The conference day opened with a plenary session with Rebecca Huxley-Binns, Vice Provost from the University of Law. In a comedic twist, she explained how communication and social interaction has changed with social media and new gadgets, and discussed the importance of adapting teaching materials to current political, governmental and social happenings to help the new generation understand past theories and concepts.
Ross Pearce was the first UCEM representative to showcase his work on ‘Using Technology Enhanced Learning to tell the Story of Horizons: a Sustainability Case Study’. Ross highlighted the time and effort to put together to convert an inefficient 1980s building, in central Reading, into a sustainable new home for UCEM. The building was awarded a BREEAM (the world’s leading sustainability assessment method) ‘Excellent’ rating in December 2016. The Horizons case study used a variety of packages including Articulate Storyline (the e-learning software), Vimeo (to host the videos), Ricoh Theta (360° camera) and Holobuilder (for 360° images) to present the story of the Horizons project. In particular, the interactive 3D model, developed using Unity, captured the attention of many in the audience. Using these tools, Ross was able to design and develop a remarkable case study which could be used a learning case study to promote sustainable renovation. The case study is currently available on the Virtual Learning Environment and will soon be officially launched by our principal.
In the early afternoon, Sandra Scalzavara and I presented ‘Open Badges at University College of Estate Management. We started off by highlighting the willingness of the Online Learning Research Centre (OLRC) to trial Open Badges at the UCEM Staff Conference in 2016. This was undertaken by Sandra and Dr Tharindu Liyanagunawardena (our co-author who could not make it to Chichester). We highlighted the importance of the lessons learnt in such a low risk scenario, which later paved the way for piloting Open Badges to encourage forum engagement. Currently, Open Badges are being trialled on three postgraduate and three undergraduate modules. We had a keen audience willing to learn how we are implementing Open Badges on large modules. We further presented ongoing work and how the project had evolved from its conception to implementation. We also went on to cover a list of lessons we learned which could to be followed to help other institutions and/or individuals considering adopting Open Badges to understand what to expect and best practices to be used.
The day elapsed with several other internal and external presenters talking about topics ranging from serious to more playful topics, where Sandra and I (who both come to work on scooters) created a scooter using Lego to represent UCEM’s sustainability pledge, which ended the day on a cheerful note.
Teeroumanee is a Learning Technology Content Developer at the University College of Estate Management (UCEM), based in Reading, UK. She is the lead researcher on the ‘Webinar Transcription for Accessibility’ and ‘Open Badges for Student Engagement’ projects at UCEM. She is also the co-editor of the first Research Matters e-bulletin at UCEM and has previously studied and worked in different locations around the world.