The International Week hosted by TAMK’s Vocational Teacher Education and R&D gathered a total of 24 guests from all around Europe. While workshops and group projects were great in combining different techniques and ideas, attendees also discovered interesting aspects related to student entrepreneurship and working spaces. Steven Ball, Valentina Mosconi and Conrad Webbe, all Learning Technologists came forward in TAMK’s Floworks to introduce Coventry University’s Centre of Excellence and opened up to future collaborations.
CELE or short for Centre of Excellence in Learning Enhancement is a specialist teaching and learning, research and development centre hosted within the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Coventry University, in UK. Initially set up as a Centre for Interprofessional e-Learning in 2005, the faculty discovered there was a specific need for a team of learning technologists. So after the project was finished, it turned into a centre for excellence. A core team of 11 people (including a director, learning technologists and researchers) work closely together with subject specialists, freelancers and students to develop eLearning packages and help out with the curriculum enrichment within the faculty.
“We support curriculum development, we do applied research projects and we also take commissions from businesses, mainly from the healthcare industry. We offer a range of services from web app development all the way up to augmented reality and virtual reality. So we cover a large spectrum of activities. “ is Steven’s description of CELE’s goals and activities.
When it comes to the use of technology in healthcare, Conrad explains the evaluation process and sees a potential opportunity for the students to be part of.
“Standard technologies like virtual learning environments, quizzes and assessments are used in various formats. Lecturers bring us different bits of software they use in trials to get a more professional opinion on their functions, to analyze if there is a gap in the curriculum or a potential for enhanced and increased learning and develop it from there. For some projects we employ students freelance and in placement positions as well. So if there is an opportunity to maybe do more programming, the computing students can help us with that. In regards of technology, some projects combine forms and modules to use in 3D game engines such as Blender, Unity and Oculus Rift simulated to test the effectiveness of our research.“
“Our faculty is very big so we have a lot of different subjects with very different needs”, Valentina adds.
Was there anything that caught their attention during the international week and worth considering applying back home? The first one to answer my question is Steven.
“To me, the student entrepreneurship aspect was really interesting, the way students gain their degrees and run companies. It’s really hands on the practical life scenario, which I think is really good. Also, virtual reality was one hot topic of the week and a couple of universities were interested in it. It really sparked people’s attention so we’re looking into that, connecting and maybe collaborating.”
“To me it would be thinking on how to apply this style of student learning and freedom into our areas since it seems to be working so well here, in Finland.”, says Valentina.
Conrad shows interest in the idea of international collaboration. “I think there is a potential for healthcare and virtual reality. We could start off with a chat to share all ideas and we’d be happy to do projects as well. And the one that we just came with within the development group sessions we had was in regards to international collaboration. How data and ethics work and looking on how we could do potential framework in that respect. It’s something to go further with, so yes, there are a couple of things that might actually happen from our meeting.”
Text & photo: Andruta Ilie
Note: Floworks is a 21st century development hub and a collaborative network at Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) focusing on improving TAMK’s resources and capabilities in digitalized learning and teaching.