Dave Middleton

Can mass sychronous events work with MOOCs?

Posted on Posted in Collaboration, Course design, MOOCs

MOOCs tend to involve consuming online content, taking automated assessments and peer networking. While students may feel some connection to the academics who create the courses by watching recorded videos of them, the opportunities for synchronous connection with subject experts are limited. Dave Middleton is a tutor manager with the Open University and has been […]

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Annotation – the missing element in iPad-based learning

Posted on 5 CommentsPosted in Collaboration, Content, iPad, Mobile Learning, Moodle, Reflection, Web 2.0

I’ve been getting a bit obsessed recently about the importance of annotation functionality, as a number of my long-suffering colleagues will testify.  Here’s my logic: iPads and other ebook readers will increasingly replace paper Some learners, particularly children, will make the transition away from paper now very quickly and be happy to study considerable amounts […]


Now learners control their VLE/LMS

Posted on 6 CommentsPosted in Announcements, Architecture, Collaboration, Moodle, OU VLE, Web 2.0

Much of the criticism levelled at virtual learning environments / learning management systems relates to the control of the environment by the institution rather than the learner. The individual student has minimal ability to upload their own content or to set up collaborative tools unless this has been pre-ordained by the institution. The argument goes […]


Twitter – how interconnected are you?

Posted on 3 CommentsPosted in Collaboration

Warning: do not read this unless you are obsessively interested in twitter and have nothing better to do with your time. I’ve been stimulated into thinking about this by various sites I’ve seen recently which measure your online connectedness – plus some tweets and blog postings by Tony Hirst. Some of these measures are pretty […]


Is online socialisation necessary?

Posted on Posted in Collaboration

Socialisation is generally considered to be a necessary or at least useful precursor to effective participation in online classes. It forms stage 2 in Gilly Salmon’s widely applied five-stage model. I’ve been thinking about this since I asked her in, I think, 2000 if she thought online classes ran better if the people had met […]


Six steps to a successful synchronous session

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Collaboration

Cath Wilkins, an Open University Associate Lecturer among her other jobs, gave an interesting presentation this morning at the Teaching Mathematics with Online Tutorials conference. I’ve reported before on the Elluminate maths trials at the OU. She teaches on the OU MSc Programme which has 500 students actively studying on it and is probably the […]

Open University selects Elluminate for desktop conferencing

Posted on Posted in Announcements, Collaboration, Moodle, OU VLE

A press release yesterday announces the selection of Elluminate for our synchronous desktop collaboration and communication requirements. This comes after a lengthy procurement process in which 14 vendors submitted tenders. Elluminate scored the highest on our educational and technical criteria. Our evaluation team think the product is particularly well-suited for distance education and includes features […]

Telepresence: videoconferencing on steroids

Posted on Posted in Collaboration

Videoconferencing has been around for a long time now and its educational potential has been exploited in many ways. Telepresence is videoconferencing on steroids and gives the impression that the people you’re speaking to remotely really are sitting on the other side of the same table. I tried this out in a meeting with and […]