Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Learning 2.0 @ LJMU

Over the past two weeks the Learning Development Unit (LDU) at LJMU have teamed up with LIS to host 2 face-to-face sessions, to be followed by 8 weeks of online sessions, providing a Web 2.0 training programme for all LIS staff.

Last week we explored the murky depths of the ‘e-portfolio.’ Students use this tool (hosted within Blackboard) to help support their Personal Development Planning (PDP) and Graduate Skills. We are using it to document our thoughts, feelings, achievements, experiences and successes over the 10 week training period, providing evidence of our understanding of Web 2.0 technologies, reflecting on the ways which we can use them to support students and integrate them into our working lives.

The set-up ran smoothly with Alex Spiers (from the LDU) directing us step-by-step through the process (and not allowing anyone to get left behind and lost in the woods…!!). We were shown how to import content, including pictures and also how to modify pages to suit our needs. We were shown how to share our portfolios and had fun looking at everyone’s ‘about me’ section – some brilliant photos I must say!!

This week we have unearthed the delights of Blackboard’s Discussion Board Tool and an IM Messaging service called Pronto. Bethan Hughes (LDU) gave us a succinct and informative overview of how both applications work and discussed the possibilities of such tools for use in an academic setting.

Firstly we played around with the Discussion Boards – posting questions, replying to threads, taking part in a group discussion…the functionality is very straightforward to the point it is ‘clunky’ and a bit ‘clumsy.’ It seems that everything has to be done in such a step-by-step manner that it inadvertently becomes unusable as a result of this…another thing that I felt was lacking was a lack of a ‘notification’ option so that you could be notified when someone else had posted on a topic/discussion of interest.

Then we moved on to Pronto. Pronto was, like the E-Portfolio, easy to set up and having extensive(!) IM experience, I personally found it really good fun. Didn’t feel like learning at all…!! Pronto is better in an academic setting compared to that of a generic IM tool as it enables ‘groups’ to be formed via its integration with Blackboard. In other words, as a student registered for Module A, by signing up to Pronto you would be put into contact with all the other students registered for Module A. From a lecturer perspective it allows east management of their numerous student/module/tutor etc groups.

The face-to-face sessions have been really good, not only in the sense of learning something new, but also in meeting people from other sites and from different job levels and collaborating with them to enjoy the experience together.

I’m excited to see what the online sessions will bring and am looking forward to exploring Web 2.0 technologies in a more formal manner, reflecting on the processes undertaken, rather than ‘playing around’ with Web 2.0 in an ad hoc way and not really thinking about the experience.

And a big thank you to Alex, Bethan, Leo, Will and Stephe…


  1. Thanks Vicki - glad you enjoyed it!


  2. Thanks for the lovely feedback Vicki...much appreciated. Alex