This week, 14-20 March, is One World Week at the University of Sussex.
One World Week is an annual event which features a great programme of events, from performances and competitions to talks and debates, all of which aim to celebrate the diversity of cultures and nationalities here at Sussex.
Take a look at the programme of events this year featuring a Technology Enhanced Learning seminar!
One World Week is a great opportunity to look at the ways in which technology can keep students connected with the university, even when they are physically away from the university for long periods of time, such as during placements.
Connect via video conference
One great way of keeping connected is through the use of video conferencing software. Many people use tools such as Skype and Google Hangouts in their personal lives to keep in contact with friends and families overseas, so why not make use of this familiar technology within the university setting?
Skype and Google Hangouts are great for organising informal online meetings and could be used for example for tutorial sessions with small groups of students. Using a technology that many students are familiar with could make students more comfortable and perhaps encourage engagement in these sessions.
At the University of Sussex we have an institutional licence for Adobe Connect Pro, a video conferencing tool which allows screen sharing and is great for interacting with large groups. Recently Adobe Connect has been used by the Business Liaison and Placements team in the School of Business, Management and Economics (BMEc), with help from their Learning Technologist Sally Burr, to help improve the experiences of students away on placement.
Marni Mcarthur of the Business Liaison and Placements team had found that students were sometimes feeling disconnected from the university whilst away on placements and so decided to set up a series of webinars in which students could gain information about assessments, ask questions, experience sessions with their peers and prepare for their return to the university.
During the first session René Moolenaar, Senior Teaching Fellow and Academic Advisor for the Business and Management Professional Placement programme, delivered a short presentation to students and then opened the session for discussion and questions allowing students to address particular concerns.
The session was recorded to allow students to recap as well as for those who were further afield and couldn’t attend due to time differences. Initial feedback from students has been very positive and future sessions are being planned around the themes of workplace presentations, using LinkedIn professionally and effective networking.
Another way in which students can stay connected to the university and keep an account of their time abroad or on placement is through blogging. Blogging allows students to keep an account of their experiences and development whilst also enabling them to create a professional online presence. Furthermore, if tutors provide students with regular feedback, a dialogue is created strengthening a student’s link to the university and preparing them for when they return to study at Sussex.
A great example of student blogging can be found on the SussexStudents WordPress site and features posts from students across the University of Sussex. Managed by the Student Communications Manager, the posts provide topical help and guidance to students both home and abroad, from The Classroom: US vs UK to How to get started on your exchange in Singapore.
Blogging is a great way of keeping students engaged and is a valuable activity, particularly for those that may be off campus for periods of time and it can familiarise students with a tool that many employers want them to later utilize.
TEL One World Week event
As part of the full programme, this year Technology Enhanced Learning is also running an event during One World Week and will be joined by Sharon Flynn (@sharonlflynn), the Assistant Director at the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) at the National University of Ireland, Galway.
With a background as an academic in computing science, Sharon has a particular interest in technologies for teaching and learning and she leads the Learning Technologies Team at NUI Galway. As well as supporting staff in the use of technology to enhance teaching activities, Sharon also co-ordinates a module on Learning Technologies on the university’s PG Diploma in Academic Practice.
In keeping with the “One World” theme, Sharon’s talk will focus on the university campus as one world with various distinct cultural groups. She will ask questions such as:
- Does the use of technology on campus help to bridge divides or does it reinforce boundaries?
- Where campus culture is a barrier to adopting technologies for teaching and learning, is there any evidence such cultures can change?
Sharon will share examples of projects and initiatives from her own experience and research to explore aspects of these questions. A light lunch will be provided. We hope that you will be able to join us. You can Book now!