My big summer project this year was to act as the chair of a newly formed "eLearning Discovery Working Group", with the mandate to begin to identify what eLearning means at The University of Calgary. We were tasked by the CIO to find out what is involved with providing, supporting, and using eLearning tools in whatever ways are necessary to enable the activities of our students, instructors, and staff.
Over the summer, we began to build an inventory of eLearning tools - both centrally provided, and distributed and ad-hoc tools, to start to form a picture of what eLearning looks like to our University community. The inventory is extremely coarse, and we know we've missed huge swaths of activity on campus. But we had to start with something.
The first thing we learned was how surprised we were that this kind of documentation didn't already exist. Even in this coarse, high-level, incomplete form, this is a big step forward as a University, in getting our collective heads around what eLearning means to us.
Throughout the next year (and more, since this is an ongoing process), we'll be working with various stakeholder groups to help better identify what they do with respect to eLearning, what their needs are, and how the University can better support their modern practices of teaching and learning.
The report is extremely brief, and provides only a high-level overview that can be used as a starting point for the real "discovery" activities this year.
The Coles Notes version:
The University provides some eLearning tools centrally (Blackboard, Elluminate, Breeze/Connect Presenter), but much of the activity is taking place in tools that are managed at the faculty, department, program, or even individual instructor level. We need to find out more about these distributed tools, and identify ways in which the University can better support and enable the activities that they facilitate.
Here's the eLearning Discovery Working Group Preliminary Report (3.9 MB PDF).
Now, to start planning how to work with the University community to start filling in the gaps, and figuring out what we need to do to better support effective eLearning…