Author Archives: Joe Wilson

Remote Working Across Large Scottish College⤴

from @ ...........Experimental Blog

Sunday on a remote beach near Glasgow - self isolating 

At City of Glasgow College, this is what we’ve been busy doing.

Last week, as the College closed to face to face teaching, we jumped from developing more blended approaches to full on , online learning.

Our priority has been working on improving communication between lecturers and their students. It has been a real team effort from shaping the offer to communicating across the College. 

  • We’ve prepared and published guides for teaching staff , support staff and students around all the systems we have in place for remote learning.
  • We’ve changed the way we can be contacted and how we deliver our support services for those who run into technical challenges or simply need some online support.

We’ve always had a rich set of training and support resources around blended learning. To this point they have mainly been used by those who wanted to pioneer new approaches to learning and teaching. Behind the scenes we are refreshing parts of this but mainly we are just reminding folk what is there already.

This week we are rolling out a webinar programme. Two sessions a day, 10-11am and 2-3pm. A cycle of :

  • Reminding staff by running webinars on how to use enquirer, our MIS system, to send emails and sms messages to class groups and individual students.
  • Showing staff who haven’t been using forums inside their Moodle courses. How to set one up and how to make use of it to engage with learners.
  • All sessions delivered by Zoom with additional training for staff on how to use Zoom with their students. We anticipate Zoom is our new face to face.
We can deliver most digital skills remotely. But the digital divide is wide , staff and students don’t all have reliable internet connections or devices capable of coping with webinars. We have some staff who are really just learning what our systems can do for the first time.

Some of this links back into our Moodle and is unavailable to those outwith College but I hope process and some of guides are helpful to others.

Remote learning guides:

Support staff :: Lecturing staff :: Students :: Staff Help guides and videos

Learning Technologies Help

I think this will be similar pattern to most further and higher education institutions. When this process is finished I don't think we will be going back to the bad old world.  

If I had one wish it would be that SQA applied some of the same rules they have just applied to end the School session . Universities seem in main to have found ways to wind down for the year , schools have effectively ended - we need a tidy national way to close off the end of year for students in Colleges across Scotland. 

As an end piece here is a good commentary on what happens when on-line learning goes wrong.  We need to keep expectations realistic . 

Blended Learning Consortium in Scotland / save the date @FeBlc⤴

from @ ...........Experimental Blog

Next Thursday in part due to the collapse of FlyBe we have switched the national Scottish gathering of the Blended Learning Consortium to an online gathering by Webinar - from 10-12 noon on Thursday 12th of March.

Why not pop in to hear latest from what is the largest vocational learning content sharing collaborative across the UK.

Over the next few months many more of us will be polishing up our webinar skills. Here is a guide we are using across this large College, aimed at teaching staff.

#Bett20 , #Bett2020 , #Bettshow2020 Welcome to the roaring twenties !⤴

from @ ...........Experimental Blog

Here we go again .

I am heading down to #BETT20 early on the Wednesday morning for some pre-meetings and then the usual busy schedule in and around the conference.

I'm expecting to catch up with Google , Microsoft , Fujitsu , Click-View among many others. 
I'll be around until Friday afternoon.

I can't claim to have been every #BETT but I've attended since last century  Reflections over last few years here and some guides for #BETT newbies. 

My diary is pretty full, but  if  you have something unique and engaging aimed at any part of the assessment , e-portfolio space, digital skills for vocational teaching staff landscape  or you have some genuinely open learning or you are looking for meaningful partnerships with a school , college or vocational learning space either in Scotland or internationally,  then I would be interested in talking to you. 

The College I am working in currently offers a great space to launch new ideas and systems in to the Scottish vocational sector and has a strong international reach. 

I am easy to get hold of - just tweet something to @joecar and I'll respond. You can find out about me and my institution  here or get me through the new BETT app  , it has improved over the years. 

I am looking forward to meeting friends old and new and, above all,  being inspired. 

#UFITrust Showcase Event London 21/11/2019⤴

from @ ...........Experimental Blog


It does not seem that long ago that I met with Donald Clark , Bob Harrison and assorted others in a meeting room borrowed from City and Guilds in London to offer some advice on what kinds of activity and what models should be adopted around distributing the funds from the UFI Trust.

It is great that it has gone from strength to strength - and very timely - in England the monies arrived just as public funding dried up for innovation in educational technology and the Further Education Learning Technology Action Group started looking around for models and partners to deliver more blended learning and assessment in vocational learning. To some extent the UFI Trust monies have filled a gap that might otherwise have come from BECTA , Jisc or other agencies that had funding pots to encourage innovative practice.  There is now a strong and growing legacy.

In Scotland while there has been no such drivers in the vocational space, we have been able to adopt some of the out puts from the UFI Trust and a number of Colleges have benefited from funding for a range of projects. But a good model for both current #digitalambition work in Scotland and broader UK #CollegeFutures work to take a careful note of.

It was great to see projects past and present on display and meet some old friends and colleagues.  It is good to see those who innovate in education being constantly resilient and inventive  - and great too to meet new people and projects trying to shake things up.  This is a list of all this years crop of projects .

Note these are mixture of private and public organisations - this is seed funding for sustainable projects so different from some of the more speculative experimental projects that may have been funded in past with EU Monies. The projects are funded here on their basis to be revenue generating and self sustaining when UFI funding ends.

City of Glasgow College have a number of projects funded with #UFITrust funds past, live and in development with a range of commercial partners.

Here are my own take a ways - some from wandering around the stands and some from networking at event. 

1. The great work done by Open University with Cisco - is open and available to any College . I am going to bring them up and see how we can get these materials used more widely. These are free.

2. STEM resources - I've come across Learning Science  and these materials before and I made some high level sector introductions . I don't think things moved on from there - so will bring them up for a conversation - their simulated lab materials are used widely in the HE Sector. They now have a special offer for maths and engineering.  Interested in price point.

3. Aftab and ADA Bolton College's digital assistant - just goes from strength to strengh - I'll shine a light on this again - I think model is great. The struggle in institutions is that this is so new and cuts across lots of silos - challenge is not technology but culture and ownership of data - that is the barrier to getting more projects like this moving.  ( we have some interesting conversations happening with Google and Amazon services in background)

4. I like the 'engineering apprentices mate' materials  nice simple training materials . I'll take these links back to relevant College team.  Looking for website that takes me straight to the materials.

5. If you are a college teaching dental nurses , dental receptionists then CHOMP looks great and from a very passionate team - turning learning into gaming.

I had some great chats around the room and would be great to get a similar showcase event in Scotland -waving too at Vikki and who are doing great job with focus on digital learning skills for College lecturers in England.

Always happy to make introductions to those in Scottish sector who are willing and able pick up opportunities.

All the projects are worth a look , I've just sampled the ones that caught my eye.

And I've a few other leads to follow up. 

#UNESCO , #Openscot Email to My Daughter.⤴

from @ ...........Experimental Blog

 I got some great news yesterday and I tried to explain what it means  to my daughter who is in 5th year in a Scottish Secondary school. I thought worth sharing with a wider audience. I know some organisations that regulate teachers and lecturers like the General Teaching Council for Scotland and the Higher Education Academy, as well as those that fund education developments across the public sector will now have to take notice. It's great news for learners across the world. 

How will we now embrace this in Scotland ?

In my immediate domain one for Colleges Scotland and College Regional Boards to sit up and take notice - this needs to be embedded in practice. We've already started at City of Glasgow College. 

MJ , 
You might remember I disappeared to Malta, Slovenia and Poland among other places over the last few years. I wasn't having a holiday.
This is what I was helping to draft. 

I was invited as the co founder of Open Scotland along with Lorna Campbell of Edinburgh University - as what they call domain experts. We were standing on the shoulders of giants from the Association of Learning Technology and early work done by Jisc and many others across the education sector in Scotland and the rest of the U.K. , especially those involved in the #oer , open education resource , series of conferences. 
At the heart of it is a really simple principle.

One that Scottish Education should find easy to embrace.

'That publicly funded learning and teaching materials should be open and shareable.' 
One day, this will make teaching and learning much easier for everyone.
For you, it’s an example of a real UN resolution and now you know someone that helped shape one. It’s just as complex as the resolutions you debate in the schools model UN.

Perhaps you can show it to your teachers and maybe they will start working to share learning materials with colleagues in other schools , colleges and universities.

It was approved to go forward yesterday ;-)

#DigitalAmbition City of Glasgow College⤴

from @ ...........Experimental Blog

I plugged these sessions as they rolled out,  I am part of national consultation group . Yesterday, the roadshow came to City of Glasgow College and we had a good attendance from both the College and Colleges across Scotland. 

I know that following this roadshow that the findings from all of the roadshows will be tested again with the wider community and opened up for comment. I hope everyone is ready to chip in their ideas - there was a lot of good thinking going on yesterday. 
Ken Thomson OBE leading event cc Tom Duff City of Glasgow College
There was a lot of good use of feedback technology in the workshop and was pleasing to see used as part of consultation - if you want an ordinal list in a survey great way to do it - driven by Adaptive Comparative Judgement.

Tongue in cheek but perhaps one of our ambitions may be to find out what Scottish FE staff use in terms of social media #digitalambition , if it's Friends Reunited and MSN Messenger -we have a journey to travel - but clearly from engagement around the #digitalambition tag , at the moment perhaps it's not Twitter ?

#OER20 #Openscot Tell Your Story , Find out how to become an Open Practitioner , Meet an international community.⤴

from @ ...........Experimental Blog

I know there is a growing amount of open education activity beyond University and College initiatives in Scotland,  for my  international readership this is the  first and the best UK and international conference on Open Education and associated practices . 
Get a paper in and/or get the date in your diary.

We are delighted to announce that the OER20 Call for Proposals in now open. The deadline for submissions is 1 December 2019.

The 11th annual OER conference for Open Education research, practice and policy will be co-chaired by Mia Zamora, Daniel Villar-Onrubia and Jonathan Shaw. Read more about the conference co-chairs.

The conference will be held from 1-2 April 2020, in London, and is themed around Care In Openness. Covering issues of privilege, equity, precarity, power relations and public interest, OER20 will put the spotlight on both the value and limitations of care in open education.

We are particularly interested in receiving proposals from people who have an interest in the following conference key themes: 

Theme 1: Openness in the age of surveillance
Theme 2: Sustainable open education communities
Theme 3: Open education for civic engagement and democracy
Theme 4: Criticality and care in open education
Theme 5: Caring pedagogies and designing for diverse communities of inclusion.

And also Wildcard submissions : open education practice, research or policy session proposals that address the overarching conference theme.

To submit your proposal, please visit our OE20 Conference website where you will find full guidance, and our submission form. The deadline for submissions is 1 December 2019.

Scottish Training Federation Conference #STF19 September 2019⤴

from @ ...........Experimental Blog

I was asked to do a quick provocation for the annual gathering of all of the training providers in Scotland. Thanks to Scottish Training Federation for the kind invitation to address all of their members.

I've been about a bit , I can't believe it has been nine years since I last addressed this gathering. Some of the issues have changed and some are stubbornly the same , for training providers it is still the uncertainty of year to year funding and the scramble around the bidding and tendering processes.

My reflections in this presentation are all based on working in and around the English Vocational Reform Programme. While it has different drivers, we do not appear to be learning lessons from this coordinated reform programme in England , rather we have set a number of fires in the heather - and there may be longer term consequences in tackling vocational reform in this more piecemeal way in Scotland. We are the only home nation that does not have something called a vocational reform programme. Though we have been made lots of changes.

Most of key messages are in the presentation, as I spoke I added that we need to make more of SCQF , decide who will actually fix Digital Literacy as a core skill across vocational learning and get on with it , Do more of a push on blended learning and sharing basic learning materials across Colleges and Training Providers and work towards cost effective on-line delivery for all knowledge based areas and some skills based ones too. STF members should tune in to digital skills courses appearing in FutureLearn and from the Education and Training Foundation in England.


Scottish Colleges #DigitalAmbition⤴

from @ ...........Experimental Blog

I am part of this working group, so good to see this consultation now rolling out.

The College Development Network is running a series of consultation events on behalf of the Scottish Funding Council to inform the work of the #DigitalAmbition working group.

What is it all about ? : To find out what staff working in Colleges think the future of learning looks like !

Why is this important ? : There is a pot of capital funding for College buildings, but perhaps we need a pot of capital available for some national digital learning initiatives !

So the question is : What Digital Ambition do you have for Colleges in 2030 ?

Booking is now open for #DigitalAmbition roadshows.

This is your opportunity to shape the future! :
  • What will learning look like in 2030 ?
  • What will learners expect?
  • What will colleges look & feel like?
  • What will staff need to meet learner and employer expectations ?

Check out for all events.

Book here for Monday 11th of November City of Glasgow College Event

Business Breakfast #heraldAI⤴

from @ ...........Experimental Blog

Guest this morning at Herald AI briefing - so these are some quick jottings on proceedings.

The Sponsors:  Cathcart Associates , Brodies , The Herald , Incremental Group and Strathclyde University. 

Image result for data science hierarchy of needs

Everyman Cinema Glasgow Princes Square - is a nice venue but no wifi.

Pre meeting coffee, met microforming man from Strathclyde, charged with buying NMIS kit for next 4 years - Strathclyde have VR suite for developers - had useful conversation around and the establishment of the new manufacturing centre that is centerpiece of National Manufacturing Institute Scotland.

To see other tweets from event check out #heraldAI on twitter.

Event starts with great marketing around GPT2, too dangerous to release into wild,  apparently. You can check out the back story here,  example implementation called Talk to Transformer.  And follow creator here @adamdanielking ,see it in the context of other current  AI solutions here 

Perhaps how Herald will be written soon, spotted Donald Martin Herald Editor in audience. 

Thinkpiece keynote from Dr Adam Sroka @adzsroka

Incremental Group data and AI . The organisation do Digital transformation through microsoft and associated technologies. 
Presentation gave some good examples :

  • AI and manufacturing - can now scan and find faults in sheet metal etc - autonomous inspection -
  • Retail - AI to analyse transactions around buying and returns - could focus sales and avoid customers who bought and returned most.
  • Insurance - predicting - risk and wealth - use satellite images of addresses - it’s illegal to price on ethnicity - but you can do scrabble score in surnames though. ( Hmmn  ) and hope HMRC are using the matching postcode to house image - wonder too how GDPR compliant this all is. 
  • Banks can monitor millions of transactions and stop your account when they see outlier behaviours.
  • Most banking communications now driven by AI people can text and get answer from AI not a human. 
  • McDonalds can do speech to order with AI  find Drivethru.wav speech recognition to burger order - good example.
  • Ethics and things like driverless vehicles - autonomous systems need rules
  • Data science hierarchy of needs - see heading. 
Then on to Question and Answer and some of the usual suspects on the panel - 

  • Digital Health and Care directory looking for more AI examples around Healthcare.
  • Centre of excellence in Satellite Applications Strathclyde - good question -. What are limits of data collection it does cost money and energy to collect and crunch.
  • Craig Patterson Data Lab - the aim to make Scotland famous for data - education advisor.
  • Aggreko ( the generator people )  have team of data scientists.
  • Stachastic solutions Sam Rhynas < girl geek scotland > commercial supporting data analysis for private companies - putting data at heart of business.
  • Prof Crawford Revie - data analyst working in health - data driven models to predict health outcomes - delivering new masters degree in artificial intelligence.
  • Stevie Grier Microsoft. AI example -
  • How do you analyse the data set from colonoscopy 40,000 images AI is better than consultant.
  • Martin Sloan Brodies LLP and Deryck Smith Clydesdale Bank.

Q and A 

Can you retrain business analysts to be Data scientists ? good question - I think Business Analyst covers lots of job descriptions.

Big focus on how AI is used to understand the customer actual and potential and their behaviours.
There is real fear and lack of understanding of how AI can bring benefits and a lot is simply still process automation - look where you have seen AI drive value and how you apply this to your own business.

AI danger of introducing bias in workflow - if not thought through.
Amazon example - used past data and then found no change in recruitment metrics - bias had been built into system - by using past data as system training methodology - they built in bias.

AI as seventh consultant - offers another opinion- human experts evaluate this - perhaps improves decision making.

Stephen Grier cites - thriving Modern Apprenticeship programme - but still 10/12k people shortfall digital skills - Stephen - banish word computing - industry pays on average 25% more than other occupations. Amen but familiar cry.

Check out 99% invisible podcasts and articles

Brexit is starting to drive skill shortages - BI < business intelligence systems > programmers not enough people doing this.

How do we promote neural diversity , maths is creative , mix of skills , data lab supports placements , daydream believers creates learning materials for teachers to help them understand . I knew about this but good to share again.

In banking used to prevent fraud - almost AI v AI and money is becoming obsolete.
In remote places card machines are easier than cash - when there is no bank to bank the cash. This is to me counterintuitive .  I think this is wishful thinking from the Clydesdale bank - case study Argyll where apparently you are most likely to see signs saying card payments only. I am wondering if this is, as all the rural banks have been closed down. I'm still used to seeing cash only in remote communities in Scotland. 

Usual collective moan from panel mostly composed of industry, it is  all education's fault apparently. 

Kudos, I think to Strathclyde who have just started an MSC in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. 

As a throw away someone recommended
Book -The 100 Year Life

Useful event now scrambling back to work.

That's all folks !