About our project

In January 2014, we received the good news that we had been successful in our bid for an extension of our original project via the Jisc FE and Skills Development and Resources Programme – Embedding Activity. We will continue to use this blog to record our activities, outputs and achievements over the next months.

The aims of our Embedding project are:

- to build on the positive outcomes and outputs of our original webinar project
- highlight the key employability skills identified in webinars by the employers who took part in our original project
- produce a well structured and resourced blended learning course to teach students the skills of setting up and running a webinar as a 21st century employability skill
- continue to disseminate our project findings and offer support through Jisc Regional Support Centres to help embed webinar training for students as part of a tutorial or curriculum programme using a blended learning course.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Let the planning begin!

Earlier this week we were in London for a meeting with Owen Hanmer, from Jisc.  The purpose of the meeting was to start planning our course on learning to set up and run a webinar. Owen ran a number of training sessions on webinar skills during the original Students4webES project and was an obvious choice to help us in the planning of this course.

We arrived in London for our meeting and the first thing that struck me about the meeting room  was that it was all set up perfectly for webinars and teleconferencing.

In the middle of the room, suspended above the table was a microphone, perfectly placed for capturing everything being discussed and on one wall a set of screens and a video camera again perfectly arranged to capture the meeting and fully support 'virtual participation'.

Fuelled by a number of cups of coffee we managed to put together a draft outline of the course. It is clear that it will continue to evolve over the coming weeks, but it is great to have a first draft down on paper (well actually on a shared Google Doc)!

The course will be built as a downloadable Moodle course with resources and activities for a blended learning delivery. We estimate the course will be about 20 hours of learning, but this could well change once we start to investigate getting the course accredited for funding.

Next stop: another meeting, this time with a video editor to look at improving the webinar recordings and to produce a more polished version of the top tips student produced video.

Monday, 10 March 2014

FELTAG Report and funding cuts

Having presented during the FE strand at ALT-C 2013 when the FELTAG open consultation session was run we were eager to read the Report that was published last Monday. FELTAG is the Further Education Learning Technology Action Group, convened by Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise, Matthew Hancock at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

Obviously a report that discusses the future use of technology in FE is highly relevant to our project. The timing of this report and the announcement that the government is cutting funding to ‘low value’ courses will allow us to reflect on both of these points whilst shaping the webinar employability course that we are designing for L2 and L3 students.

The aim of our course will be to teach a technology skill; the setting up and running of a webinar. We feel that the hard and soft skills needed to do this will help students be more successful in looking for employment both now and in the future. Our goal is to find a way to make the course fundable by validating the delivery through an awarding body accepted in the post-16 community. As the FELTAG report suggests, a proportion of the course will be delivered online and we are looking at putting the assessment online as well.

FELTAG recommends that “the funding system must fully support the adoption of new digital technology and learning methods….” (p. 23). This short course should tie in nicely with many of the recommendations for funding. We will keep you posted on how we get on.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Students4Webes Embedding Benefits (S4WEB)

Our first week of the project started with a flurry of activity including deciding on an appropriate abbreviation of the project name - S4WEB - which is a nice Twitter hashtag! We have a number of meetings planned over the next few weeks and will be posting regular updates here about our activities.

This week I found a blog post about a Jisc Learning and Teaching Experts Meeting that Ellen and I presented at last year. The post was written by another Jisc funded project The DIAL project - Digital Integration into Arts Learning - who presented at the same meeting. In the post they discussed the potential for using some of the material as part of the DIAL PoI project which is about Professional Online Identities or the possibility of setting up another DIAL project using a similar approach to ours.

As our new project is all about embedding benefits, it would be great hear from anyone who has seen our blog or attended a presentation and decided to use webinar software in some way. Why not leave us a comment and let us know?

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Set up and run a webinar: Learn a 21st Century Employability Skill

Ellen Lessner and Emma Procter-Legg will be speaking at the Jisc RSC Event "Technology, Innovation and Success - A conference for ACL and WBL" on the 28th March 2014 at Senate House, University of London.

Our session "Set up and run a webinar: Learn a 21st Century Employability Skill" will look at the lessons learned from our original project on webinars and employability skills run at Abingdon & Witney College. It is also a chance for us to showcase our (draft) blended learning course on setting up and running a webinar as an employability skill. The development of this freely available short course will form one of the major outputs of our embedding project. The funding for this is from the Jisc FE and Skills Embedding Activity Programme.

Why not come along to our session and have a chat with us about our project!

Monday, 3 March 2014

A Conference Call in Real Life

Below is a funny video about conference calls, which highlights how difficult and confusing these types of meetings can be!


Many of these experiences are the same in webinars.

In fact during one recent webinar presentation, I found that I had dropped out of the webinar mid presentation! Luckily I was co-presenting with Ellen and she stepped in whilst I logged myself back into the session.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

We are back - our extension bid was successful!

In January 2014, we received the good news that we had been successful in our bid for an extension of our original project via the Jisc FE and Skills Development and Resources Programme – Embedding Activity. We will be back blogging regularly about our activities, outputs and achievements over the next months.

The project officially starts again on Monday 3rd March so look out for more posts about our project aims and plans!