their academic skills and framework and push this into a pedagogical framework. How they involve the students and the tools they have developed is worth reflection.

Kingston University M25LTG:  When invited to present at this event while in London, I had no idea what that meant.  We caught the tube and some buses and eventually ended up at Kingston University for the M25 (thats the Motorway) Learning with Technology Users Group. A innovative users group of LT professionals from the University College Londondifferent universities across the wider London area.  Note to self – we need to start this in Adelaide South Australia. It was also great to meet Dr Ian Green my fellow ADE from the University of Adelaide while in London – it was unexpected. He joined me in the rest of the visits and seminars.

Blended PADAGOGY 201 and 101 seminars: were needed at London University and the University College London:     Tim Neumann a colleague and good friend from the London Knowledge Lab had organised a 2 hour iPad Seminar at London and another Australian colleague who works for UCL organised one there.  Both were well attended and Ian and I did our joint presentation as we always do. The response was very positive.

ADE Cork Day 3Transforming global education: (and learning a bit of Irish) reads the tee shirt we received on our arrival in Cork. Thus began an incredible week of professional learning managed by Apple but the real learning happened in the small groups.  The video at the start of this blog entry gives you an insight of what it was like and the visual journey is stunning thanks to the great photos that were taken there and shared by Daniel Woo of the University of NSW.  As the saying goes “It ain’t over ’til it’s over!”  Everyone who attended the event has committed to work to an October deadline to publish content on the ADE iTunesU. There will be significant curriculum published for the developing of teachers as an outcome of Cork.

Finally Scotland and The University of Edinburgh:  This was actually an email type I call “a G’day email” I literally looked up the university website ans found the team running a post graduate elearning course ans said “G’day I’m visiting Edinburgh and Edinburgh from the castlewondered if ….” four or five emails later we had set up a PADAGOGY201 workshop that filled up with registrations in 24 hours from announcement and had a waiting list. They said it was the fastest response they have ever had to an elearning event.

We had a successful  seminar and the next day started the marathon journey home. Edinburgh to London… changed planes.  London to Singapore overnight no sleep …. thank goodness 4 hours sleep in the airport hotel then back on the A380 now that’s a plane and overnight to Sydney still no sleep… then change planes again and home to Adelaide. Over 48 hours travelling… but it was worth it.

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Graduate Attributes – Spin or Education?

Simon Walker is the head of the Education Development Unit (EDU) at the University of Greenwich and he had just showed us a room that looked to me like I have always imagined how the Sistine chapel would look in Rome, but we were in London and it was raining. Nothing new about that but Simon then took us through a tunnel no less, connecting the buildings of the Naval Museum and the university.  I will never forget the surreal experience of standing in a tunnel which in the late 1600′s housed doctors operating on wounded sailors. Then seeing the worn stones where these doctors sharpened the available technology (their scalpels) on the stone surfaces. Now here we were on the way to the EDU, the learning and teaching with technology hub of a 21st century university.

In this podcast episode Simon talks about the University of Greenwich Graduate Attributes long term initiative which started in 2009 to develop academic skills and framework and to push this into a pedagogical framework.  A great deal of research and a couple of years later the university believes their graduates are about good scholarship and independent thinking they are about confident and distinctive students always learning and always developing with creativity at it’s core.

They have identified three dimension of attributes :

  1. Scholarship and Autonomy
  2. Creativity and Enterprise
  3. Cross cultural and international awareness

Simon shares that right from the start they decided to do this much more holistically and not to get bogged down with the ticked box mentality so they now have broad university overarching attributes and they expect their programs to interpret those attributes. Teachers/curriculum developers are then expected to make course activities that reflect the program outcomes.  The tricky thing is to develop a pedagogy to reach those outcomes.

When asked Simon explained that the academics are buying in. He has found a lot do this anyway but it is not explicit. One big “ah aha” their research has found is it gives graduates a framework to answer the question from employers  “What did you learn at university?”   He then goes on to talk about the big question “Does a graduate attributes framework and mapping course outcomes increase employability?”

The EDU is developing and using a “Taught, Practiced, Assessed and Experienced” (TPAE) tool designed to map the Greenwich Graduate Attributes through a course, over a programme and display a threshold value when a program team feel a student has had successful opportunity to attain each graduate attribute. Some resources are below.

Finally we discussed how they involve the students in a separate framework and are having them contribute to the “Student Guide to the Greenwich Graduate”  Simon explained that it is not about what students know on graduation but what they can do …. it’s all about application.

I encourage you to listen to the audiboo episode “What does the Greenwich graduate look like?” browse the resources and if you have any further questions, ideas or collaborative possibilities  please contact Simon by email.

Further online resources:

  • Outline of the University wide attributes webpage
  • Graduate attribute statements with outcomes – PDF Document
  • TPAE Tool discussion document
  • TPAE Mapping Grid
  • Feedback from a Student Forum on the Students’ Greenwich Graduate Guide to help raise more awareness of the Greenwich Graduate Attributes.
  • Graduate Attributes – Spin or Education” a vimeo video (33 mins)  of a lecture given  at Greenwich by Dr Anna Jones who is a Reader in Education in the Centre for Research in  Lifelong Learning at Glasgow Caledonian University. Before that she worked at King’s College London and at the University of Melbourne.

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A Gutenberg Experience



In 1979 my wife an I felt we should start a printing business, this we believed, was something we should do to make a difference. Our journey is quite a story.  We began printing for churcohes and Christian organizations. For 18 years the story of  the invention of moveable type and Gutenburg’s printing press and how his first book off the press – the Bible changed the world was a driver in our lives.  It still inspires us to this day.  We had the amazing experience of seeing some original pages from it  in Germany some years later.

Dan Brokke, President of Bethany International and an old friend from our time running Printing Schools in the University of the Nations in Hawaii,  never realized the impact his gift of this cool new Bible would have on me.   It provides the first bridge I have seen between our old world of print on paper and our new world of teaching and learning with technology.  It is awesome that  it is in fact a Bible….. Johannes Gutenburg would be well pleased.

Life Essentials Study BibleLife Essentials Study Bible  with video tutoring by Dr Gene Getz by  uses QR or BeeTags to give the printed page a link to the Internet and digital assets to support the content. I first started using these tags about 2 years ago and have seen them connect advertising posters to websites and other marketing uses. I have also used them to link PowerPoint presentations to social bookmarking, but Dr Getz uses them to add rich media content to expand the principles of Scripture and provide “good fors” as they are called in JiTT. They answer the students important questions of practical application … What is this content good for?

As I thought about this and explored the book at our time at Bethany College, ideas kept bouncing around my head. What if we extended this concept from rich media (video) support to the printed content and added interactive formative assessment i.e. quizzes managed by a LMS like Moodle.  We could design the “printed content” as self contained, yet linked to so much more when connectivity allows.  We could provide this content on local networks and design it so all content is LTA ( Low Threshold Activities i.e. easy to learn, easy to use, easy to download and low cost) and for use on mobile devices. We could design collaborative networks linked to the content, students could add questions and comments to their peers in group discussion…. Hmmm!  Could this be a new and exciting learning design that would work in the majority world?  Brainstorm anyone?

Truly a personal Gutenburg  moment.  Please add your comments.

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The Cross Walk … a practicum with a diffference

Carol Freeman PhotI saw the six foot cross as we walked into Carol Freeman’s office. I couldn’t help but comment. As Carol, the Dean of Student Mentoring at Bethany International began to explain how it is used in the teaching and learning at the college, I immediately had flashbacks to 1970 and my Army training in Australia.  What a dynamic practicum and situational learning opportunity.  In the military they call it survival training, where they drop trainees  many many miles form camp with little supplies and told to get back.

Listen to Carol in this episode tell the story how they blindfold students and take them 100 miles from the collage and give them a set of criteria and the cross and they have to get back.  This adds a new dimension to the term “field assignment”  :-)  The life changing results testified by the students after the experience makes a teacher know it is special.

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Student Mentoring Unpacked

Carol Freemand Bethany School of MissionsCan we do this using elearning?

One of the highlights of our visit to Bethany International was meeting Carol Freeman, Dean of Student Mentoring. Carol explained the school’s mentoring program that all students participate in as they move through their undergraduate experience.  It’s really intense as you will hear in the podcast episode.  The result is a truly transformational experience for the student.  Their hearts as well as their heads are being seriously impacted.

The question for me as a learning designer using elearning methods and technologies is:  “How do we impact the virtual student at the heart level so that values are informed along with knowledge and skill development?  What do you think – please add your comments below?

Richard Morris
MAFLT

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High touch high teach high learn


We were introduced to Tran in the hallway of California Baptist University’s new CBU Online Division. He guided us into his office. Richard and I had the same response simultaneously “Whoa nice office!” … it was a nerd reaction as Tran has at least five monitors around the corner of his desk space and it looks more like a NASA control room than the office of a university faculty.  :-)  Tran Hong is the Dean of Technology for Online  and Professional Studies for CBU Online and we were truly engaged as he shared how they are using CISCO Systems Webex and Telepresence technologies to connect with their students across the globe.

They are using the blended or hybrid approach with a mix of reaching individual students and extension locations with high resolution video presence on room size monitors. Watch the video and see how they are doing it.  As I reflected on a comment Tran made about “high touch”  I understood the importance of socialisation in a faith based university like CBU.  The connection between high touch and building a learning community and how to manage this online, now with this high tech solutions available, begs for educational research. Questions are running around my head like:

  • Now we can see and hear each other as if we are in the same room, is it really as good as face-to-face?
  • Is one way didactic lecture better this way than recorded in a lecture hall on campus and revisited by students in a LMS?
  • Does it improve retention?
  • How do you manage and initiate interactivity?
  • Is this really practical in the majority world?
  • How much better is it than well designed, social constructivist pedagogy, delivered by a LMS managed by a committed teacher well trained in online facilitation, who uses low threshold approach synchronous technology?
  • Blended refers to the delivery of synchronous and asynchronous  methods but what opportunities does this new technology provide for blending new learning sequences  or pedagogies?

I am looking forward to further conversation with the great team of people we met at CBU Online, as we explore the future together

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Food for the Soul … believe it!


Our visit to Azusa Pacific University started with some very productive and intense meetings where we discussed all things elearning, graduate attributes and student experience.  We were engaged (and always running overtime I might add) right up to and during lunch.  Dr Andrea McAleenan the Special Advisor to the President of APU and our host, was extremely gracious and accommodating in trying to get all the pieces to fit.  Andrea had done a wonderful job in organising leaders from different parts of the university to see us.

However just after lunch things didn’t go as planned and spontaneously Andrea informs us they had a surprise. She guided us across campus teasing us by not telling where we were going nor what was about to happen.  We entered a room which was quickly filling with 100 male students and we realised this was a choir and this was going to be a rehearsal. Well it started out that way with Harold Clousing the choir director guiding this “army of males” through some of the best men’s choir music I have ever heard.  Who said you had to be Welsh.

Part way through the “rehearsal” they suddenly regrouped in a circle around us and began to worship and sing to us. Everyone there could sense that this was something special and being delivered from a completely different level.  This quickly became food for the soul, everyone was visibly moved. Take time to to watch but more importantly listen to “100 of the best men on campus’ to quote Harold.  I spend a lot of time thinking about graduate attributes and what graduates will “look like’  … these students are fine examples of what is possible.

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The student experience takes work – lots of it!

Terry Hanson APUHowever our time with Terry Franson Senior Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California  sure did prove this work is worth it. I was particularly happy we could talk over lunch because of the emphasis on the student experience we have at the University of Adelaide right now – we are waiting the arrival of our new Pro Vice Chancellor Student Experience a new strategic role for us to help the university address this critical area.  APU has been successfully engaging with students, caring for them pastorally and supporting their learning goals for the last 113 years. In this episode Terry shares some of the wisdom he and his team have learnt.

Terry’s opening statement about “holding the umbrella of the student’s out of classroom experience” and the list of things and mention of 26 different departments that followed, is a reminder of the need for holistic thinking when developing students to be the sort of graduates all stakeholders hope them to be.  When asked to describe today’s students and “where are they at?” Terry’s response has significant implications for any university. He clearly flags that the students have a huge interest in justice, their focus is about injustice to any person and writing the wrongs of society.  Listen carefully to the list of injustices about which the students care passionately and the global scope of their concern.  As I reflect on this I will revisit the pedagogical framework of “Challenge Based Learning” as it holds a lot of promise for the needs of today’s students.

We talk about the qualities of the “new bred of students” and how the student will champion the rights of their fellow person and also goes on to describe that which the faith based school can bring to the table.  Terry describes APU’s Natural Affinity Group and how with approximately 11,000 students how they make “little groups out of big groups” … they work hard at it. First year students are paired in a one to ten ratio with second year students who have leadership tendencies.  It is exciting to hear how these groups work. APU is very intentional about developing community to learn to live together and it is clear everybody matters who comes to APU no matter their background.  This year they are developing a cohort of about 600 student leaders and they meet about 6 times a year for personal development …. it is clearly all about the students and APU is very very intentional about developing community.

I asked Terry what he thinks APU does best with the student experience and he goes on to describe its integration with the academic experience and how the academics or teachers are not just about the classroom but are about the quality of life of the student and them reaching their life goals. APU also works hard to see the academics have the support they need for this holistic approach to the life of the student at university and try to make the integration of student life with their academic endeavour as seamless as possible.

This podcast episode summarises the goals of today’s students is to make a difference and it is the opening of an ongoing conversation and Terry has offered to part of it. APU is setting up an Online University and there are a lot of questions how do we build the quality of student life in a virtual world. It is not impossible, it is just different.  I will be asking him to participate in a webinar or two when I return to Australia so stay tuned.

Helpful Resources:
The Office of Student Life at APU

Challenge Based Learning Components

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