I have been working with Heather Price at Jisc on two large pieces of work around online learning. Heather leads the Scaling up Online Learning (SUOLL) programme at Jisc, with a working group that consists of early adopter universities taking an innovative approach to online learning and universities who are yet to tackle online learning (and/or distance learning) in a co-ordinated way. The working group identified several pieces of work that would benefit the sector. One was a diagnostic tool to help staff identify their own readiness for online learning and the other was a Scaling up Online Learning toolkit which would  offer tools, techniques, strategies and activities at institutional, strategic and delivery levels to support the development and delivery of online/distance learning programmes.

I worked on the Toolkit (Guides) and also worked with Skillset who were appointed to build the Readiness Tool. We felt it was important to make sure that the two pieces of work linked to each other closely and would compliment each other.

Scaling up Online Learning Guides

Early work included meetings and communication with the working group to make sure the toolkit included those aspects and resources that they felt was important. I set up an open wiki to share developments and gain input from the group. I developed an interactive spicy node diagram to highlight the various questions and choices that Institutions and individuals need to consider when scaling up online learning. This was presented along with the priority themes for the toolkit and the readiness tool to the working group in June 2015.

The resulting three Jisc guides address these questions and aim to help senior managers, course leaders, course teams, support teams and individuals think through their own choices to ensure that they can provide an equitable experience for both online and campus-based students.

  • Scaling up online learning provides a strategic view of different models and the implications of implementing online learning at an institutional level
  • Curriculum design and support for online learning helps you make decisions around  curriculum design and determine support needs when scaling up online learning
  • Technology and tools for online learning provides  guidance, resources and case studies around the use of technology to support online courses and distance learning programmes

Online Learning Readiness Tool

The readiness tool is currently in beta format and links closely to the guides. I supported this work by developing the questions. These take people through a reflective process to help them consider their own skill levels and experience and identify what level people are at for each area. The three different levels lead to specific resources that should help staff move forward. The exploring concepts level leads to the Scaling up Online learning guides as well as other Jisc guides and introductory materials. The ideas and inspiration level takes people to national and international case studies and exemplars.

  • exploring concepts
  • expanding knowledge
  • ideas and inspiration

The tool is aimed at individuals but could also be used by teams to consider the choices they need to make and the changes they need to implement.


Demonstration of the guides and the tool

Heather will be demonstrating the guides and the tool at Jisc DigiFest this week. So see if you can find her and have a look. We are interested in getting feedback on them.