The Role of VLEs in the Online Delivery of Staff Development


Within Higher Education, there is a growing need for staff development in the use of learning technology, as indicated strongly in the Dearing Report and elsewhere. The experience of the TALiSMAN project (Teaching and Learning in Scottish Metropolitan Area Networks) shows that there are groups of staff for whom on-line access is appropriate but to get material used it has to be designed and delivered appropriately. The growing availability of Virtual Learning Environments is one means to assist this process.

This project will provide access to an important case study to illustrate the potential value of VLEs and provide a set of exemplars for how they can be used by the sector. This will assist JISC to meet its general aim of providing and disseminating advice and guidance on the opportunities offered by information services.

1. Report
Provisionally entitled "The Use of Virtual Learning Environments in the Delivery of on-line staff development courses". This will be delivered in paper and electronic versions. The report will be delivered in two parts. the first part will be produced for the end of October 1998 and will include:

  • a discussion of the form of an on-line course: objectives, tasks, material, communication tools, and support models,
  • A summary of the initial on-line course models and experiences drawn from their delivery to over 200 members of staff distributed across Scotland.
  • Analysis of evaluation data from previous participants.
  • Comparative data from the use of self-access material provided through a commercial VLE.
The second part of the report (delivered at the end of January 1999) would extend on these issues and also cover:
  • Description of design guidelines for on-line access material to be used within staff development: including the style of the course, module size and accreditation issues.
  • A survey of tools already considered and the match between them and these needs will be presented, this will be extended to examine additional VLEs as further candidates making use of information provided by other projects.
  • Integration with other network tools such as the synchronous communication and collaborative work support offered by NetMeeting, ProShare, Timbuktu and CUSeeMe.
  • Recommendations would be made on the form of course provision and available tools.
2. Workshop presentation
We would expect to present the results of this project in workshops either externally identified or if relevant workshop takes place during the life of the project. These workshops will themselves be made available for electronic access. Delivery of face-to-face workshops is anticipated to occur in April/May 1999.

3. Online Training Course in VLEs
By completion of the project, appropriate materials will be packaged as an exemplar course to draw out the features of this form of delivery and this course made accessible to the sector as a whole. A further exemplar will be provided by the online version of the report.

A table, schematically representing the individual project tasks and deliverables is shown below.


As described above, dissemination of the results of this study will occur through the production of a report; workshops and a self study on-line training course. The report will be produced in two parts so that direct experiences can be reported earlier and then conclusions drawn, based on further work and responses to the initial report. The report would be disseminated through JISC and also through the existing activities of TLTSN, LTDI and TALiSMAN projects that have bases at ICBL. Two face to face workshops are planned but in addition the delivery technology will be used to produce an on-line course based on the report from this project enhanced with appropriate links and tasks.

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Last updated by Colin Milligan, 28th October 1999