a note from Graduation, 28 November

Our 2014 graduation ceremony was held on 28 November, with graduates and team members celebrating in McEwen Hall in Edinburgh, and virtually in Second Life. It was a wonderful event, with many friends and family members joining in.

Those attending in McEwen Hall got to see the virtual graduation up on the big screen:

Virtual Graduation on the big screen. Photo by Douglas Robertson
Virtual Graduation on the big screen. Photo by Douglas Robertson

And graduates in the Hall and in Second Life heard their names called out by our Head of School (and fellow Digital Education participant!) Rowena Arshad:

(video courtesy of fabulous alumnus and colleague Austin Tate – full blog post)

Some fireworks:

Fireworks over virtual graduation

Here are tweets from some of our newest graduates:


One especially lovely new feature was the dissertation trees, designed by Marshall Dozier. Each of the baubles contains the abstract for one of our 2014 graduate’s dissertations. You can visit yourself any time to enjoy these. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Vue/209/39/28

Dissertation tree, Digital Education 2014

Thanks to everyone who was involved in making the event such a wonderful success. Too many to list! But special thanks to Fiona Hale, Marshall Dozier, Andy Pryde, Stuart Nicol, and the University’s registry for making virtual graduation and live graduation work together so seamlessly.

Above all, thank you to our FANTASTIC 2014 graduates for their many invaluable contributions to the Digital Education programme over the years – don’t be strangers!

Invitation to a Learning Analytics Online Consultation Event

Monday 8 December, 6pm UK time, Collaborate


Wednesday 10 December, 9am UK time, Collaborate

Information Services (IS) here at the University is exploring ways of making available to students, some data about their activity inside the central Virtual Learning Environments Learn and Moodle. IS are especially interested in ensuring that the data presented is useful for students, as feedback on their activity in the context of their peers and the particular course requirements. You can see some more information about these projects at http://edin.ac/11BrGAF

Wilma Alexander (who some of you may know from Course Design) and some of her colleagues and the Digital Education team would like to invite all students on the MSc Digital Education to participate in a user study based on their work so far, through an online discussion session using Collaborate.

Both our VLE systems have to hold some data about activity as part of the system functionality, but in Moodle very little is systematically available to staff, and even less to students. IS have set up some plug-in tools which extract selected activity data, and this user study session (repeated twice, at the times listed above) will be focused around exploring anonymised visualisations from these tools, and discussing some of the following questions:

  • What might these visualisations convey to individuals about their performance and engagement on courses?
  • What impact might having accesss to such visualisations have on student behaviour? Should institutions collect and share this information with students? Should they use it to do other things, such as model student behaviour, or feed into wider activity analysis including e.g. library activity and demographic data?

If you are interested in this topic and are able to participate in one of the online sessions, please email Wilma Alexander from the Technology Enhanced Learning team – wilma.alexander@ed.ac.uk – to sign up.

Virtual Graduation – 28 November 2014

Virtual Graduation is taking place this year on 28 November 2014 at 3pm (UK time), and you are invited! Along with a live-stream of the graduation ceremony at McEwan Hall in Edinburgh into Second Life, our virtual graduates, students, guests and programme team members’ avatars will be projected into the face-to-face ceremony as the virtual graduates’ names are called out in the Hall. This was truly remarkable last year (see the photo below for a glimpse of what it was like from the Hall), and we are anticipating that it will be even better this time!

We would be really grateful if you could put Friday 28 November at 3pm UK time in your diaries, and come along to the Virtual University of Edinburgh campus graduation space: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Vue/209/39/28 to support the programme and be part of this wonderful celebration. All are welcome – current and prospective students, alumni, and friends of the programme.

MSc Digital Education Virtual Graduation streamed live into McEwan Hall, November 2013. Photograph by Douglas Robertson.

Online seminar, 22 October: Innovations in (Online) Reflexive Practice: Linking Theory with Technique within the Virtual Learning Environment

Date and Time: Wednesday, 22 October 2014. 12.20 for 12.30 start
Duration: 1 hour (1.30 end)

Jo Alexjuk, Lecturer in Dementia, School of Health in Social Science, University of Edinburgh, will discuss her Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme (PTAS) research.

For educationalists, reflexive practice encompasses a series of techniques that enable the practitioner to critically reflect upon their role within the learning process.  Whilst established techniques exist for facilitating reflexive practice within campus-based teaching, the rapid advance of e-learning technologies presents new challenges, as well as opportunities, for educationalists when reflecting on their role within the Virtual Learning Environment.

Drawing on key principles within Threshold Concept Theory as well as analytical techniques adapted from Goodall’s Verbal Exchange framework, this session highlights how readily available data sources, such as online discussion boards and recorded webinars, can help facilitate reflexive practice, identifying the quality of online interactions and their role in shaping students’ learning.

This session will take place via Collaborate, the University virtual classroom system (www.ed.ac.uk/is/collaborate). MSc Digital Education students are welcome to attend – if you would like to join in, please email louise.connelly@ed.ac.uk to book.

Welcome to a new academic year

…and our orientation week for the autumn 2014 semester of the MSc in Digital Education, which began on Monday 8 September. A special welcome to those who have just joined the programme! We hope you’re settling in and enjoying getting to know your fellow participants and tutors.

Those of you enrolled for courses this semester should now have heard from your tutors with information about getting started. You can find links to course sites, handbooks, and other information in the lefthand sidebar of this site. If you have any questions as you get started, please don’t hesitate to ask your course organiser, personal tutor, the programme secretary (angela.hunter@ed.ac.uk), or programme director (jen.ross@ed.ac.uk).

We’ve been asked to let you know about a forthcoming focus group event for online distance learners in the School of Education – see further information below.

All the best, have a great semester.

from the Internet Archive Book Images collection https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/14781980111
from the Internet Archive Book Images collection https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/14781980111

For all PGT – Online Distance Learners – School of Education

Tell us what you really think.

  • The School of Education wants to improve the way it listens and responds to students’ suggestions and concerns
  • Come and have your say in a small and confidential group discussion (approx. 1 hour)
  • Use your influence to make things better

If you would like more information please contact: alistair.lauder@ed.ac.uk . To register for this group discussion (places are limited): http://edin.ac/1wfY19v