Peer Assessment – Pros and Pitfalls

The Role of Practice in Promoting Learning

The Web is an excellent medium for presenting knowledge, whether through text or (arguably more engagingly) video lectures/tutorials. However to transform the passive reception of knowledge into real understanding it is necessary for learners to use the newly acquired knowledge to answer questions and solve problems does real understanding take place. Peer assessment is one form of practice rapidly increasing in use with MOOCs. Its benefits and limitations are considered below. Read more ›

Posted in Articles, Assessment, Distance Learning, MOOCs, Pedagogy Tagged with: , , ,

Student use of recorded lectures

Should recordings support, or replace, the traditional lecture? Does the context of physically being in a lecture room listening to a live human presentation add anything to the learning experience that couldn’t be obtained from watching a video at the learner’s convenience? Do recorded lectures allow professor-student contact time to be used more valuably than one-way presentations, eg more interactively?

This report from the London School of Economics reviews recent research into the use of lecture capture technology in higher education, and its impact on teaching methods and attendance.

Posted in Lectures, Resources Tagged with: , , ,

Technology and the Massification of Education

How Technology is Supporting Quality Education on a Massive Scale

The modern world is growing increasingly complex seemingly by the day and in so doing is rendering skills that would have been sufficient to make a living a few years back inadequate for today.  Learning and its formalized variant, education, are no longer something undertaken in one’s youth and expected to last a lifetime. Instead the information age demands that not only do we all learn more but that we continue to do so throughout life.

The problem is that, despite the proliferation of information made available by the Internet, education (ie the guided tour through the vast mass of facts and data) remains in limited supply, ie there is only so many capable teachers in any given subject area.

Enter technology, and specifically the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). MOOCs use technology to deliver education designed by leading professors to the masses, free of charge. The main mode of presentation is through short video lectures of 10-15 minutes. Read more ›

Posted in Assessment, Digital content, Distance Learning, For Students, Lectures, MOOCs, Multimedia, Pedagogy, Software, Support Tagged with: , , ,

Educating for the Past

British Education Minister Michael Gove recently announced changes to the English system of awarding high school qualifications. Incredibly the GCSE system will move away from coursework towards assessment based on all-or-nothing exams.

To call such changes an anachronism is an understatement. Mere recall of rote-learned facts will leave graduates ill-prepared for the 21st century. Living in the information age today’s students are already able to access whatever information they need, whenever and wherever they choose, with just a few clicks on their smartphone. The ability to perform under artificial exam conditions is largely irrelevant in modern business and life.

Instead it would be far better to equip high school students with the ability to understand problems, identify the information needed to solve them – and where to find it – and then to apply that information to produce a workable solution. Techniques for sifting the useful from the mass of dross – aka dealing with information overload – will also prove invaluable.

Posted in News Tagged with: , , ,

Towards An Open Online High School

Inspired by the success of MOOCs and driven by dissatisfaction with existing high school education OpenHigh aims to demonstrate there is an alternative (or supplement) to the traditional high school learning experience by providing free open resources to support high school education.

Currently open for consultation please share your views on what an open online high school should be by completing our survey at or by email to

Posted in Announcements Tagged with: , ,

Learning, Education and the Impact of MOOCs

This article describes the current e-learning landscape and considers the potential implications for traditional models of education. It discusses what is meant by learning and knowledge, and how the traditional role of education is being challenged by increasing technological innovation. Read more ›

Posted in Articles, Digital content, Distance Learning, For Students, MOOCs Tagged with: , , ,

Learning and the Impact of Technology


This paper begins by defining educational technology. It continues by considering what is meant by learning, and the factors that promote successful learning. Learning in the information age may differ from that of the industrial age in terms of both methods and intended outcomes. The increasing importance of distance learning and the role of technology to support it are discussed. An attempt is made to identify the characteristics of successful applications of educational technology as well as the major issues of concern within the discipline. In conclusion some avenues for further research are suggested.

This paper is available as a PDF file Read more ›

Posted in Accessibility, Articles, Digital content, Learning Objects, Pedagogy Tagged with: , , , , ,

Engaging hearts and minds Best Practice Guide

This Best Practice Guide has been put together by the UCISA (UK Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association) Academic Support Group to provide examples of good practice in engaging academics, and other staff, in the use of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL).

The guide contains ten case studies which look at a variety of methods for engaging academics such as:

  • setting up communities of practice
  • developing intensive training and support programmes
  • incorporating TEL into Postgraduate Certificate courses
  • encouraging academics to publish their research in TEL.

Each case study describes the activity and the approach taken, provides an evaluation of the activity and discusses future developments and transferability.

Free download from

Posted in Resources Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Evidence-Based Principles for Multimedia Instruction

Claremont Graduate University has just added a recent talk by cognitive psychologist Dr. Rich Mayer of UC Santa Barbara on how multimedia software can be best used to promote learning.  This talk reviews a research program that has produced ten evidence-based principles for how to use both words and pictures to promote learning. Dr. Mayer focuses on the determination of both how people learn (i.e., the science of learning) and how to help people learn (i.e., the science of instruction).

The video is available for free on the Claremont site, and may be interesting to anyone working on the determination of the science of learning or the science of instruction:

Claremont have archived several years’ worth of research talks, which are free and open to the public, and encourage anyone interested to browse, use them for classes, or share with advisees. Here’s a link to the full library:

Posted in Multimedia, Resources, Techniques Tagged with: , , , ,

The Future of Lectures

Long the mainstay of post-school education delivery is the lecture under threat from new technology?

Such was the opinion recently voiced by Donald Clark in a keynote at the recent ALT-C conference and summarized here with comments.

I shan’t attempt to answer the question but merely raise some of the pros and cons below: Read more ›

Posted in Lectures Tagged with: , , ,