Kris has already blogged comprehensively on yesterday’s excellent event so I’m going to limit my comments to a few things that struck a chord during the day. I say excellent, there were of course a few duff talks but what I really liked was the varied backgrounds & viewpoints of the speakers – see the programme.

Towards the end of his talk Ronald Barnett stressed the need for more evaluation and highlighted the need for cross discipline research as well as the importance for some ‘vertical talk’ to ensure pro-VCs etc are engaged [or least aware!]. It was agreed during the follow-up questions that we should dive in, use this stuff but that critical evaluation must follow.

Niall Sclater made the point that the majority of students demand and need simplicity, as do staff I would say. For me, one of the great things about many of the emerging internet services are their easy-to-use interfaces. The ease-of-use of our new Moodle VLE has certainly been very popular with LSE staff.

In between sessions I had a quick chat with Melissa Highton from the University of Leeds, who I saw talk at a blogging event late last year. Melissa has been involved in establishing the excellent LeedsFeeds, blogs for Leeds’ staff – see my earlier conference post. I asked her how many staff bloggers Leeds had and tongue-in-cheek she suggested that that was a very Web1.0 question and the numbers didn’t matter. The important thing was that Leeds staff have the possibility to participate & blog under the Leeds banner if they wish. (She did also point out that with elgg there is the possibility to blog privately or to “friends” so there is stuff not publicly available). Back at home, LSE doesn’t have an institutional blogging system but there are a handful of bloggers.

There was an interesting quote from a student video in the talk by Amanda Jefferies from Hertfordshire, about how he used his computer all day, except when attending lectures (and to eat!). To be honest I’m not sure what the situation is at the LSE but I recently had a conversation with a colleague at an American university where allowing laptops in lecture theatres was being hotly debated! Is it just me or is this ridiculous? Of course the above student may have been choosing not to take his laptop into class but it seems unlikely.

Amanda’s talk and another referred to the JISC learner experience studies, for example see In their Own Words (PDF). Earlier this week we ran a “web2.0” workshop and a number of participants fed back that they’d like more data on student usage. Which kind of leads nicely back to the opening comments on research & evaluation!