The ideas behind the "Learning Lab"
In listening to and talking with a variety of people over the past six months it appears that there is lot of good work taking place in e-learning but much of it is happening in isolation. In certain areas there also seems to have been a somewhat narrow definition of what constitutes e-learning and how it can be delivered. This has perhaps led from a tendency for technology to drive what can be done in learning. However, as Gilly Salmon mentions:
“…teaching online has almost nothing to do with computers and everything to do with time, motivation, knowledge…. as well as good, appropriate teaching.”
The idea of the "Learning Lab" is for a loose, fairly informal collaboration between schools and departments on all aspects of e-learning. A meeting of minds to discuss, formulate and disseminate ideas and best practice and an area where learning and teaching rather than technology drive the process.
E-learning provision, training and research are currently provided by a disparate group of services within the University:
- LIS – Blackboard administration and training, ECDL & WLN materials, JISC Plagiarism service, advice from subject librarians etc.
- The E-learning Sub-Committee
- Various e-learning groups within schools
- Individual lecturers working independently
- DACE – research and courses
- Health Science – e-ward etc,
- SDU – the use of PowerPoint, delivery of courses though e-learning, tHE scheme etc.
- To combine the skills, knowledge and experience of staff across schools and departments.
- Create a focal point for research, advice and the dissemination of latest thinking and best practice in e-learning.
- To offer hard evidence and practical advice to support the design and use of innovative learning tools
- To enable the schools and departments to achieve excellence in e-learning and teaching.
- To enable experimentation and the exchange of ideas between schools and departments.
- Creation of a website as a focal point for e-learning and as the first port of call for those intending to use e-learning.
- Creation of a network of e-learning practitioners.
- A broadening of the concept of e-learning within schools and departments.
- Diverse and innovative staff training across schools and departments
- A unified and dynamic approach to research and innovation.
- Excellence in e-learning embedded within the learning & teaching of schools and departments
- A database of re-useable learning materials.
- A yearly internal conference to highlight best practice and current research in e-learning.
So that's the proposal. What do you think?