LearnHigher Network meeting, 2 April 2012, University of Leeds

A meeting for all those interested in the LearnHigher Network took place at the ALDinHE annual conference in Leeds on Monday 2 April. The meeting was scheduled alongside the pre-conference workshop sessions, and faced strong competition for attendees from sessions on screen capture for learning development, creating and using QR codes, writing development in STEM subjects and e-portfolios. Despite this, we had a lively and productive meeting with presentations from three members of the current LearnHigher working group – many thanks to all those who came along.

The meeting began with a welcome from Kim Shahabudin, outgoing Chair of the LearnHigher working group. As there were a number of people at the meeting who were new to LearnHigher, this included a brief history and introduction to our aims and purposes. The new acting Chair will be John Hilsdon, who needs no introduction as a highly respected and active member of our learning development community. 

New LearnHigher website April 2012Andy Hagyard gave a demonstration of the development version of the new website, which we expect to launch this summer. The website has been redeveloped to simplify navigation and searching, provide room to expand, and present a new clean and professional interface. Resources from the old LearnHigher website have been transferred to the new site, though you will need to update your links and bookmarks (please note that the current URLs are temporary while the site is in development). The biggest change has been that the website is now framed as aimed at staff rather than having separate sections for staff and students. This responds to research showing that students are more likely to engage with learning development materials that are individually recommended to them, rather than searching a website for the materials that will be of the greatest benefit. Learning developers and academics will be able either to download files and customise them to suit their own purposes, or to provide students with direct links to materials.

The Animation Challenge has attracted a lot of attention, and formed the subject of the next item at the meeting, led by Sandra Sinfield. Sandra explained the aims of the competition, and got us all brainstorming some ideas for ways to convey learning development messages using simple animations. There is still time to put your own animation together; the competition closing date has been extended to 29 June 2012.

Lastly Kim spoke briefly about the ways in which people could get involved with LearnHigher in the future: by joining the working group; becoming a reviewer of new resources; or simply by recommending resources for inclusion on the website. We are always happy to hear from anyone who wants to be more closely involved in this prestigious and successful initiative. If you are interested, do contact any member of the working group.

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The Animation Challenge – and an invitation to get involved!

We’ve had a lot of interest in our Animation Challenge – but also a lot of people saying they’d like to take part but are just too busy in Spring term. So we’ve decided to extend the closing date to Friday 29 June 2012. We hope this will give more people a chance to enter this exciting challenge.

Right now, we’re looking forward to the 2012 ALDinHE Conference at the University of Leeds from 2-4 April. This will host a meeting for anyone interested in the LearnHigher Network on Monday 2 April at 13.30. Come along to chat about what YOU want from LearnHigher, to get a sneak preview of our exciting new website, and find out how you could get involved in this prestigious and successful national learning development initiative.

If you can’t make it to the meeting, we will also have a stand throughout the conference in the main poster area – come and say hello!

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Changes changes… and a challenge!

Since its inception at the inaugural LearnHigher Network meeting, the LearnHigher Working Group have been commissioning and collating independent reviews of the website. In response to these reviews, we are in the process of a major redesign for the website – watch this space for more news!

Another reason to watch this space is for forthcoming news of an exciting new ‘challenge’ for learning developers, with the chance to take part in a showcase at the 2012 ALDinHE conference. More on this in the very near future!

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A ‘mission statement’ for LearnHigher…

At the inaugural LearnHigher Forum meeting in Nottingham in November 2011, we discussed the importance of having a clear vision of what LearnHigher was about – our aspirations and purpose. The LearnHigher Working Group have now produced the ‘mission statement’ below, which is also on the ‘About LearnHigher’ page.

Does this capture your idea of LearnHigher’s purpose? Join the discussion by posting a comment below…

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LearnHigher is a network for promoting and facilitating the development and dissemination of high quality, peer-reviewed resources for learning development in the higher education sector.

We aim to:

  • provide access to research-informed, peer-evaluated, adaptable learning development resources
  • support the development of such resources through the provision of information about funding, training and networking opportunities, and mentoring
  • support and disseminate research into the use and effectiveness of learning development strategies and materials
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If Carlsberg made learning development resources…

So, what’s your favourite learning development resource or webpage? Which page do you tell your colleagues and/or students they must see? And what makes it so good?

To start you off (and give you a treat if you haven’t already seen it), here’s my current favourite resource: an excellent video tutorial developed by Stuart Johnson and Steve Rooney at the University of Leicester on ‘What it means to be a critical student’. The resource itself is engaging, brilliantly clear, and easy to access.

Post your favourites as a comment below!

Kim S.

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Hot off the press…

… our Learn Higher poster and flyers.

They look great!

All I need to do now is transport an A0 poster safely to Belfast

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