LLAS News Blog

News articles of interest to higher education LLAS subject fields.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

SCOTLAND: Learning support in Gaelic lacking, MSPs told

A mother of a boy who requires learning support has said that such help was severely lacking in Gaelic education.
Carole Henderson's son was diagnosed as having verbal dyspraxia when he was at nursery. He is now in Gaelic medium education at primary school.
Ms Henderson said in Lanarkshire, where they live, she had been unable to find educational specialists with Gaelic.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

How to embed Open Educational Resources into academic practice – some tips from HumBox users

By Kate Borthwick (Academic Coordinator e-learning)

HumBox is an online space for sharing humanities teaching resources. It contains over 1300 resources from a range of humanities disciplines and is an excellent place to showcase your teaching. HumBox is managed by LLAS.
1.       Use your OER repository as your personal website.
When you publish an open educational resource in a repository (like HumBox), it receives a unique URL. You can send your students directly to this URL to access the resource. This is an easy way to put your material online.
2.       Avoid carrying paper/USBs with you when you present at conferences.
You can publish your slides, handouts, plus any related information in one HumBox collection – and then simply give out the unique URL for this collection to your audience. This keeps all of your files in one place and is always accessible (as long as you have an internet connection).
3.       Refine and polish your teaching material following review by colleagues.
If you publish a resource on HumBox, any other registered user can post comments on it. HumBox users report that these comments have been really useful in enabling them to improve their work. After republishing their resource, they feel confident that others will be able and willing to re-use it in their own context because it has been reworked in a collaborative way.
4.       Find useful resources to adapt or use if teaching a class at short notice.
OER sites provide a wealth of material of all kinds: from whole courses to individual handouts and slides. This can be useful if you have to teach a class in an area that is outside of your expertise, or if you have to cover another class at short notice.
5.       Enhance your digital presence and international reputation.
OER sites, like HumBox, and the resources held in them, are picked up easily by search engines, and so by contributing to such sites you can shape an impressive professional digital presence.
6.       See how other practitioners approach particular topics and keep up with developments in your discipline.
Browsing HumBox can give an excellent overview of how other humanities lecturers across the UK teach certain topics and ideas and keep you up-to-date with new approaches.
7.       Get good ideas for enhancing your practice and reflect on what you do.
Browsing an OER repository like HumBox can inspire new ideas and help you to reflect and enhance your teaching.
8.       Use OER early in your career to glean ideas, and showcase work and teaching experience.
If you are an early career researcher/lecturer, browsing HumBox can give some real-life examples of how your subject is taught ‘in the wild.’ Publishing your own resources is also a way of showcasing your work as soon as you start work.
9.       See perspectives from other humanities disciplines.
Browsing HumBox enables you to see how other humanities disciplines approach certain issues and ideas – this may broaden your own perspective.
10.   Feel confident in adapting and re-using other people’s materials.
Most OERs have been created and published explicitly for use and adaptation, and are licensed for such activity. This means you can avoid concerns about using other people’s material and worries about copyright - and you can use, re-use and republish (with attribution) as freely as you wish to.