How do you promote e-learning?

e-learning-activities.jpg

Image from a blog post 

Part of my role at Bath Spa University is to promote the use of technology for learning, ed teaching and research. I am just about to take over chairing the school of Education’s e-learning group; one of our first tasks will be to articulate a vision for e-learning and a clear implementation plan. We’ve started an initial brainstorm of activities that might be set up to take this forward. I believe that variety is the key, stuff different things will appeal to different people, but as always what is challenging is finding ways to get beyond the usual suspects and enthusiasts to the mainstream. Much has been written about the challenges and opportunities of Technology-Enhanced Learning, see for example an article by Adrian Kirkwood and Linda Price.

I think effective use of technologies is for everyone across the university, not just the academics; so this includes: support staff, administrators, librarians, educational developers, IT support staff, learning technologies, etc. I am impressed with the way that Bath Spa is using Google tools effectively and routinely, not something I have experienced elsewhere.

Here is my initial starter for ten, not very imaginative I suspect, but tried and tested methods. Any suggestions for other things would be welcome!

Activity

Benefits

Risks

Preschool meeting share and tell sessions

To enable staff to share how they are using technologies, initial focus on the use of iPads

Not enough staff are willing to share

E-learning induction programme for new staff

To provide an overview of e-learning in the school and indicate where they can get support and training

New staff are not willing to engage or the session isn’t implemented

Series of external speakers – both face to face and via webinars

To bring in external expertise

Not able to recruit enough external speakers, poor attendance

E-learning festival – a two-hour session with lunch in the Commons, series of posters and stalls of exemplars of good practice

To recognise innovation, to showcase good practice, effective use of time

Not enough people willing to offer sessions, poor attendance

Development projects – competition for a learning innovation development with funding, working with learning technologist to design and implement, showcase at the end of the year

Provides a team-based approach, provides support and time out to undertake innovation, rewards innovation through showcase

Funding may be an issue, staff may not have time to invest

Hands-on workshops, examples might include: Learning Design, Mobile Learning, use of iPads, e-pedagogies, social media

Half-day or one-day sessions with lunch, practical hands-on focus, given by experts internally or externally

Not enough people volunteer to offer sessions, poor attendance

Participation in e-learning sessions advertise via social media, via organisations such as EDEN, ICEM and ICDE

Access to the broader e-learning community

People may not be used social media, will advertise sessions via education mailing list

Encourage presentation and participation in relevant e-learning conferences

Access to the broader e-learning community

People may need support in working up presentations and need help in targeting the right conferences

E-learning audit of existing practice

To gain a clear picture of current practice, to highlight good practice and identify areas for development

People may not be willing to share what they are doing

 

8 Responses to “How do you promote e-learning?”

  1. Gemma Tombs Says:

    This looks really interesting - I will be watching with interest and hope the sessions go well!

    I like your focus on where staff can get support for e-learning in the second activity, but I would highlight that in the first one as well. The main thing I have noticed in supporting ‘risky’ e-learning projects is that there’s a lot of uncertainty around what kinds of pedagogies work best for disciplines/courses/technologies etc, and those who are already using technologies might be willing to go a bit further with some extra support. I would also prioritise identifying champions in each area of the university if possible, as people are much more likely to adopt if there are a few boundary crossers on board as well.

    Definitely agree that getting the librarians on board is a good idea. I hadn’t worked much with them in my university before we were all put in the same office, but they’re actually undertaking some of the most innovative work in our institution.

  2. Pip Ferguson Says:

    Grainne, if Bath Spa has an e-portfolio system, perhaps encourage staff to prepare an e-portfolio with exemplars of good practice, whether digital or not. The e-portfolio process seems to be gaining ground as a way of featuring good practice and assisting with career possibilities. As there’s ’something in it for them’ besides just learning the new skill, this may be a sweetener.
    Good luck with this work!
    Kind regards
    Pip

  3. David Callaghan Says:

    Hi Gráinne

    Great post!

    Rather than suggestions for other stuff, can I build on your ideas?

    Re: Bringing externals in. I think this will be a great way of encouraging attendance. Note that I’d also try to use tech to bring speakers in (webinar?) – and would be happy to be involved in this. I’ve mooted a ‘pedagogy of peer-review’ session at our SOLSTICE conference – using webinars to bring externals into the conversation – perhaps you could join us?

    We’ve also be very taken by the e-learning festival idea – and would love to do something like UCL have done: http://ucldigifest.org/about-us/

    Competition: We encourage colleagues to submit to Blackboard’s Catalyst Awards: http://www.blackboard.com/Community/Catalyst-Awards/Exemplary-Course-Program.aspx and support them in doing so.

    Finally, we are using our own ‘Baseline’ document as a rubric for programme teams to see where they sit on the eLearning spectrum, and give them ideas of how they might improve their practice (http://www.eshare.edgehill.ac.uk/6892/).

    Very kindest regards to all, David

  4. Nick Kearney Says:

    I have found that it can be useful to identify people in each department who do use technology, and use their interaction with colleagues in day to day activity to put use of technology into informal conversations in the work place. Useful to have a few meetings with them to identify characteristics of this role, and the ways it works best.

  5. Gráinne Says:

    Good tip Nick

  6. Gráinne Says:

    Nice ones David! The OU does an annual ‘Learn about fair’ which is very popular, with free sandwiches lol

  7. Gráinne Says:

    Great idea pip! In fact the university is just investigating e-portfolios at the moment.

  8. Gráinne Says:

    Thanks Emma

    Think it is important to involve everyone, not just teachers, so librarians, learning technologist, administrators and even senior management! ;-)

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