I work in eLearning and use information visualisations to make learning material more engaging for students. Research demonstrates that content like data visualisations, animated explainer videos, infographics and interactive webpages can capture students’ interest and help them to learn complex information more quickly. Visualisations can also reduce the information overload that students may feel when they are presented with dense sections of text.
On the MA DTCE, I decided to do a project-based dissertation. The first part of my dissertation was to develop a website to curate the visualisations I had been finding online. I also built a few visualisations of my own. For each visualisation on the website, I listed the subject and learning outcomes (wherever possible, these are from the British curriculum) that the asset aligned with. I also developed some lesson plans to show how visualisations can be incorporated into teaching practice.
The goal of the website is to make it easier for teachers who want to use content like this in their own lessons. They can use the search function on the website to find a visualisation that matches the lesson topic they are working on. Following the development of the website, I wrote my dissertation about the research I had conducted.
There are currently around 1200 visualisations on the website. I enjoyed the process so much that I continue to add to it and use the assets in my own work. On the website’s blog, I post about the field of visualisation, commenting on new assets as I find them. You can view the website at www.visualistics.co.uk.
“I started the MA DTCE as a part time on-campus student in 2013, and then switched to distance learning when I moved from Manchester to Glasgow for a new job in year two of the course. Throughout the two years, Drew (Whitworth) and his colleagues were knowledgeable and always approachable for guidance and for me to ensure I was on the right track. I can only highlight how crucial this is as a distance learner!
I had my first taste in eLearning in 2011 – 2012 as Podcasting Project Assistant at Staffordshire University, but I found it difficult to remain in this area without a postgraduate qualification when the contract ran out.
Out of everything I learned during my two years (including undertaking the course as an on campus, blended and distance learning student), and teaching myself to use technologies requested through employment adverts, I applied for and was appointed E-Learning Developer at Glasgow Clyde College in October 2015. I work with various learning technologies to produce and develop Further Education content, advise staff and external partners on student-centred teaching, innovative pedagogies, accessibility, and emergent technologies.
MA DTCE graduate appointed lecturer for the School of Communications and Marketing at Southampton Solent University
“When I joined the MA:DTCE in 2014-2015 as a full-time student, after working for 5 years as a journalist in Brazil, I was unsure about the next steps in my career. I chose the course thinking that it would allow me to draw from my background in communication and also help me learn more about education and technology, two fields which had always interested me.
I had very high expectations for the course, and it did not disappoint. It was a fantastic experience. I particularly liked the balance between theory and practice: we were taught how to make videos, podcasts and create multimedia educational content, but also looked deeply into the pedagogical theories that explained and justified our practical decisions, and learned how to do our own research. During the course, I became more and more interested in education and ended up deciding to pursue an academic career.
In early January, I started working as a full-time lecturer for the School of Communications and Marketing at Southampton Solent University. One of the course units I am teaching this semester is Multiplatform Journalism, which allows me to bring together my newsroom experience and a lot of what I have learned during the course.
When I found myself standing in front of students for the first time, I found out that I had learned a lot about teaching in MA:DTCE – through the lectures and readings on pedagogy, and also by observing the great work done by teaching staff in the course. Changing careers is not easy, but I feel that the course helped me feel confident and prepared to take on this new role.”
Studying the DTCE course has definitely been worth the effort. Completing it from a distance provided me with much needed flexibility, and I feel lucky to have benefitted from excellent guidance, course materials and teaching. I learnt a lot and throughly enjoyed the course from start to finish. Moreover, I have successfully incorporated much of what I have learnt into my professional practice – both on the technical side and pedagogical side.
Shortly after graduating, I was offered a job as Computing & ICT Coordinator at an international school in Rio de Janeiro. In this role, I continually strive to develop a pedagogy, which encourages learners to use digital technologies creatively, collaboratively, and in ways to develop their critical thinking skills. In fact, I continue to see myself as a lifelong learner too – not just an educator. If you’d like to know more, I write a blog, Technology for Learners, where I regularly reflect on digital technologies and how they can be used effectively in the classroom.
MA DTCE graduate appointed as the Head of the Undergraduate Medical Education at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Michael Masterman completed his MA in Digital Technologies Communications and Education in 2014.
Michael has recently (August 2015) been appointed as the Head of the Undergraduate Medical Education at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust where he previously held the roles of Business, Quality & Technology Manager and IT Support Officer.
Further information are available on the ‘Spotlight on Michael Masterman‘ article.
On his new role Michael says:
“I never saw myself as one day running the department, but it is a real honour to lead a wonderful team of dedicated and supportive individuals. My team have one thing and one thing only on their minds when they come in to work – to provide the students with the best experience they possibly can. I hope I can take things to the next level but the only way that will happen is to have them all by my side.”
You can read about Michael’s new post on his blog
Completing the MA DTCE from a distance provided a fantastic opportunity to directly apply what I was learning to my own context, and develop my own theory of teaching and learning which resonates with my past and present experience.
I had the chance to work as an instructional designer in the University of Hong Kong, where I developed MOOCs, worked closely with faculty to do exciting things like flip classrooms and develop multimedia to support T&L.
I’ve recently started working at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, where I have been collaborating closely with faculty members, media teams and other key stakeholders to design and innovate.
Instructional Design is one of those areas which is approached from many different angles, so you’ll likely work in diverse teams with multiple perspectives – don’t underestimate the importance of growing your soft skills alongside your technical ones to thrive!
This methodology is developed based on a two-year empirical experiment wherein 101 scholars from around the world crowded together virtually to negotiate in three rounds their ways of seeing the world and then to capture these thoughts of theirs in a published article.
Dr Al Lily believes that, given the well-connected nature of the contemporary age and the increasing value of collective and democratic participation, large-scale multi-authored publications are the way forward for academic fields and wider academia in the 21st century.
Crowd-authoring presents the academic enquiry as a negotiable and therefore political process wherein scholars negotiate their comprehension and conceptualisation of a common issue related to a shared profession.
To know more about Dr Al Lily, please visit his webpage: https://abdulallily.wordpress.com