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All Ultraversity researchers are invited to contact ARU students union if they have any problems as the reps are not actually meant to represent anyone other than themselves. This blog is now authored by people who are not reps. Talk to us here, moan or throw brick bats - you won't offend and there's about zero chance of anyone paying attention to your views but hey, you might feel better.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Minutes from Cohort1 meeting

These are the minutes written by Ken from the cohort1 reps phone conference meeting on 23/11/04

Field Pathway Meeting Cohort 1 Draft Minutes

Tuesday 23rd November 2004

Present: Stephen Powell, Ken Allen, Lesley McGuire, Peter Lilja, Denise Binks, Andy Roberts, Lisa Munton
Apologies: Colin Elsey, Jane Down, Maureen Slack, Linda Hartley
1. Introductions

Stephen Powell – Project Leader
Ken Allen – Quality Assurance
Lesley McGuire - Module Leader
Peter Lilja – Researcher Representative
Denise Binks – Researcher Representative
Andy Roberts – Researcher Representative
Lisa Munton – Researcher Representative

2. The purpose of the meeting explained

The purpose of the meeting was to review the cohort 1 researcher experience over the summer trimester 2004 and currently for this semester.

3. Strengths of last term and this term identified
a. The calendar of dates, module details and resources for the year being ready at the start of the second year has been appreciated and a help to many researchers. Some researchers however have found that this has increased the sense of pressure. On the whole it has been viewed as a positive development.

b. The increased number and regularity of hotseats this semester is an improvement. Not all the hotseats will be of equal interest to all researchers but there is scope for researchers to chose the hotseats they are most interested in and only view the others if they have time. Some researchers would like to see the hotseats running for a longer period of time, they feel this would help them think through their questions and the implications of the hotseat answers to their work place. It may not be a good idea to have a hotseat when assignment deadlines are near since researchers attention will be focused on assessment submissions.

c. The merging of some First Class communities has helped the vibrancy of discussions particularly in the new learning community. The reduction in the overall number of discussion threads has also been beneficial. Some communities are still very quiet though.

4. Weaknesses of last term and this term identified

a. In First Class communities contributors tend to be a limited number of the same researchers. Overall there needs to be more researchers contributing. As the course progresses it becomes more imperative that researchers share their work with their fellow researchers for peer review. The redesigned action enquiry tool will allow researchers to annotate one another’s work.

b. There is a lack of clarity and consistency of approach about agreeing the ILM contract with researchers. Some researchers are not clear when their plans have been agreed or what to do with the agreed plan when it has been finalised. The agreement procedure needs to be improved.

c. There is concern about inconsistencies of approach and advice from different facilitators. There needs to be a place for definitive answers to key issues.

d. A completion date for the completing an ILP is felt to be helpful together with a more consistent signing off procedure.

e. The overlapping of module start dates and finish dates is confusing some researchers and the resulting multi-tasking is adding to the levels of stress. Many would prefer one module per half term but this would require the return to trimesters since there would not be enough time to cover all the necessary modules.

f. There is a considerable feeling of pressure currently amongst researchers.

g. It is not clear to researchers what the changes are to the start date in the Action Enquiry module.

h. Some researchers have been confused by the move from trimesters to semesters. Some researchers feel that they need to make use of the whole year to study. Unlike face to face students they are doing a full time job and can’t afford to follow the traditional university holiday model.

i. Many researchers prefer the modules to follow sequentially rather than for modules to run concurrently.

j. The long module needs more clarification and guidance as to when researchers should engage in this and when they can safely put their emphasis and attention elsewhere.

k. More help would be appreciated pastorally for some researchers. Unlike a face to face degree there is a greater degree of isolation and it therefore makes pastoral issues more acute.

l. The availability of facilitators needs to be clarified. Particularly when a facilitator is on holiday researchers need to know this and what to do in terms of getting advice.

5. Future recommendations

a. Improve communication particularly making it more consistent between different facilitators and researchers.
b. Take steps to actively encourage the inactive First Class community members to engage in their online communities.
c. Explore ways of reducing stress particularly in terms of multi tasking, overlapping modules, assignment deadlines and holidays.
d. Develop a stronger system of pastoral care for researchers.

6. Other issues

a. How can we fulfill the assessment criteria relating to 'using appropriate techniques to communicate' in other ways if we didn't post our work to communities? Why aren’t all researchers posting work in First Class for peer review? Some people feel strongly that all researchers should be doing this. In discussion other points were raised that looked at problems if this happened. It could overload the communities with multiple drafts on researchers work and numerous feedback comments. Much peer review is happening outside of the First Class communities. People with different learning styles need different ways of sharing their work. The newly developed action enquiry tool will allow researchers to peer review one another’s work.

Posted at 03:27 pm by Andy
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Tuesday, November 23, 2004
First Class Software

I noticed Kate posted a request for comments for anything related to the course so far in cohort 2 and as I've found myself discussing Jelly OS (Jelly O thread) in the main UV community are there any issues, researchers wish to raise with regards to the FC client?  I would really like to hear from anyone looking for both good and bad experiences.  It may be a good chance with the PC coming up to voice any opinions so please mail me in FC or if you prefer by email if you feel there is someting you want to say but worried your voice isn't being heard.  Perhaps UV might need a pat on the back for the good job they are doing or maybe you feel they aren't doing enough!  All responses will be totally confidential.

Jamie

Posted at 09:18 pm by Jamie
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Sunday, November 07, 2004
What are Field Pathway Meetings ?

Just to clarify for anyone who is unsure, Field Pathway meetings are held every term for each cohort. They are phone conferences attended by reps and members of the Ultraversity staff. They are our opportunity to put forward our own views about the previous term and any views or issues that other researchers have made known to us. We discuss the feedback conference and bring up any issues that arise from that. So if you have any burning issues let us know either here or to one of us individually in FirstClass. When we've had them we will post a copy of the minutes here.

Posted at 03:25 pm by lmhartley
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Forthcoming Cohort 2 Field Pathway Meeting

Forthcoming Telephone Conference meeting:

"Cohort 2 Field Pathway Meeting on Tuesday 30th November.

This will take the form of a phone conference not lasting more than one
hour and starting at 7:00 pm.

This is an opportunity to review the researcher experience on the
course to date and to make some recommendations for future practice in
the light of these experiences."

As Andy said with the forthcoming Cohort 1 meeting - anybody who wants to pass on experiences and recomendations please do so here, or contact any of us individually. 

Thanks looking forward to hearning from you.



Posted at 02:32 pm by Angela_Dxb
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And Hi from me!

Welcome to all the reps - old and new. I suppose I should say something about myself. Briefly: I am a TA in a primary school in the north west of England. I also have a role as research assistant to our local Learning Network Cluster involved in in-school action research projects. I am in Cohort 1 in the Education Community.

I enjoyed being a rep last year. The meetings were interesting, I enjoyed the contact with other students, and the day at Ultralab was really good -with lots of work being done as well as some social stuff. (Actually the evening afterwards with Mo and Andy and rather a lot of wine was pretty good too!) I've mostly enjoyed my first year at Ultraversity and I hope this year will be just as good.

Linda H

Posted at 09:25 am by lmhartley
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Saturday, November 06, 2004
Cohort 1 meeting

news yesterday:

"Cohort 1 Field Pathway Meeting on Tuesday 23rd November.

This will take the form of a phone conference not lasting more than one
hour and starting at 7:00 pm.

This is an opportunity to review the researcher experience on the
course last term and to date and to make some recommendations for
future practice in the light of these experiences."

So anybody who wants to pass on experiences and recomendations please do so here, or contact any of us individually.   


Posted at 03:03 pm by Andy
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Friday, November 05, 2004
Invitation accepted

Hello, my name is Jamie and I'm a researcher from cohort 2.  Something about me...I'm currently a Network Manager for a technology specialist staus school in North London.  I have two technicians although maybe this will not be the case for long.  The school has 1660 students.  Our motto is achievement for all and it's a fun and vibrant place to work.  I am involved with the planning of all things ICT and have recently overhauled the network with a VOIP g/bit backbone and in excess of 200 pc's and laptops.  I'm pleased to have become a rep for ultraversity and look forward to engaging in this capacity.  I've seen already a flurry of mail in my inbox, so anything to keep me online and interested is a good thing.  For anyone wishing to know, I am not married, neither do I intend to be, although apparently everyone says that.  I play some sport and get out when I can, although in common with the rest of you spend most time these days in front of the computer studying.  I'm not complaining though, ultraversity is a great place to study as not only is it learning it is learning in a community, which for me definitely works.  Well enough said for one post...over and out!

Posted at 11:05 pm by Jamie
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hi

I'm not quite sure what to write that hasn't been said about the purpose of the student reps already, so I'll just say hello instead.  I'm a Teaching Assistant in a village primary school in Wiltshire, and a school governor with responsibility for SEN.  Within UV I'm in the Primary community in cohort 1. 

I'm approaching this new role with a little trepidation but sort of looking forward to it too.  I hope that as fellow researchers, you can share with us, by email or however you choose, not only the difficulties you encounter through the course, but the best bits too so that we have a true reflection of what life as a UV student is like.
Lisa :-)

 

Posted at 10:45 pm by Lisa Munton
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Thursday, November 04, 2004
About me


My name is Kate Baronius I live and work in Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, I am in the third year at Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School and Performing Arts College, a selective secodary school.


I am the systems manager and look after the curriculum and administration systems with the help of two other members of staff. I am currently finishing the commissioning of the new admin sever and workstations and in the midst of preparation for going live with Siims.net.


I have been married for 29 years and have two daughters, the youngest is at Exeter university studying Music.
I am happy to have been given a chance to study for a degree, and for me this is a particularly good way of achieving it (i hope).

Kate

Posted at 09:32 pm by Kate Baronius
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Hello from Peter

Hello everyone

i'm Peter Lilja, I'm in Chort 1 and belong to the Learning Community. I live in Essex in a place called Gidea Park. The school I work in is only 10 minutes away in Hornchurch it is a mixed secondary school with appr 960 pupils. The school was awarded sports college status at the end of last term, and there is a buzz about the place thanks to that.

My origin is Swedish, and I'm married to Sue, she was the reason I moved to the UK in the first place. My favourite past time is to go and watch Chelsea play football where I have a season ticket. Until I started this course i also used to be able to play golf, but no longer have time for that, I suppose it is a worthy sacrifice.

In the school I work as an ICT Technician, I teach 4 classes ICT at KS3 every week it is hard work but enjoyable at the same time. Another duty in my job is to organise cover supervision for the school, which makes me the least popular person around every morning when the list goes up. I have been at the school for nearly 3 years, before that I spent 20 years in flour milling. I enjoyed a good career in that industry, which took me to 3 different countries (Sweden, Germany, UK).

I'm looking forward to being a student rep and hope that anyone that need any help will get in touch.

Posted at 08:19 pm by plilja
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