e-Learning@DMU Benchmarking Blog

This is a place for some chat about the HEA's e-learning benchmarking exercise - at least in its DMU incarnation...

Friday, November 24, 2006


I figure that today's post should focus on benchmarking - the least said the better about that batting performance really. Except that this game could be the making of Ian Bell, a man who represents the future of the England top-order. Much of his torment in 2005 at the hands of Warne and McGrath was a function of slight misjudgement outside off-stump, which the best players work to correct, or plain bad-luck - in the case of Warne's third leg-spinner at Lords, which Bell read but that didn't turn. On the back of that the media and the public were quick to judge - them's the breaks - but the advent of Web2.0 technologies and cultures mean that we are all critics now.

Anyway, Bell's mental strength over the past year highlight that the risks taken in sticking with him were worth taking. He will go on to score 8,000 test runs and average over 45. For all his faults this is one element of Fletcher's leadership that counts - the ability to take advice and then judge a performer in light of the bigger picture. What or who will make a long-term difference to performance? Are we willing to take some short-term hits along the way?

So I'll be interested to see whether we can uncover an e-learning picture @DMU that looks long-term. One that accepts the hits (servers down, network grumbles, a staff approach to e-learning that is too didactic, implementing a technological approach to e-learning that is too too didactic) for longer-term gain. This might be uncovering good practice and celebrating it, but it might also involve celebrating those who have stuck with an apparently risky approach to embedding a new technology because it was pedagogically the right thing to do, or because they saw something elsewhere that triggered an idea and moved them beyond their own technological safety-net to try something new. Testing personal boundaries, trying new stuff and sticking with it - that's what I'm interesed in seeing.

Anyway, latest news from benchmarking-central is as follows.

  1. All area leads have been in-touch to identify how they are going to collate their evidence. This generally involves talking to/emailing: the other Faculty e-Learning Co-ordinators; Chairs of Faculty Learning and Teaching; PVC(s); Drectors of Library/Information Services; Chairs of Subject Authority Boards and Programme Leaders/Heads fo Department; staff e-learning champions in the faculties. We're also looking back at current and past student evaluation. One thing that is interesting about the OBHE methodology is that it can be read as a very corporate approach, focused upon staff. Hmmmh.
  2. There's a meeting fast approaching to discuss progress (date tbc). At that point the internal project Wiki will be released, as a store for info about e-learning doc's and for us to write-up our findings and collectively edit our work. I'm looking forward to seeing if that works.
  3. Ou IRD has a section on instituitional drivers for e-learning. We're going to work that one through together and then discuss our thoughts/matrix with the movers-and-shakers. It will be interesting to see if what we think as leaders-on-the-ground accords with the thoughts of the powers-that-be...

There will be no posts for the next two days; I don't work weekens are neither should you. Trade Unions worked hard to get us 2 days off, so make use of them. However, Monday will herald two hugely positive things: the new Faithless album; and the rise of a third narrative herewith, namely Walsall FC's inexorable progress back towards the giddy heights of League 1.

FYI This morning I have mostly been listening to 'News and Tributes' by Futureheads, and 6Music. I do not think that this has impacted my writing. But you never know...


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