WHILE UK VOTERS were casting their ballots to leave the EU, I was listening to a gurgling pond (snapped by my Xperia phone in the photo) and conversations of lecturers on topics arising at the 2016 e-learning summer school on the Bolton Street campus of the Dublin Institute of Technology. Several of those conversations deserve deep dives into the various practices shared by third level lecturers across Ireland.
Along with Pamela O'Brien and Conor Galvin, I often attend Irish teaching and learning events with members of the Youth Media Team. We supervise young Irish teens as they interview keynote speakers and conference attendees. Oftentimes, the audio clips we gather provide a very valid back channel to scheduled activities. I wish I had brought our field recorder and co-ordinated my request with organiser Frances Boylan. If I could have recorded a few conversations with a dozen of the 45 people attending, I would have sought out people tweeting at the event captured several very important observations about ethics in e-learning.
Several people who followed #elss16 online expressed surprise when hearing attendees were asked to refrain from snapping and sharing items from inside the venue without express permission from presenters or from people being captured digitally. This conference directive didn't surprise me because I teach on a campus where large screens tell me no recording is permitted in the building (while campus CCTV cameras do just that). Several key presentations dealt with copyright, digital footprints and the ethics of learning analytics so putting a procedure in place that mirrored the essence of the event's content complemented the theme of the three-day conference. It was interesting to see what I captured on the day--I snapped nothing during presentations and my major observations unfolded on my Twitter timeline as I shared observations while listening to the main topics being discussed.
The liveliest follow-up questions I heard came after separate presentations on privacy by Eoin O'Dell and Fergal Crehan. Many people do not know the legal recourse they enjoy under Irish Data Protection Statutes. Several lunchtime conversations around me dove deep into very important aspects of digital identity, proving the importance of covering those topics as agenda items on the e-learning summer school schedule.
I immersed in another conversation with fellow lecturers about administrative recourse when detecting plagiarism. I believe there are well-grounded procedures across Irish third level when dealing equitably with students who present work they copied or commissioned for their own benefit.
Jane Secker led a very clever copyright game in her fast-moving session and left behind instructions for others to follow when running a similar entertaining session with teachers or students. Jane guided progress through the murky space of copyright regulations and it felt like you were losing in a game when you were actually exposing your ignorance to legal restrictions concerning the rights of authors in material easily misused when casually sharing photocopied or digitally remastered material in academic programmes.
After watching the audience participation in Jane Secker's copyright game, I should have remastered my talk on "Managing Digital Footprints" in a format similar. Instead, I tried to compress my two-hour lab-based work on digital footprints into a one-hour active presentation and believe it did not work as planned. However, I got very good feedback from lecturers about my use of Office Sway (see screenshot) so I can take away some positive results. I plan to iterate my #elss16 presentation and use it when teaching the Fundamentals of Digital Literacy in the three different degrees I teach on three LIT.ie campus locations.
My calendar tells me that I might not make DIT's e-learning summer school in 2017 because it may conflict with important events I need to attend on the east cost of the United States between the 21st and 26th of June next year. But if that happens, I'll follow #elss17 with the same avid interest I've shown through the past 10 years of listening and learning during e-learning summer school sessions.