Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Leaving the University of Leeds

As some of you may have heard I’ve handed in my notice and will be leaving the University. I have accepted a new job as E-Learning & Educational Technology Coordinator at Abu Dhabi Men’s College which is part of the Higher Collages of Technology in the UAE. I have really enjoyed working with you all over the last couple of years and would like to thank everyone for making my job such a pleasure.

I’ve created a list of things you may like to check before I leave to make any transition as smooth as possible:

  • Can you access all your semester 2 modules
  • Do you need and TA enrolling on your semester 2 modules
  • Would you like two modules or more merging into one area (this is a new functions we can offer)
  • Would you like a programme level organisation
  • Would you like to use any of the VLE tools or have any DVD/videos in your semester 2 modules

If you would like any help with anything VLE related please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Best wishes,


Wednesday, 9 September 2009


Students come to university seeking knowledge looking for an education. The VLE is part of our students education if all they find is “read chapter 3” “look at website x” the VLE where is the education? If you wouldn’t neglect then in the class room why do it online? Having online materials does improve the student experience. It offers 24 hour 7 day a week access to learning materials limitless copies of core book chapters digitised all sorts of module information accessible when and where the student needs it. Technology in itself will not improve the student experience but use it correctly and it will.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

JISC Grant Funding 09/09: Greening ICT Programme

This maybe of interest to people:

The JISC invites institutions to submit funding proposals for projects to explore aspects of Green ICT in higher and further education in the UK as outlined below:

Study of Ownership and Responsibility for Energy Costs

This project will investigate the ways in which costs of the energy use associated with ICT are dealt with in universities and colleges across the UK - looking at the disconnection in many institutions between those that use energy and those who pay the bills. The study will report on current practices and identify and work with 4 case studies from institutions that are developing new ways of dealing with these energy costs.

Total funding of up to £90,000 is available for this study - including £50,000 for undertaking the study and recruiting the case studies and £40,000 for the case studies (at £10,000 per case study). The study will run for 18 months.

Small Scale Exploration Studies of Aspects of Green ICT

A number of small scale studies will be funded to investigate various aspects of the Green ICT agenda where there is currently limited understanding and knowledge. Examples could include (but not be limited to) aspects of the environmental and social impacts of Green ICT, the relationship between sustainable ICT and wider contexts such as working practices, health and safety, and the physical estate.

Total funding of up to £300,000 is available to fund between 5 and 8 projects at between £30,000 and £70,000 per project. Projects will run for between 4 and 12 months.

Demonstrator Projects

A number of small scale demonstrator projects will be funded that will develop and trail new and innovative means of taking action to reduce the environmental impacts of institutional ICT. The aim of the projects is to improve the knowledge and understanding about useful interventions in the sector in order that institutions can deliver real reductions in the overall environmental impact of ICT use.

Total funding of up to £300,000 is available to fund 6 projects at £50,000 per project. Projects will fun for 12 months.

The deadline for all proposals is 12 noon UK time on 28 October 2009. All projects are expected to start on 18 January 2010.

Further information about all of the above can be found in the full version of the call below.


Proposals may be submitted by Higher Education (HE) institutions funded via HEFCE, SFC, HEFCW and DEL Northern Ireland, and by Further Education (FE) institutions funded via SFC, DCELLS Wales and DEL Northern Ireland. FE institutions in England that teach HE to more than 400 FTEs are also eligible to bid provided proposals demonstrate how the work supports the HE in FE agenda.

Proposals may be from single institutions or consortia unless indicated otherwise in the relevant call. Partnership arrangements may be developed outside the sector (for example with research council sites, publishers, commercial suppliers), but the lead partner must meet the criteria outlined above. Funds can only be allocated through the lead partner.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Funding for projects

Below you will find links to the latest funding from across the Higher Education Sector which may be of interest.

1) UK Centre for Bioscience – Individual Grants Round 11

2) Health Sciences and Practice – Call for mini-projects

3) MEDEV – Call for mini-projects

4) Information and Computer Sciences – General Development Fund 2009/10

5) UK Centre for Legal Education (UKCLE)
Project Development Fund –
Funding for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland -

6) Social Policy and Social Work Subject Centre (SWAP) -

7) JISC – Learning and Teaching Innovation Grants

Find out more about the Higher Education Academy by visiting

Friday, 12 June 2009

Web 2.0

Web 2.0 was the millionth English word to be logged by The Global Language Monitor, on Wednesday.

"Web 2.0 is a technical term meaning the next generation of World Wide Web products and services. It has crossed from technical jargon into far wider circulation in the last six months."

Henry Ford quote

“If I’d have asked them what they want they would have said a faster horse.”

Someone I’m following on twitter tweeted this quote by Henry Ford and it got me thinking what does it really mean? Is it true?

Does this mean I should go off and design a widget or a program without bothering to talk to its intended users?

Have a read of this website and the responses I think it sums it up perfectly.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Online push in California schools

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has unveiled a plan to save money by phasing out school textbooks in favour of internet aids.

The Future of Learning

Hi, I haven’t really been blogging much recently but that’s because I’ve been more of a doer than a blogger over the last couple of weeks. Hopefully this means I’ll have lots to talk about very soon. But for now this is pretty interesting.

This is a really nice little video. It’s a little more school orientated not HE and is only really advertising learning technology but I liked it.

Stephen Heppell: Edited for the Department of Children, Schools and Families for the Schools' Minister (Jim Knights) to use in his speech at the huge annual BETT Show in London's Olympia

YouTube - The Future of Learning

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Cheating has always been around in schools and universities

A Guardian Tech Tweet:

Cheating has always been around in schools and universities - but the internet is making it far worse | Marcel B..

Friday, 15 May 2009

Posterous blog

I have found another really cool blogging tool/website that maybe useful to people. Posterous blog, which is used for propagating info to other places. Posterous is dead clever. I can email it words, pics, other stuff and it puts it in loads of other places instantly.

Posterous is the easiest way to post anything online using email. Just email and attach any photos, music, video, and documents you want, and they will instantly reply with your new good-looking blog. No signup, no setup required.

Multiple images become an easy to use image gallery. MP3's get a flash player. Documents get a Scribd flash preview. If you already use Flickr or Twitter, we can automatically update those services with your posts. Photoblog from your iPhone using email, and get it sent to everywhere you care about too.

Even experienced bloggers can use Posterous to blog-by-email quicker than ever. They also can autopost to every major blog platform, including Blogger, Wordpress, Movable Type, Typepad, Livejournal, Tumblr, Xanga, and any blog that supports MetaWebLog API and Really Simple Discovery.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Twitter stream

Tweetree puts your Twitter stream in a tree so you can see the posts people are replying to in context. It also pulls in lots of external content like photos and videos.

I really like it I haven’t used use plain old Twitter since finding this. Hope you like it too.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

First impression

I have just read a blog that brought up the topic of good design and how they suggested a website home page should look. This reminded me of two thing I keep on my shelf to remind my about “good design” the fist is a Journal article by: Gitte, L. Fernandes, G. Dudek, C. Brown, J. 2006. “Attention Web Designers: You have 50 Milliseconds to make a Good First Impression!” Behaviour & Information Technology 25(2): 115-126.

And the second is a book by: Gladwell, M. 2005. Blink. Penguin Books.

I do like Malcolm Gladwell’s books in particular. One example he uses is how quickly students make judgments on how good a lecturer of teacher is going to be and how this correlates to their final opinions after months of teaching. Is their opinion formed after one week, one lesson? The answer seems to be about 30 seconds at most and their opinions do not seem to change for the entirety of the teaching. For more details on this I would highly recommend reading the book. But maybe you should definitely stop and think about what impression you are going to give someone when meeting them for the first time or showing someone your work for the first time.

Blink reminds me that people make up their mind very quickly about everything not just website not just lectures and teachers.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Blackboard Buys Angel

A very interesting time head for all the university’s who have very recently decided to buy Angel over BB after evaluation due to, it is said, superior learning philosophy and significantly better customer service. As the article says “the market, it has seen number of colleges and universities shift to open source systems such as Sakai or Moodle, or to other companies. Angel has been particularly successful”

Thursday, 7 May 2009


UK has the world's worst copyright laws

Very intresting reading

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Welcome to my blog

Hello and welcome to my blog! This is my first ever personal blog entry. Just to introduce myself I am Michael Bolton the Virtual Learning Environments Support Officer for the Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law, University of Leeds. I am also in the lucky position in that I really enjoy doing my job so much so that I would like to share the things I do with the world.

In the future intend to post on the projects I am working on with regard to Learning Technology / Virtual Learning Environments / E-Learning / ICT as and when I'm working on them. I also intend to post summaries of the books journals and news articles I have read on all the above subjects to hopefully create a useful resource for anyone interested in these subjects.