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Event Report: AoC Conference 2009

Audience at AoC - Transforming Delivery to Meet New Realities

17th - 19th November 2009
ICC Birmingham

The JISC Regional Support Centres were once again well represented at this year's AoC Conference, held at the ICC in Birmingham. A major annual event for principals and senior managers the strong message for the sector was that despite financial pressures, the profile of Learning and Skills is high with the sector seen as having a key role in economic recovery.

A seminar organised by RSC London: London Colleges - Transforming Delivery to Meet New Realities, was well attended with leading London colleges showcasing examples of innovative practice in curriculum delivery and imaginative use of physical and virtual environments.  It was introduced by KATE ANDERSON (AoC London) and ANDREW WILLIAMS (Kingston College and Chair of RSC London advisory group).

“Stimulating and Inspiring”
“Great to see the work being done in other colleges”
“Best showcase so far – what we need to see at a national event”

Also exhibiting good practice at the Conference were Barnet (ESOL)  and Kingston (podcasting) Colleges.

A blended innovative approach to teaching and learning

Esam Baboukhan and Max Morton

City of Westminster College

Keith Cowell (Principal), Max Morton (Head of School IT) and Esam Baboukhan (Faculty E-learning Champion) presented the work done in the school of IT that has lead to increased retention and achievement rates. In addition photocopying costs have been reduced from £19,000 to £6. How has this happened?

  • Managerial support to enable things to happen
  • Staff willing to be innovative
  • Staff development sessions to support staff
  • Use of all the tools available in Moodle
  • All materials available on the Moodle
  • On-line ILPs integrated and used for target setting
  • On-line submission of assessments
  • Assessment manager used for tracking assessments

City of Westminster College will have a new £102 million build opening January 2011 – a state of  the art building with fully technology-enabled open spaces for staff and learners. It is expected that 15% of the teaching and learning will be delivered in these spaces – the school of IT are already preparing for this by their innovative approach.

Towards a 21st Century Learner

Paul Wakeling
Uly Lyons and Graham Francis

Havering Sixth Form College

Read or download PowerPoint presentation: Towards a 21st Century Learner
Havering Sixth Form College are providing learning spaces appropriate for the 21st Century Learner – Paul Wakleling (Principal), Graham Francis (Director of IT Services) and Ulysses Lyons (Subject Sector Leader (Arts, Media and Publishing) presented their vision and what was being done to enable this.

  • Wireless campus – allowing access to staff and learners
  • Net book loaning scheme  provided for learners
  • Informal learning spaces created through out the college e.g. refectory, upper atrium, library, internet café
  • More mobile devices will be bought as part of this year’s MoleNet Project
  • Flexible learning spaces – first one created for the Arts, Media and Publishing area
  • Open space allowing “creative work” and collaboration between the areas
  • Project based timetable and delivery – a shift from delivery to individual groups

The main message is that learners want to be in control of their learning and the college is facilitating this by providing appropriate space and resources and looking at flexible delivery to enhance the learner experience.

The interactive web

Westminster Kingsway Presentation
Ian McDonald

Westminster Kingsway College

Read or download PowerPoint presentation: The Interactive Web
Introduced by Kim Caplin (Vice Principal), Ian McDonald (Head of Information and Learning Technology) shared their experience of using interactive elements of the Web to support Army and RAF hospitality students working in the UK and abroad. Various second generation web tools were used to deliver different elements of the course:

  • Wikis for induction and ice breakers
  • Blogs for reflection and personal development logs
  • One–to-one tutorials delivered via instant messaging
  • Use of U-Tube to deliver IT skills needed to use the tools and for delivery of the course.
  • On-line assessment and feedback

The use of these tools has been highlighted as “good practice” by IQER (Integrated Quality and Enhancement Review for HE)

Curriculum Innovation

Maxine Room
Patricia Forest

Lewisham College

Maxine Room – Principal
Patricia Forrest – Head of E-learning and Innovation

Read or download PowerPoint presentation: Transforming delivery to meet new realities

Personalisation has been the underlying principle that has driven the development of Lewisham College’s  new Learner Portal and Learner involvement has been key to this process.

This portal is a one point stop for accessing all the information needed by the student:

  • Timetables
  • Calendars
  • PDPs – targets for each course, attendance data
  • Progress reviews

Learner voice is also an integral part of the portal and this sought at all levels to inform the quality assurance process.

Curriculum innovation is playing a vital role in re-engineering teaching, learning and support practices – they are exploring the use of video conferencing and mobile technologies for delivering new ways of teaching and learning.

In order to drive innovation and embed new practice throughout the college, they have introduced a new programme of Personalised staff eCPD focused around building staff confidence and creativity facilitated by the use of technology. They are also  piloting the use of desktop videoconferencing using GoToMeeting to support on demand elearning training and development. Staff make use of e-portfolios to record their eCPD and share good practice.

Some final thoughts

A key message I brought away from these presentations was that we have colleges  using quite small amounts of funding to lever new ways of doing things and providing excellent examples of innovative practice. Another recurring theme, was the importance of senior management support and enagagement to achieve change and the importance of taking staff along with you by supporting them in doing new things.

Kav Dev
e-Learning Adviser

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