White Rose

A look back at the White Rose Learning Technologists Forum 

By Johanna Fenton and Ruth Clark, Co-Chair White Rose Learning technology Forum

On 29th February, the White Rose Learning Technology Forum (WRLTF) extended a warm welcome to both longstanding and new members to the HELIX space at the University of Leeds. Our afternoon kicked off with a networking lunch and an exciting opportunity for attendees to explore the VR equipment and demos created by the Digital Education Service at the University of Leeds, including a chance to experience the Omnideck, which creates a fully immersive virtual experience for participants.

Despite the magnetic pull of the various tech gadgets, we managed to coax everyone away from pieces of kit, to thank Graham McElearney,  the original founder of the WRLTF who has been chair for many years. Graham is now taking a well deserved break from chairing the group to focus on his new role at the University of Sheffield, which includes setting up a new makerspace there.  We’re looking forward to our invite once it’s set up Graham!

  • Current team structures post pandemic
    Our team dynamics have evolved as the world adapts to new norms. The various tables discussed their local structures and how they embed within various parts of their institutions.
  • Current challenges
    Our members encounter diverse challenges, including promoting our identity and services effectively, ensuring timely and optimal support, managing various technologies, maintaining the educational aspect of learning technology, and navigating the balance between quality assurance and enhancement. Additionally, we aim to motivate and incentivise staff to develop digital capabilities despite time constraints. How do we navigate these obstacles effectively, and how can we support each other?
  • Current or recent projects
    The room buzzed with excitement as attendees shared their current or recent projects. These snapshots offered a peek into the multifaceted role of learning technologists across different institutions and teams, including teams exploring online validated degrees and short courses, levelling the playing field through introducing wireless teaching, a course accessibility service, as well as sharing of E-Authoring projects to support flipped classroom approaches

These discussions aimed to showcase the diverse nature of the learning technologists role, and a chance to glimpse what this might look like for different institutions and teams, but also to help scope out themes for future events.

The steering group then facilitated an open discussion with members around what the network means to us and what we want from it. Key themes emerged, echoing earlier conversations. Participants view the forum as a safe space for candid discussions, emphasising trial-and-error experiences rather than just showcasing successful projects. The forum fosters mutual learning and encourages members to develop their identity as learning technologists, explore diverse practices, and share insights within a supportive community of practice.

The final discussions of the afternoon saw us breaking into small groups, those that were interested in joining the steering group (we’ll be in touch with next steps!) and those interested in gaining CMALT.

To wrap up the day, the team at University of Leeds provided a tour of the new HELIX space, which included visiting the makerspace, and different studios.

We hope that those who attended enjoyed the stay as much as the steering group did, and we look forward to welcoming new officers to the steering group in the coming weeks.  Once we’ve established the new roles, we’ll be looking to set some more events, get dates in the calendars and looking for speakers to share their stories and facilitate discussions.

Learn more about the White Rose Learning Technologists Forum.

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