Review of learning technology support
Strengthening Oxford's global and digital online presence, as signalled in our new priorities, will ensure students studying at Oxford have improved access to materials. We will develop a digital education strategy which builds on our expertise in online learning to communicate knowledge created within the University. This will benefit all students, whether studying full-time, part-time, or through the flexible courses offered by the Department for Continuing Education, as well as staff, alumni, and wider society.
Learning technology support is broadly defined as:
interactions between staff engaged in learning, teaching, assessment, course and content development ('users') ...
and staff with specialist expertise in the use of digital technologies and/or media ('providers') ...
for the purpose of enhancing staff practice and/or the student learning experience.
- supporting staff and students to use digital devices, networks and services effectively (their own and those provided across the collegiate University)
- teaching support and pedagogical innovation e.g. developing effective, inclusive digital teaching practices
- learning support e.g. supporting the use of digital media, databases, collections and specialist digital tools, use of assistive/adaptive technologies
- the production of digital resources and media including whole courses, open learning materials
- effective processes of procurement, management, training etc in relation to learning systems
As part of the University of Oxford’s Digital Education Strategy, there was a recent consultation and survey of departments into the current use and future ambitions for using technology in teaching and learning. This exercise identified that one of the main priorities for the University is the provision of sufficient learning technology support staff to help academics exploit technologies in teaching. This is especially important given the opportunities presented by the investment in a new Virtual Learning Environment.
In order to put in place an appropriate plan for learning technology support, the University commissioned a specialist team from Sero Consulting to consider existing resources within the University and how they are operating, as well as to provide a view of how other comparable institutions have approached this issue.
The Sero team looked at how academic staff use - or would like to use - the expertise of learning technology specialists, as well as how learning technology specialists see their role and how they would like their roles to evolve. The team worked under the guidance of an oversight group.
The oversight group
The oversight group includes:
- Pro-VC (Academic Resources and Information Systems) - Professor Anne Trefethen
- Pro-VC (Education) - Professor Martin Williams
- Chief Information Officer - Dr Sean Duffy
- Deputy Chief Information Officer - Dr Stuart Lee
- Professor of Social Informatics, Oxford Internet Institute - Professor Eric Meyers
Consulting around the University
The team consulted with a wide range of staff including:
- senior members;
- divisional/departmental/college representatives;
- learning technology specialists;
- academic staff who use digital technologies in their teaching;
- other staff who may be just beginning to engage with the opportunities.