Normal wasn’t working for us: changing staff perceptions of what a VLE is, whilst changing the VLE itself
AbstractThe University of Wolverhampton’s current VLE, WOLF has been created, built, developed and embedded in-house since 1999. Although WOLF has been used primarily for learning and teaching, over the years it became standard practice to use it as digital repository, or ‘dumping ground’ (Love & Fry, 2006), for material and content relating to many aspects of the University’s processes and procedures. In essence, WOLF became the University’s intranet, and as the years passed the purpose for the use of WOLF became blurred. WOLF’s development froze and many academics were held back in what they wanted to do and explore. The VLE became ‘stuck’ and academics would ‘stick’ to what they know (Massy & Zemsky, 2004.) The University has implemented an institution-wide transformational programme to modernise and enhance the students’ teaching and learning experiences through the use of technology. The Digital Campus Transformational Programme (DCTP) was created to act as a catalyst for deep change within the institution’s learning systems landscape. The DCTP consists of five foundation projects: Applications Anywhere; Business Intelligence; Student Portal; Digital Platforms; and a new Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The replacement of the VLE is one of the most important technological transitions the University has ever faced. The University procured a new VLE in May 2016. Early adopter courses started using the system in September 2016 with full roll-out across the University from August 2017. During this process, one of the key questions that had to be tackled by the DCTP was: how do you change a VLE while changing staff attitudes, cultures and perceptions at the same time, so that the benefits of the new VLE are realised and that practices from an old system are not replicated in a shiny new environment? To engage all members of staff, and to get them to reflect on their use of a VLE, the DCTP has embarked on a ‘pedagogy first’, using discipline-based discussions as the approach to facilitate initial familiarisation with the new VLE. The presentation will discuss the pros and cons of this approach, and will highlight some of these challenges faced whilst implementing the new VLE. The presentation will identify some of the key activities and processes that were deployed during the tender, evaluation, the early adopter phase and the delivery of the new VLE to ensure engagement from relevant stakeholders.
CitationTowers, P. (2017) Normal wasn’t working for us: changing staff perceptions of what a VLE is, whilst changing the VLE itself, ALT annual conference 2017, 5th-7th September, 2017, University of Liverpool, UK.
PublisherAssociation for Learning Technology
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