Change in teaching and learning practice in a large and complex university requires a wide range of large-scale policies and small-scale supporting initiatives to be put in place and interconnected over an extended period, and e-learning is “being used as part of an organisation’s change management strategy” (de Freitas & Oliver, 2005). Garrison & Kanuka’s (2004) warning from almost fifteen years ago that “higher education institutions, especially universities, are notorious resisters to change” still applies today, as does their emphasis on a “critical need to move creatively and assertively to confront and adapt to [the] changes” brought about by a growing potential and availability of technology.
Drawing on de Freitas & Oliver’s factors for consideration when developing and implementing e-learning strategy (2005), the Digital Education team at [INSTITUTION] have pioneered a number of different approaches over the last decade, which we believe together have been successful in moving the academic community towards our overall strategic education objectives. [INSTITUTION] established a digital education ‘advisory’ function at an early stage to promote faculty-based and cross-institutional initiatives such as enhancing the role and skills of teaching administrators, for example though our innovative Certified Membership of ALT (CMALT) support programme, developing an E-Learning Champions community, encouraging better digital approaches to assessment and feedback, establishing an E-learning Baseline and recently the highly successful ‘ABC’ rapid-development approach to learning design which is now having a significant impact beyond [INSTITUTION]. An E-Learning Development Grants programme provided seed funding including advisory support for a wide range of user-driven projects, and similar programmes were available for specific purposes such as the development of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
Taken together, our initiatives closely match Garrison & Kanuka’s requirements for a successful adoption of blended learning, and by extension learning technology in general, to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of teaching and learning (2004) at an institutional level. In this session we will look critically how these elements have (a) contributed to more blended and online modes of learning and (b) supported [INSTITUTION]’s signature ‘Connected Curriculum’ educational strategy linking research with teaching and learning. The session addresses the conference strand: Collaboration for Learning Technology. It focuses on empowering staff and supporting leadership and scaling up innovation.
Our initiatives are documented publicly in an informal style at:
Session content: evaluation and reflection
The session is based on a historical compilation of e-learning strategy, development and implementation initiatives. To validate the portfolio of initiatives, we looked at existing literature on institutional leadership and organisational change with regards to learning technology integration and support in Higher Education with a particular view of supporting learning and teaching conceptually, strategically and pragmatically.
Each of our initiatives was monitored and evaluated individually using different, though not always consistent methods due to different contexts, varying levels of reach, and availability of resources. At a higher level, we are using models such as the ACODE Benchmarking tool built on the E-Learning Maturity Model described in Marshall (2016) and Higher Education TechQual+ Project (see Hall, Stephens & Kennedy 2014) to evaluate our normative position in the Higher Education sector as well as identify priorities across the full range of implementation areas. While detailed results from these benchmarks/surveys cannot be made available to participants, we will share insights gained from such large-scale evaluation exercises.
De Freitas, Sara & Oliver, Martin (2005), Does E‐learning Policy Drive Change in Higher Education?: A case study relating models of organisational change to e‐learning implementation, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 27 (1), 81-96.
Garrison, D Randy & Kanuka, Heather (2004), Blended learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher education, The Internet and Higher Education, 7 (2), 95-105.
Hall, Ian, Stephens, Jessica & Kennedy, Sarah (2014), Can you measure IT? The UK experience of TechQual+, Performance Measurement and Metrics, 15 (1/2), 32-40.
Marshall, Stephen (2010), Change, technology and higher education: are universities capable of organisational change?, ALT-J Research in Learning Technology, 18 (3), 197-192.
Resources for participants