Has sueg gone a bit quiet?

It doesn’t look as if I have been posting much this academic year – what’s that about? On the academic front, sueg continues to reflect on and develop ideas related to online learning and research methodology. Much behind the scenes work on supporting Tony Greenfield in the editing of the third edition of Research methods for Postgraduates, to be published by Wiley in September this year – some solo written and co-written chapters in there, plus a great deal of further learning about research methods from respected writers in the field. I am looking forward to being an invited panel member at the ENBIS conference in Sheffield in September talking about making statistics understandable for students and non-statistical specialists. Great chance to go back to Sheffield where in 2014 we celebrated a 40 year reunion with fellow graduates. I know, I’m far too young.

And there’s a new undergraduate blended learning course in business, which I have been developing along with colleagues at Brighton Business School – due for validation later this year. Exciting opportunity to put our experience of the theory and practice of blended learning into action.

And an invitation to deliver a keynote at the third European Conference on Social Media to be held in Caen this summer. Having helped to host the first of this conference series in Brighton, it will be great to meet friends and colleagues and share rapid advances in thinking around social media and learning. The recently published Leading Issues in Social Media Research, which I edited along with Asher Rospigliosi, identified some great content from that first conference.

Meanwhile, weekly editorial meetings and from time to time producing editorials for the journal Interactive Learning Environments keeps me in touch with a wide range of quasi-experimental and qualitative research studies and updated reviews of the literature in the field of technology-enhanced learning. We have just published a special issue on Mobile Learning which is attracting attention, and because we are producing bumper issues this year (total of 8), I am currently writing an editorial for the May issue of 18 new papers.

Earlier this academic year, we produced the latest publication from Brighton’s Learning and Teaching Conference 2014, in which I wrote about flipped learning from a practical and a theoretical perspective. And of course there is the series of weekly podcasts for business students during term-time which keeps me busy on top of teaching on a Monday.

So just a few things in relation to research passions to keep the aged brain ticking. Of course, just now there are a few other things to think about – external examining, teaching, supervising, grandchildren’s birthdays, Heydown lambing, leading and preaching at services in Old Heathfield and, just very occasionally, housework?


ICERI conference November 2015

Unable to attend this conference in Seville later this month, I have registered as a virtual delegate, and look forward to visiting the conference online.

Meanwhile, my paper is submitted to the conference plus a presentation, but that didn’t seem helpful, so I have recorded a video to explain the paper and my findings and placed it in YouTube here

The paper is about the experience of developing an undergraduate business degree with a Problem Based Learning ethos. That experience is in its final stages, as the final graduates should leave next summer and the course is closed to new entrants. Was it a failure? Not for the students, who are some of the best motivated final year students I have worked with, tackling challenges and supporting each others’ learning readily. Perhaps for the staff team, who put so much energy and developmental effort into understanding PBL and creating great authentic experiences for students with local businesses. But there is always something to be learned, and the paper, and video discuss some of the learning outcomes from this experience.

Note added after the conference 27th Nov 2015:

Not only did I have full access online to all the presentations at this conference during the event, able to review keynotes and search for all papers, virtual and present, but I have now also received my virtual delegate pack containing the normal conference goodies (pen/pencil/notebook/postits/certificate of participation/certificate of presentation) but also a data key with pdfs of all presentations on pdf from the proceedings.

This was my first experience of being a virtual delegate and I would strongly recommend it – this conference was well organised throughout and I will be looking to consider a virtual presentation again next year.


Mahara UK14 conference hosted at University of Brighton

After a week of social media at ECSM2014 and SSMS2014 hosted at Brighton, just a few days later Mahara UK14 also brought its conference to UoB.

Being on leave and trying to draw breath after the months build-up to SSMS and ECSM, I did wonder what had possessed me to offer a presentation at the Mahara conference. And having presented at the end of June at the UoB IS conference with Craig Wakefield on creative uses of both Talis Aspire and Mahara as technologies for learning, I also wondered to whom the Mahara conference would be addressed – just technologists?, IS people? academics?

In the event it was clearly a good decision to go to Mahara UK14 since ECSM had already demonstrated the liveliness and engagement of mixed role audiences. This was no exception as delegates included those intimately involved in creating, developing and using and applying Mahara. Developers need to see what teachers and learners need from software, and teachers need to work with and be inspired by the creativity of developers.

I presented on the second conference day on Supervising Research students with Mahara – in our UoB world studentfolio. The audience was keen to discuss and ask questions – giving rise to more ideas about good quality research supervision. Prezi can be found here

Various lovely artefacts via storify, Pinterest and epilogger from this conference as for SSMS and ECSM – see previous blog posts.

one storify

One delegate take on Pinterest, thanks to Linda Pospisilova from Pardubice here

Another delegate take on storify thanks to Domi Sinclair here

Epilogger link re this conference hashtag: here

JISC implementation toolkit for eportfolios here: here

Triumph and Twitter at ECSM2014 and SSMS2014

Really successful Student Social Media Showcase and inaugural European Conference on Social Media hosted by Business E-Learning research group at University of Brighton in last three days. What’s the evidence of success?

Success counted on the basis of online footprint: so far we have some 1378 tweets sharing the #ECSM2014 hashtag, 656 outgoing links and 198 photos shared from the three days. Success also counted from some 170 participants from 35 countries – which for a first new conference was very strong. Success also judged by the positive and engaged conversations throughout a conference which mixed a diverse focus of research on data analytics, business and marketing perspectives of social media, e-participation and democracy and impacts of social media on learning at all levels of education.

Although the range of paper topics was far too wide to summarise, Asher Rospigliosi, conference chair, and I summarised five challenges arising from the research across the conference:

1.ubiquity – clearly social media is omnipresent, yet many academic researchers are not using many social media platforms – to what extent can we hypothesize without personal engagement and experience? to what extent do we use social media to share research? debate questions? just using it for checking flights or trains is not really enough.

2.Twitter focus – one of the easier social media platforms to use for research, but what kind of data are we getting? Farida Vis, keynote on Day One, alerted us to the immensity of the FIREHOSE and the strong chances that sampling was not what we might expect in standard datasets.

3.clash of worlds – as exemplified by the breadth of conference papers, social media influences and fuels political, economic, commercial, social and personal worlds as well as those of the academic and the learner – there is potential here for unintended consequences in research.

4.pace of change – social media platforms come and go with unpredictable speed, while institutional and research funding timelines continue to move at snail pace – the dangers of focussing on a suddenly extinguished platform are obvious

5.language – all our keynote speakers: Ben Shneiderman, Farida Vis, David Gurteen and John Traxler touched on issues of language in this fast expanding research domain. Shneiderman pointed out we don’t have much language to describe the shapes in visualised data yet, Vis pointed out the absence of language to compare and contrast visual images which are the increasing focus of social media – especially on instagram, pinterest, snapchat etc, Gurteen showed us we needed shared language to make meaningful conversation and Traxler highlighted the potential dominance of Western language through technology affecting and perhaps extinguishing local languages across the world.

There are lots of ways we can go back and reflect on the content and challenges of the conference – particularly through epilogger
and storify, found through the blogsite as well as twitter and flickr streams. Nicola Osborne of EDINA also contributed an excellent very detailed blog of all three days, for which many thanks Nicola.

When all have returned home to ponder on the events of the last three days, what will we remember? For me it was the dazzling diversity of thinking about social media and the sense of being on the brink of an exploding research domain. Look out for Special Issues and papers selected from the conference in related journals – details on the conference website:

Student Social Media Showcase 2014 Wednesday 9th July Huxley Building 1030-330

Asher and Sue preparing for SSMSGreat event to attend (free) if you are interested in what University of Brighton students do with social media, or you want to come and talk about social media.
this is a pre-conference event for the inaugural European Conference on Social Media running on 10th and 11th July, also in Huxley Building.
website is here

Programme includes Presentation to Students whose submissions were selected for the showcase event, Jonathan Sapsed discussing Brighton FUSE, Professor Ben Shneiderman talking about Big Data. Lots of informal opportunities to network.

Search Twitter for #SSMS2014 and #brightsoc

New course at Hastings campus from 2012

BSc Business with Enterprise will open to new students at the University of Brighton in Hastings from September 2012. This course is designed to work from business practice to an understanding of business theory, not the other way around. Learning will start with real business problems and students will work through a structured collaborative learning approach as they devise solutions and responses to the problems, at the same time redefining their business understanding.

Students will be treated as apprentice business professionals, developing a range of transferable skills to make an immediate contribution to employment or enterprise.

Enquiries to S.L.Greener@brighton.ac.uk