Summer Bytes

image taken from http://moodle.rsc-wales.ac.uk/summerbytes/

Between 21st – 23rd June 2011 JISC RSC Wales held a programme of events online called Summer Bytes.  12 sessions where you could register to attend, listen to and/or contribute to without leaving your desk.  These sessions were delivered using Elluminate (now known as Blackboard Collaborate). 

The sessions looked really interesting and I would’ve liked to attend all 12 but this was out of the question due to staffing issues.  I signed up for 6 although in the end I only managed to attend 5.

This was my first webinar experience and once I discovered that I didn’t need to speak (too scared!) I was really looking forward to it.  I found the Elluminate console very easy to use and was soon chatting away in the chat pane and asking questions, applauding and deploying the green tick.  Sometimes there was an issue with sound, but replacement microphones for the speakers soon sorted this out.  We had an issue in some sessions, mainly due to our servers crashing on the Wednesday afternoon, which was a shame.

The sessions I attended were

  • Using crowd sourcing and social learning networks in teacher education (speaker Robin Trangmar, Coleg Llandrillo)
  • Using web conferencing tools to communicate and interact in real time (speaker Russell Symmons)
  • Safe social networking for accessibility, inclusion and communication (speaker Siona Murray, Coleg Llandrillo)
  • Welsh Information Literacy Project (speaker Joy Head,CardiffUniversity)
  • Don’t let the Safeguarding Bugs Byte (e-safety and the Law Top Tips) (speaker Betty Willder, JISC Legal)

All sessions were very interesting and it was good to come away with the feeling “I can do that” and “We NEED to do that!”

All sessions can be accessed on the RSC Wales moodle pages.  Listening and participating in the session run by Robin Trangmer has energised us to finally get round to implementing QR codes in our library.  I think we need to do a huge marketing and promotion on them and show students how we are going to use them and how they will be beneficial to them.  I came away with lots of tips including get netbooks with built in QR reader!

The session run by Siona Murray was very good and we learnt how they developed Twitter in the classrooms for Learning Support students in Communication classes.  The culmination of this was that they developed e-safety resources for the college and got awarded a Cymal/RSC Information Literacy Grant.  Their campaign developed by the students is called “Think before you Click” and is hosted on the RSC Wales moodle site (link above).  E-safety is important and should be taught and addressed as part of Induction.  We have a duty of care to make sure our students know how to be safe.  A rousing presentation!

This led nicely into the e-safety presentation by JISC legal with Betty Willder challenging us to honestly think about our e-safety policies.  Not just within our own departments, but College wide.  Quite frankly, this was scary stuff.  We don’t have a separate e-safety policy and listening to Betty talking about our statutory duty of care made me wonder why we haven’t!  Three of us from the LRC attended this session and immediately thought, OMG we have got a lot to do and our Induction Sessions will take a hammering over the summer.  If you want to have a look at JISC legal’s top e-safety tips visit http://www.jisclegal.ac.uk/esafety

I really enjoyed the sessions.  Taking 45 mins out of the day to connect with others to chat about issues that concern and affect us all was great.  Shame we can’t carry on … maybe Autumn Bytes will be next.

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