Herding cats and losing weight: the vimeo video

This is in part a test of WordPress.com’s new support for Vimeo video. The video below is of a presentation I gave at CQU this year. The abstract is below. The slides are on slideshare.

Abstract

The environment within which Universities operate has changed significantly over recent years. Two of the biggest changes have been a reduction in state funding for universities and, at the same time, an increased need for universities to demonstrate the quality and appropriateness of their services, especially learning and teaching.

Consequently, most universities have developed a range of strategies, policies, structures and systems with the intent of improving and demonstrating the quality of their learning and teaching. This presentation will draw on the metaphors of herding cats and losing weight to examine the underlying assumptions of these attempts, the resulting outcomes, question whether or not they are the best we can hope for, and present some alternatives.

The video

Lectures, alternatives, poll everywhere and unexpected events

This Wednesday I’m involved with an experiment and presentation that is seeking to test out some alternatives for lectures/presentations. As it happens, the last week has brought a couple of events that are (so far) helping the case for the experiment. These are described below.

And now for a word from our sponsors…

The aim of the experiment it to break out of the geographic limitations of participation in lectures/presentations. Anyone with a web browser can participate (a Twitter account and mobile phone will increase your ability to participate, but aren’t necessary). The more people who use these medium, the better. So you are invited.

More detail on the experiment/presentation page.

We return now to your regularly scheduled program

Being bumped

I work at CQUniversity. The university has 4/5 regional campuses spread across a fairly broad geographic area. A significant number of courses are offered across all of those campuses. A common approach for some years has been for lectures for these courses to be given from one campus and broadcast across the other campuses via the Interactive System-wide Learning (ISL) system. Essentially a video-conference system with specially built rooms at each of the campuses.

This approach is becoming embedded into the operations of the institution. To such an extent that the ISL rooms are becoming a resourcing bottleneck. Apart from teaching, these rooms are also used for research presentations and meetings. It’s getting to the stage that trying to get these rooms during campus is simply impossible.

Originally, the experiment was scheduled to use one room on each of the campuses

Rockhampton – 33/G.14. Bundaberg – 1/1.12. Gladstone – MHB 1.09. Mackay – 1/1.01.

On Friday I was told that we’ve been bumped from the Mackay room. Apparently someone senior needs the Mackay room for an ISL session that is more important than my experiment.

Normally, this would have meant Mackay staff would miss out on the live presentation. They’d have to rely on the recorded presentation.

Not now. Theoretically, they should be able to participate the same as people off campus. I’m actually happy about this, it gives me a practical story to tell about why this approach might be useful. It will be interesting to see what problems arise.

PollEverywhere Polls and results

Over the weekend, while avoiding work on the presentation I came across this post from Wes Fryer. It describes how they used PollEverywhere in a conference presentation. PollEverywhere is essentially a commercial version of Votapedia which I plan to use on Wednesday.

Some things I found interesting:

  • The graphs.
    The PollEverywhere graphs look much nicer than Votapedias (minor point).
  • A comment that students like this approach because it is a legitimate use of their mobile phones in class.
  • The idea that this type of experiment was an “a-ha” moment for some.

Herding cats, losing weight and how to improve learning and teaching

On the 24th of September, 2009 I gave a presentation at CQUniversity entitled “Herding cats, losing weight and how to improve learning and teaching”. The resources that arose from that presentation are included below. At the moment, that includes:

Abstract

The environment within which Universities operate has changed significantly over recent years. Two of the biggest changes have been a reduction in state funding for universities and, at the same time, an increased need for universities to demonstrate the quality and appropriateness of their services, especially learning and teaching.

Consequently, most universities have developed a range of strategies, policies, structures and systems with the intent of improving and demonstrating the quality of their learning and teaching. This presentation will draw on the metaphors of herding cats and losing weight to examine the underlying assumptions of these attempts, the resulting outcomes, question whether or not they are the best we can hope for, and present some alternatives.

Time and place

Date: Thursday, 24th September 2009
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (GMT+10)
Venues: CQUniversity campuses at Bundaberg : BVC1 (1/g.27)
Gladstone : GISL2 (3/g.27)
Emerald : EVC1 (1/A.205)
Mackay : MVC1 (1/G.11)
Rockhampton: RISL1(33/G.14)

If everything falls into place, there may well be a ustream of the presentation.

Related resources

This blog post outlines some early thinking on the structure and purpose of the presentation.

Slides