All entries for March 2006

March 16, 2006

Progress meeting 16 March

We met to review progress on the Institutional Review Document (IRD): John Dale, Jay Dempster, Hywel Williams, Julian Moss and Darren Wallis. John chastised us all for not getting Blogging, so here goes…

Nobody has yet been able to dedicate sufficient time to do justice to the IRD, yet today's discussion was very encouraging. I think we will be able to say something substantive against each theme and associated set of questions (and thereby complete the immediate task in hand) but we should also be able to meet the broader aim – to learn something along the way. One conclusion I left with today, for example, was the contrast between the hard/mainstream financing of the e-learning advisor team and the soft/conditional financing for staff development for e-learning via CAP. Predictably, we are struggling to say anything very sensible on the cost-benefit side of the equation, since we don't tend to identify discrete e-learning elements in budgets and we don't tend to separate e-learning from other forms of learning in e.g. satisfaction surveys. (Anyway, I like Steve's comment in an earlier posting, that if it's identifiable as a discrete element it's not really embedded). The most memorable description from today's meeting was of Warwick as a "ferocious" consumer of e-journals (by an e-publisher).

There will be much more to discuss in concrete terms with the consultants next week than there was last time. We have managed to gather an impressive amount of precise data (number of accesses to e-journals and e-books for example!) but we have doubts about how meaningful some of these indicators can really be. Still, this is a pilot and we expect our views will help to shape and refine for future iterations. We have also made quite a bit of headway in terms of the points that need to be covered in the open text sections and there are a number of areas to pick up with Alan. It's interesting to note some of the assumptions in the questions, especially around institutional "requirements" for e-learning and top-down oversight of e-learning processes. Warwick's approach is different to that model and although it feels somewhat amorphous the evidence seems to suggest that, on the whole, it works.

Anyone interested should ask Julian Moss for a copy of the responses to the question on institutional drivers for e-learning. He has averaged 12 responses to date (it would be interesting to put the questions to a larger sample). Respondents were unanimous in believing that "improving teaching and learning" was a key reason for undertaking e-learning, but in response to the question whether "keeping up with the competition" was important, scores ranged from 5 (very important, a senior manager) to 1 (not at all important, an academic colleague)! All part of the diversity that underpins the Strategy I suppose.

The next steps: the group that met today will work – ferociously of course – on putting some more flesh on the IRD bones by next Wednesday; the IRD will go to Prof Whitby and Alan Schofield as the basis for discussion on Friday. At that point we perhaps ought to think about taking views more widely. Although there have been some opportunities for "local" input to date, it would be helpful to have a broader dialogue around the text.

March 13, 2006


I was interested to see in the THES on March 3rd that Nottingham Trent University are advertising for four e-learning posts:-

  • Senior Educational Developer
  • Education and Training Manager
  • Educational Developer
  • Learning Technologist

These post sit within the Educational Development Unit which is part of the Library, and which currently has six staff. It's an impressive piece of growth going from six to ten; teams rarely get close to doubling in size unless there's a big strategic push behind it.

March 2006

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