University of Auckland (NEW ZEALAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 287-292
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Our unit provides academic and pedagogical support to a range of undergraduate and postgraduate health professional programmes across medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and population health. During a recent initiative we sought to better align our own professional development practices with our espousement of online digital learning spaces—moving beyond F2F. As a busy team providing support across multiple sites, managing multiple complex, concurrent projects in addition to our academic work, our foci were to: provide modular, hands-on, competency-based professional development skills building, whilst testing multiple delivery platforms.

For 2013 our subject was on iOS and tablet teaching, including the use of iPads and Apple TV. We used two platforms: ELGG (an open source social network engine) and Yammer (a corporate social network tool, though within a unit-specific semi-private space), to test the platforms for teaching and learning affordances. Staff (n=7) were able to access the modules from any university site or off-site. Topics included iOS customisations and GUI, productivity apps, presentation tools and AirPlay.

Staff found a preference for the interface and look and feel of Yammer over ELGG. ELGG had a broad range of affordances, but was not as coherent for focusing specific activities. Paradoxically, both platforms struggled to accommodate the learning activities that required the sharing of digital artifacts, since there is no central file server in iOS and no way to focus all created artifacts into one cloud based product.

In terms of conducting the professional development activities online, this was seen as a success, using a quasi-synchronous approach. Team members were tasked with completing specific tasks within a precise yet flexible timeframe. All work was posted to a common space; all participants could see one another’s work once submitted. Global summative feedback was give, identifying corrects answers and unpacking some of the ambiguities of iOS and various apps. We are continuing with the initiative in 2014 with a focus on learning management systems, using Yammer as our platform.
e-learning, professional development, social networks, higher education.