learning, teaching and research (archive)

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Terry Wassall
Principal Teaching Fellow
School of Sociology and Social Policy
University of Leeds
West Yorkshire

I have been interested in the potential of communication and information technologies  to enhance and add flexibility to teaching and learning since 1984 when I did a post graduate teaching certificate at Huddersfield Polytechnic in Yorkshire after graduating and obtaining a Doctorate in Sociology at the University of Leeds. Since then I have been involved in a series of projects over a number of years to introduce and support on-line teaching and learning across the Leeds University with staff in all the Faculties. Over the last 20 years I have been involved in a large number of projects to promote and develop e-learning (now ‘blended learning’) in the University.

Since 2004 I have become increasingly interested in educational and learning issues that go beyond the boundaries of formal educational institutions. These interests can be briefly encapsulated under the headings of life long learning, the ‘expert’ learner, vicarious and informal learning processes and digital citizenship. To this I have looked in depth at discussions and implementations of e-portfolios and personal and social learning environments (PLEs and SLEs) with a particular focus on open source applications and free (or inexpensive) hosted web applications. These freely available applications and web services enable individuals, interest groups and organisations of all sizes to put together an on-line environment that integrates communication tools and resources that much of the functionality of  institutional managed virtual learning environments without the costs and institutional control and ownership. This interest has recently broadened to include the emerging Open Education movement.

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