Highlighting Attitudes: Handling resistance to change

I’ve been thinking about issues of change management in HE-TEL since starting the Lego Serious Play in Higher Education project. The following objections are some I’m sure we’ve all experienced:

“The Open University researched staff attitudes to adopting new tools to support curriculum design and identified and analysed five common objections that arise equally often when changing assessment practice:

  1. “I haven’t enough time.”
    There may be a number of reasons that staff members perceive they lack time. The focus on the external factor “time” deflects attention from the individual’s skill set and their own responsibility for appraising current activities to decide what could be done differently.
  2. “It doesn’t help me”
    It is quite hard to argue against an individual who believes a change is of little personal value. However, such arguments are often ill thought through or focus on relatively superficial issues. In contrast, it is possible to demonstrate the value of changing assessment practice and the benefit to students through the extended and applied use of a tool or approach.
  3. “Prove to me this works.” or “Where is the evidence?”
    Ostensibly these are fair and reasonable requests but the link between demonstrable evidence of impact and convincing someone to use a tool or approach is not straightforward. Some academics are happy to pilot a new teaching idea with limited evidence beyond a “hunch” whereas others continue to argue against practices (especially with regard to assessment and feedback) that are recognised sector-wide as good practice. This issue may be compounded by the fear that a new approach will reveal deficiencies in existing practice or result in loss of autonomy.
  4. ‘I don’t really need to use it.’
    Demonstrating need can often be difficult due to the fact that many current measures of quality have emerged to measure current practices not new ones. Our detailed guide to managing course information has some interesting examples of where analysing data about the curriculum and about assessment practice has led to large-scale change.
  5. “Not another new initiative!”
    The broader organisational and further and higher education context is important. Many change projects describe staff within their organisation as suffering from ‘initiative fatigue’. The technology you are trying to implement may be just one of many changes taking place internally and externally.”

From JISC’s Changing assessment and feedback practice: How to approach large-scale change in assessment and feedback practice with the help of technology.


FLANs and MOOC Research

I’ve been mulling over the challenge of evaluation in regards to MOOCs since the end of our first delivery. Questions  swirl around how best to make sense of the learner and educator’s experiences and feedback and how this should and could feed-forward.

The latest FFLANutureLearn Academic Network (FLAN) meeting at the Open University focused on MOOC research.

I especially enjoyed the presentation from Vitomir Kovanovic from the University of Edinburgh) on ‘Inquiry-based learning & MOOCs: Challenges and opportunities’ – got me thinking, especially around how the COI model could be utilised to explore MOOCs further.

Online ≠ Free: Locating Reusable Content for Learning and Teaching

Remember that all content has a copyright owner – just because something is accessible or online doesn’t mean that you can use it without permission. Because of the difficulties associated with traditional copyright, more and more material is being created and made available under specific licenses that allow you to use or adapt (for example Creative Commons). free for educational purposes or already available in the public domain. Always check the license and when in doubt ask for permission and where required provide a reference / provide attribution and a link to the owner.

Here are a few suggestions for locating reusable materials:



Open Courseware / Learning Materials

MOOC Reports: Filling the Gaps & Reporting on Lessons Learnt So Far

(1) MOOCs @ Edinburgh 2013 – Report #1   http://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/bitstream/1842/6683/1/Edinburgh%20MOOCs%20Report%202013%20%231.pdf


  • 6 MOOCs created (Philosophy, Elearning, AI, Astrobiology, Equine nutrition, Critical Thinking)
  • Delivered on Coursera platform
  • 10 months from first talking to Coursera to distributing Statements of Achievements to students (34,850 in total)
  • MOOC length was 5-7 weeks
  • Initial enrolment was 309,000 (all numbers include the 6 MOOCs)
  • Each MOOC had a course structure that suited the subject
  • 217,512 unique email accounts  one week before start
  • Students came from 203 countries
  • Common study time spent by students was 2-4hrs a week

(2) Bioelectricity: A Quantitative Approach Duke University’s First MOOC

‘Changing the Learning Landscape – Practical uses of social media in social work and social policy teaching and research’

On Friday 19th April, Tarsem Singh Cooner and Chris Allen – facilitated an interesting Higher Education Academy (HEA) workshop exploring the role social media can play in enhancing the student and tutor experiences.

Comprising two workshops – the first on research and dissemination, the second on teaching and learning – participants engaged in a series of practical hands-on activities and discussions as a means of introducing them to a range of new and innovative social media approaches and methods. In doing so participants explored the use of Storify in their research and dissemination as also closed Facebook groups for teaching and learning.

#CLL1213 twitter stream and Event Storify

It was really useful to explore Storify and Closed Facebook Groups in the context of Learning and Teaching. The ability to work in small groups and discuss practical ideas for their integration into the learning landscape was key.

Application ideas include:

Closed Face Book Groups

  • students studying professional practice based courses (eg. Social Work, Initial teacher training, advanced teacher training including leadership, disability and inclusion)
  • part of the employability agenda – exploring the impact of personal social media use in relation to the professional world


  • Curating and reflecting on a course, workshop, lecture, seminar
  • Creating case studies
  • Collate, curate, and critique ‘actual source’ content around a specific incident eg. EU referendum, Ukraine Crisis (formative or summative assessment)
  • Explore the impact of Social Media on a profession or role
  • Enhance an essay (eg provide rich media links to the events behind a story, include contrasting views by experts)

The best essays made the most of the platform and the freedom to include multimedia examples. These students also altered their style and the way they wrote into the examples to make their essays fit the medium. Further, by using a mixture of books, journal articles and discussions on social media, these students were able to explore the question far more deeply than most of those who stuck to the more traditional format. Initial feedback from students suggests they enjoyed the opportunity to explore social media in a way other that for social purposes. Most also realize the need to be confident using social media for their future role as professional communicators. In conclusion we believe the use of Storify in this essay was a success. The question was particularly suited to the use of social media tools. (Lecturer blog post, 2012)

Cochrane, T., Antonczak, L., Gordon, A., Sissons, H. & Withell, A. (2012). Heutagogy and mobile social media: post Web 2.0 pedagogy. In M. Brown et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of ASCILITE – Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education Annual Conference 2012. Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education