Essential considerations in implementing an e-Learning strategy at institutional level

Dallat, John and Ryder, Brendan (2011) Essential considerations in implementing an e-Learning strategy at institutional level. [Conference Proceedings]


Emphasis on the role of flexible learning in extending equality of opportunity to a broader cross-section of society, including mature and access students, individuals who are in full-time employment and, indeed, those who are not, is increasing throughout higher education. The Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching in Dundalk IT has taken a 'bottom-up' approach to its flexible/blended learning policy implementation for students and staff. This means building operational capacity with lecturers and students in a realistic, incremental and staged manner in the context of the Institute's strategic objectives.The challenges posed by such an undertaking are enormous, and now all the more so for institutions nationally, in view of the position recently adopted by the HEA (November, 2009), in stating that “flexibility of provision” is a key indicator of the responsiveness of higher education to Irish society (p. 2). How are we to define flexible learning? In the paper proposed, it will be shown how flexible learning may be viewed along the following continuum: Level 1 : Web-supported; Level 2: Web dependent; Level 3: Fully online without face-to-face contact. The paper will examine each in detail, highlighting the implications for planning and teaching at departmental and institutional levels. Such analysis will provide conference participants with a framework for the implementation of blended learning, but this alone will be shown in the paper to be an insufficient approach. The authors of the paper will therefore additionally present a 10-Point Implementation Plan which they have designed and been engaged in implementing in their own Institute. For example, they will share the contents of an e-learning policy which they have written for their Institution and key aspects of a continuing professional development policy they are currently implementing. A number of other aspects of the 10-Point Plan will be presented. In view of the pending changes within higher education currently being anticipated, the paper will provide 'food for thought' on planning and teaching strategies that may be, or are likely to be, needed as change occurs. The paper will be a 'blend' of practical and pedagogical, as well as policy-based, considerations. Building on the work of, among others, Cannon and Newble (2000), it will establish the importance of a flexible learning policy which is student-centred.

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NAIRTL 4th Annual Conference (Cork) 2010 Flexible Learning Conference Proceedings_sm.pdf

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