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Mike James :: Blog :: Mike James: Introduction

April 24, 2007

Hi, Mike James working at the University of Salford in Greater Manchester (not Manchester - Salford is a city and some people here feel that the distinction is significant).

I am the Learning Technologies Manager and work within the Learning Technologies Centre (LTC). We are a small team who provide central support for users of learning technologies and the development of flexible approaches to teaching and learning. The LTC was established early in 2003 and our first role was the implementation of Blackboard as the institutional VLE - as a consequence of this we are seen, by some, as the Blackboard 'people'. This has, to some extent, handicapped our team development and we are currently implementing a formal and external review of the LTC during the summer which we hope will help us to determine and confirm a new role for the Centre over the next three to five years.

The Emerge team I belong to consists of myself and three colleagues and we have submitted two project proposals. The first expresses an interest in the development of tools for the creation of pedagogically valid online content by academic colleagues. Our experience to date at Salford has been one of developing niche online content on behalf of academic colleagues who are increasingly dependent upon us for the maintenance of that content. With a small team we cannot sustain that form of development in the longer term and, perhaps more importantly, the impact of our efforts have been limited within the institution. We need to become increasingly more strategic in respect of our developments and look to concentrate our efforts in this area on creating content development tools, rather than content, and encouraging academic colleagues to become independent in that development process. We have some experience in this area through the development of an application for delivering pedagogically purposeful video and audio through Blackboard.  My colleague, Simon Hardaker, and I would be very happy to talk to colleagues about these ideas and look to learn from the experiences of others in the Emerge project.

Our second proposal, involving Helen Keegan and Cristina DaCosta, would like to look at the possibility of creating learning activities through the use of multi-author blogging. We are interested in exploring whether it is possible to examine healthcare interventions through the simultaneous blogging of the experiences of participants and the subsequent creation of learning activities delivered over time through the institutional VLE. For instance, could we take an intervention such as planned paediatric surgery and report the views and experiences of the child, the parent, siblings, the nurse, and others and report those over the period of the pre-admission and admission period? How feasible is it to do this when  the participants are 'stressed'? How reliable would the data be? What options are available for blogging/reportage using text capture, audio, video diaries and other methods? How difficult might it be to reconstruct the data (as learning activities) without 'contaminating' the data itself? What are the benefits to students in using this data as insights into the real world experiences of their clients?

I hope that my role in the team, and the Emerge project, will become clearer after the first meeting. At this stage, I am one of four enthusiastic colleagues from the LTC team at the University of Salford who are hoping to share our own ideas with other Emerge colleagues and, whilst contributing something through our own experiences, to also learn from the wealth of expertise that appears to be available to us.

In answering the question about favourite web-based application or site I am tempted to say 'blogging in general'. I am not (yet?) and active blogger and I am fascinated by what compels people to start blogging and what makes a blog 'successful'. Is there a difference between blogging and reportage? I hope that, as the project develops I will develop an increased interest, a style for my own blogging and the confidence to do it.

Overview for Keywords: audio, blogging, content, learning objects, video

Blogs with Keywords: audio, blogging, content, learning objects, video

Posted by Mike James


  1. Hi Mike,

    It is nice to meet you here!:-)

    Cristina CostaCristina Costa on Wednesday, 25 April 2007, 09:19 BST # |

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