E-learning network meeting – 5th May

  • Open Educational Resources
    • VITAL upgrade news
      • Who needs a VLE?

This month’s well-attended network meeting was a wide-ranging event, with much useful and interesting debate generated amongst the group.

Open Educational Resources were the topic of an excellent presentation by Dr Tim Bullough and colleagues from the School of Engineering. Describing their CORE Materials  project for JISC, a major online OER repository, Tim gave an overview of the background, development and outcomes of the work he and his colleagues have been involved in. (Below is a very short extract from this talk where Tim is demonstrating a part of the repository).

Tim also highlighted an opportunity to submit a joint bid for further JISC funding to develop this project. The group was asked if it would be worth developing a similar University of Liverpool resource, which could allow staff to make their electronic learning resources (such as photos, texts, simulations, videos from teaching, research, outreach etc) visible to the wider University and/or external community (e.g. prospective students, schools and general public). These electronic resources could be aggregated at University, Faculty, School or research/teaching-group level within a searchable repository which could be beneficial for the University in many areas, from research to marketing. There was immediate interest in following this up as a joint University-wide project.

Please contact Tim directly (link above) if you would like to find out more about this funding opportunity.

An update on the VITAL Summer Upgrade was another item for the meeting. Most importantly, the date of when the course copy request form and preview system will be available has been moved back to the week of May 9th. As soon as it is available the network will be advised via the eLearning mailing list. A number of questions were asked. Particularly people wanted to know:

  • Will the upgrade affect students ability to access their last year’s modules to revise for summer resits? (Students will still be able to access their old modules for revision – after the upgrade date July 18th they will have to go to the archive to access these modules.)
  • Will departmental modules be affected? (Yes – these will need to be copied over in the same way as other modules to be seen in the new system.)
  • Will it be obvious to the students that there are two VITAL systems (archive and current) and where they should go to find modules? (Yes – there will be two VITAL links on the UoL Digital University front page. There may also well be a VITAL channel on the front page which has news, the two links, help, alerts, etc.)
All of which led neatly, and finally, to our small groups discussion item…

“What would we have if we didn’t have a VLE?” which was a polite way of asking who needs a VLE anyway?… a question the sector is starting to ask at various UK HE forums. Splitting up into smaller discussion groups and then feeding back to the room, comments included:

  • A system that recognises that learning is a lifelong activity – students take the resources and work with them beyond University.
  • A kind of iGoogle dashboard – plug in the best tools from whatever source for the relevant jobs, as and when needed.
  • Prefer to keep a VLE-like system as a means of ensuring a minimum, consistent standard of online provision for students.
  • An effective content management system (ties in with OERs?)
  • An academic Facebook style system.

Other news… Debbie Prescott gave a quick update on the eLearning Steering Group and the sub-groups that have developed from it, these currently include the E-assessment working group, the VLE review group and the R&D sub-group.  If you want to develop a proposal for the R&D funding please contact Debbie Prescott. We also explained that the new eLearning Policy for 2011-15 is currently being re-written and that we would like to get feedback from colleagues on this document before it is finalised.

The eLearning Unit took the opportunity to publicise their e-learning “Summer School” (Monday 13th to Thursday 23rd  June) and get ideas from the group for the “learning technology studio” which we are going to have at the Learning and Teaching Conference on 29th June 2011.

Thanks to everyone who came along to this meeting and contributed to make it an interesting and engaging event. We look forward to seeing you at the next eLearning Network meeting.

Next Meeting Date: Thursday 30th June 2011 (12:00-13:30) – all welcome. Please suggest a topic for discussion, offer an item for presentation to the group, or feel free to make any suggestions to elearning@liverpool.ac.uk about the structure or content of the network meetings.

The eLearning Unit


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