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

Farrelly, Tom, Raftery, Damien and Harding, Nuala (2018) Exploring lecturer engagement with the VLE: findings from a multi-college staff survey. Irish Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, 3 (2). pp. 11-23. ISSN 2009-972X


Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) are important infrastructure and digital educational spaces that are widely used. The lecturers’ voices on VLEs and their use were not adequately captured in the #VLEIreland project. Therefore, following the development and piloting of a questionnaire consisting of a common set of questions, lecturers were surveyed across seven Irish higher education institutes. There were 580 responses from staff who use the VLE, with the analysis based upon the 521 valid responses. The findings will explore the VLE features or tools used by lecturers, their attitude to the VLE, and barriers to the use of the VLE and related issues, including that of intellectual property ownership. Lecturers are broadly positive about VLEs, with 7 in 10 of those who use the VLE strongly agreeing that it is helpful. However the adoption and use of VLEs is not without difficulties. In particular, time pressures emerged as barriers to use, limiting the use of VLEs and engagement with training. Despite this, 91% of respondents answered Yes to the question “Are you interested in making more use of online tools in your teaching?” Drawing on the issues highlighted in the findings, this paper will explore the attitudes of lecturers to the VLE and the enablers of, and inhibitors to, their greater engagement with the VLE.

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