This poster presentation and GASTA talk will offer participants the chance to reflect on the experiences of a distributed tertiary institution as it implements a new learning environment (LE). In August 2019 Brightspace by Desire to Learn will replace Blackboard. The team will share information collated from data collected from a variety of sources relating to the effectiveness of the approach taken to staff professional development by scrutinising:
1. The extent to which the tools and features of the new LE have contributed to unit(s)/module(s) reflecting the University’s Learning, Teaching and Enhancement Strategy (LTES) Core Values (UHI,2019)
2. Feedback from students studying early adopter pilot courses
The experiences and reflections of the team will be of interest to learning technologists, staff developers and managers who are planning to roll out software or technology related to Learning and Teaching and are interested in maximising the potential for enhancement of learning and teaching practice in relation to the new technology.
This professional development and training project aims to build staff capacity and confidence in the use of the new learning environment and to enhance teaching and learning practice across the university consistent with the values of the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Strategy (LTES)
In summary, the approach taken comprised a flexible core delivery (including self-directed online resources, webinars and face-to-face workshops) to meet the varied needs of staff across the Partnership. Champions delivered face to face training in each Academic Partner. Separately, processes were devised to ensure staff had timely access to unit/module spaces. Staff have a variety of options to migrate their content from the existing to the new LE. Benchmarks help staff ensure the LTES core values were embedded in unit(s)/module(s). Evaluation and monitoring comprises gathering data that reflects user experience of professional development, unit/module review and data from online interventions.
The project team have reflected on progress to date. At the time of writing, data is not available to allow the team to fully evaluate the extent to which staff confidence in using the new LE has led to unit(s)/module(s) reflecting the LTES core values. The team will discuss emergent data in relation to several factors already having an impact on the aims of the project:
• Developing staff confidence is multi-dimensional for new technology developments. Including how to use tools and features, how to design learning, which uses the tools and features, and how to teach effectively online by integrating the LTES values
• Staff need protected time to engage with the professional development opportunities and to build their courses in the new LE. The design of these opportunities should be as flexible as possible.
• The tertiary nature of the organisation affects the above in many ways including programme/course/unit/module structure, stakeholder engagements and for example communication channels.
• Embed legislative compliance including ‘privacy by design’ throughout any learning technology project.
• Timing of license renewal has an impact on technology rollout. Licenses renewed at the end of the academic year, for example, will have impact on the arrangements for resits.
University of the Highlands and Islands (2018) Learning Teaching and Enhancement Values [online] Available at: https://www.uhi.ac.uk/en/learning-and-teaching-academy/supporting-innovation/learning-and-teaching-enhancement-strategy/learning-and-teaching-enhancement-values/ (accessed 13/03/19)