FE Digital Student consultations come to Edinburgh

Chris Thomson, subject specialist at Jisc, summarises the Edinburgh consultation event in March. He also captured the keynote by Peter Kilcoyne from Heart of Worcestershire College as well as the thoughts of some of the participants.

Recently, the latest FE Digital Student consultation event took place in a corner of Edinburgh’s old town. The day was led by Sarah Knight, Ellen Lessner and Rhona Sharpe and it was really pleasing to see such a big turnout from across Scotland and beyond. There was a very active Twitter stream for the event that I’ve pulled together on Storify.

You can find a link to the agenda and resources here.

Sadly, no learners could make it to the event but Sarah was able to bring in the learner voice with a new video the project has commissioned.

Guest speaker: Peter Kilcoyne

The format was similar to the Manchester event that my colleague Scott Hibberson blogged about back in January so I won’t repeat what he said. This time around, the guest speaker was Peter Kilcoyne from the Heart of Worcestershire College. Peter was telling us the engaging story about his college’s work towards implementing the recent FELTAG recommendations.

“What one thing…?”

Like the Manchester event I was roving around with an audio recorder informally capturing the views of some of the participants. A question everyone was asked to reflect on during the day was “what one thing should providers be doing to enhance the digital experience of their learners”. There are some fascinating perspectives in these little interviews. You can hear them below.

Some personal reflections

  • People find these sessions really valuable. As budgets are squeezed some people are finding fewer opportunities to exchange ideas with colleagues across the sector so being able to come together and swap perspectives was important. I heard people talking about how they were inspired by what they’d heard other institutions are doing.
  • Some people felt that the results of the focus groups and other consultations were unsurprising. If there was a little disappointment at not hearing radical revelations, there was also relief in the confirmation that people had been thinking along the right lines!
  • The FELTAG recommendations to increase the provision of online learning activities risk creating a feeling that technology should be used for its own sake. It’s important for FE providers to be able to articulate to staff and learners what the value of online learning is.
  • One of the things that Peter Kilcoyne said that really struck me was about not using Moodle purely as a space for keeping stuff. but as a somewhere that learners could create things and interact. Using technology wisely can  help create rich learning experiences.

Future events

There are more events coming. London on the 25th March is fully booked but there are limited spaces in Swansea on the 23rd April. Book your place soon!

By Chris Thomson

I'm a Subject Specialist at Jisc focusing on online learning and digital student experience.

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