Association for Learning Technology Online Newsletter
Issue 10 October 2007   Friday, October 19, 2007

ISSN 1748-3603

Cover Page »
Feature article
ALT-C 2007: the best so far...?
Binoculars and sandpits
Case studies
Education: a revolutionary process @ Djanogly City Academy
Introducing e-portfolios across a paper dominated university
Conference reviews
E-learning: making it work
Becta's Harnessing Technology Research Forum
ALT news
Director's report
Chief Executive's report
Faculty and publishers advance e-learning
Towards maturity in e-learning
JISC Updates
What the learners say about e-learning
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Past Issues
Issue 9 July 2007
July 20, 2007
Issue 8 April 2007
April 20, 2007
Issue 7 January 2007
January 27, 2007
Issue 6 October 2006
October 30, 2006
Issue 5, July 2006
July 11, 2006

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Chief Executive's report
by Seb Schmoller

Rhonda Riachi
On the final day of the ALT Conference, Rhonda Riachi, ALT Director, announced that she will be leaving ALT at the end of this year, having been employed by ALT since it was founded in 1993. Linda Creanor, incoming ALT President, was able to pay public tribute to Rhonda’s outstanding contribution to the development of ALT over the last 14 years. ALT’s elected Trustees are now deciding on how to respond to Rhonda’s departure. A formal send-off for Rhonda will take place in Oxford during the evening of 8 January 2008. Details will be publicised using the “ALT-ANNOUNCE” Jiscmail list.

Teresa Prochazka, ALT Projects Manager, moved to a new job at the beginning of September, and we wish her well. One of Teresa’s roles was as Certification Manager for our Certified Membership Scheme, CMALT. Until Teresa has been replaced we are grateful to Dr Jay Dempster for agreeing to cover the Certification Manager role on a part-time consultancy basis. Jay’s email address is A new version of the CMALT Prospectus, and revised guidelines for applicants and assessors have been published. Both are available for download, along with other supporting material from the

Hannah Whaley 2007 winner Hannah Whaley (far left), joint winner of the 2007 Learning Technologist of the Year Award, presented by Peter Norvig and Gilly Salmon

Inaugural Learning Technologist of the Year Award
This year we organised the inaugural Learning Technologist of the Year Award. The Award was presented at the ALT Conference by Dr Peter Norvig, Research Director of Google. The joint winners were Philip Cosson of the School of Health and Social Care at the University of Teesside (for the creation of a tutor-supported computer simulation that allows first year radiography students to simulate the taking of an x-ray in a safe and controlled way without the dangers of radiation), and Hannah Whaley, from the Learning Centre at the University of Dundee (for a range of achievements including the creation of a new online self- and peer-assessment system, and of a groupwork assessment system). The runner-up was the PebblePad Development Team from Pebble Learning Ltd, in Wolverhampton for its contribution over the last three years to the development of the PebblePad ePortfolio system, which has been used by over 120,000 users in over 40 institutions. A flyer describing the winning and short-listed entries in full is on the ALT web site at

Philip Cosson 2007 LTOTY winner Philip Cosson (far left), receiving his award as joint winner of the 2007 Learning Technologist of the Year, presented by Peter Norvig and Gilly Salmon

ALT Annual General Meeting
The AGM on 5/9/2007 approved the 2006/2007 Accounts, and the Annual Report, which summarises ALT’s activities over the past 12 months. The AGM also unanimously approved some important changes to the ALT Constitution. All three documents are on the ALT web site at At the AGM Jane Seale, retiring ALT President, presented Terry Mayes, Emeritus Professor at Glasgow Caledonian University, and long-standing member of ALT, with Honorary Life Membership of the Association. The 2008 call for nominations for Honorary Life Membership will be issued next spring.
JISC Learning and Teaching Committee
The JISC Learning and Teaching Committee is “responsible for supporting the learning and teaching community by helping institutions to promote innovation in the use of ICT to benefit learning and teaching, research and the management of institutions”. I represent ALT on the committee, alongside Lawrence Hamburg from the HE Academy, Stuart Jones from Becta, and John McLaughlin from the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills. JISC committees meet three or four times per year. Members, of which there are around 12, are appointed in their own name, and are drawn from across UK HE and FE. Representatives, of which there are around four, and who have no voting rights, but can speak, are appointed from partner and cognate organisations. Represented organisations are able annually to report on developments within their own organisation. Representatives on JISC committees are required to report briefly in writing to their organisations: ALT and JISC have agreed that a suitable vehicle for this is through this quarterly column in the ALT Newsletter.

Here are some highlights from the committee’s 18 September 2007 meeting. Individual ALT members and colleagues from ALT member organisations are welcome to follow up with me on any of the issues highlighted, and I will be happy to share documents and papers, unless there are confidentiality issues.

1. We heard a report summarising current projects being managed by the JISC Development Team.

2. A Committee of Inquiry in the changing student experience is being established by JISC, chaired by a university vice chancellor, with evidence to be taken from students and from within HE. Once finalised, details will be made public.

3. We noted the report from the 27 June JISC Board.

4. We considered and made generally positive comments on a “Vision” statement for JISC’s e-Learning Programme.

5. A “core budget roadmap” for the E-learning Programme was agreed, with the proviso that the time period between the approval of a project and its start date should be extended. The roadmap will soon be made public by JISC. Alongside the roadmap, the committee approved funding recommendations for 2008/2009. These set out the distribution of the committee’s £4.11m spending between activity heads, as follows:
- Services (mainly JISCinfonet and the JISC Plagiarism Advisory Service) £0.38m
- Services to Support Development (JISC CETIS) £0.90m
- Development Programmes (a range of projects commissioned by open call) £2.23m
- Evaluation and Programme Management £0.28m
- Communications and Outreach £0.38m

6. We noted that revisions to the HEFCE e-Learning Strategy will be made in the next few months by the HEFCE e-Learning Partnership Board (on which ALT is represented).

7. The committee heard “external” reports as follows: 
-  ALT and the Higher Education Academy; 
-  Oleg Liber, Director of JISC’s Centre for Educational Technology and Interoperability Standards (CETIS);
- Jo Smedley and Sharon Waller concerning the JISC/HE Academy Collaboration, which, for 2006-2009, has been funded jointly by the Academy and JISC with a total of £0.75m.

8. The committee heard “internal” reports concerning two of the committee’s five main activity areas, namely Technology Enhanced Learning Environments, and Learning Resources and Activities, and a “project showcase” on pedagogical planners.

9. The meeting concluded with a communications and dissemination report.

Seb Schmoller

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