Teaching GIS using a VLE Connecting local experiences with

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					    Teaching GIS using a VLE
    Connecting local experiences with institutional and national contexts

    LTSN-GEES Conference, 18/11/2003
    Dr Tom Browne
    Academic IT Support Manager
    Information and Technology Services
    University of Sussex




1                     Tom Browne, University of Sussex
           GEES motivations
    Note emphasis in the GEES text for this w/shop
       –   Community of Practice
       –   Action research

    Will regularly draw upon both those idea in various contexts

    Will assume the arguements (drivers):
    ‘why online’, why a VLE?
            need not be rehearsed here



2                    Tom Browne, University of Sussex
    3 interlinking Roles
    1.   ‘Action-researcher’ - teach GIS using a VLE

    2.   Institutionally: VLE infrastructure to University

    3.   Nationally: (UCISA, JISC L&T committees) - funding much
         VLE (and MLE) activity.

    For us all, ‘1’ can only take place within context of 2’,which in
         turn is heaviliy informed by ‘3’

    You cannot function as an individualised island



3                    Tom Browne, University of Sussex
    (1) Locally - GIS ‘Action Researcher’

          1991 - 2nd u/g yr Geography
          1993 - 3rd yr u/g Geography
            – 1995 - Online, using hand-crafted Web pages,
              Perception (assessment) and Bulletin Board
              (discussions) linked as ‘one-stop shop’
            – 2001 - WebCT


          2001 - MSc - Social and Cultural Studies
          2001 - MA - Social Policy and Develpment
          2004 - 5th yr u/g p/t Landscape Studies
          1990 - central support - available to all

4                   Tom Browne, University of Sussex
    Impressions / Experiences
        Positive:
          – GIS students reasonably IT literate
          – anywhere / anytime access
          – formative quizzes, with feedback
          – online discussions
          – one-stop-shop
          – tutor-monitoring of student usage


        Negative
          – Front-loaded effort to set up courses
          – Expectations of immediate response to queries
          – Admin of registering students
          – Student complaint: off-loading printing costs


5                   Tom Browne, University of Sussex
    (2) Institutional Wrappers

     Are you totally self-sufficient?
     If not, what are: institutional barriers and bridges?

     How have you influenced those decisions?
         –   hardware, network - who manages and maintains?
         –   software - mixed or single product? black-box or best of
             breed?
         –   embedded service infrastructure or project-driven?
         –   multiple skills sets - where do they come from?
         –   physical teaching space, appropriately kitted out?

        Do you contribute to an institutional CoP?

6                    Tom Browne, University of Sussex
    Sussex - Background

       Currently:
        –   Much grassroots online activity, organic growth
        –   only involving enthusiasts

       Ambition:
        –   To obtain transforming gains to L&T:
              Need institutional approach
                 – But such changes will impact on culture /
                   organisation beyond the domain of just your dept



7                     Tom Browne, University of Sussex
    Sussex - Developments
       SIG - all stakeholders a CoP

       2002/3 Unfunded Pilot projects, some support
       2003/4 Funded Projects - bought into:
        –   educational technology support
        –   design support
        –   course creation support
        –   CoP of Project Leaders
       2004/5 Commissioned Projects e.g. online assessment

    Therefore, scaling up, developing suite of resources an
      individual academic can draw upon.

8                      Tom Browne, University of Sussex
    Sussex Challenge

       ‘Scaling’ bottleneck of accelerating demand
        –   Staff Development needs - how to satisfy?
        –   Limited WebCT licence, ‘adequate’ hardware
        –   IPR, scanning, costs and provision
        –   insufficient appropriate teaching-space
        –   Embed in MLE

       Still at ‘Project’ not ‘Service’ provision
        –   Uncertainty: will resources needed be developed?
        –   May prevent e.g. new Geography course using VLE

9                    Tom Browne, University of Sussex
     Sussex - Response
        Building (another) CoP. Personnel from:
         –   IT
         –   Learning and Teaching
         –   Library
         –   Plus departmental Learning Technologists
                 supporting projects / collaborating with academics
                 developing e-learning strategy (incl. costings)
                 move to service environment

        Senior Management need evidence of ‘value-added’ and cost
         implications


10                        Tom Browne, University of Sussex
     (3a) National Context

        UCISA - Universities and Colleges Information
         and System Association
        JISC - Joint Information Systems Council
          – JCLT Committee for Learning and Teaching
                 strategic: http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/
                 standards / interoperability
                 resusable content
                 awareness-raising

         –   (note also Alt, LTSNs, ILTHE etc etc) Everyone!

11                        Tom Browne, University of Sussex
     2001 - 2003 VLE Longitudinal Study
          Origins:
     1.    2001 UCISA VLE Survey UK HE
           http://www.ucisa.ac.uk/groups/tlig/vle/index_html

     2.    2003 JISC/UCISA MLE/VLE Survey UK HE/FE
           http://www.jisc.ac.uk/project_mle_activity.html

          Outcome:
     3.    2001-3 UCISA Longitudinal VLE Survey
          http://www.ucisa.ac.uk/groups/tlig/vle/index_html

12                    Tom Browne, University of Sussex
     2003 Sample observations
             86% of HE have VLE (includes Intranet)
          –      (transforming opportunities of e-learning recognised?)
             <=50% employed in all subjects
          –      (broad appeal)
             Use primarily supplementary
          –      giving weight to approach of complementary usage.
             Motivators enhancing L&T (markedly so)
          –      Recognition that it is not necessarily a cost saver?
          –      Distance-learning v. low in 2003 compared with 2001
                    e-learning has potential in a campus-environment?
             Primary disincentives:
          –      lack of staff development
          –      lack of clarity regarding career incentive.

13                       Tom Browne, University of Sussex
     Number of Students using a VLE




14           Tom Browne, University of Sussex
     Nature of Usage - 2003


                                                A = supplementary
                                                C = fully online




15           Tom Browne, University of Sussex
     Support for Staff - 2003

     Many institutional, central agencies involved:

        Central or Distributed IT
        Learning Technology Support Unit
        Learning and Teaching Support Unit
        Educational Development Unit
        Dedicated VLE Support Unit
        Staff Development Unit

         –   Recognition that many of the above support the individual
             course and departmental tutor


16                      Tom Browne, University of Sussex
     Old and New Cultures - 2003
     Question                            Pre-91(%)       Post-91(%)
     All subjects                        5.3             23.7
     All Departments                     18.4            31.6
     No, students >10,000                5.3             36.8
     No. staff >200                      31.6            44.7
     No. modules 500-999                 10.5            23.7
     No modules > 1000                   -               13.2
     VLE–stud-rec-auto-link              15.8            44.7
     Stated targets                      13.2            52.7
     Driver = efficiency                 13.2            23.7
     Project Funding                     78.9            57.9




17                    Tom Browne, University of Sussex
     (3b) Pedagogy
         New JISC programme
           –   Increased adoption insufficient justification.
           –   Need evidence of learning quality improvements.
         Co-ordinate networks of subject-based centres of excellence
          to debate and articulate principles of pedagogy and practice
          for e-learning

         Build CoP: e-learning research and evaluation methodology

         Exploit value of lecturer’s use of e-learning in their subject
          as an opportunity for action research (in reflective practice)

      Reflection: - we all need to be part of a wider community


18                   Tom Browne, University of Sussex
     Beyond HE

     July 2003 the Govt (Dfes) issued a White Paper:
     ‘Towards a Unified e-Learning Strategy’
        E-learning has the potential to revolutionise the
         way we teach and how we learn

        You cannot achieve the real potential of e–learning
         until most people are using it

         –   Reflection: Link HE with ALL education


19                     Tom Browne, University of Sussex
     Conclusion

        Must have > local view of VLE activity
        Will be greatly influenced by institutional
         decisions and support
        In turn - informed by national (and
         international) developments in best
         practice.
        Big Conclusion: Be part of multiple CoP!

20                 Tom Browne, University of Sussex