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Intentional Hospitality

Samantha Ahern8 November 2021

Black & white illustration of the Mad HatterEarlier this month I ran a workshop for a small group of colleagues on the topic of Intentional Hospitality, and in particular on Intentionally equitable Hospitality within learning spaces. Whether they be offline, online or hybrid.

The ideas begind this workshop and the resulting discussion I hoped would ensue were partly driven by two particualr articles that I had read:

 

The Oxford English Dictionary defines hospitality as “friendly and generous behavior toward guests“. In the University context we most commonly come aross this with regards to academic hospitality. Academic hospitality can take multiple forms (Phipps and Barnett, 2007):

  • It takes material form in the hosting of academics giving papers.
  • It takes epistemological form in the welcome of new ideas.
  • It takes linguistic form in the translation of academic work into other languages.
  • It takes touristic form through the welcome and generosity with which academic visitors are received.
  • These forms intersect each other and may co-exist at any one time.

But what does hospitality mean in a teaching and learning context? And how do we extend hospitality to and foster a sense of hospitality within our student body and in our learning spaces?

Additionally, we need to consider what limits our ability to be hospitable.

  • Thinking about the following question prompts, what does it mean to be intentionally hospitable:
  • How do we make students feel welcome in all our teaching and learning spaces?
  • Are students able to bring their whole selves to these spaces?
  • Whose contributions are privileged and how?
  • How can we democratise contributions?
  • Is there a sense of psychological safety?

What can we do to create spaces where we are intentionally equitably hospitable?

These are not questions that I have answers to, but as a community they are things we should think about and discuss. I am more than happy to run additional workshops with colleagues or to share the Mentimeter presentation I have created with question prompts. Please email me: s.ahern@ucl.ac.uk

Further readings:

Call for participants: research study investigating student advisor use of learning analytics dashboards

Samantha Ahern6 January 2021

Participants required for the following study: Uses of learning analytics dashboards / visualisations in student advising

This study has been approved by the UCL Research Ethics Committee, study: 8673/006 and is registered under reference No Z6364106/2020/11/19 social research in line with UCL’s Data Protection Policy.

Learning analytics implementations are predominantly designed for use by those supporting students there is a need to connect the literature on advising and tutoring with any research into the impacts of learning analytics on student behaviour. In terms of both learning behaviours and welfare (wellbeing and mental health).

This research aims to provide an overview of what is currently perceived as best practice in advising and tutoring. In this context, we will critically review the current literature on dashboard/visualisation design and investigate their use by student advisors with the aim of identifying any synergies and conflicts that exist. With the aim of providing recommendations on how to improve dashboard / visualisation design.
The study is looking to recruit HEI Student Advisors (incl. Personal tutors) to share their experiences of using Learning Analytics dashboards/ visualisations. This will initially be via an online survey.

For details of the study please view the study’s Information Sheet.

If you would like to participate in the study please visit the online survey.

The project lead is: Samantha Ahern, Digital Education – Information Services Division

 

 

Kindness, community and pedagogies of care

Samantha Ahern8 December 2020

Research has shown that kindness has a positive effect on the giver to varying degrees. But, how do we embed this into our communities and develop pedagogies of care? How can we use kindness as a means of combating growing social isolation and loneliness?

 

In this context I am not referring to random acts of kindness, but relational and radical kindness. Relational kindness enables deep, meaningful connections between individuals by recognising the vulnerabilities and complexities of relationships. Radical kindness perceives kindness as a collective and state enabled response to inequality. It requires connection across differences and a recognition that some people’s needs are greater because of structural disadvantage. In an educational context, state could be akin to a an inidivudal institution, department or programme.

The key theme, is relationships and communities. What is needed to facilitate kindness, how can we create kind spaces and how do we create informal opportunities? Can we create informal spaces for students to just “be”? Conversations can be very powerful in bringing people together, but rely on people feeling comfortable and agenda free, neutral, spaces.

In addition to encouraging individual kindness, we need to embed kindness into our own behaviours. In our pedagogy, teaching departments and across our institutions. In the past I have written about digital wellbeing and compassionate pedagogy. Both of these have a role to play in relational and radical kindness, in addition to resources such as Equity Unbound’s Community Building Activites.

However, this is only part of the picture. We also need to consider our culture, how can we make people more important than processes, how to build a culture of trust and how to listen and making meaningful connections.

There have been some fantastic projects from the Kindness Innovation Netowrk on facilitating kindness in communities and in their interactions with local authorities. How can we translate thee lessons to our learning communities?

Compassionate pedagogy is a good start, but we also need to provide students with spaces to be, trusting them, giving them voice and truly enable them to co-construct their learning. Teach to transgress.

Additional resources:

References:

Lecturecast: what analytics should you use?

Samantha Ahern22 October 2020

There are two types of analytics available from within Lecturecast (Echo360), these are:

The course analytics will provide information about student use of the ALP tools, in addition to interactions with the inidividual media resources. The individual media analytics only provides analytics about the specific media item.

Which set of analytics you use, will depend on how you have added Lecturecast materials to your Moodle course.

If you have embedded recordings in your Moodle course using the Atto editor:

Atto editor toolbar highlighting Echo360 plugin

 

 

Then to obtain accurate viewing data for the recording you should use the Individual media analytics.

Please note that students will not have access to the addiitonal tools such as confusion flags and note taking if recordings are added in this way.

Whereas, if you have linked to recordings ore presentations via the Lecturecast activity in Moodle, you would use the Course and student analytics.

Remote but not solo, Moodle and Group Work

Samantha Ahern24 June 2020

Social learning is an important part of the learning experience for students. It enables knowledge consolidation and application, and opportunities for cross-curricula and inter-disciplinary learning. In addition, through working in groups students are able to develop valuable employability skills such as collaboration, communication, problem-solving and negotiation. However, group work can be tricky to design and mange effectively and needs careful consideration. I recommend reading: Burke, A. (2011). Group work: How to use groups effectively. Journal of Effective Teaching, 11(2), 87-95.

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Moodle can be used to facilitate this rich learning experience through use of the group feature. Separate groups allow students to contribute and see work within their own groups,  visible groups on the other hand allow students to only contribute to their own group work but they can view work taking place in other groups.

The following activities could be set up for collaboration amongst groups of students:

  1. Forum: create a forum (just one),  assign students to groups, students will only see post made in their group,  give students a clear task. – staff can review what is happening in each group. For more information and links case to studies see the Discussion Forums MiniGuide.
  2. Chat: group chat sessions-  create a space where students can arrange to meet and work collaboratively on a task. For more information see the MoodleDocs article Using Chat.
  3. Glossary: In groups or as a cohort build a glossary of key terms that students may encounter on the course. Might be really useful e.g for medical terms. Each time the term is used on the course a defintion will be highlighted. For more information and links case to studies see the Glossary MiniGuide.
  4. Database: share resources and entries e.g. create a collaborative resource bank, or peer review of shared work. For more information about how to use databases and ideas for usage see the MoodleDocs article Using Databases.
  5. Workshop: enables students to peer review work submitted by others. Students can be assigned work to review or students can be assigned work to review randomly. There is a lot to be considered and set-up for the effective use of Moodle workshops, their use needs to be carefully planned in advance for them to be a meaningful part of a module’s design. For more information see the Moodle workshop for peer assessment MiniGuide.

Related Arena case studies

Some of these case studies make use of Moodle, others do not. But all discuss an element of group work that could be modified for a Connected Learning and facilitated via Moodle.

 

Open Education and Teaching Continuity

Samantha Ahern and Leo Havemann15 May 2020

Open Education practices and resources have become increasingly important of late. Sharing what we have learnt and changes that we have made in our approach to digital pedagogy and learning design are important in helping create the best possible learning opportunities for our students. In addition, as students may not have access to all the resources available via campus, now is a good time to re-use, share and create open educational resources. For instance, selecting an open textbook will enable greater access to a textbook resource.

Ongoing support

UCL Digital Education are continuing to run a series of online drop-in and training sessions. A full list of all upcoming sessions is available on the DigiEd team blog. In addition, a series of how-to videos are available via the E-learning wiki.

Arena centre colleagues are also hosting a range of online drop-ins. Details are given on the Teaching Continuity webpages.

SIG update

All OpenEd@UCL SIG face to face meetings are suspended for the forseeable future, including both SIG meetings and the monthly informal meet-ups.  Instead we will be keeping in contact via our SIG space on Teams and the mailing list. We are have already held one successful remote meeting and we will advertise upcoming meeting dates and times via our Teams space.

Resources

There is a wide range of fantastic resources available that can be utilised by you and your students. Some of these have been created by colleagues within UCL, some have not.
Please share any OER that you think will be useful to colleagues via the OpenEd space on Teams.

Things to read or watch

Some fantastic guidance is being provided by a range of experts at present to help with the transition. Included here are some great things to read to help inform your practice moving forwards, plus just some great reads related to open education and practices. All listed items are open access.