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...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The blueprint

Man alive it's taken me a month to get around to posting this missive and I do blame Duncan Fletcher. You'd expect no less. What a mess - top-order in disarray, middle-order too fragile and bowlers incapable of maintaining pressure. Captaincy and coaching are clearly incapable of lending a meaningful strategic direction.

So I'm left asking what's the blueprint for success? The blueprint for our one-day team is meaningless given the number of players that have been used/discarded, and the team's inability to set a tempo either batting first or second. We are too pedestrian and risk-averse. The blueprint for our test team depends too heavily upon Vaughan as Captain and pivotal people filling the key roles at the top and middle of the order and as bowlers. Plus the resources, vision and culture surrounding the team have to be questioned. The whole seems so much less than the sum of the parts.

This is important because we are in the process of finishing off our OBHE Institutional Review Document and there are some issues that have arisen.

  1. We had a meeting with Allan Schofield last Friday. A key discussion point was the variety of institutional processes for technical, administrative and pedagogical development and delivery that are being deployed. This despite the fact that sustainable (we think) procedures do exist.
  2. We have identified some bits that we think are good: e-learning is mainstreamed and we have evidence for this; our implementation model, which is being extended; our locally-driven and focused approach to professional development; some pedagogic development and local strategies; the relationship between technical and academic staff; and transparency of communication to users.
  3. We have identified some bits that we think are weak: differential processes and approaches stress the nodes in our implementation model; feedback from staff could be better; resources for professional development and quality improvement; and recognition and reward.

I'm really pleased that we picked the OBHE methodology. It allowed us to focus upon processes and difference, and I think that the questions/themes focused participants' minds in a semi-structured way. We have a good working document that will enable our new e-Learning Strategy Group to focus its short-term work of redefining our approach to e-learning. The work of this group is critical in defining how we engage with digital natives and the disenfranchised, both among staff and students. It should help us to define a blueprint for e-learning@DMU.

A Note on Methodology

I set up a Wiki and tried to get area leads to edit the document in that format. It didn't work. People were too time-pressured to contribute. In fact when I sent the collated, edited draft around as a Word file, people generally picked a couple of "process areas" to comment on, alongside the final commentary and self-evaluation. In retrospect I should have asked people to edit two other sections of the Wiki (or to buddy-up) rather than do the whole lot.

However, what worked well were the three face-to-face meetings that focused upon agreeing perceived institutional priorities for e-learning and good/poor practice.

Think on...

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