University of Kent e-learning Strategy 2007

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1 University of Kent e-learning Strategy 2007 Page Executive Summary... 2 National Context... 3 Why engage?... 3 Why do we need a strategy?... 4 Institutional Context... 6 Background... 6 Vision and Guiding Principles... 7 Aims... 7 Strategic Objectives... 8 Implementation Plan... 9 Appendix Salmon s e-learning and pedagogical innovation framework Appendix University of Kent Operational Model References

2 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This e-learning strategy has been developed by the University e-learning strategy group and is informed by the 2006 paper Towards an e-learning strategy which provided clear guiding principles that e-learning development should be owned by departments and academics. The strategy begins by providing a national context which explores the rationale for engaging with learning technologies, identifying the key drivers for change and potential benefits of building e-learning capacity. When considering the national context, various models were identified and reviewed. The model found to be most consistent with the approach required at Kent was found to be the e-learning and pedagogical innovation framework developed by Salmon, and this is proposed as a model for progressing e-learning development at the University of Kent. The institutional context specific to Kent is then considered including the guiding principles of the 2006 paper, recent research findings on successful implementation, the University s Institutional Plan and the specific requirements of the Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy ( ). The vision is: For technology to be used effectively, creatively and confidently for the enhancement of the student learning experience. In order to achieve this vision, eight strategic objectives have been identified: Develop capacity for provision of e-learning and related support Support institutional strategies in learning and teaching, and inform e-learning developments in departments Promote creativity and innovation in learning and teaching Support and promote use of technology in assessment Support flexible delivery Provide student support Support monitoring, evaluation and quality assurance Engage in research into learning technologies and/or their application in learning and teaching A detailed description of these objectives with their associated targets, timeframes and operational responsibilities is presented in the Implementation Plan. A key requirement will be the building of capacity for e-learning within the University. The proposal for this is an operational model which includes a team of learning technologists to provide direct support to departments, combined with the development of departmental plans, central support of certain core technologies and processes, and appropriate staff development. 2

3 NATIONAL CONTEXT Why engage with learning technologies? Technology is an external driver for change which permeates our lives, including the way we work, study and research. E-learning, defined for the purposes of this document as learning facilitated and supported through the use of information and communication technologies 1 is becoming increasingly important in all educational sectors, as governments and institutions strive to take advantage of the benefits of technology. The Department for Education and Skills 2 takes a strategic approach to the future development of ICT in all education sectors, with ideas of increasing motivation, improving educational outcomes, personalisation of choice and support, higher efficiency in administration, developing assessment practices, furthering collaboration between organisations in fact, transforming the experience of learning. HEFCE 3 published its strategy for supporting e-learning with plans to work with partners and universities to fully embed e-learning in a sustainable way within the next 10 years, and also includes aims for a more student-focused, flexible system which supports lifelong learning. Key drivers for change include increasing student expectation and engagement with technology, responding to a larger and more diverse student body, providing more flexible modes of study to allow for part-time working or even work-based learning and improving opportunities for enhanced learning and teaching, efficiency and increased competition, both local and global. There are many reasons to increase our capacity to be able to take advantage of current and emerging technologies. Increasing student expectations of technology. Enhancing the student learning experience Developing and enhancing the curricula Providing a media rich learning and teaching environment with an increased range and quality of teaching resources Accessing the resources of an increasingly networked world Developing more flexible and accessible ways of working Providing provision over multiple campuses Allowing different modes of delivery and extending access Providing high quality provision for students with disability Increasing support for student learning including choice of learning approach, help with revision and retention. Facilitating communication Engaging with the wider world Encouraging creativity Many of these potential benefits to engaging with learning technologies for students, staff and the University were recognised in the 2006 principles paper 4 as being pertinent to Kent. The list is not exhaustive; indeed as technology is constantly changing we can not predict 1 LTB 43/2004 and JISC e-learning pedagogy programme 2 DfES 2005 Harnessing Technology 3 HEFCE 2005/12 HEFCE strategy for e-learning 4 See LTB 26/2006 3

4 what tools will emerge or the uses creative people will find for them (see Becta 5 ). We can not know what the needs of our students or the University will be in 20 years time, or how the curricula will need to develop to provide a worthwhile student experience in a global age 6, but building e-learning capacity increases the ability of an institution to respond to change. Building capacity is therefore a key objective for many institutions Change is occurring. Over 80 percent of HE Institutions now have a virtual learning environment (VLE). Two recent QAA audits 78 looked at institutions support for e-learning and VLEs and found general recognition of their central importance for the effective delivery of e-learning. The HE Academy is conducting a benchmarking exercise in response to feedback from institutions about the need to understand more about their own, and the sector's, progress in e-learning. However, there is already clear evidence from the QAA, HEFCE and JISC 9 that the experience of institutions shows successful implementation of e-learning requires a strategic approach to the development of institutional frameworks and policies. It also requires change at all levels, and the LTSN considers this culture change to be the most difficult aspect of implementation; one which requires leadership, institutional commitment and an e- learning strategy. Why do we need an e-learning strategy? An e-learning strategy is needed to help focus resources including infrastructure, staff development and support. There are many instances of good practice around the University, but there is insufficient support available. The University needs to build capacity and skills to be ready and able to respond quickly to, and benefit from, the fast moving changes of an increasingly networked world. Kent needs to position itself well. There are many different visions and models for e-learning and its implementation, but each institution must devise its strategy to suit its own mission and unique set of circumstances. We are aware of the features of best practice and information from benchmarking exercises is increasingly available. Indeed, recent research on the student experience of blended e- learning 10, gives five recommendations for implementation which we have included in our own guiding principles (see below). However, appropriately harnessing the potential of learning technologies requires a complex strategic process. One model which addresses this complexity is the e-learning and pedagogical innovation framework created by Salmon 11 at the University of Leicester. It is a framework which helps to stimulate discussion and clarify the reason for choosing an e- learning development at institutional, departmental and modular level that feeds back into further developing e-learning strategy and providing appropriate resource; it could be used 5 Becta 2006 Emerging Technologies for Learning 6 Barnett & Coate 2005 Engaging the Curriculum in Higher Education OUP 7 QAA (2006) Outcomes from institutional audit: Institutions support for e-learning. 8 QAA (2006) Outcomes from institutional audit: Learning support resources, including virtual learning environments. 9 JISC InfoNet 2006 Implementing e-learning infokit 10 Sharpe, R., Benfield, G., Roberts, G. & Francis, R The undergraduate experience of blended e-learning: a review of UK literature and practice. Higher Education Academy ( ). 11 Salmon, Gilly Flying not flapping: a strategic framework for e-learning and pedagogical innovation in higher education institutions. ALT-J, Research in Learning Technology Vol. 13, No. 3, September 2005, pp

5 to assist departments discuss the rationale for employing learning technologies and develop e-learning plans. Created as a four quadrant matrix, the framework stresses that there must be a clear objective to employing a technology, (see Appendix 1 for potential application at Kent). The objective may be pedagogical, i.e. allowing different approaches to learning and teaching, adding to the quality of resources or delivery or engaging in collaborative projects at a distance; it may be achieving institutional aims such as increasing international student recruitment, providing all students with parity of access to online module information or promoting increased flexible delivery; it may be aiding a department to develop new modules to reach a new student group, deliver new programmes or aim to improve student retention; or the objective may even be to test the technology itself, to investigate the affordances of technology and to evaluate the educational potential. According to Salmon, e-learning should be used to target areas where it will make a difference. Using the framework can help focus on objectives and the shape of future provision. The importance of considering the role of technology, pedagogy and objectives when evaluating future (or current) e-learning developments requires engagement in, and ownership of, the process by departments and academics. Successful development and implementation needs appropriate resources and a departmental plan for how those resources will best be used. In order to facilitate this engagement at Kent, support will be provided for discussing and developing departmental approaches, including the effective use of a range of learning technologies and staff development needs, through Faculty Learning Technologists. In addition to institutional and departmental plans there must be a reliable infrastructure. The University will provide and fully support certain core technologies and processes, such as VLE administration and staff training. It will also assist departments to consider piloting peripheral technologies i.e. those not centrally provided which a department wishes to trial, e.g. podcasting. The University approach is to base provision on a well chosen set of technologies that are integrated and supported in order to provide a sufficiently stable platform to allow sustained learning and teaching activity to take place. As new technologies emerge these will be evaluated by IS and, and if adopted by departments, rolled out, often through the use of pilot programmes followed by planned wholesale migration where required. The consistency and quality of the user experience needs to be maintained at a high level, partly through the integration and support of chosen technologies. In order to ensure maximum integration is achieved and departmental and student use appropriately supported, it is important to avoid duplication of technologies; supporting one VLE and integrating it to SDS, services such as Turnitin, the Student portal and the Single sign-on system is sustainable. Any model for e-learning implementation must deal with the subject of change. Here, change is seen as mainly moderate and incremental: involving engagement with management, academics, and support staff; steadily enhancing existing practice by providing support for the use of core technologies, carefully piloting new technologies and investing in personal and departmental development. This model of change is very different from a large scale, centralised approach, although there will be areas where this centralisation of vision and services will be needed, for example, with the provision of core technologies, policies and services. The framework is an appropriate model for Kent because it is not linear. It does not see the use of technology as necessarily proceeding along a continuum (e.g. from face to face to online, or for e-learning to be used in a blanket fashion) but rather that its implementation 5

6 should be strategically selected, within a specific context, in order to achieve a particular goal. The framework does not prescribe any particular pedagogical approach or assume acceptance of any particular learning theory. It accepts that technology, institutional, departmental and modular goals, pedagogic approaches and external factors are constantly changing, and seeks to engage the ideas of people most closely involved with the changes to offer solutions. 6

7 INSTITUTIONAL CONTEXT Background The University has previously produced two draft e-learning strategies for consultation at Faculty and Departmental level (2002 and 2004) 12. In response to the latter, the Learning and Teaching Board requested that the management processes for e-learning be clarified (i.e. roles of the centre vs. departments) and that a coherent cost-benefit analysis be undertaken to address the potential benefits and resource requirements of effectively supporting further e-learning developments. At this time, the University supported WebCT but take up by academics was still extremely limited. However in 2005/6, in response to an active staff development programme, there was a 10 fold increase in WebCT usage and increased demand for further e-learning developments. In 2006, the next iteration Towards an e-learning strategy 13 was produced, discussed at the QME network and then approved by the Learning and Teaching Board. This was not a strategy per se but a principles paper, giving a framework for a broad vision for the development of e-learning at Kent. The flavour of this document was that e-learning should primarily be about learning and that ownership and the steer for development should be led by academics and departments, with support from learning technologists and a centrally supported infrastructure. This e-learning strategy is cognisant of those guiding principles. It supports the University Institutional Plan, particularly with regard to quality of student learning experience, flexible delivery and parity of student experience. It also articulates with the Learning Teaching and Assessment Strategy in enabling the provision of accessible, flexible and diverse learning opportunities, and is designed to meet objective 6.1.4: Develop an e-learning strategy to enhance the range of pedagogic uses of e-learning by staff and students and to support the delivery of blended and flexible learning including assessment (CAA), and to support other strategic outcomes associated with student support, staff development, QA/QE and work with HE/FE partners. 12 See LTB 61/2002 and LTB 43/ See LTB 26/2006 7

8 Vision and Guiding Principles Following from these underpinning foundations, and the points raised in the previous sections, there has developed the following e-learning vision, aims and objectives, and accompanying implementation plan. The vision for Kent is for technology to be used effectively, creatively and confidently for the enhancement of the student learning experience. Guiding Principles Encourage ownership by academics and departments Support developments related to the LTA strategy Employ specific rationales for use according to the institutional, departmental or course needs Use technologies appropriately, with an understanding of pedagogical and quality issues Provide for student support in developments and consider issues of parity Evaluate and engage in dissemination to provide feedback and inform policy. Aims Following these guiding principles, and responding to previous consultations involving e- learning strategies at Kent, we have developed an enabling organisational structure (see Appendix 2) to support the development of e-learning at Kent and enhance the range of pedagogic uses of e-learning by staff and students. This structure consists of an e-learning committee, Learning Technologist, Faculty Learning Technologists, and departmental e-learning contacts. The University will also: provide and fully support a range of core technologies, and assist with evaluating peripheral technologies provide information and support to academic departments to help them decide on, implement and evaluate their e-learning developments, including the appropriate use of educational technologies, instructional / learning design, quality considerations and staff development needs provide appropriate staff development 8

9 Strategic Objectives The following 8 strategic objectives meet the requirements of the Institutional Plan and the LTA strategy are based on best practice across the sector in the UK. They build on the strengths of Salmon s innovative and successful framework for the implementation of e- learning in Higher Education and draw on the structure and support services outlined above in consultation and in partnership with academic departments. When adopted at University, faculty and departmental level, they will provide a robust basis for implementation of the University s e-learning strategy over the next crucial three years. Strategic Objectives 1. Develop capacity for provision of e-learning and related support 2. Support institutional strategies in learning and teaching, and inform e-learning developments in departments 3. Promote creativity and innovation in learning and teaching 4. Support and promote use of technology in assessment 5. Support flexible delivery 6. Provide student support 7. Support monitoring, evaluation and quality assurance 8. Engage in research into learning technologies and/or their application in learning and teaching Further details of each objective follow in the Implementation Plan. 9

10 IMPLEMENTATION PLAN Strategic Aim: To enable technology to be used effectively, creatively and confidently for the enhancement of the student learning experience Strategic Objectives Targets Timeframe 1. Develop capacity for provision of e- learning and related support 1.1 Recruit and induct 3 Faculty Learning Technologists (FLTs) 1.2 Develop the role of the recently appointed learning technologist Sept 07 Sept 07 Operational Responsibility 1.3 Establish an e-learning committee to discuss operational and strategic issues on a termly basis Oct Interface with Information Services (IS) with regard to Ongoing, IS, FLTs provision of core technologies (VLE administration and technical issues) piloting and further implementation of peripheral technologies, including Turnitin, classroom technologies and software 1.5 Provide staff development for core and peripheral technologies Ongoing IS,, FLTs 2. Support institutional strategies in learning and teaching, and to inform e-learning developments in departments 2.1 Assist departments to incorporate e-learning implementation into departmental plans and annual monitoring reports 2.2 Centrally provide a VLE module complete with basic administrative information from SDS and the Programme Handbook for each taught module Feb 08 Sept 07 FLTs, Departments IS 2.3 Re-develop the e-learning website to disseminate best practice, case studies and other relevant information (e.g. national initiatives, key documents, guidelines etc) Dec 07 & ongoing 2.4 Create networks for discussion, support and sharing best practice Dec 07 & ongoing, FLTs, Departments, Academics 10

11 Strategic Objectives Targets Timeframe 3. Promote creativity and innovation in learning and teaching 3.1 Support and encourage academics to engage with e-learning by identifying potential uses of learning technologies including effective use of VLEs, use/creation of e-resources, appropriate learning design in a subject area, exemplars of best practice Ongoing Operational Responsibility FLTs, 3.2 Provide information, advice and the opportunity to explore new technologies e.g. podcasts, web-conferencing, or multi-media authoring software Ongoing FLTs, 4. Support and promote use of technology in assessment 4.1 Support the use of technology in formative assessment and feedback e.g. VLE assessment tools, Turnitin Grademark, PebblePAD e-portfolios tools Sept 07 & ongoing FLTs,, IS 4.2 Review current best practice of summative e- assessment and provide recommendations for use and development Feb Provide University guidelines for using e- assessment summatively Oct Engage with the LearnHigher CETL (with responsibility for assessment) Sept Support flexible delivery 5.1 Provide expertise in designing both blended and fully on-line courses, for use in a variety of learning environments, including student support, accessibility, quality considerations and QAA codes of practice Oct 07 FLTs, 5.2 Advise on the use of VLE and other technologies to support students on flexible or blended course Oct 07 FLTs, 6. Provide student support 6.1 Ensure students are made aware of the support available to them for using the VLE Oct 07 Departments,, FLTs, IS 6.2 Ensure students are aware of how their courses use the VLE and the related expectations on them e.g. submission of assignments, frequency of logging on, input to discussion boards etc Oct 07 Academics, Departments, FLTs 6.3 Provide an institutional VLE training module for students to cover all tools including e- submission via Turnitin Oct Provide information on study skills and developing their e-learning techniques and strategies Feb 08 FLTs 11

12 Strategic Objectives Targets Timeframe 6.5 Support student engagement in the use of e- portfolios e.g. PebblePAD Dec 07 Operational Responsibility Departments, FLTs, 7. Support monitoring, evaluation and quality assurance 7.1 Monitor and evaluate the use and impact of e- learning in departments to inform the departmental plan and annual monitoring report 7.2 Collect and analyse student feedback on their e-learning experiences Dec 07 Feb 08 Departments, FLTs, FLTs, Departments, Academics 7.3 Gather data on the use of e-learning at Kent to allow comparison with national benchmarks and inform future institutional strategic developments Mar Ensure that all regulations relevant to e- learning are readily available via the e-learning website e.g. QAA codes of practice, University regulations, information and guidance on e- copyright, IPR, accessibility etc Dec Engage in research: learning technologies and/or their application in learning and teaching. 8.1 Identify current areas of good practice, or develop a practice base which is sufficiently robust and innovative to support bids for externally funded projects 8.2 Actively engage with organisations such as the HE Academy, JISC, subject centres, HEFCE and identify potential opportunities for research projects Jan 08 Jan 08 FLTs, academics, departments, FLTs, academics, departments, 8.3 FLTs to seek certified membership of the Association of Learning Technologists and engage in research July 08 FLTs 8.4 Develop a reward and recognition scheme to recognise and encourage e-learning best practice Feb 08 12

13 Appendix 1: Salmon s E-learning and pedagogical innovation framework 14 Created as a 4 quadrant matrix, it engages consideration of technology, pedagogy, objectives (e.g. curriculum development, new modules), mission (e.g. institutional, departmental) and markets (e.g. outreach, international provision) when evaluating current or future e-learning developments. Below is an example of how it might apply to Kent. current technology/pedagogy current objectives/ mission Exploiting the currently available core technologies more fully to improve the current provision. E.g. the objective may be to increase the quality of resources or student support, or vary delivery on an existing module. VLE Turnitin (Plagiarism Detection Software) Library e-resources Use a wider range of the VLE tools e.g. organisation tools, communication tools, journals, e-assessment, or e-submission of assignments via Turnitin. What is the current level of knowledge and skills in the department? Are students sufficiently supported? new technology / pedagogy current objectives /mission Exploring new technologies to improve current provision. Can these technologies help? How are they being used at other universities? How are they used in your subject area? Are they being used in a pedagogically interesting way e.g. using online constructivist approaches, simulations, recorded feedback for language students, renegotiating lecture practices? Is there a rationale for conducting a pilot? Areas such as: Podcasting, desktop conferencing, video conferencing, VLE voice tools, lecture recording, multimedia content creation, e- assessment tools, classroom technologies e.g. voting systems, mobile technologies e.g. i-pods, smartphones, PDAs or wireless networks, blogs, wikis, communities of practice, networked learning. current technology / pedagogy new objectives /mission Further exploiting the current technologies and exploring teaching approaches to enable new provision in terms of student groups, international delivery or collaboration, new disciplines or levels of study, flexible delivery, work-based learning, engaging with the wider community. new technology / pedagogy new objectives mission May be highly innovative and potentially risky ventures, although this depends on the particular circumstances - technologies new to your department may be well established elsewhere. This quadrant also includes research with very newly developed and untested technologies or pedagogic approaches, plus development of new technologies themselves, often involving projects done in collaboration. E.g. researching the use of the Second Life Virtual World. 14 Salmon, Gilly Flying not flapping: a strategic framework for e-learning and pedagogical innovation in higher education institutions. ALT-J, Research in Learning Technology Vol. 13, No. 3, September 2005, pp

14 Appendix 2: Operational Model for September E-learning strategy group (ELSG) Web strategy steering group (WSSG) E-learning committee (implementing & informing e-learning strategy) Learning Technologist Faculty Learning Technologists IS Technical support coordinator Departmental e-learning coordinators Faculty Learning Technologist Departmental e-learning coordinator e-learning plan Faculty Learning Technologist Departmental e-learning coordinator e-learning plan Faculty Learning Technologist Departmental e-learning coordinator e-learning plan Various support networks between and among department and academics e-learning web site IS support 14

15 References Barnett, R & Coate, K Engaging the Curriculum in Higher Education. Open University Press Becta 2006 Emerging Technologies for Learning DfES 2005 Harnessing Technology Ferdig, R. E Assessing technologies for teaching and learning: understanding the importance of technological pedagogical content knowledge. British Journal of Educational Technology Vol. 37 No JISC 2007 Effective Practice with e-assessment JISC (accessed 2007) E-learning pedagogy programme JISC InfoNet 2006 Implementing e-learning infokit HEFCE 2005/12 HEFCE strategy for e-learning Mayes, T & de Freitas, S JISC e-learning Models Desk Study. Stage 2: Review of e- learning theories, frameworks and models. QAA 2006 Flexible Delivery. Accessing JISC and Higher Education Academy resources to support flexible delivery. A briefing paper for managers and practitioners. ( QAA (2006) Outcomes from institutional audit: Institutions support for e-learning. QAA (2006) Outcomes from institutional audit: Learning support resources, including virtual learning environments. LTSN Generic Centre 2003 A Guide for Senior Managers: e-learning series no.1. The Open University 2006 Report for JISC roadmap for e-assessment Salmon, Gilly Flying not flapping: a strategic framework for e-learning and pedagogical innovation in higher education institutions. ALT-J, Research in Learning Technology Vol. 13, No. 3, September 2005, pp Sharpe, R., Benfield, G., Roberts, G. & Francis, R The undergraduate experience of blended e-learning: a review of UK literature and practice. Higher Education Academy ( ). 15

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