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Contact-new.svg Alessandro (Alex) di Savoia
Blog:The not so secret Aardvark diaries
Employer:University College Falmouth
Occupation:Lecturer/Managing Director, Aardvark Records
Nationality:American & Italian
Country:Ukflag.png UK

About me

I´m a part-time undergraduate and postgraduate lecturer, eLearning project manager and Open Education evangelist at a British university. I have a dual BA in Comparative European Literature and Philosophy, a PGCHE in Education with an emphasis on eLearning, and am currently contemplating pursuing a doctorate degree with a focus on open education learning design, social learning, self-directed learning objectives or retention. My lecturing specialism is Digital Branding. This unit forms part of a Professional Practice unit for our Art, Design, Media and Performance students. The unit introduces students to the concept of 'Brand' and engages them in the practice of creating their own brand identity and translating this online. The unit encompasses building a branded website, online professional networking within their respective industry/field, building social networks within their respective industry/field, engaging consumers and B2B partners online and online marketing and promotion. My approach to teaching Digital Branding is based upon addressing the barriers and fears with technology and/or the Internet to enable and motivate students to engage in online branding with confidence. Students are provided with a variety of learning opportunities to motivate them and encourage them to accomplish their individual goals as well as achieving the goals of the curriculum.

The fundamental precept of the unit is to prepare students for work within their respective field upon completion of their degree. Reflecting the nature of specialist Art, Design, Media & Performance HE education at UCF, this unit requires students to collaborate, as well as working individually, with peer-to-peer feedback and crits. The learning environment is student-focused and is based on the requirements of the creative industries as well as the interests and needs of the students. Technology used within this unit provides teaching flexibility in addressing a variety of learning styles, needs and requirements.

My research interests include online retention, social learning and the process of self-directed learning goals.

Open Education

Within the context of Open Education, I have a keen interest in OE 2.0. openSpace is being designed as a flexible OE VLE that recognises different users and learners: people interested in Career & Professional Development, Casual Learners, Lifelong Learners, Students and other Higher Education Institutions. The VLE is required to be flexible enough to meet such divergent needs and uses whilst delivering a critically informed learning experience.

My specific areas of interest within this project are:

- how students learn within OE
- how students set their learning goals and outcomes; and how they persist within this process
- the process of social learning/peer-to-peer education online
- how institutions and employers can recognise OE achievement

Professional Practice

I am the Managing Director of Aardvark Records, a UK-based independent record label. I am also the Head of Aardvark Dance, Aardvark Records dance music subsidiary. Within both roles, I oversee the day to day operations of our B2B, B2C and Communications operations - both online and offline.

Within the music industry I'm seen as something of a maverick and a trailblazer. I've embraced the capabilities and possibilities of the internet since 1994.

I've enjoyed being amongst the first music industry executives to engage with podcasting, building branded social networking platforms, interactive communications between our artists and their fans, supporting internet radio, building B2B and B2C relationships online, using and promoting our embeddable audio & video widgets, using RSS feeds and pushing the envelope in terms of getting the labels' music and videos out to a worldwide audience online.

I'm privileged to bring this level of personal, 'in the trenches', experience to the classroom.

My specific areas of interest are:

- Online brand relationships with consumers
- Brand continuity
- Brand socialization dynamics
- 'Humanising' technology
- Seamless brand integration across different platforms and environments

Presentations and Projects

openSpace - Specialist Art, Design, Media & Performance Higher Education Virtual Learning Environment, [1], launches March 2010
Creating OE for Art, Design, Media & Performance Students, [2], paper presented at the Open Education Conference, Vancouver, 12-14 August 2009
Help Me - I’m Going to be a Student: Using Electronic Media to Support and Enhance Early Engagement with New Students, [3], paper co-presented at the Designs on eLearning Conference, Penn State, September 2008