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Developing and Supporting Online Learning in a Traditional UK Polytechnic University: A view from the middle Rachel Forsyth, Learning and Teaching Unit,

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Presentation on theme: "Developing and Supporting Online Learning in a Traditional UK Polytechnic University: A view from the middle Rachel Forsyth, Learning and Teaching Unit,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Developing and Supporting Online Learning in a Traditional UK Polytechnic University: A view from the middle Rachel Forsyth, Learning and Teaching Unit, Manchester Metropolitan University

2 Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) approx. 31,000 students 60% undergraduate, 40% postgraduate 66% full-time; 34% part-time 40% of full-time students >21 when they begin 2000 staff, of whom about 1200 teaching staff (mostly full-time)

3 MMU: Mission “to provide high-quality learning opportunities for all our students and establish a reputation for the provision of excellent, varied and innovative teaching and learning”.

4 Major Issues for MMU recruitment and retention widening participation

5 Learning and Teaching Unit Responsible for implementation of Learning and Teaching Strategy Established September 2000 (Head: Professor Fred Lockwood) 3 members of academic staff 1 web developer

6 MMU campus My office Dispersed Team

7 First online steps at MMU First online course 1996 (Certificate in Open and Distance Learning) In-house system for bulletin boards, student home pages, assignment submission etc Excellent for small numbers of students and one or two courses at a time

8 WebCT 1998: 3 courses 1999: 90 courses (most in development) 2000: 165 active courses, 170 in development 2001: (projected) 300 courses managed by 160 academic staff

9 WebCT

10 Reasons for Growth internal project: fellowship ‘zeitgeist’ - the time is right lack of foresight

11 Online Fellowship Scheme eight weeks, full-time online learning innovation 24 lecturers over two years awarded by application and interview intensive support before, during and after funding dependent on beginning, completing, implementing and evaluating.

12 Open system for access to WebCT any lecturer can obtain a “Development Area” supported by online course and other materials internal WebCT developers mailing list technical support mailing list developed courses emerge from Development Area after a quality check

13 Overview of WebCT usage 9th August th June m pages requested (average 5,778 per day) 3.9m data item requests busiest month: January (317,800 requests for pages)

14 How is WebCT used? 69% of requests from on campus 31% of requests from off campus –requests from 28 international domains

15 How far have we come? 6,000 students, 100 developers increasing interest from course teams, moving away from the “individual enthusiast” paradigm most staff development takes place online all technical support via

16 Problems: our unit 1.5 academic staff (2 from 1 September) with other tasks 0.4 technical staff No hardware/software budget Academic staff doing technical jobs

17 Problems: institutional No institutional policy on online learning No institutional resources for online learning Seven campuses, seven faculties No integration with management information systems Not enough emphasis on student learning

18 Strategy Persuade the Directorate to adopt a strategy Put hardware support into central information systems Devolve training and technical support to faculty level Reorganise existing resources (us) Work towards a managed learning environment

19 What do you think we should do next?

20

21 Staff Development Online 1998/99: same workshops offered in two modes: face to face - typically one full day (113 participants) online - typically one hour per week for six weeks (96 participants)

22 Outcomes face to face: –no change, everyone who turned up completed everything online: –15% completed everything –70% completed most tasks –15% ‘attended’ once then never again

23 Typical demands: what are your daily priorities? Marking Course administration Teaching Paper to be written Staff Development Student with problem Institutional administration Colleague wanting to discuss something

24 New Course Design 6 hours over 2 days Compulsory ‘meetings’ at 10am and 2pm each day Structured activities Group work

25 Sample Course Activities


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