Specialist Options

Specialist Option(s)

As well as the core areas, candidates are required to demonstrate evidence of independent practice in one or more specialist options. This reflects the fact that, although there are common areas ofwork for learning technologists, practice is extremely diverse and everyone specialises in something different.
Your specialist topic should reflect an area where you have particular expertise. This may be unique to you or common across your team, but goes beyond what would be expected of any learning technologist. Below is an indicative list of possible specialist options. You are free to choose from it, or to select a different area that reflects your expertise.

  1. producing learning materials/content/courseware;
  2. project management, including resource management, in learning technology;
  3. training, mentoring and developing others;
  4. evaluation;
  5. research;
  6. management/administration of a sustainable e-learning process;
  7. supporting and tutoring learners;
  8. designing tools and systems;
  9. institutional development/strategic work;
  10. knowledge and application of emerging standards for learning technology;
  11. assistive technologies;
  12. VLE administration and maintenance;
  13. interface design;
  14. distance learning/blended learning;
  15. managing and sourcing content;
  16. copyright;
  17. learner support;

Reflection & Evidence

The speciality I am choosing to focus on within the remit of CMALT and both my roles in academic development in Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Glasgow is student support. I believe the particular speciality is that I have been transitioning creative learning and teaching strategies into higher education, trying to integrate learning technologies with these. Such as promoting our work to prospective students, and communicating a cohesive institutional approach to learner support.   My experience so far has been that the engagement with social media, remained fairly low, and there seemed to be a lack of confidence or understanding of certain platforms such as Twitter. However, engagement with social media or Virtual Learning Environments, that function more as repository as opposed to online discussion, have been very successful. It seems that if the remit is not communication, communication happens naturally. Sometimes my students permit me to use pictures I took during sessions, or even send me pictures I can use for my professional development blog. These both posts highlight my use of creative learning strategies, and their combination with learning technology. The students play-dough projects I uploaded into Moodle, with the reminder of the conversations and key points we had, triggered by the activities. During the museum’s visit I encouraged the students to tweet their pictures, and notes. However, the students preferred  to write the notes on the handouts I had provided but they send me some pictures taken during the session and gave me permission to use those in my blog. http://www.drnsheridan.com/learning-teaching/radiography-gallery-of-modern-art-international-students/ http://www.drnsheridan.com/learning-teaching/playdough-is-not-just-for-kindergarten/  Unfortunately, I cannot access the usage data of the online platform I co-developed, which supports postgraduate taught students in their research process, due to not working in the institution anymore. Therefore, it is difficult to understand how successful its implementation has been. The case also raises issues of IP and problems of continuation of projects, when academics are perpetually on the move between different institutions. I am going to focus more on developing the platforms I know from usage data and student feedback, as the learning spaces, the students access more readily. Further, I aim to gaining a more in depth understanding of how students perceive the merger of physical learning spaces with virtual learning spaces, and where issues of engagement come from.

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