Posted by & filed under #ASCILITEMLSIG, #CMALTcMOOC, CMALT, SOTEL.

This week’s suggested activities include:

  • An invitation to participate in a survey exploring the Scholarship Of Technology Enhanced Learning (SOTEL).
  • Collaborate with your peers on an assessment design via (for example) Google Docs and get some peer feedback via sharing an assessment design outline as a week 3 Project Bank example.
  • An invitation to participate in the weekly #CMALTcMOOC Webinar  – see the G+ Community for the Webinar link later in the week.

Create and share a new assessment design around student generated content for integration into your teaching practice. Share this assessment project via the Project Bank for peer feedback, and rate another participants assessment project.

This should include evidence of:

a) An understanding of teaching, learning and/or assessment processes

b) An understanding of your target learners

Reflect on this process on your WordPress Blog. For more info on what is recommended for this section of a CMALT portfolio see the notes at:

Posted by & filed under #CMALTcMOOC, education, organisational culture, technology, yOUlearn.

Just finished participating in the weekly #CMALTcMOOC hangout with Thom, Todd and Ian, and decided to put out a ‘quick and dirty’ blogpost about one operational issue that I encountered this week.

Virtual Learning Environment glitch

Our institution uses its own VLE – yOUlearn – which is based on the Liferay platform, and which is continuously being designed and developed in-house. Last weekend, the system was updated and Monday morning a new version was available. Because it was the first Monday of the month, I needed to update the list of available thesis positions for our Master students.


And somehow, during the updating of the page, the named links at the top of the page would disappear, time and time again, whereas they worked fine just 10 minutes before. So I reported my experience – via e-mail – to my colleagues, the learning techs collaborating with the software developers, and suggested that it may be a bug from last weekends’ update. After about an hour of e-mail back-and-forth, we sat together at a PC, and I was able to demonstrate that I wasn’t just ‘imagining things’ or that I ‘must have made a mistake’. It turned out that an HTML-cleanup module was triggered for users with the ‘teacher’ and ‘author’ roles, and this was only supposed to trigger for users with a ‘student’ role, to prevent the addition of scripts and potentially malicious code.

Reflecting on that experience, I had several thoughts:

  • It’s a good thing that the Open Universiteit is a small institution (approx. 600 staff), with close links between staff at all levels. That allowed for a quick resolution of this issue, which would have affected all teachers and tutors. Having worked at a huge institution in Leuven (with 8.000 staff), this experience would have been a bit more daunting, I presume. But then again, even a University the size of the KULeuven would never dream of developing a VLE from scratch 😉
  • Through the years, colleagues have learned that I am pretty good with technology, and that makes the (learning) tech people more willing to take my experience seriously. Personal experience and reputation seem to play a role in this type of encounter. In Dave O. White’s terminology: the colleagues at the OUNL consider me as an experienced ‘digital resident’ as far as our institutional learning technology is concerned, and accordingly seem to take my input more seriously.
  • The culture within the VLE development group is its own sub-culture. Their focus is on the reliability, robustness and scalability of the technology that they are developing, and not so much on the usability or functionality from a user perspective, or on the teaching and learning aspects. In my discussions with the development team, I keep bringing up the importance of having end-users (both students and teachers) closely and continuously involved in the development, but that concept seems to be so difficult – maybe even threatening – that user involvement is still very limited.
  • Referring to Amber Thomas’ ALTC keynote (below), I think it is important to have individuals translate between learners, teachers, learning technologists and ICT-people. I often take the role of the ‘Tech translator’, and very much enjoy it.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

There are a few pieces of literature I read in relation to mountain safety in high altitude.

1. Accessibility of mountaineering in high altitude mountain ranges are limited. Michale Apollo insists that for mountaineering, there are two accessibility factors.

  • Destination accessibility (the transport system and the components of infrastructure)
  • Real access – social, economic, weather and psychophysical environments

2. The value of life: Real risks and safety-related productivity

According to Goucher and Horrace, expeditions from 1987 to 2007, deaths can occur for a variety of reasons – avalanches, falls, high altitudes sickness (heart attack, stroke, cerebral edema and pulmonary edema), weather conditions related to death (hypothermia, blindness and frostbites).

“The 32 Everest expeditions in our data faced three-year average frequencies of 6.56 deaths in about 751 lives at risk for a death rate of 0.87%. The point is that deaths are fairly common, so our fatality rates, based on three-year moving averages, are potentially fairly precise”.

3. Lesson learned from avalanche survival patterns

Haegeli and co-authors point out that asphyxia was the most common cause of death during avalanche burial, especially in wetter and denser snow in CMAJ. They report survival curves from data for 301 complete avalanche burials in Canada from 1980 to 2005 and compare them with the standard survival curve derived from Swiss data for 946 complete burials during the same period. It shows that survival of more than 90% of people in the first 15 to 20 minutes of burial, followed by a steep decline in survival of 35% from 20 to 35 minutes of burial. They insist that prompt extrication with 10 minutes is crucial in avalanche survival.

4. Prediction of acute mountain sickness by monitoring arterial oxygen saturation during ascent

Karinen and co-authors found that the climbers who maintain their oxygen saturation at rest, especially with exercise, most likely do not develop AMS. They suggest that daily evaluation of Spo₂ (arterial oxygen saturation) and during ascent both at rest and during exercise can help to identify a population that does well at altitude. The authors recommend that the climbers take R-Spo2 (arterial oxygen saturation at rest) and Ex-Spo2 (arterial oxygen saturation after exercise) measurements to avoid AMS during the ascent.

5. Mountaineering and high mountain adventure tourism

According to Beedie and Hudson (2003), today, mountaineering in high altitude is no longer restricted to experienced mountaineers.  The boundaries between mountaineering and tourism are increasingly blurred due to the diversification and commercialization of mountaineering.

6. Safer mountain climbing using the climbing heartbeat index

Sakai and Nose use CHI (the climbing heartbeat index) to prevent acute mountain sickness (AMS). They developed a method of planning a climb according to the climber’s heart rate and the climber’s fitness level. They believe CHI value takes a very important part in safe mountaineering.

7. Use of a hypobaric chamber for pre-acclimatization before climbing Mount Everest

Richalet and coauthors recommend the climbers take pre-acclimatization experience before they climb Mt Everest to save 1 to 3 weeks of time in mountain conditions. They found that the pre-acclimatization period showed a 12% increase in hemoglobin concentration and no change in ventilatory response to hypoxia. It shows an efficient ventilatory acclimatization.


Posted by & filed under #ASCILITEMLSIG, CMALT.

This week involves three suggested activities:

  • creating and sharing a Blog post or VODCast discussing the constraints and benefits, technical knowledge, and deployment of learning technologies. Keep it succinct – 500 words blog post or 2-3min VODCast embedded in your blog. You could use: YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Clips (iOS) etc… to create and share the VODCast.
  • Sharing a Digital Literacy mapping exercise. Create your own Visitor/Resident-Social/Professional map (#VandR cc @Daveowhite) of your use of online and social media tools, and share it via the G+ Community, and Twitter with the #cmaltcmooc and #VandR hashtags. You can see some examples from the 2017 participants at            #VandR maps for #CMALTcMOOC        . Reflect on how your map may look different to your students’!
  • Exploring innovative pedagogies through a Google Plus Hangout discussion. See the Tips for Joining YouTube Live Hangouts to join the discussion this week online Friday 8pm NZ time.

“Operational Issues” is one of four required core elements of your CMALT portfolio. Create a Blog post or VODCast (Video PODCast) discussing the constraints and benefits, technical knowledge, and deployment of learning technologies, particularly within your own teaching context. Explore potential creative solutions to any of these constraints. Share your Blog post or VODCast using Twitter with the #cmaltcmooc hashtag, and link to your example reflection by adding the URL and description to the Project Bank for Week2 selecting “Submit Project” from the Project Bank main menu on our WordPress hub. For example: How might a V&R Map give you insights into the issues surrounding the use of social media in education?

From the CMALT Guidelines:

Core area 1: Operational issues

Candidates should demonstrate both their understanding and use of learning technology. “Use” might include the use of technology to enhance learning and teaching, the development, adoption or deployment of technology to support teaching, training or learning.

This should include evidence of three sub areas:

a) An understanding of the constraints and benefits of different technologies

You should show how you have used (or supported others to use) technology appropriately, given the constraints and benefits it provides within your context. This might include how you selected particular technologies to meet the specific needs of users (students or staff).

Evidence in support of such statements might include a brief commentary on the choices behind the development and use of learning technology that influence its fitness for purpose. (This might discuss issues as affordances of the technology, viability, sustainability, scalability, interoperability and value for money.) You may already have something like this in the form of a design outline, proposal, conference presentation or similar. You should include such existing documentation wherever it seems relevant. Alternatively, you might want to take this opportunity to find out more about a technology you have deployed and produce a report on its viability.

b) Technical knowledge and ability in the use of learning technology

You should show that you have used a range of learning technologies. These might include web pages, Virtual Learning Environments, Computer-Aided Assessment, blogs, wikis, mobile technology, e-books, programming languages and so on.

Guidelines for CMALT candidates and assessors

Evidence might include copies of certificates (originals not needed) from relevant training courses, screenshots of your work, a note from academic or support staff who have worked with you or, if appropriate, confirmation that the work is your own from your line manager.

c) Supporting the deployment of learning technologies

Statements about your involvement in supporting the deployment of learning technology might relate to providing technical and/or pedagogic support to teachers or learners, advising on (or re-designing to take account of) technical and usability issues, developing strategies or policies, managing change, providing training or other forms of professional development, securing or deploying dedicated funding and so on, all within the context of the educational use of learning technology.

For evidence, you might include the overview section of a strategy document, meeting minutes, summaries of student feedback, testimonials or witness statements from other colleagues.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

I have been employed by the University of Sunderland since 2012, as a Learning Technology Developer. Within this role I provide technical support for our VLE, e-Portfolio and classroom based technologies such as SMART Boards and voting systems.

I also provide training and pedagogical advise to academic staff around effective use of learning technologies in their teaching, promoting best practice at every opportunity. Training can vary between one-to-one sessions and large teaching teams. These sessions are organised in a variety of ways; upon request, as part of a large scale training programme, drop in sessions and proactively approaching our academics with a roaming support service. Whilst having a sound knowledge of most learning technologies, the key focus in my role within the university is based around the use of classroom and mobile technology. As this is my area of responsibility I maintain a blog, based on our intranet system, that recommends apps and software that can be used in the classroom.

I moved to the University from my post as e-Learning Co-ordinator at New College Durham. This was my first step into the world of Learning Technology. I spent around two and a half years at the college, when I first arrived I under took a large scale project to help train and support academic staff whilst they migrated from Blackboard 7 to Blackboard 9.1. I put together online training sessions as well as face to face sessions. From this point on I continued to support the academic staff to use the VLE and other learning technologies.

Prior to my move into my current profession I was employed by Orange (now EE), the telecommunications company. During my time there I was a customer service representative, starting out helping people with technical issues they had with their handsets. As time progressed I was moved into other areas such as billing, before eventually moving into a new team who were trained to handle all enquiry types. This role helped me develop customer support skills that have helped me when supporting academics who are having issues with some of the technologies our team provide.

Posted by & filed under #unboundeq, personal learning networks.

This week Unbound Equity (#unboundeq) – organised by Maha Bali, Catherine Cronin & Mia Zamora is discussing empathy and bias in the context of the danger of a single story. The TED Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story will give you a good introduction.

With my Indian/Hindu background, multiple stories were the norm. I mean, that’s why we have different gods and the concept of an Ishta Devatha, right? So of course everyone has different perspectives, different experiences, and different lives, and the fun is to hear, see, understand these many perspectives.

But then, things changed when I started to realise that not everyone goes through this. Some people do not see multiple stories, they see single stories. Sometimes through circumstance (they have not met anyone different enough), but sometimes, they seem to prefer the single story…

So this got me thinking: Why are single stories (sometimes) preferred on an individual level? Why do some people seek out multiple stories? And what role can educators play in this? And what is the role of our digital life?

Why are single stories (sometimes) preferred on an individual level?
I think there are many reasons for this. Some tweets in the #unboundeq twitter feed focus on the issue of power. Whoever has power pushes single stories about the people they have power over.
But I also think there are other issues. One is that single stories are easy – and sometimes they offer an easy way out. People don’t want multiple stories because that is messy, complex, unclear, etc. Multiple stories force you to think, force you to understand, force you to allow for shortcomings, force compromise… Multiple stories require you to show empathy.
Another thing is that at an individual’s level, single stories allow you to distract from the real problems, which could be your personal issue. For example, it’s easier to say that that particular group of colleagues do not do a particular task well, than it is to recognise the flaws in your project planning and to amend it.

Why do some people seek out multiple stories?
When I understood that there can be multiple stories, I actively sought them out. I wanted them to be part of my life, career, etc. I think multiple stories give you a better insight into the situation, allowing you to take better decisions. They also allow you to relate to other people on a very personal level, and give you insight into their perspective. Of course, multiple stories depend on good communication and interaction between the participants. That’s the starting point, really…. They also depend on an ability to deal with the messiness.

What role can educators play in this?
Educators can play a very important role in this. Especially formal education gives learners a context and safe environment in which multiple stories can be discovered, their authenticity can be validated and more insight can be gained.
Educators can provide opportunity: I think formally organised education especially has the potential to give learners the context to interact with people representing authentically different stories. This can be culturally different (with people from different cultural backgrounds) but also disciplinarily different (interactions between disciplines).
Educators can provide context: When learners interact with authentic stories from multiple people, educators can provide context to increase insight and understanding and deal with the complexity. They can help you deal with the messiness, and not get overwhelmed by it.

What role does our digital life play?
Finally, I also wonder how digital life affects the need for multiple stories. In theory, our digital life puts us in touch with people from across the globe as individuals, so we should be able to access multiple stories. However, in practice, this does not really happen.
Through the EUMIND network, I’ve had the opportunity to see up close how young learners (13-18y olds) from Europe and India interact with each other through exchanges, both physical exchanges (where they travel to each other’s countries) and digital projects (where they collaborate at a distance on common topics). I have also had the opportunity to interview some of them. One of the things that I observed is that digital life certainly – superficially maybe – seems to minimise the difference between them. They all use WhatsApp and it has a similar role in their social lives, for example. Their general lives after school involve the same activities, entertainment, etc.
So I think there certainly is something like a global culture that seems, at least superficially, to create a single story that belongs to everyone and everyone belongs to. The success of the EUMIND network lies in the fact that in their activities they go past this superficial level, and touch on the differences in such a way that the learners start to understand their own uniqueness and that of their peers.


I wonder what you think about these questions…

Posted by & filed under educational technology.

Microsoft has recently released the iOS version of its new Whiteboard app and I recorded this quick video to give my first impressions. There is certainly already sufficient functionality here for me to want to use it in my classes.

The features that I like are:

  • Infinite size canvas — like in OneNote.
  • Ruler for drawing straight lines at various angles.
  • Ink to shape.
  • Share to OneNote (as an image).
  • Share whiteboard with collaborators members for brainstorming in meetings.
  • All whiteboards are stored in the cloud.

Features that it has that I didn’t demonstrate

  • Add images
  • Sticky notes
  • Ink to table

There are some differences between the Windows and iOS versions but I imagine that they will become more compatible in time. I would also hope to see some of the additional drawing features supported by OneNote being added as the product develops.

The iOS version follows on from the Windows 10 version that has been available for a while. There is a preview version for the web.

If you want to give it a try, visit You need a free Microsoft or an Office 365 account to use it.

Posted by & filed under #altc, #CMALTcMOOC, Research, Research Impact, SOTEL.

Although I couldn’t be at the #ALTC Conference in Manchester this year, it was great to get a shout-out from @MarenDeepwell in her keynote address while overviewing the impact of research in technology enhanced learning (or the Scholarship of Technology Enhanced Learning, SOTEL) as one of the distinctives of Senior CMALT (SCMALT).

Thanks Maren!

It was also great to see mentions of many of my international colleagues as well such as @catherinecronin

Hoping to see many more colleagues recognised as CMALT and SCMALT in the future – join us on the journey of building an international community at

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

This is my first WordPress blogpost. The messages you find below, are imported from my old Blogger site. As you may read below, I have at different occasions tried to start (and keep on) blogging, but somehow my character or attitude are not compatible with blogging. Yet here I am, trying once again. Now the purpose is to build a portfolio in order to achieve the CMALT accreditation, offered by the Association of Learning Technology.


Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Thanks for joining me!

My automated response to the eternal existential question, Who am I ? is, I am the body and the name attached to it or maybe I am a Clinical Audiologist, which is my disciplinary identity or I am an Academic Advisor currently working at AUT which is my profession. Although all of these identities are true, but they feel superficial. The truth is I am a soul. I am a spiritual being having humanly experience. My spiritual outlook has been shaped by my tīpuna and mātua. I am mindful of this spiritual identity and carry it along with me in all spheres and interactions of my life and teaching is no exception.

My father was an Indian Army officer, due to the nature of his job we would move cities very frequently and as a result, I changed 6 schools before graduating high school. Initially this idea of being transferred from one school to another in a completely new city, environment and people was challenging and uncomfortable for me. However little I knew that these changes were moulding me to become a more adaptable, resilient and cosmopolitan person who started appreciating diversity in people, culture and situations. My global exposure has made me realise that learning is never comfortable, it is challenging, disruptive, pushes the boundaries for learners and amidst these uncomfortable situations, a true transformation happens. Through my academic practice I strive to bring this transformation for people I work with and students I teach.

For me, one of the most special and influential teachers was my mother. She never had the opportunity to go to school herself, however she embodied very special traits which made everlasting impact on my personal and professional life. She was a perfect combination of being unconditionally accepting, caring, compassionate, believing in me and always creating innovative ways to understand and address my needs. She developed a special connection and emotional bond with me which motivated me to tap in to my unutilised potential.  I aspire to carry these values with me while interacting with learners and academics from diverse backgrounds to facilitate them to realise their optimum potential.

Having a disciplinary background in Audiology, Research, Speech Therapy and working with people with disabilities has made me an empathetic and compassionate person. I have developed special outlook to see peoples’ ‘abilities’ and ‘strengths’ instead of their ‘disabilities’. I have learnt from my patients to never give up and being open to experimentation with novel therapies to explore better management. As a result of this I have become a courageous academic who is not afraid to take risks and new challenges with growth mind set.

 गुरु ब्रह्मा गुरु विष्णु गुरु देवो महेश्वर गुरु साक्षात् परमं ब्रह्मा तस्मै श्री गुरुवे नम:

I grew up reciting this Sanskrit verse which means “Guru (teacher – who leads us towards lights of knowledge from deep darkness of ignorance) is verily the representative of Brahma (creator), Vishnu (sustainer of knowledge) and Shiva (destroyer of the weeds of ignorance); I salute such a Guru” (Mlecko, 1982). The significance of ‘Guru’ in my cultural upbringing has moulded my educational practice to incorporate innovation, technology and novel ideas for creating and designing safe, meaningful and authentic learning environments for tertiary education sector in Aotearoa and Australasian universities.

A teacher who is attempting to teaching without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron                                                                   Horace Mann