Dr Christopher Jobling

Senior Lecturer



This is the result of the skills audit that I completed as part of Week 2 of #FLble1.

“Thank you for completing the skills audit. Your answers are below. Identify any areas of weakness and make a note of them in your journal.

  1. I have a general understanding of how I can use technologies to enhance my students learning 8 / 10
  2. I have a good grasp of the language and culture (netiquette) of online communication 9 / 10
  3. I am aware of the broad range of digital study skills that my learners will need for successful academic study 7 / 10
  4. I know how to plug in and configure a microphone on my computer 10 / 10
  5. I know how to plug in and configure a webcam on my computer 10 / 10
  6. I know how to plug in and configure speakers on my computer 10 / 10
  7. I can use the microphone, camera and speakers on my mobile devices 10 / 10
  8. I am confident using a media player on my computer for viewing multimedia 10 / 10
  9. I am confident that I can make the most effective use of our virtual learning environment (VLE) 9 / 10
  10. I am aware of all of the tools available within our Virtual Learning Environment 8 / 10
  11. I know how to set up an electronic submission area in our Virtual Learning Environment for learners to submit assignments electronically 10 / 10
  12. I am confident about writing good threads for discussion boards to encourage learners to engage in effective collaborative study 7 / 10
  13. I am confident using Google docs to produce and share presentations and documents 10 / 10
  14. I understand how to set up a wiki for my learners to work on collaborative writing exercises 9 / 10
  15. I am aware of how I could use social media to support my learners 7 / 10
  16. I understand how to access and use a chat room for my learners to access 7 / 10
  17. I can tell my learners how to find free online courses on the Internet to support their studies 7 / 10
  18. I can create quizzes or tests online for my learners to test their knowledge and understanding 9 / 10
  19. I know how to audio or video record my teaching sessions for learners to use later 10 / 10
  20. I can find and recognise good quality learning material on the Internet to use with my learners 9 / 10
  21. I can find copyright free or creative commons licenced digital learning materials on the Internet 10 / 10
  22. I am aware of the range of ways that a mobile device could be used to support learners’ study 8 / 10
  23. I know how to use digital technologies to support learners with special educational needs 6 / 10

If I was honest with my answers (!) it’s pretty clear that I have no problems with technology but I am not as confident with the pedagogy or perhaps more correctly the appropriate selection of technology to support learning.

An interesting and revealing exercise and one which would be useful to adapt to gauge prior knowledge at the start of a module or course.

November 10th, 2015

Posted In: #FLble1, blended learning, e-learning, reflection


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The pedagogy of blended learning

Blended learning can support a range of pedagogical approaches and in this section three are highlighted and summarized below. There is an emphasis in all three case studies on the use of mobile devices, particularly tablets for teachers and smart phones for students. The video and audio recording features of such devices are illustrated as well as content browsing and finger input. Interestingly pen input and keyboard input is not emphasized but in my experience these are weaknesses of the current generation of tablet and smart phone devices.


Note all illustrations were using tablets (probably iPads):

  • constructivism – illustrated by Blended Learning and Mobile Learning. In the illustration, students are doing the activity and the teacher is recording and making comments based on the learning outcomes as the activity is videoed . The students then get formative feedback by watching their “performance” and presumably are able to make comments and “sign off” the video as a true record. It is claimed that the need for written “reflection” and recording of paper “witness statements” is reduced or eliminated. The tool illustrated (iObserve see below) is proprietary and seems specific to a particular form of vocational assessment. It’s not clear from the example how one could generalize the approach.
  • social constructivism – illustrated by Blended Learning and Social Learning. It is claimed that the Blended Learning Essentials is an example of this mode of pedagogy. The participants in the forums are giving the reflections and commenting on others: but this begs the question — just how many BLE participants are participating in the forums? And are those who do not not learning? Or are they just not optimizing their learning? The video illustration has students gathering images and videos on their mobile devices (phones again), sharing them through Flickr and commenting on them in Facebook on in Moodle. Again I can see that this is useful, but how do you ensure that all students are engaged in this way?
  • problem-based learning – illustrated by Blended Learning and Problem Based Learning. In the illustration, the students, art or design at a guess, are using mobile devices as the medium. I can see it’s authentic and problem-based, although I’d have to say the the input still has a long way to go to beat paper and pencil. The claimed benefit is that it encourages the students to use their existing skills on using devices for social activities into their learning and presumably future professional lives.

Not illustrated in section

The Technology for Blended Learning

Summary of section. Look for web-based tools that work across desktop, tablet and phones.


  • Technology in the Classroom – illustrated by Nearpod and interactive whiteboard. Detailed case study. In this example, the teacher was using Nearpod, a tool that can enhance content delivery by having additional personalized activities that are delivered to students in the class or afterwards (if you upgrade to a premium version). Use was also made of an interactive whiteboard. In both examples, the technology used doesn’t really scale to large class sizes although variations, e.g Catalytic Assessment (Draper, 2009) have been shown to work.
  • e-Learning and flipped learning – illustrated by DREAMS a package by Prospect Training Services (who appear in video 2). Detailed case study. This seemed to be little more than a fancier content delivery system.
  • Open Tools – illustrated by Google classroom – Detailed case study. Google Classroom provides some features of the assessment submission and grading features of a VLE. It is however limited to use in institutions that have signed up the a Google Apps for Education account.

TEL Tools introduced in Week 2

iObserve by Prospect Training Services (who appeared on video 1) costs £49.99. Illustrated being used to observe, record assess and give formative feedback to students performing authentic tasks. Could be used for teacher observation.

Nearpod – freemium software – free version, which is limited to a class size of 30 is essentially presentations with quizzes.

DREAMS – a proprietary e-learning system developed and used by Prospect Training Services. Not sure what it provides over a VLE and looks to have similar costs. Use of Open Educational Resources would be a better approach I think and using development tools like Xerte Online Toolkits might be a better way forward if you can call on the assistance of a good instructional designer.

Google Classroom – is a content delivery and assessment system built on Google Drive. It is free but unfortunately is only available for Google Apps for Education users at this time.


Attwell, G. and Hughes, J. (2010) Pedagogic Approaches to Using technology for Learning. Lifelong learning UK. September 2010. Accessed 9/11/15.

Draper, S. W. (2009), Catalytic assessment: understanding how MCQs and EVS can foster deep learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 40: 285–293. Accessed 10/11/15.

Social Development Theory (Lev Vygotsky). Learning Theories. instructionaldesign.org. Web resource which includes references. Accessed 9/11/15.

November 10th, 2015

Posted In: #FLble1, blended learning


For the record these are the answers I recorded for the Matching Pedagogy with Technology exercise in Week 2. This is particularly interesting as we plan to create a more comprehensive resource than the hand out for our institution.

1) Constructivism

Technologies I chose:

Collaborative writing, Video recording of learner activity, Discussion forums, Reflective logs (blog), Open Educational Resources, Practical activities, Simulations

How I’m actually using them:

  • Simulate a system stimulated by a particular type of signal in order to better understand the practical applications of the mathematics of signals and systems.
  • Encourage students to use PeerWise to to write their own multiple choice quiz questions with feedback to help them and their peers revise a topic to be studied.

2) Social constructivism

Technologies I chose:

Collaborative writing, Discussion forums, Social media, Video conferencing

How I might use them:

  • Get students to discuss a topic in a forum in order to help them develop critical reading and writing skills
  • Share and curate learning resources found on the web using social networks.

3) Problem-based learning

Technologies you chose:

Online formative assessments, Audio / video learning resources, Open Educational Resources, Practical activities, Simulations

How I might or do use them:

  • Planned – get students to define and implement in simulation a system that can synthesize sounds from frequency spectra.
  • Actual – Build an autonomous robot in order for students to learn team skills.

Comments seem to be turned off on this blog by Admin so until I’ve got them to fix this, comments are welcome on twitter: https://twitter.com/cpjobling/status/663812565101858816.

November 9th, 2015

Posted In: #FLble1, blended learning, pedagogy, TEL


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Diane Laurillard has posted a nice summary of week one of #FLble1 and I thought that I’d records a few things myself.

Good Ideas for Blended Learning

  • Crib sheets – introduce new technology and provide a user guide.
  • Padlet – is a good place to collect ideas and links but may not work so well for large classes.
  • Quizzes can be formative – if you provide feedback, it doesn’t matter if your students answer correctly.
  • Glossaries can be a useful learning tool – but I’m note sure that mediawiki is necessarily the easiest way to create one.
  • Typeform is an interesting tool for creating surveys and formative assessments.

Linking to the discussions

The thread on started by Clare Alderson is particularly pertinent to my current work:

The benefits of Blended Learning are undeniable but if educational institutions expect their teaching staff to incorporate digital technology to create student-centred, action-based and authentic curriculum, then they need to provide them with training and resources.”

I wanted to link to this discussion so I responded:

“Really great discussion in this thread … no way to link to it though. Is that a limitation does anyone think?”

and got this response from Adam Warren one of the FutureLearn developers which would be useful to others:

“Christopher – you can link to specific discussions but it definitely a work-around: right click on the ‘report as inappropriate’ flag to the right of any comment and ‘copy link location’ (or similar; depends on browser). Paste that link where you need it and edit to remove the last part (moderation_reports/new) – so your post (for example) is https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/blended-learning-getting-started/1/comments/8692259/

“You can also right-click on the View conversation links in your Replies page (linked from the top of every page) to get the URL for your own comments if you wish to share them, add them to a portfolio etc.”

For the record, the rest of my comment was:

“I’m a teacher not an instructional designer and I think that I have some of the skills needed to achieve some blended learning in my courses (perhaps in parts it’s already there). Plus, I believe that there are many others like me. Lack of time and skills/training is an issue but perhaps a bigger one is that there’s little recognition within many institutions’ recognition and reward structures to encourage innovation and to provide the time and training to foster it.”

The value of forums in large courses

Discussions remain for an issue for me. FutureLearn courses are of course outliers in terms of learner numbers but in my institution we also have large classes and since social learning is important, the best way to use technology to support this is important. I’m not convinced that forums, at least in the way they are typically implemented in VLEs, provide the best way to achieve this. They are particularly flawed in the FutureLearn platform in that there’s no search function and no way to find people. Relying on “likes” and “following” to filter the conversation only works once you’ve been immersed in a forum long enough to be able to judge the community. And of course, there are many participants who don’t actually post anything so their voice is effectively silent.


To follow some of the links in this post, you’ll need to join the FutureLearn course Blended Learning Essentials.


November 8th, 2015

Posted In: #FLble1, blended learning

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Padlet, a digital equivalent of post-it notes on a whiteboard, is a useful resource for gathering student comments and questions which I used a bit on one of my modules last year as a replacement for Blackboard’s discussion lists.

Whether it is still useful for the numbers signed up for the #FLble1 MOOC is less clear.

The brief for exercise 1.9 was either to post a 40 word reflection on some videos about blended learning from the teacher or student point of view or to share a resource with comments. I shared the HEA starter tool page on Blended Learning which I’d found last week when gathering information for a project to run some pilots of blended learning within the College of Engineering.

See if you can spot my contribution in this lot (clue — the newest posts seem to float to the top of the page).

November 5th, 2015

Posted In: #FLble1, blended learning, reflection, sharing

A couple of comments I made in the forum for FutureLearn Blended Learning Essentials section 1.7 after watching the extended version of Online Learning Using a VLE.

“I’ve attempted to flip my classroom (Level 6 and Level 7 students) and found that the majority don’t engage with the pre-class activities so we’re forced back in to traditional content delivery in class rather than more active activities.”

Any advice?

“There seemed to be an awful lot of work that the teacher using the VLE had done. Is this time to prepare factored into teachers’ preparation time? Is is appreciated by the institutions? In our case, end-of-module evaluation (which mostly mirrors the NSS questions) doesn’t provide much place to make visible any student appreciation of such staff activities. Or student resistance for that matter.”

See:  from FutureLearn Blended Learning Essentials section 1.7 for  context.

November 4th, 2015

Posted In: #FLble1, blended learning, flipped classroom

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In the interactive exercise I am to think about some learners whose engagement needs to be improved. We’ve looked at five of the benefits of blended learning – flexibility, active learning, personalisation, learner control, feedback.

Make brief notes (~30 words) on one simple example of how would you use digital technologies to give each of these benefits to the learners you’re thinking of. There are no right/wrong answers, the aim is just to help you prepare your contributions for the discussion. Your responses won’t be monitored, but you may find it useful to make a note of them in your reflective journal.

Here are the questions, my answers and the instructor’s suggestions:

Q) How might using technology for ‘flexible access to learning resources’ help learners engage?

A) they are not restricted to what you do in class

Educator feedback:

Here is one idea: Get them to search the internet to find the answer to a very specific question before a f2f session, and compete to see who gets the best answer.

Q) How might using technology for ‘active learning’ help learners engage?

A) active learning is better than passive learning

Educator feedback:

Here is one idea: Ask them to work in small groups to develop a slide to present to their peers, which explains what could go wrong in a procedure/technique/skill they have just learned about.

Q) How might using technology for ‘personalisation’ help learners engage

A) it’s for me not the class

Educator feedback:

Here is one idea: Give the learners access to a relevant image database they can search to find suitable illustrations for some work they have to hand in.

Q) How might using technology for ‘learner control’ help learners engage?

A) they don’t have to wait for teacher

Educator feedback:

Here is one idea: Ask each learner to browse YouTube to find a good video that’s relevant to the topic they are currently learning.

Q) How might using technology for ‘feedback’ help learners engage?

A) it’s personal

Educator feedback:

Here is one idea: Prepare an MCQ quiz using a question you have put to learners previously, and using previous wrong answers as the choices, and ask them to pick the best one.

Reflecting on this exercise, did it change my perceptions of blended learning from what I knew already?

Based on my answers, I’m clearly not on the same page as the instructors!


November 3rd, 2015

Posted In: #FLble1, blended learning, TEL

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I and some of my colleagues in engineering have signed up to the new five week FutureLearn open course on Blended Learning Essentials (www.futurelearn.com/courses/blended-learning-getting-started) which being lead by the Professor Dianne Laurillard (@thinksitthrough) of UCL and Professor Neil Morris (@NeilMorrisLeeds) of the University of Leeds. The course started on November 2nd so there is still plenty of time to join.

Any posts related to this module will be tagged #FLble1 and the course can be tracked by following @BLECourse and hashtag #FLble1 on Twitter.

November 3rd, 2015

Posted In: #FLble1, blended learning

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This blog has just been upgraded so perhaps it needs to be relaunched!

October 20th, 2015

Posted In: e-learning

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Seemingly without telling anyone, the University has signed up to a site license deal with Microsoft that gives you (and your students) access to Office 365 both on your desktop (in University and at home), in the “cloud” on the web through the Office365 portal https://portal.office.com/Home and on mobile devices Android, iOS and Windows mobile.

To access, simply search for Office 365 in your browser and then choose the result that says Sign in to Office 365 in the search results. Use your University email address to login. You’ll be redirected to a login page with the University’s logo on it. Give the password you use for email, intranet, blackboard etc.

Once logged in you are taken to the portal page mentioned above where you can download Office 365 for your desktop, laptop and mobile devices. Students can also do this and it might be worth mentioning it to them when you meet them in tutorials.

Since Office 365 has good collaboration tools for sharing and collaborating on documents, spreadsheets and presentations it opens up opportunities for more efficient document handling in our new brave paperless world and for new ways of working with colleagues and your students​ that you may wish to try. For example, your project students could create and share a OneNote notebook​ with you rather than asking them to use an old fashioned paper log book.

As SALT Champion for the College of Engineering ​and incoming chair of the e-Learning Subgroup of the Learning Technology and Enhancement Centre (LTEC), I am keen to share information on new technology with you and also keen to learn about and disseminate good ideas that you’ve found in using such technology.

(And yes, chalk is a learning technology.)

I look forward to hearing and sharing your stories.

September 30th, 2015

Posted In: Office 365, TEL, tips

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