The winners of the 2015 Credo Reference Digital Award for Information Literacy are Chris Rowell and Andy Horton (Regent’s University London) for The Twelve Apps of Christmas. This engaging and entertaining open online course took place over 12 days in December 2014. On each of the twelve days a different app was introduced to the participants. There was a summary of the app, what it could do and some ideas about how it could be used. Learners downloaded the app and then could attempt a simple ’10 minute activity’. These activities were deliberately kept practical to give the users a real feel of how they would use the app in practice. The course was also an open resource that was available for anyone to join:
“When we set up the course our target audience were the teaching and professional services staff at Regent’s, and the wider Higher Education community in the UK. It soon attracted international interest, too. By the final day the number of learners had risen to 543. The majority of the participants were from other universities in the UK, and some from other English speaking Universities from around the World “(Andy Horton).
There were two innovative aspects of the course. Firstly, its content. Because the use of apps is relatively new in HE there are few resources on how to use them in a HE context. There is quite a lot of literature on the different apps available but very little considering using these apps with students. Secondly, the design of the course is aimed at busy professionals working in HE institutions. Each app had short practical tasks that participants could do whenever they had time in the day. This was reflected in the course feedback:
“this course has been a really good example of how to run such a course. I’ve signed up to other similar activities before but they’ve taken far too much time to do, and unfortunately I just don’t have a hour a day to devote to something else as well as “the day job”, but this MOOC has been just right – something small each day, with a short activity, or if you don’t have time to actually try the app, some discussion about it from those who have had a go. A great experience – many thanks to the team at Regent’s for putting this together!”
Judges Jade Kelsall (University of Manchester) and Michelle Schneider (University of Leeds) were impressed with the way in which the resource combined high quality practical content with an imaginative and original presentation:
“Personally, I was particularly impressed with how transferrable it was. As well as being an open resource, the underlying model of the course could be applied in any context. It took a number of different elements of good practice from across the sector and brought them together into something new and fresh” (Jade Kelsall).
“It was very well thought-out, well packaged and fun! The number and range of participants that the course attracted, both nationally and internationally is a testament to how easy you made it for people to engage in the course” (Michelle Schneider).