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Mailing Number 4 - 18 October 2002

Feedback on these mailings, concerning content, design, material I ought to feature in the future, is always welcome. If you want to send me some, please email me. Remember that my subscribers are a varied group, so some of what follows will for certain be irrelevant to you!

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GCSE English Online. On 14/10/2002, the Sheffield College's Online GCSE course team won the 2002 NILTA Innovation Award, sponsored by learndirect, "for a major contribution to the development of innovative courseware to support, enrich and facilitate learning". The course remains shortlisted for a further significant UK learning teachnology award - result due early November. There is a detailed case study about the course, by Julie Hooper, on the FERL website.

Plagiarism Advisory Service. The national Plagiarism Advisory Service, funded by the JISC, commenced in September 2002. The service is being developed and run by the Information Management Research Institute (IMRI) at Northumbria University, and can be accessed at The service hosts a link to the electronic plagiarism detection service supplied by iParadigms, which is also funded by the JISC and available to all JISC sites. The service will:

  • provide generic guidance and advice to institutions, academics and students relating to the prevention and detection of plagiarism;
  • promote the adoption of a holistic approach to plagiarism prevention encompassing institutional policy and procedures, academic practice and student skills.

Resources [back to top]

Formative assessment. There is a really excellent paper summarising the research evidence relating to the crucial importance of formative assessment in learning. I think this work is very relevant to elearning, to the extent that formative assessment of the kind which helps learners make progress is very difficult (impossible?) to provide other than by the intervention of tutors or peers.

e-Learning Market Insight Report. In June I went to the Association for Learning Technology's "Policy Board" meeting. The most interesting of the keynote presentations, a commercially focused assessment of the way the elearning market is developing (UK emphasis) is now accessible as a "white paper" from the FD Learning website. Also worth reading is "Distance Learning Yet to Hit Home", from Wired, highlighted by Dick Moore.

Usability and Accessibility of PDAs in Education. TechDis has just published a report which examines the accessibility and usability of Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) within an educational setting. Topics covered include the usability of a PDA as Assistive Technology as well as the accessibility of the PDA to those with a functional disability (e.g. hearing impairment):

The Disability Discrimination Act Part 4. LSC has published a new guide for Library, Learning Resource Centre and Information Technology staff in Further Education colleges and Local Education Authority adult education provision.

Oddments [back to top]

Workhouses. Mike Morris circulated details of Peter Hegginbottom's amazingly comprehensive, erudite, and regularly updated site about Workhouses - Really worth a thorough examination. Includes audio clips of recollections, the full text of the 1601 and 1834 Poor Laws, a guide to Workhouse Literature, clickable maps, and hundreds of photographs of workhouse buildings from all over Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.

Credit where credit is due. In the last issue I made some slightly snide comments about a video presentation from the Masie Centre "Putting the Management into E-Learning", saying how comparatively useless "talking head" video is as compared with simple audio. You will find Elliott Maisie's very sensible reflections on the use of video, the need to provide audio-only options, and the need to provide a text transcript of audio and video clips here.

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Last updated - 22/10/2002; © Seb Schmoller

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