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VocTeach FE Symposium



December 17


02:00 pm – 05:00 pm


The Open University, Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

Hashtag for Event: #VocTeach20

Aggregating High Quality Online Educational Resources for FE

The current global pandemic has exposed issues and enforced changes across many sectors of the UK economy and society including within education. Within an extremely short amount of time educational institutions including FE Colleges across the UK have incorporated online teaching into their offerings. Teaching online obviously is very different to teaching face to face. Matching the affordances of internet based technology to sound pedagogy which enhances student learning experiences is not easy.

Our 50+ years of distance teaching experience at the OU has taught us that a key success factor for online education is founded on the use of high quality teaching resources. Clear educational texts, short informative videos and interactive elements such as the use of Augmented and Virtual Reality can dramatically enhance student engagement and improve learning outcomes overall.

Creating high quality online teaching resources requires substantial effort though, typically involving, in addition to subject matter experts, professionals in many areas including video production, webcasting, online pedagogy and web interaction. The sheer cost and the fact that many FE colleges lack the capacity to create a comprehensive library of online teaching resources lead us to the conclusion that supporting teaching material re-use through an accessible aggregation or library would be of great benefit to the sector.

To this end the VocTeach FE Symposium will kickstart a broad community around this issue related to supporting the aggregation of high quality learning resources for online FE education. Specifically, we will bring together FE educational experts and practitioners, EdTech experts, awarding organisations and other stakeholders to begin to agree next steps.

The event will be opened by Prof. Ian Fribbance, Exec Dean Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the OU and will be comprised of: a number of short talks from the community outlined above, an interactive panel and finally a virtual roundtable session. Within the VocTeach project we have developed a prototype platform to address the above issue and will be demoing this to stimulate dialogue at our event.

Watch the Replay


Time Title Speaker
14:00-14:10 Introduction Ian Fribbance, Exec Dean Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences OU

Download Presentation: Introduction

14:10-14:30 VocTeach Vision/Overview Rebecca Garrod-Waters, Amel Bennaceur, Petr Knoth

Download Presentation: VocTeach FE Symposium
Download Presentation: Enabling Educators to Locate High-Quality Teaching Resources

14:30-14:45 FE Landscape in Covid: Challenges and Issues Bob Harrison

Download Presentation: Post COVID-19 A Digital Future for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment

14:45-15:30 Short presentations on experience/plans/visions Tony Cann, Maren Deepwell, Vikki Liogier, Caroline Wright

Download Presentation: AmplifyFE – Communities of Practice Sector Audit
Download Presentation: Fostering Sustainable Communities of Practice on the Enhance Digital Teaching Platform
Download Presentation: Supporting Schools through Lockdown – LearnED and LendED a BESA Case Study

15:30-16:15 Panel: Future of Aggregations of Online Educational Resources for FE Panel: John Domingue (Chair), Robin Ghurbhurun, Bob Harrison, Amy Hollier and David Monk.

Download Presentation: Symposium Chair – John Domingue

16:15-17:00 Roundtables on requirements and challenges in FE


Prof John Domingue - Photo
The Open University - Logo

Prof John Domingue

Director, Knowledge Media Institute, STEM Faculty, The Open University
The Open University

Symposium Chair

John Domingue [1] is a Professor of Computer Science at the Open University, Director of the Knowledge Media Institute [2], the OU’s technology research and innovation centre. He has published over 280 refereed articles (h-index 56) in the areas of semantics, the Web, distributed ledgers and eLearning. His current work focuses on how a combination of blockchain and Linked Data technologies can be used to process personal data in a decentralised trusted manner and how this can be applied in the educational domain [3]. Prof. Domingue is currently leading the Open University’s AI strategy and also serves as the leader of the first of five themes, on University Learners, for the £20M funded Institute of Coding [4] which aims to increase the number and diversity of computing graduates in the UK as well as enhancing the connection between university teaching and corporate training. Since January 2019, he has played a leading role in the EU funded QualiChain project [5] which has the aim of revolutionising public education and its relationship to the labour market and policy making by disrupting the way accredited educational titles and other qualifications are archived, managed, shared and verified taking advantage of blockchain, semantics, data analytics and gamification technologies. February 2020 saw the start of a new EU project, DEL4All [6], where under Prof Domingue’s leadership as Scientific Director, the OU will aid in road-mapping how education will be transformed due to the impact of blockchains, AI, data and augmented and virtual reality technologies.

  1. http://people.kmi.open.ac.uk/domingue/
  2. http://kmi.open.ac.uk/
  3. http://blockchain.open.ac.uk/
  4. https://instituteofcoding.org/
  5. https://qualichain-project.eu/
  6. https://www.del4all.eu/

Prof Ian Fribbance - Photo
The Open University - Logo

Prof Ian Fribbance

Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
The Open University

Ian Fribbance is Professor of Economics Education and the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences at The Open University, the largest faculty of its kind in Europe with over 60,000 students. Ian has 30 years’ experience of Higher Education and 5 years in Further Education too. Professor Fribbance is known for his track record in teaching innovation and excellence as well as widening participation, including introducing the teaching of financial capability into HE and using social media and live online conferencing to build academic communities at distance. His work has garnered multiple awards including a National Teaching Fellowship, an Open University Teaching Award, and a shortlisting for a Times Higher Widening Participation Initiative of The Year. Ian is also a Principal Fellow of Advance HE. As part of his work, Ian also leads the OU’s pre-University relationship work including with the FE sector and schools.

 Rebecca Garrod-Waters - Photo
Ufi - The VocTech Trust - Logo

Rebecca Garrod-Waters

Chief Executive at Ufi VocTech Trust
Ufi - The VocTech Trust

Rebecca Garrod-Waters is the Chief Executive of Ufi – The VocTech Trust, a charitable organisation championing the power of digital technologies to improve vocational education. Rebecca has been CEO of Ufi VocTech Trust, formerly Ufi Charitable Trust, since 2014 and has overseen substantial investment in VocTech and the funding of more than 200 projects that all change how people access and develop skills for work by using digital technologies in innovative ways. She is passionate about the potential for digital technology to positively transform the way vocational learning is delivered, and the power this will have to positively impact people’s lives and opportunities.

Dr Amel Bennaceur - Photo
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Dr Amel Bennaceur

Senior Lecturer in Computing and Communications
The Open University

Dr Amel Bennaceur is an academic and a Software Engineering Researcher with 12+ year experience in adaptive and intelligent systems. She published 30+ papers in top journals and conferences (TSE, ISWC, Middleware, RE, ECSA) and is an investigator in a number of EU and EPSRC research projects. She is dedicated to raising the profile of computing in wider society, and especially in introducing it as a career choice for young women and in further education. She leads the OU Cisco Academy, which had three Premier+ awards for major initiatives to train FE teachers and school teachers in programming, security, and networking.


Enabling Educators Locate high-quality teaching Resources

This talk will present the vision, mission and approach of the VocTeach project. VocTeach will deliver a pilot online resource platform for vocational education practitioners. The platform will enable educators to access and share information about digital resources, to enhance their teaching. These resources will include curriculum-relevant content, generic skills materials and software tools for use with learners.  Educators will be able to see which resources and tools are being used by others, and how such tools could be valuable in their own teaching. The platform will achieve this via facilities for reviews and recommendations of resources. Initially, VocTeach supports educators to teach English and Maths Functional Skills. VocTeach is being designed in close collaboration with teachers, colleges, awarding organisations, and champions. We are reaching out to the community to help us shape the solution to its specific needs. We will present the platform and seek your feedback.

Dr Petr Knoth - Photo
The Open University - Logo

Dr Petr Knoth

Senior Research Fellow in Text and Data Mining
The Open University

Dr. Petr Knoth leads the KMI’s Big Scientific Data and Text Analytics group (BSDTAG). He is the founder and Head of CORE (core.ac.uk), a service with over 30 million monthly active users providing access to the world’s largest collection of full text open access research papers aggregated from data providers around the world. Petr has a deep interest in the use of AI to improve research workflows and is a relentless advocate of open science. Petr has led the team developing the fosteropenscience.eu e-learning platform which has become widely used for training European researchers. Petr has also been involved as a researcher and as a PI in over 20 European Commission, national and international funded research projects in the areas of data science, text-mining, open science and technology enhanced learning and has over 70 peer-reviewed publications based on this work.


A UK national discovery and aggregation platform for FE

This talk will present the vision, mission and approach the VocTeach project is taking to introduce a UK national discovery and aggregation platform to help educators deliver high-quality teaching. This platform is being designed in close collaboration of teachers as well as data providers and we are reaching out to the community to help us shape the solution to its specific needs. In this talk we will describe how VocTeach will operate and present the progress in the platform’s development.

 Bob Harrison - Photo
Wolverhampton University - Logo

Bob Harrison

Visiting Professor
Wolverhampton University

Following a career in Further Education Bob worked for Toshiba as an Education Adviser. At the same time he worked for the National College of School Leadership on the Building Schools for the Future project where he designed and delivered the “Digital Futures” programme. He is an assessor for Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education Masters programme-Learning Design with Technology. He was a member of both Ministerial technology action groups FELTAG and ETAG. He was a trustee of the Ufi Vocational Trust for six years and is also a Governor of Oldham College. Bob is a judge for the TESFE,BETT ,E-Assessment, Learning Reimagined and EDTech50 awards for outstanding use of technology for teaching, learning and assessment.


A Digital Future for Further Education? New thinking required

In his presentation Bob Will challenge the current design principles behind teaching, learning and assessment in further, vocational and adult education and suggest that we need a generation of paradigm pioneers to realise the true potential of technology.

 Tony Cann CBE - Photo
Learning by Questions, LbQ - Logo

Tony Cann CBE

Learning by Questions, LbQ

Tony Cann founded Promethean which was set-up to develop interactive whiteboards and the associated teaching pedagogy to improve teaching and learning in schools and reduce teacher work-load.   Tony realised something else was necessary in addition to the front of class use of interactive whiteboards.  This led him to look at the use of technology to engage students through asking questions and giving feedback of the results in real-time for teachers to intervene or modify their lessons. Tony believes that we do not achieve the potential of most of our students and we need to do much more, particularly for the disadvantaged.    The Bowland Charitable Trust, which is Tony’s family charitable trust, supports a charitable development company, Learning by Questions (LbQ) – which uses technology in the classroom.  LbQ  is a classroom app filled with curriculum aligned Question Sets and immediate pupil feedback to super charge learning.  LbQ reduces teacher workloads with automatic marking and instant insight for effective interventions. It covers all abilities so you can support your students your way.


Making Remote Pedagogies Work

Dr Maren Deepwell - Photo
Association for Learning Technology - Logo

Dr Maren Deepwell

Chief Executive
Association for Learning Technology

Dr Maren Deepwell is the CEO of ALT, the Association for Learning Technology, shaping the direction of education technology and driving the field forward internationally. Maren writes regularly for publications in Higher and Further Education as well as policy development. With a background in Anthropology, Dr Deepwell’s particular focus is on a critical perspective on the development and future of technology in education, professionalisation and skills in Learning Technology including development of the CMALT accreditation framework and leveraging technology to create greater equity in education.


AmplifyFE - Communities of Practice Sector Audit

This audit identified close to 100 Communities of Practice (CoP) in total. The CoPs we audited include online community groups and networks around a common theme or interest set up by sector bodies and technology companies as well as independent groups run by individuals or groups of practitioners. In this session we will provide insights into the data we collected including key indicators such as levels of activity, number of members involved, subject focus such as functional skills, governance, and platforms and tools used. We will focus on particular examples of what the vocational, FE and Skills sector landscape looks like to highlight examples of what works - and what doesn’t, examining the characteristics of what makes a CoP sustainable in the long term and what happens when they undergo changes or transition between platforms.   We will also showcase the resulting  community of practice, https://amplifyfe.alt.ac.uk/, where vocational teaching staff are able to acquire, develop and share the digital, and digital pedagogical skills they need to thrive in vocational education.  The Communities of Practice Sector Audit is led by the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) and funded by Ufi - the VocTech Trust.

 Vikki Liogier - Photo
Education & Training Foundation - Logo

Vikki Liogier

EdTech & Digital Capability Expert
Education & Training Foundation

Vikki Liogier is French and has been living in England since 1987. She initially worked as a freelance illustrator and taught graphic design and illustration at South Thames College. In 1993 Vikki acquired her first Apple Mac, Wacom tablet, colour printer, Adobe suite and scanner, as she could foresee the impact such technology would have on the creative industries and education. From then on, she pursued her interest in the exploration and embedding of digital literacy and capability into her life and course delivery. In 2008, as a keen technology early adopter, Vikki decided to refocus her career on change management and digital capability. In 2018 she was recognised as one of the UK EdTech50 - A celebration of the people, products & projects shaping the education and technology sector across the UK. Since her appointment at the Education and Training Foundation, Vikki has been boosting the strength and capability of the FE profession in harnessing learning and teaching technologies, developing digital skills and redefining pedagogic approaches.


Fostering sustainable communities of practice on the Enhance Digital Teaching Platform

Adapting the curriculum-pedagogy delivery balance to include a third consideration: technology is not an easy task as it requires not only technology access and digital skills but, most importantly, pedagogy redefinition. This should not be carried out in isolation. ETF is therefore keen to develop a supportive community of practice and a place where we can engage in pedagogic debate, promote critical thinking, and impact on individual learning processes. The aim is to stimulate a pedagogic dialogue about the use of EdTech across the FE sector. In this session, Vikki will discuss the launch of the EnhanceDTP Super Contributor and Reviewer roles and how they will be instrumental in fostering sustainable learning communities of practice that will lead to the co-construction of knowledge and practice (Mercer et al., 2017). Three Key Points: 1) New learning space to reflect and share practices with FE colleagues 2) Unique professional development opportunities for practitioners 3) Gaining national recognition for taking part in a national community of practice.

 Caroline Wright - Photo
British Educational Suppliers Association, BESA - Logo

Caroline Wright

British Educational Suppliers Association, BESA

Caroline Wright is the Director General of the British Educational Suppliers Association. The UK’s trade association for the education industry. Representing more than 400 companies covering all aspects of education resources BESA carries out financial and due diligence checks on all its members as well as requiring them to adhere to a rigorous code of conduct so that educationalists can be confident that they are working with the UK’s most trusted, quality educational suppliers.


Supporting schools through lockdown – LearnED and LendEd a BESA case study

 Robin Ghurbhurun - Photo
Jisc - Logo

Robin Ghurbhurun

Managing Director UK  (Further Education and Skills)

An experienced C-Suite executive serving the Further Education and Skills sector for over 25 years. Robin is responsible as the UK Executive lead, for Jisc Further Education and Skill Policy, Engagement and Services. Robin leads on Jisc’s strategy for building the digital leadership capacity within FE and Skills institutions whilst also leading on the strategic engagement for FE and Skills with the Department for Education, Government departments, regional and combined authorities on policy, digital infrastructure planning and investment; plus, the strategic engagement and collaboration with other relevant agencies and digital suppliers. Robin is an experienced and former College CEO, trustee and non-executive director whilst also having held positions as Chair of educational establishments and technology associations. Throughout his career Robin has specialised in the creation of industry inspired learning environments coupled with the successful adoption of digital skills, infrastructure and enterprising environments for learners of all ages.

 Amy Hollier - Photo
Heart of Worcestershire College - Logo

Amy Hollier

Director of Blended & Online Learning
Heart of Worcestershire College

Amy moved into education after a career in the hospitality industry, specialising in wine. Her teaching career started at University College Birmingham where her interest in the use of emerging technologies within teaching and learning developed after wanting to find an alternative and engaging way of teaching wine studies to 16-18 year old students. This resulted in her developing Wine Find, a wine and food pairing app that achieved commercial success. Amy was previously Director of Teaching and Learning Enhancement at UCB teaching across FE and HE, before moving to Heart of Worcestershire College in 2019 as the Director of Blended & Online Learning and leading the Blended Learning Consortium.

 David Monk - Photo
Harlow College - Logo

David Monk

E Learning Development Coordinator
Harlow College

David has over 20 years experience working with EdTech in Further Education at Harlow College and in the Eastern region. His background is in learning resources but has also included teaching and for the last few years working as part of Harlow College’s innovative digital team, playing a key role in the college’s iPads for all strategy which has seen Harlow twice gain the prestigious Apple Distinguished Schools award, be recognised as one of this year’s EdTech Top 50 and play a key role in supporting other colleges as an EdTech Demonstrator College.

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