My name is? - Notes from the inaugural meeting of the ALTNWESIG

On Wednesday 5th June 2013, Learning Technologists and academic developers from intuitions across the North West of England travelled to Liverpool and attended the first meeting of a group tentatively known as the ALT North West England Special Interest Group (#ALTNWESIG). Convened by Professor Chris Jones, (Professor of Research in Educational Technology), and myself, Alex Spiers (Learning Technology Developer) both at Liverpool John Moores University.  We had been talking about setting up a regional support group after a fruitful visit to the White Rose Group led by Graham McElearney and Robin Gissing.  It was interesting to note that only a day before this meeting, a similar group was being set up in the East Midlands. Seems the time is right for learning technologists to come together.

The main task of the meeting was to come to some agreement over the groups remit and get a recognised structure in place for our formal application to ALT. The role of a learning technologist is as broad as it is wide. Hence, a considerable amount of time was spent discussing structures at our respective institutions, range of responsibilities in our roles, and the changes that are currently being experienced. 

The importance of networking and sharing good practice was also discussed. Face to face meeting were considered useful but complemented with online tools to keep updated in-between meetings.  Also, it was recognised that many of us are involved in discrete evaluation and research into technology that tends not to get published. It was agreed that the SIG could be used as a platform to talk about research that is often not disseminated outside the University.   

Attendees from Manchester, Lancaster, Chester, Liverpool and Salford made the conversation enjoyable and stimulating. Sadly, our friends at Edge Hill were unable to attend due to it clashing with their Solstice conference and there were no attendees from our colleagues in Further Education institutions. We hope this will change at our next even at Media City in Salford.

Remit for the ALT NWE Sig

The Sig exists to provide a network for the exchange of ideas and practices in relation to current issues in educational technology with the aim of supporting the informed use of learning technologies in NW England.

It will have a focus on the following areas:

  • Developing a sustainable network, using face-to-face and networked technologies, which is focused on sharing experiences and the pedagogical possibilities and constraints of learning technologies
  • Exploring changes within our institutions, in e-learning pedagogies and learning technologies.
  • Horizon scanning and supporting a view of the bigger picture across our institutions and across sectors.
  • Discussing and disseminating research opportunities with a view to a) joint bids/work b) providing an outlet for small scale and unpublished research c) developing research capacity
  • Considering ethical issues including the use of universal services (e.g. Twitter and Facebook) with their own terms and conditions, copyright, the use of open source  and OERs
  • Supporting the CPD of members e.g. by sharing  development opportunities

Group officers:

Chris Jones (LJMU)
Alex Spiers (LJMU)

Decision making group:
Tunde Varga-Atkins (University of Liverpool) 
Dianne Bennett (University of Manchester)
David Dowdle (University of Salford)
and the 2 coordinators.

Technical advice
Phil Tubman (Lancaster University) 
Alex Spiers (LJMU)

If you would like to get involved, please get in touch:

A.Spiers [at] *

C.R.Jones1[at] *

* replace [at] with @