SLE webinar for ELESIG: From Virtual to Strategic – the reinvention of an online learning environment

I gave my first webinar on Wednesday – was pretty good fun actually – although quite weird to be talking and making jokes, well what I thought were jokes, and not getting any feedback.  I think though that because people used the comments and chat box more there were more questions and you could respond to these whilst you were going through, which was great. And we had some good discussion afterwards.  So, I would definitely do a webinar again 🙂 oh and just as a matter of pride I had the most people attending an ELESIG webinar  – 50 people. V proud.

You can access all the resources on the ELESIG web site, and I’ve posted in the blurb that tells you what I am going to talk about below

Speaker: Professor Susannah Quinsee, Director Learning Development and Chair of Learning and Teaching Development

Most UK Universities have invested substantially in developing virtual learning environments (VLEs) over the past five to ten years. However, the rather monolithic and often inflexibility of VLEs, the rise of web 2.0 technologies and supplier changes, have made many institutions revisit this investment and question whether they really need a VLE.  As Mark Stiles (2007) has identified, VLEs often fail to inspire staff to engage in more innovative learning and teaching techniques.

At City University London we have a new learning and teaching strategy and a major review of our undergraduate education provision (determined by our recent University strategy).  These strategic drivers led us to ask the question “do we need a VLE?” to kickstart an evaluation process of our current VLE with a view to taking a more strategic approach to technology enhanced learning and improving our educational offerings. Over the past five years we have had considerable success in rolling it out the VLE across the University and most staff now accept that “CitySpace” is a core part of all teaching activities. After a six-month evaluation process with staff and students we issued a competitive tender for a new strategic learning environment and started the move to Moodle. Since then our emphasis has been on the strategic as opposed to virtual  because we saw the tools of a VLE as core to our University business but as one piece in a jigsaw of solutions, all wrapped up in our new institutional portal.

This webinar outlines the process we undertook in terms of stakeholder engagement during the evaluation phase and what we have done since then in rolling out the new SLE. It discusses our collaborative approach with Schools where we work in partnership to identify needs and pump prime development projects. The webinar will also explore how we have tried to develop a “redesign for delivery” approach to implementation which ensures the learner experience is at the heart of what we do.

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