Digital Decisions Research Data

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Sophie AS

Faculty Learning Technology Lead for Arts and Humanities at UCL
Very interesting to talk to as she has the same role as me but I think she has a different approach and of course her knowledge and experiences are very different to mine.
She is also doing CMALT senior which involves leading so she is coming up with projects for that which involves a more directed approach.
I asked her about students and she told me about the survey she had run at the end of 2020 with her Arena contact. That was a while ago and she also is working on a projct with involved students talking about their experiences of moodle. What was interesting to me about that was that she said that a lot of the students had no idea of the activities and what they were in Moodle but would like them when she told them about them. This is almost deterministic and relates to the idea of platformatisation and problemistation.
I asked her about accommodating students difference and she mentioned accessibility which of course they all do. I asked her about contextualised offers and hinted at lower grades to gain entry and she said that they didnt have any of those in her faculty but I absolutely think they do. This is an issue for me as the point of this is how those who do know are not informing those who dont and yet they have influence over how students engage in the tech.
The student support she mentioned was for writing support which is great but not what I was thinking about. No one has mentioned the digital divide and preparing students to be confident, netiquette etc.
As I do these I think more and more that having a digital access and participation element at least to the APP is a good idea.
She talked about staff feeling threatened that their jobs would be redundant because of the tech and how many of the staff did not have any experience of anything other than ‘remote emergency teaching’ (she said she deliberately didn’t use online learning as that was not what they were doing).


I asked her about the networks thinking she would say how useful they are but she said that sometimes they are too theoretical and generic. She is very much against having a central training as it is not bespoke to the needs of the audience but I think she missed the point about influence. Especially as I know she cofounded the Ed Tech Outlaws group which is a group of edtech people (inc me) who come together and talk about the issues and good/bad things they are involved in with their institutions. If this was not any use then what was the need to bring it together. I wonder if she was thinking about formal networks in UCL rather than the ones I meant. If we don’t give a broad over view it would be very difficult to share anything.
Overall, interesting to have her perspective and to find out what she doesn’t know. I think the implications for roles like ours is huge around access and participating as equals in the digital sphere. Especially, as I am reading the How to stay safe online book by Seyi Akiwowo and as she says, online is a reflection of society offline, which therefore suggests that Online education is a reflection of what happens offline in education too.

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