CMALT Portfolio – updated 2016

N.B. Original portfolio is at:



1       Summary of recent work/practice

1.1         Contextual statement

2       Overview of CPD activities

2.1         Key activities undertaken since last portfolio

2.2         Three CPD activities described and reflected upon in more detail

2.2.1          The Open Course in Technology Enhanced Learning  (#ocTEL) MOOC

2.2.2          View from the Air

2.2.3          Esafety alarm

3       Updated future plans

4       Updated confirmation and date




1    Summary of recent work/practice

1.1       Contextual statement


My role (ILT Coordinator) has undergone several changes since CMALT accreditation, in 2011. Whilst trialling and researching innovative technologies remains important, the general development in society’s use of technologies has seen a reduced need for training. Similarly, the notion of ILT has changed over time and is no longer perceived as a separate entity.


This is evidence of the successful embedding of technology within teaching and learning. As a result of these societal shifts, my job role increasingly became that of managing IT systems and much of this responsibility has now been ceded to the IT Systems Department. The impact of this has been to simplify procedures for both staff and students in seeking help as now everything goes through one rather than two departments.


Nonetheless, sharing ways in which emergent technologies might be used to support teaching and learning remains important. One example of this commitment to keeping up to date with technologies, exploring and understanding the interplay between technology and learning, was trialling an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) – drone – with young adults with complex physical disabilities, acquired brain injuries and associated sensory, learning, medical, emotional and behavioural difficulties. We wanted to understand what difficulties exist in using a UAV within a learning environment and also to discover ways in which such use might benefit learners.


We had been unaware of the complexities involved in this undertaking but have been able to share our learning journey with others considering this activity – see publication: The View from the Air  (Association for Learning Technology Newsletter 22-05-15:


Engagement with the CMALT community resulted in my engagement with The Open Course in Technology Enhanced Learning  (#ocTEL) MOOC, where there was an emphasis on learning from colleagues from different backgrounds.


This gave me an authentic reason to immerse myself in a MOOC so that I might better understand it. It also initiated using a Blog. A direct result of undertaking this course was implementing the use of ebadges in the College’s Moodle, facilitating recognition of non-accredited courses.


The ongoing nature of my professional involvement with technology, and my commitment to communicate and disseminate effective practice, can be seen through the following publications:


Writing for publication provided a structured framework and planned timeline to ensure that findings were disseminated in a timely manner to an appropriate audience.


In my initial portfolio I wrote that enhancing my skills in applying learned theory within contextualised practice would be of particular significance to my long-term career goal of developing a college research division.


In July of this year that goal was realised and, as a Research Coordinator, I wish to update my CMALT portfolio because it has impacted positively on developing my expertise in using Information and Learning Technologies, and also because the accreditation is highly regarded.


2    Overview of CPD activities

2.1       Key activities undertaken since last portfolio:


2.2       Three CPD activities described and reflected upon in more detail.

2.2.1  The Open Course in Technology Enhanced Learning  (#ocTEL) MOOC

What I did

I took part in this 6-week online learning program which covered: concepts & strategies for learning technology; approaches to learning; considering different e-learning examples; supporting learners through assessment and feedback using TEL; leadership, management & keeping on track; How to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of particular TEL approaches. Reflecting on the weekly activities was a central focus of this course. Descriptions of each section of the course, together with descriptions of what I actually did, as well as my reflections on the activities, can be seen here:


It is easier to take a surface approach to learning in an online environment where the immediacy and importance of the learning is far too easily pushed back behind other seemingly more imperative deadlines.  However, as a course attendee, the use of electronic badges acted as a driver.  They were useful in looking at what was required, and then ensuring that it had been achieved.

What I learned by doing the above

Through discussion and screen sharing with Martin Hawksey I gained some ‘inside view’ of the practical implementation of electronic badges and the ways in which they are, or are not, compatible with different platforms.  As a result of this discussion, I elected to implement badges through Moodle’s own system, rather than use an external one.  The impact of this was to implement ebadges in my own college.

What I would do differently if I were to do similar work in the future

Were I to repeat this activity, I would take a greater part in the forum activity.


2.2.2 View from the Air

What I did

I investigated a range of drones and then recommended one for the College to purchase.  Details on this venture were presented at the JISC Conference, 2015, and are published through Alt – see:


What I actually did is detailed in my blog ( together with my reflections on the task. This initial investigation has since led to the development of a dedicated grid set which runs both on windows based PCs and communication aids.

What I learned by doing the above

I learned that it is essential to know how to stop the magic flying carpet before you climb aboard!  Having forgotten to set the landing point as ground level, I eventually remembered the ‘S1’ switch, which took the drone out of automatic flight and back into manual control, but I should have been secure in this knowledge before flying the drone.

What I would do differently if I were to do similar work in the future

I would ensure that all legislative aspects were covered at the outset, for example familiarity with CAA rules, setting up risk assessment forms and procedures, and creating a training plan for staff who might use the drone.


2.2.3      Esafety alarm

What I did

I was responsible for writing the abstract for conference, and also for investigating the legalities surrounding the storage of material. This activity was presented at the 2014 Jisc enable conference – see here: part of a focus on eresponsibility, Henshaws College (HC, in discussion with the Jisc RSC, (Yorkshire Humber developed a robust system to navigate users away from ‘upsetting’ content. The National Star College (NSC, who face similar difficulties regarding the eSafeguarding of students, were keen to adopt and adapt this prototype system developed by HC. The developed application can both store and email ‘alarmed’ content but, despite its intention to safeguard learners, may contravene legislation regarding the storage of illegal material (The Protection of Children Act 1978; The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008).


When NSC first shared this product at a Jisc RSC Southwest ( Forum in November 2013, addressees suggested that storing and emailing content risked contravening legislation pertaining to the storage of illegal material.  Whilst NSC contacted the Jisc Legal Team for clarification, this is a complex matter and investigations are ongoing, with a resultant delay in implementing the application at NSC. This is to the detriment of students for whom this kind of protection is essential.

What I learned by doing the above

I learned there are two current difficulties: (i) the still embryonic nature of the law within cyberspace and (ii) the vulnerability of educators, without a background in law, when trying to provide solutions for emergent problems faced by vulnerable learners.

What I would do differently if I were to do similar work in the future

As I was not involved at the start of the application development, I could not effect any changes in this instance.  However, going forward, the emphasis should be on resolving the legal difficulties.


3    Updated future plans

The College has recently undergone a restructuring whereby ILT and IT Systems have merged into one department. Over the coming year I will be providing support on an ad hoc basis to ensure IT staff understand the ILT requirements and have an appropriate skillset to manage this area going forward. I will continue to oversee some of the existing ILT platforms, such as Moodle. In my role as Research Coordinator I need to ensure that both my research knowledge and technical knowledge are current. I will continue to seek opportunities for marrying technology with learning and living in both academic and non-academic environments. One project on which I am currently working is the development, and application, of technological assessment frameworks for implementing a Theory of Change. I anticipate that a range of multimedia technology will be used to collect narrative data to inform this project; statistical methods and text mining will be used for categorising and analysing participant’s ‘stories’. Analysis and dissemination will also be reliant upon an array of technologies. Achieving the requisite technological skillset will require continued professional development relating to the growth of new technologies, and knowledge of new products.


4    Updated confirmation and date

I declare that the work in this portfolio was carried out in accordance with the regulations of the Association for Learning Technology. All evidence has been provided honestly. Any views expressed are mine alone and do not represent those of anyone else.



SIGNED:               sig

DATE: 27/09/2016



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