ENGAGING WITH THE NEW E-LEARNING CHANGE AGENTS IN UNIVERSITIES
University College London (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:As the complexity of providing education in an increasingly digitally-rich HE environment has increased and student expectations grow ever more sophisticated, we are beginning to see far-reaching changes in the way universities support online learning. Technology enhanced learning is at last becoming mainstream but this by implication draws in a wider range of support staff beyond academics and learning technologists. University College London (UCL) has been one of the first UK universities to acknowledge the emergence of a new cadre of well-qualified teaching administrators (TAs) as critical change agents. At UCL our TAs, some 200 in number, often manage VLE resources, communicate directly with students and facilitate key educational processes such as assessment, feedback and consistent quality standards. The JISC and UCL-funded Digital Department project was set up in 2011 to begin to develop the digital literacy skills of this growing community of staff. The project has developed a unique insight into the range of digital skills and tools used by teaching administrators. In response, we have developed a successful programme to support teaching administrators working towards accreditation for the Certified Membership of the ALT (CMALT). The project has also started to develop a Teaching Administrator Handbook, which will serve as an institution-wide knowledge base. As the project progresses we have begun to achieve some more institutional recognition of the TA role. Most significantly the new UCL E-Learning Champions initiative, part of UCL's E-Learning Strategy, deliberately includes TAs as key members of the e-learning community. The Digital Department has therefore identified an absolutely critical but usually overlooked component of institutional change. TAs are now fully embedded in UCL's learning technology strategic and support initiatives, leading to an ambitious programme of change.