The Designs on eLearning (DeL) conference kicked off on Wednesday morning (Sept. 17) in LBJ 3rd floor ballroom. Guests were greeted with bright materials including an orange conference bag containing information from the leading university conference facilitators and presenters including Texas State University, Penn State University and University of the Arts London. A smartly designed conference spiral bound book and octavo fold name tag were also included as well as materials showcasing the MFA in Communication Design program. The bag was overprinted in large abstracted wood block letters, a clever hint-of-Texas design theme to be discovered throughout the branded system of conference materials.
Keynote speaker David White Head of Technology Enhanced Learning at University of the Arts London kicked off the conference with his talk Cultural Flips, where he discussed his visitors and residents mapping exercise to demonstrate how people engage with the web in various contexts.
Next we broke into parallel presentations with a choice to attend one of two varying talks given simultaneously. Each presentation lasted around 30 minutes and allowed enough time for each speaker to highlight the main points of their current research in the sphere of e-learning.
A few highlights from day 1 included Ray Batchelor’s (Bucks New University) The New Model Dissertation an invitation to students to propose submitting a Dissertation in Alternative Formats over the existing “Standard Format Dissertation.” Andy Lee (University of the Arts London) presented Shooting from the Hip: Fashion Film Practice & Mobile Technologies considering the outcomes from his methodology of utilizing multi-disciplinary technologies to encourage group cohesion. During Lee’s presentation we utilized the Vyclone App on our smartphones to create a GPS linked, crowd-created video that was auto cut together from our varying points throughout the room to create a more dynamic short movie.
Charlotte Webb and Siobhan Clay (University of the Arts London) summed up their preliminary research in their presentation titled What’s Technology Got to Do With It? Mapping Art, Design, and Fashion Students’ Use of and Attitudes to Digital Technology for Their Learning. Utilizing White and Le Cornu’s “Visitors and Residents” mapping approach Webb and Clay have collected and facilitated discussion to advance qualitative data findings to better understand how art and design students make sense of their digital environments. Grayson Lawrence and Mary Mikel Stump introduced their work Musing: Mobile Interactive Didactive Application for Museums and Art Galleries highlighting the app’s functionality and user/administrative interfaces.
Wednesday wrapped up with a lively reception at Zelicks including great conversation, cocktails, eats and very agreeable outdoor weather.
Day two of DeL conference began with a stimulating keynote presentation delivered by Jon Kolko. Kolko’s focus is “bringing design thinking to product management in order to create educational products people love.” As MyEdu was recently acquired by Blackboard Kolko stands as VP of Product, Innovation and Design. Kolko is also the Founder and Director at Austin Center for Design where he teaches his methods for using empathy and ethnographic research techniques to come to informed design solutions. The November 11th release of his book Well Designed: How to use Empathy to Create Products People Love promises innovative techniques to develop products that resonate.
From Maker Movement to Maker Lab presented by Kyle Dickson and Nil Santana (Abilene Christian University) showcased their tactic for pitching and implementing an on-campus makerspace. Andre Thomas (Texas A&M University) spoke about How to Kill a Vampire or Game Based Learning in Higher Education in outlining their approach to “creating a visually stunning and fun game that complements our Art History Survey course and teaches complex knowledge such as banking, art patronage and trading.” Darren Gray and Jo Morrison (University of the Arts London) closed out the parallel presentations with their research Mapping Relationships with e-Learning. After discussing their findings, the duo collected insights and possible solutions from presentation attendees on what experiences and attitudes they have gleamed from utilizing digital e-learning technologies and sharing approaches to engage colleagues and develop e-Learning practice.
The conference concluded with a panel discussion lead by Cindy Royal (Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University) and included current students and graduates of the Mass Communication program at Texas State University. The students communicated their areas of expertise, shared their experiences and suggested particular tactics that helped them to get jobs after college.
Claudia Roeschmann (DeL Coordinator and MC, Graduate Advisor and Professor of Communication Design at Texas State University) gracefully closed the conference by thanking everyone who participated in making Designs on E-Learning a success and wishing everyone safe travels with the encouragement that we all continue the relationships made during the conference and to keep digitally connected.