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So far Sarah Ney has created 34 entries.

LTI in the spotlight

Last week staff from LTI  attended the Association for Learning Technology’s annual conference (ALT-C 2016). It was an eventful three days at the University of Warwick for the team, with five of us presenting a total of 4 papers and one keynote. And oh, we also won the Learning Technologist of the Year Awards!

Learning experiences and virtual learning environments: It’s all about design!

A design for learning; Learning Experiences for the Post-Digital World – Peter Bryant

In the first part of his presentation, Peter described his new approach to teaching and learning whereby seven  learning experiences (found, making, identity, play, discontinuity, authenticity and community) can “shape, influence and enhance the opportunities for students to learn, to share learning and to teach others in a post-digital world”. Participants then discussed how existing learning technology tools could be used to create such learning experiences.

You can find a summary, reflections and slides from Peter’s presentation on his blog

Innovating from the Outside In: a Creative Hub to Change eLearning Practice- Sonja Grussendorf

Sonja introduced the audience to LTI’s “creative hub”, a project bringing together film makers, artists and designers, and how it  is being used  to design a VLE that can “accentuate communication between participants; support independent learning, collaboration and student creativity; facilitate peer learning and peer assessment and deliver ongoing, two-way feedback opportunities.”

Physical teaching and learning spaces

Learning Spaces: Roles and Responsibilities of the Learning Technologist – Kris Roger and Sarah Ney

While Sonja was presenting on virtual spaces, Kris and myself discussed physical teaching and learning spaces. More specifically, we reflected on a recent project to develop new active learning spaces at the LSE that made us wonder about what our roles and responsibilities as learning technologists were in the design of learning spaces.

Copyright and eLearning: who else but Jane Secker?

Jane presented a paper AND a keynote at ALT-C this year!

CopyrightBuddiesLecture Capture: Risky Business or Evolving Open Practice? co-presented with Chris Morrisson, Copyright Licensing and Compliance Officer at the University of Kent.

Jane and Chris presented the findings from a recent survey on institutional attitudes towards intellectual property issues in relation to lecture capture and contents used in lectures. They also reflected on the relation between good policy and good practice and how to support staff in implementing and encouraging it.

Keynote: Copyright and eLearning: Understanding our Privileges and Freedoms

Jane presented an entertaining, fun, moving and very interesting keynote on how a better understanding of  copyright can empower copyright users and educators.

You can view Jane’s full keynote on youtube:

Last But Not Least: We won!

LTI was presented with the prestigious Team Learning Technologist of the Year Award last Wednesday for their work around Students as Producers. The award recognises “outstanding achievements in the learning technology field and the promotion of intelligent use of Learning Technology on a national scale”.

“LSE are proud to be selected as the Learning Technology team of the year, especially in its 10th year.  This recognition by our peers is a celebration of the innovative work being done by academic and LTI staff to better the student experience and provide more opportunities for engaging, positive and transformational education with technology.” Peter Bryant, Head of LTI

Here are a few pictures from the evening:



What is a Learning Technologist and How to Make it Known to Your Institution?

On Tuesday my colleague Kris and I ran a workshop at the University of Greenwich’s APT Conference. The theme of this year being “gaps”, we thought it would be interesting to work around the gaps in the perception of what a Learning Technologist is and does. These gaps can be found in the profession itself and amongst the various stakeholders in teaching and learning, be they teaching staff or teaching and learning support professionals. This provided the basis for another discussion between the participants on implementing an “action plan” to share their understanding of the job within their institution.

What is a Learning Technologist?

In the first part of the workshop, a mix of learning technologists, teaching staff, educational developers and other teaching and learning support professionals were asked to write their own definition on a post-it note, the colour of which depended on their job. They then discussed and compared them. It was interesting to note that participants, of all roles, mentioned the technical but also the pedagogical aspects of the job, highlighting the relation between teaching and technology. A few examples:

“Explores pedagogical aspects of technology to aid and support teaching, learning and assessment” – Learning Technologist

“Those who use technology to enhance the learning experience” – Teaching staff

“To explore and share practice, research strategy, etc. for how technology can motivate, support and enhance learning” – Other teaching and learning support staff

However, it was also pointed out that there was “a perceived lack of visibility from learning technologists in comparison to other support staff”. When asking a teacher about it, he agreed that he did not know much about the learning technology provision in his institution.

In his chapter from David Hopkins’ “The Really Useful EdTech Book”, Wayne Barry* concludes that the challenge for learning technologists is “how we engage with ourselves, our institutions and the wider public and make them aware as to who we are what we are and what we do“. How do we do that?


APT_Screenshot2 APT_Screenshot3 APT_Screenshot1 APT_Screenshot4

Spreading the message across the institution

The role and situation of learning technologists varies greatly from one place to another so it is crucial to a) define what a learning technologist is b) ensure that it is known across the institution. The second part of the workshop focused on this issue.

Remaining in mixed profession groups, participants reflected on and discussed ways to get the message across to the right people. They considered the “who”, “what”, “how”, “when” and “where”, they produced a mindmap summarising key action points. Here are the highlights:

  1. From the top down:
  • voice at a departmental and more senior level
  • institutional strategy

2. At individual/team level: being proactive instead of reactive

  • physical presence (events, training)
  • comms plan in place


APT - Recap

Click on the picture for the outcomes of the two activities

The focus was different for each group with this activity, which may be explained by the various roles and different levels represented in the room, as well as the team and institution they come from. The aim of the activity was not to provide a universal solution on how to address the visibility issue -as it was not to provide a universal definition of the learning technologist. Rather, it was an opportunity for any staff involved in teaching and learning to discuss the many options to address it.

We hope that it proved useful to the participants and provided – and provides for anyone reading this- an option as to how to engage the various stakeholders in a discussion to share their understanding of what being a learning technologist means to them, find a common ground and ensure that it is made explicit at the institutional level. It certainly did make us reflect on all of this!

At the LSE

At LTI, we also think that engaging the stakeholders as much as possible in what we do is key for them to understand who we are and how we can help.

Our team works mainly with academics and teaching staff. In addition to answering their queries and providing the relevant support, we also encourage them to pilot, test and implement projects aimed at exploring the use of technology in teaching and learning through a grant scheme.

We also engage with students through the SADL (Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy) programme, a staff-student partnership to improve their digital literacy skills, in collaboration with the Library and Teaching and Learning Centre.

Another route is dissemination of successful technology-enhanced projects and recognition of the work of TEL champions behind it. Our series of case studies, LSE Innovators, highlights the people who are leading and living innovative practice in their teaching.

What now?

We would love to hear from anyone involved in teaching and learning about their own definitions and suggestions/experience on sharing it within their institution. Please leave us a comment at the bottom of this page or use #LTRoles on Twitter.

For those interested in knowing more about the profession, we recommend to read David Hopkins’ “The Really Useful EdTechBook” (free PDF download) as well as his blog posts entitled “What is a Learning Technologist?”.

For an alternative to the “top down” and “bottom up” approaches, have a look at Peter Bryant’s post on the “Middle Out” approach (no, we are not biased!).

Slides from our workshop

*Barry, W. (2015). “‘…and what do you do?’: Can we explain the unexplainable?”. In: Hopkins, D. (Ed.). The Really Useful #EdTechBook. London, England: CreateSpace, pp. 23-34


July 11th, 2016|Conferences, Ed-Tech news and issues, Teaching & Learning|Comments Off on What is a Learning Technologist and How to Make it Known to Your Institution?|

Tablets in Teaching and Learning: Marking and Feedback

In 2014, teachers from LSE’s Language Centre started exploring the use of technology to mark and provide feedback on students’ written work. After trying out three tools (Moodle, iPads and annotation apps, Snagit) with her colleague Catherine (see blog post), Lourdes Hernandez-Martin decided to focus on the use of iPads and worked on the project with Mercedes Coca.

Embedding Student-Produced Videos in Courses: Why and How?

This academic year, LTI funded two projects to integrate student-produced videos in courses through their LTI Grant scheme. Outcomes and findings from their evaluation provide some interesting reflections on  how they can be used to bring added value to the learning – and teaching!- experience.

The Projects

Using Film in Urban Planning Analysis – Nancy Holman, Geography and Environment

The PlanneramanAs part of the Urban Policy and Planning course, students produce written work alongside a group presentation and a short interpretive film of neighbourhood fieldwork. Film-making started two years ago with students using their own devices. Last year they were helped by an LSE alumnus who is now a filmmaker to better understand the process of storytelling and how to use the equipment. This year, Nancy applied for DSLR kits to improve the quality of the work produced. An evening screening of the 8 short films produced by the project groups was also organised at the LSE, at the end of which a panel of ethnographers and filmmakers judged the films and awarded three prizes: Best Overall Film, Best Cinematography and Judges Choice.

Narrating the Death (and Life?) of Multiculturalism – Jennifer Jackson-Preece, European Institute

Jennifer wanted to “enliven the end of term debate on multiculturalism” in her Identity, Community and the ‘Problem’ of Minorities course by replacing group presentations with short films narrating the students’ take on the theme.  Instructor videos were made and presented during seminars and resources on making short documentaries were made available on the course’s Moodle page. Students then worked in groups for three weeks to produce their short films. The videos were screened during the last session of the course and were followed by a debate.


Why videos?

In the Geography project, the combination of written work and film allowed students to think about spaces both on paper and visually, which according to Nancy is ” a core transferable skill our students need to develop”. She also believes that the video exercise had a “knock on benefit” on students’ summative essays, which she observed were clearer and more thoughtful.

This is what she highlighted in the description of the project for students:



In the European Institute project, the resulting videos were used as a starter for a class debate. Videos were favoured in place of the usual presentations as Jennifer wanted students to approach the end of term presentations “from a fresh perspective that facilitates greater creativity and ownership of ideas

In both cases video production have been a good way of engaging student with the course and material and resulted in a final product that can be used as a basis for discussion or examples and inspiration for the future cohorts.

“It would also enable student cohorts on EU 458 to ‘speak’ to each other across time through the creation of a permanent film archive on the EU 458  Moodle page” – Jennifer Jackson-Preece

They are also easy to be shared and presented to the wider institution and community. Students from the Urban Planning group attended the JustSpace conference on opportunity areas where they showed their films.

Students also got to develop useful transferable skills in the process: managing a group project, collecting/gathering/presenting information, video production and editing to name a few.

Embedding video-production into the course

Nancy’s project was seen as a way to “further embed […] practical experiences [walks, fieldtrips] within the programme” while it would “enable students to gain a different/complementary perspective on the concept of narrative” for Jennifer. It was thus important for both to integrate video production as (part of) a final task towards which students worked during the course instead of as a stand alone activity.

JenniferAs highlighted in the description of the project, video production was gradually introduced in the Geography course. Students received the help from a professional filmmaker and were able to familiarise themselves with the equipment during a trip to Manchester in the first part of the year.

In Jennifer’s project, students received training in video-making face to face during seminars and through resources made available on Moodle.

Students were also made aware of the various ethical, safety and copyright considerations when filming, interviewing and using material other than theirs.

<= Resources on video production made available to EU458 students on Moodle


In terms of assessment, even though the video production exercise was formative for both projects, students received feedback on their work. Geography students received feedback on their overall presentation that included comments on the style and overall message of their video. Students from the European Institute course were given a template of the feedback form to be aware of the assessment criteria when producing their videos. They included design (style and organisation, creativity) and message (content, quality, overall impression).

Next year group videos will count as 50% of the EU458 summative assessment and adjustments will be made to the course to support this.

Interested in using student-produced content in your teaching?

Have a look at the past Students as Producers projects in our LTIG Grant Winners section or get in touch with us!

Read about LSE Innovator William Callahan‘s successful implementation of student-produced videos in his IR318 Visual International Politics Course.



Game-based learning: teaching how to conduct a research project using a board game

In January, Dr Kay Inckle was awarded an LTI Grant for her “Game of Research” project. She received funding and help from staff at LTI to design and create a board game to help social science students understand the “essential components for a successful qualitative research project”. Findings from her evaluation of the first stage of this project give us some interesting pointers as to how games can be used to support teaching and learning.

June 14th, 2016|games, innovation, LTI Grant Winners, LTI Grants, Projects, Teaching & Learning, TEL Trends, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Game-based learning: teaching how to conduct a research project using a board game|

New Teaching & Learning Spaces at the LSE: an Evaluation

In the 2015-2016 academic year, staff at LTI undertook an evaluation of the impact of new LSE classrooms on teaching and learning. The findings and lessons learnt can be found in our final report. Here are the highlights.


As part of a “comprehensive review and rethinking of what space means to teaching and learning” at the LSE, new spaces were redeveloped and opened for the 2015-16 academic year. Staff at LTI were involved in the design of 5 different types of space, along with Estates, the Teaching and Learning Centre and AV services. Among them:

  • an overflow dining facility transformed into a medium-sized lecture space
  • three collaborative computer rooms to replace those lost in the demolition of three campus buildings
  • an old parish hall turned into a three-level teaching building with three classrooms designed to accomodate mixed-mode teaching thanks to their cabaret-style layout

Although these classrooms are very different to each other in terms of design, purpose and capacity, they were developed as a result of the common intention to “experiment with modern, pedagogically-sound approaches to learning space design”. LTI’s report investigates the impact that these new spaces have had on teaching and learning.






Click on the pictures for a description of each space and the design intentions


One finding common to all three types of space is that they did have an impact on both teachers and students, mostly through the furniture and its arrangement as well as the atmosphere created.


Findings for the three types of rooms highlight that the layout played an important part in rethinking the teacher/students and student/student dynamic.

The layout for the Parish Hall rooms was found to “enable seamless transition from teacher-led to student-centred learning”, allow teachers to move around the room, and encourage student discussion thanks to the informal feel, praised by a vast majority of respondents. Many positive comments were made by teachers on the rooms’ arrangement:

“The fact that the tables are laid out like that does make you think: well, how should I use them?”

“It was a really good class set up for group discussion”

“Frontal lecture arrangements (row layout) where everyone watches the teacher are a lot more impersonal. It doesn’t matter where you sit because there is no emphasis on social interaction. PAR by contrast, with those collaborative tables, recognizes every person as part of the arrangement.”

Teacher feedback for the collaborative computer rooms also indicates that the layout “would send a clear message to students, namely that the course is likely to involve collaboration“. Unfortunately, factors such as a lack of space and screens hindering conversations across table somewhat reduced the impact.

“So in terms of their [students] collaboration, I think that as soon as they enter the TW2 room they know what is expected of them. So intuitively, it is a suggestion to them that this is a joint class work type of exercise.”

Finally, the report suggest that the main intention for the lecture space to “create a layout where teachers feel close to students and vice versa has largely been met”


The choice of furniture type combined with the layout and aesthetic considerations contributed to create a favourable atmosphere for students and teachers to work in.

Both lecture and Parish Hall spaces were identified by a great number of students as being a nice space to study in, with the two main adjectives used in the surveys being “bright” and “comfortable”. They also found the environment for the PC classrooms “visually bright and appealing”.

Some teachers also recognised the importance of the atmosphere set by the space, mostly with the Parish Hall rooms:

“I feel a lot more optimistic in that room, you feel like you are in a professional atmosphere, there a high ceiling, light – it helps my morale.”

“I also like the fact that it’s airy and light that’s important. It’s important in term of how you feel, how the students feel in the classroom.”

“PAR [the Parish Hall rooms] recognizes every person as part of the arrangement which makes it more homely in a way”


More information about the rooms, findings and our analysis can be found in the full report: Teaching spaces design and development at LSE: An evaluation of impact on teaching and learning

LTI is planning to carry out evaluation of two more spaces in the next academic year:

  • 3 collaborative seminar rooms
  • a modern language learning space/open-access PC room

Findings from this overall evaluation will inform the design of new spaces to be developed at the LSE as part of the School’s comprehensive review and rethinking of what space means to teaching and learning.

We would love to hear your feedback, please use the comments below or email LTI to share your thoughts!

June 8th, 2016|Learning Spaces, Projects, Reports & Papers, Teaching & Learning|Comments Off on New Teaching & Learning Spaces at the LSE: an Evaluation|

Creating a Smart Writing Environment with Academic Markdown

In January, Tobias Pester, postgraduate students in the department of International History at the LSE, was awarded an LTI Grant for his project to “develop, document, and teach a Workshop for Sustainable Authorship for students of the LSE that familiarizes and equips them with the writing environment of Academic Markdown”. The workshop will take place on Tuesday, 7th June and a recording will be made available afterwards. Read about his experience of this handy tool.

PESTER-profilepicIn the spring of 2015 I finished my first year of American grad school. Coming from the German university system I knew it was going to be a Protestant re-education camp in terms of work load and ethic. By the end of that spring I had to write three sizeable papers in short succession and ‘time is of the essence’ took on a new meaning. Lucky for me some of my friends had just started using this writing set-up that streamlines all the things that take no brain but lots of time: citations, the bibliography, and worrying about the different format of citations when in footnotes vs. when in the bibliography.

Enter Academic Markdown and Pandoc. So-called markup languages like LaTeX have long been used by authors in the sciences. They’re great to handle formulas, diagrams and other sciences-specific requirements. For humanist writers, however, the upside to learning a markup language had been comparatively small. All we really need are basic formatting options, block quotes, and citations.

That’s where Markdown comes in handy. It’s designed to satisfy those requirements and be easy to pick up at the same time. It only takes five minutes to learn how to mark a header or a footnote as such and the text remains visually intact and perfectly readable in its raw form. And because formatting, citation management, and bibliography are almost entirely automated it affords an utterly distraction-free work flow. I work on crafting my text and crafting my text only. The last line in my manuscript is the header ‘Bibliography’. When I’m done pouring my blood, sweat, and tears onto the screen, I run it through a simple program called Pandoc once and, voilà, I get a ready-made ´pdf´ or ´docx´ with citations and bibliography according to whichever citation style language I specified.


The text in Academic Markdown and after formatting

Using that particular set-up last spring I became a writing machine. And the many hours freed from formatting could go into refining my argument or polishing my prose. I am since doing all my writing this way, from response papers to my dissertation, from personal letters to invoices. American grad school, however, still kicked my ass.

To share the benefits of this work flow I am developing and teaching a class with the generous help of an LSE Learning Technology and Innovation Grant. The workshop will take place on Tuesday, 7th June, 2-5 p.m. in 32L.LG.18 alongside the Teaching and Learning Centre’s Dissertation Week. Spread the word and join us!

Click on the picture for more information and to book

Click on the picture for more information and to book

Hit me up on Twitter at @philomonk. I’d love to hear your thoughts! #SmartWriting16


Announcing the IGNITE! Grant Winners!

Successful projects funded through the IGNITE scheme are now underway. We had over 20 project applications put to the committee and after much deliberation projects were chosen for their innovation, scalability and alignment to the School’s Education Strategy. Here are the winners:

Enhancing Your Moodle 

  • Jennifer Jackson-Preece, European Institute
    • (Re)designing  Moodle courses EU450, EU457 and Eu458 to maximise their pedagogical aims and deliver with a more distinct look and feel with clear links to Mahara for professional skills development.

Online Blended Learning

  • Lourdes Hernandez-Martin, Language Centre
    • A multilingual platform of audio and audio-visual materials to develop students’ interactive aural skills and increase their language exposure.
  • Nancy Holman, Geography and Environment
    • Developing professional skills the use of Participatory Action Research to deliver a practice-based learning project which provides engagement, consultation and Research in Urban Geography and Planning, especially when partnering with organisations such as a local authority.
Innovation, by Boegh on Flickr

Innovation, by Boegh on Flickr (CC)

 Feedback and Assessment with Technology 

  • Edgar Whitley, Management
    • Developing a scalable feedback system that integrates with Moodle and works effectively for the three constituencies affected by feedback: students, faculty and professional service staff.


  • Jose Javier Olivas and Jessica Templeton, LSE100
    • Experiencing the Dynamics and Limitations of Market and Regulation through Gaming by incorporating game design mechanics and techniques aimed at encouraging knowledge, skills development, collaboration and discussions in reference to the academic literature.
  • Andrea Pia, Anthropology
    • The Long Day of Young Peng is a point and click serious game exploring key themes in the study of contemporary China through the eyes of a young Chinese Migrant.

Integrating Digital & Information Literacies Into the Curriculum

Would you like to know more about the concepts of information and digital literacies and how they relate to student learning? Wondering how they can be incorporated into courses and programmes?

May 25th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Integrating Digital & Information Literacies Into the Curriculum|

Learn a New Skill This Summer Term: LTI’s Programme of Workshop is out!

Summer term may be short, yet you’ll get many opportunities to learn new or brush up on old skills!

Make your teaching even more awesome…

… by introducing new technology or making better use of it. Workshops include a general overview of learning technologies in the classroom, a workshop on flipping your lectures and tips on designing effective presentations.

Build on your digital literacy skills

Learn how to develop your web presence, get organised with tools and apps, get into blogging, have fun playing with our copyright game or learn how Twitter can help you with your research (new this term).

Make the most of Moodle 

Regular two-hour sessions for beginners and lunchtime half-hour individual sessions for any teaching or administrative queries are available.

Have a look at the full programme below and book your place via LSE’s training system.



March 22nd, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Learn a New Skill This Summer Term: LTI’s Programme of Workshop is out!|