XJTLU Day Four - Digital Learning Hub, IT Team meeting and CPS Session

Digital Learning Resources Hub

I don't mind admitting that I'm a little jealous of the recently opened DLR Hub. This is exactly the  type of resource that we could do with in the Centre for Innovation in Education to support the many MOOCs and online courses we are creating resources for.  Roland and Nathan gave us a tour round the facility that includes  a sound proof studio, several 4K cameras, lighting, green screen, audio mixing desks and large interactive screens. The investment in the space was initially for the development of resources for flipped approaches to delivery. However, there are plans to encourage and expand its use for making Open Educational Resources. Nathan had been charged with delivering a presentation about the hub at the colloquium. Anna and I were used a guinea pigs and although he was noticeably nervous, he succeeded in getting the message across.

Anna Chen in the Digital Learning Resources Hub

Team Meeting

The learning technologies and IT team have fortnightly meetings to share updates and troubleshoot ongoing issues. It was interesting to note, that even though part of meeting was discussed in a different language, the approach was very familiar. The agenda was as follows:

  • Lecture Capture Projects
  • IPV6 availability
  • Colloquium Ed Tech Showcase
  • ICE Upgrade
  • Overseas monitoring of XJTLU website
The main topic was the roll out of their lecture capture initiative. They have purchased Mediasite and plan to install it in 20 + teaching rooms in the newly built south campus. The product has been demonstrated to the VC and they are waiting for a final sign off from SMT. It was noted that Lena was going to America for the Mediasite.

Wifi - IPv6 - An ongoing wifi issue and issue allows access through the firewall and is currently broken. This piece of hardware provides access to a range of google services which are not currently available through the "Great Firewall". Roland's team keen to get IT to fix the issue and provide more regular support. The issue with a specific services such as ICE and Connect was that they were inaccessible overseas. A request was made that these key teaching services were monitored more regularly for access outside of China. 

ICE upgrade June - small but will fix some bugs while students are on study leave. ICE has a number of scheduled, incremental upgrades throughout the year.

Attendance monitoring policy is planned to come into effect in September 2017. ICE will be used as the main tool to collect this information. To ensure this works students will be locked out of registering their attendance using mobile data. The process will use LAN in each lecture theatre. The concern was that this needs load testing in each of the rooms and may need increased wifi connectivity

After the meeting, I chatted with a member of the IT team who was interested in the structure of the CSD and elearning unit. I shared the knowledge I have about the two different areas and how they are supported. She was keen to find out how the staff training was delivered and by who.

Lunch with the team in the same place but this time indoors and I had a fairly traditional chicken curry with rice.

CPS Session - Research Led Teaching - Dr Henk Huijser and  Dr 
Jianmei Xie

Like their counterparts in Liverpool, staff at XJTLU are encouraged to attend a series of workshops known as CPS (Certificate in Professional Studies) The session was led by Dr Henk Huisjer and supported by Dr Jianmei Xie (who visited Liverpool in December 2016 as part of Erasmus). The session was well attended by a diverse group of academic staff with many coming from the English Language centre. Based around three activities and discussion, the session aimed explore the possibilities for collaborative research with students and encouraging methods to ensure students feel part of this community. All in all a stimulating discussion which encompassed many different views on this area. A technical issue in the room was a little distracting.

Dr. James Wilson, Director of AEC

With last minute preparations for the colloquium buzzing all around, I was fortunate to grab some time with James to talk about the XJTLU experience. He was informative and candid about successes and challenges of delivering a high quality education experience in China. The university is on the more expensive end of higher education in the country so it attracts students from the more affluent areas of China and beyond. We discussed issues that concern the UK landscape and how they are being addressed in China. Some similarities such as the development lecture capture and esubmission policies, but also some differences like the monitoring attendance and the slow but steady shift towards a western approach to teaching and learning. Also there is no student union nor any recognition of learning difficulties. He reminds me that it is only 10 years old and has grown at a considerable rate. It will be fascinating to see how it develops in the next decade.

Fish Restaurant, Suzhou

Best meal of the trip 

James insisted that Jianmei take Anna and myself out for a meal - how could we refuse! I'd noticed a seafood restaurant across from the hotel, so we tried that out and we were blown away by the freshness and range of the food. Here is a summary of what passed my lips...still think about it now.

  • Swan egg  - Large Oyster
  • Sea Bream
  • Cockles
  • Chinese Mushrooms
  • Jellyfish
  • Straw  mushrooms
  • Prawns
  • Chinese Lettuce soup