Exploring lecturer engagement with the VLE: initial findings from a multi-college survey

Farrelly, Tom, Raftery, Damien, Risquez, Angelica, McAvinia, Claire, Harding, Nuala, Costello, Eamon, O'Grady, Muiris, Ryan, Deirdre, McSweeney, Daniel and Logan-Phelan, Theresa (2015) Exploring lecturer engagement with the VLE: initial findings from a multi-college survey. In: EdTech 2015: Beyond the Horizon: Policy, Practice and Possibilities, UL.


A rolling longitudinal survey of students’ usage of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) in various Irish Higher Education Institutions has been on-going since 2008, with a new round of student surveys in the current academic year. However, while the series of student surveys has proved to be highly informative, the staff voice has hitherto been unheard.Therefore, following a pilot survey; and using the online survey tool SurveyMonkey, lecturers were surveyed across more than four colleges. The VLE survey questionnaire uses a common set of questions and, on condition of anonymity, the participating institutions have pooled their results to allow us to compare and contrast the results. While many institutions routinely conduct in-house surveys or studies from time to time, this study is unique in that it draws on data from multiple institutions and diverse VLE platforms.Our previous findings from student surveys identified some of the key drivers and barriers to uptake and usage of an institutional VLE and provided a useful illustration of the different ways that students really use them. Presenting lecturers’ voices on VLE usage, this presentation will explore initial findings from the inaugural staff survey. We will discuss and interpret these results in relation to the insights gleaned from the surveys of students’ engagement with VLEs and technologies as part of their learning. The adoption and use of VLEs is not without difficulties and therefore, drawing on the issues highlighted in the study this presentation will discuss the attitudes to, the enablers of, and the inhibitors to greater engagement by lecturers of VLEs.Given that the need to develop academics’ digital capacity in a teaching and learning context has been identified as a strategic goal at national and EU level this new iteration of the VLE survey is very timely, particularly in light of the recent publication of the National Forum’s Report (2015) Strategic and Leadership Perspectives on Digital Capacity in Irish Higher Education which highlighted a poor evidence base in relation to VLE usage.

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