A year in the life of the LDA

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The first thing I have learned in the past year is how to spell associate  a word I have always found tricky. I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to take up this post despite not having a totally clear idea of what it was I was going to do and as such the role has evolved somewhat organically over the past year.   In some ways this year has been a lesson in what not to do. But by learning what hasn’t worked it has taught me some valuable lessons. Being an LDA has been a great opportunity in terms of meeting people outside of the School of Health Sciences, and having the thinking space to consider how communcation can be enhanced through the use of Moodle.

The less good aspects about the role have to be related to time. When only working two days per week it really hasn’t been feasible to give over a full day per week to the LDA role. Initially I tried to separate my time on a strict Mondays for LDC work. Unfortunately the rest of my roles and responsibilities frequently made that impossible. I would imagine for someone who works full the time the delineation would be easier.

The projects I have undertaken haven’t in all honesty been roaring successes. Despite management being supportive of using Moodle as a communication forum, staff simply havent engaged with the Moodle space. This again is reflective of the limited amount of time we all have. If you don’t have time to chat around the water cooler in real life why would you want to do so virtually? I also wonder whether as we begin to deliver more courses via e-learning this attitude will shift. We simply don’t have an e-culture as yet nor do we have a particular need to develop one and lets face it necessity is the mother of invention, and at present this invention wasnt a necessity!

The thing I have enjoyed most about the LDA role is the fantastic support I have had especially from Olivia who has been a never-ending source of patience and sound advice. So whilst I may not have produced any ground breaking publishable research (yet!), I have developed a whole heap of experience in using Moodle as a communication tool, met some lovely people across the University and had the time and space to think about it all. All in all I hope a year well spent.

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