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Working Smarter, Not Harder How the University of Calgary Continuing Education Expanded e-Learning Program Capacity Without Increasing Staff Chris Appleton.

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Presentation on theme: "Working Smarter, Not Harder How the University of Calgary Continuing Education Expanded e-Learning Program Capacity Without Increasing Staff Chris Appleton."— Presentation transcript:

1 Working Smarter, Not Harder How the University of Calgary Continuing Education Expanded e-Learning Program Capacity Without Increasing Staff Chris Appleton e-Learning Specialist Robert Wensveen Associate Director

2 Overview History & Background of e-Learning A Crisis Evolves The New Model of Independence Challenges Successes Lessons Learned Looking Ahead

3 History & Background 2006 Support Model: "mini-helpdesk" Not many courses online Dependent on small staff (4-6 people) Everything routed to this group Central UCIT Support Centre unable and unwilling to support our students/instructors – Limited capacity and access (mainframe) for support

4 Background of ContEd Instructors are contracted (adjunct) No credit courses offered Do not pay for course development – No ownership of online courses We are early adopters of fully online course offerings – Left outside the rest of the university

5 A Crisis Evolves Continuing Education was crippled No growth in e-Learning possible Student, instructor and staff dissatisfaction – "Putting out fires" – Resetting passwords – Re-active not pro-active – No learning by anyone – Frustration for everyone

6 A Crisis Evolves No training/development possible Part-time evening help - no demand Slow reaction to critical calls – Frontline staff had to pass off everything to a small group (mini-helpdesk) Escalations could take days to resolve No chance to pursue new opportunities or initiatives

7 The New Support Model 2007: A "model of independence" proposed All staff were expected to develop some level of e-learning expertise All online instructors were expected to develop expertise in e-learning Student technical support was directed to the central UCIT Support Centre Frontline staff were trained to assist instructors and basic student access queries

8 The New Support Model New support resources were developed – Instructor Guides – Staff Guides – Student Handbooks – Instructor Workshops – "Learning Online" for students Teaching & Learning Centre involvement New regular staff and instructor workshops

9 Challenges Most staff were unable to learn enough to support instructors & students Many instructors preferred the "hand holding" one-on-one support model Most instructors started prepping mere days before their courses begin Managers continued to hire inexperienced e-learning instructors Online course quality continued "as-is"

10 Successes Over time, staff expertise improved – Began to recognize and accept that they have a critical role in supporting e-learning New technologies automated more of the business processes Management of e-learning programs improved – Instructor recruitment is improving – Management of instructors improved Support from Central UofC improved – We developed and fostered a positive working relationship with central IT and TLC groups

11 Successes New instructor support portal New e-Learning Working Group New "Teaching Online" course for instructors New e-Learning Quality Review Process – Instructor guidelines, expectations, rubrics Staff check-lists for e-learning courses Strengthened communication channels Well-respected as e-learning experts across the rest of campus community

12 Lessons Learned Accept that change takes time Inclusion and empowerment Share the workload Setting clear expectations early on Technology is always evolving Communication is key Strong commitment by staff needed to manage growing e-learning demands

13 Lessons Learned Be seen as a trail-blazer – Don't be afraid to promote yourself as a leader Leverage off existing institutional support and platforms wherever possible Think ahead, anticipate problems before they arise Learn to say and accept "no" Put quality first

14 Looking Ahead E-Learning quality is at an all-time high Staff at all levels are now quite comfortable with supporting e-learning programs Instructor and online course quality continues to get better and better Student satisfaction continues to climb E-learning capacity has exponentially increased

15 Questions? Comments?


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