eLearning Discovery Working Group preliminary report

My *big summer project* this year was to act as the chair of a newly formed “[eLearning Discovery Working Group](http://elearn.ucalgary.ca/discovery)”, 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](http://elearn.ucalgary.ca/files/elearn/eLearning%20Discovery%20Preliminary%20Report%20-%20FINAL%20-%20v1.pdf) (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…

2 thoughts on “eLearning Discovery Working Group preliminary report”

  1. For what it’s worth, we’re finding some institutions in our province starting to see a role for our provincial-level shared services to back-fill/supplement their core services. It feels like a best-of-both-worlds scenario; institutions still keep hold of those core services (though we’re definitely helping with those for some of the smaller schools) but can point instructors and departments to alternatives that are still within a supported, public-sector environment. Don’t know if you saw this paper that @scottbw pointed to (http://poss.gliderlab.com/w/page/2018537/FrontPage) but it also starts to outline some interesting ideas. Hopefully the connection between this work and the work you are doing to “host your own” (along with the noodling around collective hosting models/appliances) is as evident to you and the people you work for as it is to me; it feels pretty exciting to me to be working out different scenarios which enable freedom AND balance support, costs, choice, ease of use, etc. We will always need to make choices and tradeoffs, but increasingly we’re finding new ways, enabled through a combination of technology AND new models of sharing and cooperation, to make these choices less polar. Keep up the great work!

    1. BCCampus has come up pretty regularly in discussions here. One thing we’re trying to sort out is how to provide institutionally-supported tools as well as a supported sandbox for more experimental decentralized tools (and working out how to support faculty and students both technically and pedagogically). Lots of fun stuff in there, for sure…

Comments are closed.