Association for Learning Technology Online Newsletter
Issue 12 May 2008   Tuesday, May 6, 2008

ISSN 1748-3603

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January 25, 2008
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October 19, 2007
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July 20, 2007
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April 20, 2007
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Chief Executive's Report
by Seb Schmoller

Director of Development
We are delighted to announce that on 4 April ALT’s Trustees appointed Dr Mark van Harmelen as our first Director of Development. Mark, whose brief biography is at, will take up post formally on 16 May 2008, but will be playing a role in ALT rather sooner than this. 

ALT-C 2008 – Rethinking the Digital Divide – 9-11 September 2008
The deadline for proposals for the 2008 ALT conference was in early March. The total “crop” of submissions was marginally up on the 2007 figure, and is an all time high. Colleagues on the conference Programme Committee have been refereeing and reviewing all proposals over April and the actual structure of the conference will be clear during May. Meanwhile we have announced our Major Anchor Sponsors for the conference:

  • Becta
  • Blackboard
  • Department of Universities, Innovation, and Skills (DIUS)
  • Desire2Learn
  • Digital 2010
  • Eduserv
  • Elluminate
  • Higher Education Academy
  • IMC (UK) Learning Limited
  • JISC
  • Learning and Skills Council
  • MyKnowledgeMap
  • Positive Internet
  • QIA
  • University of Leeds
  • Wimba
  • Yorkshire Forward

Innovations for 2008 will include:

  • in addition to the three major keynotes, for which see ALT-C 2008 website, several contributions from invited speakers: George Auckland, Lizbeth Goodman, Jane Hart, Denise Kirkpatrick, Richard Noss, Gilly Salmon, Clive Shepherd, George Siemens;
  • extensive use of software to capture, and enable remote participation in, conference sessions;
  • a Gala Dinner, sponsored by Digital 2010 and Yorkshire Forward (the Regional Development Agency for Yorkshire & Humber), that will showcase the capabilities of Yorkshire's catering and hospitality students, and which will without doubt provide conference delegates with an evening to remember.

Consultation responses
Since ALT-N 60 we have responded to:

  • the funding councils’ consultation on the post-2008 Research Assessment Exercise;
  • the DIUS consultation on the merger of the Quality Improvement Agency and the Centre for Excellence in Leadership (two FE sector bodies with whom we work closely);
  • Becta's Harnessing Technology for FE, Skills, and Regeneration progress report;
  • the UK Intellectual Property Office’s “Gowers” consultation on changes to copyright restrictions.

At the time of writing we are finalising our responses to the Higher Education Academy’s consultation on its Draft 2008-13 Strategic Plan. In the coming weeks we will be responding to the major DIUS consultation on informal adult learning, and HEFCE’s consultation on its e-Learning Strategy (see below).

Our consultation responses are normally published at:

Process for reviewing the HEFCE e-Learning Strategy
HEFCE has commissioned Glenaffric Ltd to write an evaluation report on the existing HEFCE 2005/2012 e-Learning Strategy. ALT has contributed to Glennafric's evaluation, a draft of which should have been submitted to HEFCE by Glennafric by the end of March. Following this HEFCE, working with the HE Academy and JISC, will reposition the existing strategy taking into account changes to policy, advances in technology and the recommendations in the evaluation. HEFCE intends then to seek feedback on this revised strategy in April, with final publication set for May/June. The strategy will be broadly aligned with other national e-learning strategies including those of HEFCW (publishing in April), SFC, and Becta, with the latter intending to publish a draft of Phase II of the Government’s Harnessing Technology strategy (for England) in May for consultation over the summer. 

Getting directly involved in ALT
During April, we issued a call for nominations for elections for Trustees of ALT, and as Vice Chair of the Association (open only to those who were individual members of ALT on 1 September 2007).

Thanks to a generous grant from JISC, we have launched a new time-limited scheme to enable individuals to apply for certified membership of ALT (CMALT) at preferential rates. The best way to keep informed about this JISC supported CMALT scheme – the aim of which is to build up a critical mass of CMALT holders – is to join the low volume JISCmail list at 

2008 Learning Technologist of the Year Award
Generously sponsored by the Tribal Group, the award's overall purpose is to celebrate and reward excellent practice and outstanding achievement in the learning technology field. First, second and third prizes of £1000, £600 and £300 will be awarded in each of two categories: individual, and team. The award will be judged by a panel chaired by Professor Stephen Heppell, and will be presented in Leeds at the ALT conference on the evening of 10 September 2008, by David Cavallo, Chief Learning Architect of One Laptop Per Child, and Head of the Future of Learning Research Group at MIT Media Lab. The award is open to all individual members of ALT, and to individuals and teams based in ALT member organisations worldwide. The closing date for completed applications is 8 May 2008, and the full rubric for applicants is at   

Seb Schmoller
11 April 2008

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