Attended the New Lecturers Programme as an interloper, or mole, in order to meet the latest batch of academics and to try and inculcate a close working relationship between themselves and WaLTS. Also, still being new, it was a useful opportunity for me to learn more about the academic side of the university. Particularly enlightening was Iain Rowan and Fiona Jackson’s session which covered a broad range of academic policies and procedures including valid grounds of appeal for students and how honours degrees are calculated (more complex, if possible, than the OU’s with which I am well versed!). The course carried over to Friday morning which was given over to Student and Learning Support, my directorate. Familiar territory, though I still learned about some services the Library and Sunderland Futures offer that I wasn’t aware of. There is always something new to learn!
Month: September 2014
The team’s web pages on the University’s website were pretty out of date when I started, though I actually first noticed a few weeks beforehand when doing some research on the department and found some broken links. After I started I soon learned that the pages were actually much worse, with many having gone without revision for over two years. It turns out that it was my predecessor who primarily took responsibility for these, so I was happy to adopt the responsibility myself.
I thought it would be a nice, quick and easy job. I was mistaken. Once I delved into them I found that there were many more pages than I realised, going as deep as four nested levels in some places. I have flattened this structure right out, reducing it to two levels at most and standardising the template, entirely removed around half of the pages – most of which related to the 2012 project to transition the VLE from WebCT to Learning Studio – re-wrote many other pages, tidying things up and making the language more professional and affirmative, and of course fixed all broken links and email addresses.
Finally I created a banner in the style of other departments within SLS and added a sidebar on the right for a Twitter widget and a feedback button, replacing the old link on the left which was out of place as it links to another system.
Jisc are soliciting for project submissions with regards to interactive learning resources. From their email:
Jisc is seeking to expand its offer to learners in the further education and skills sector. It is inviting project submissions for the creation of open-access learning resources aimed at apprentices funded by the Skills Funding Agency and based primarily in the workplace. Our invitation for interactive learning resources provides the perfect opportunity for the skills sector in England to move towards one of FELTAG’s recommendations for ‘blended learning’.
Consultation with practitioners, managers and students shows that teacher-generated learning content is widely used in the sector, but is not widely shared. By sharing open educational resources online, teachers can save preparation time, they can create bespoke learning content for their learners’ specific needs, and they can learn from their peers about how to integrate e-learning into their practice. Through the creation and sharing of high-quality learning content, teachers can also help raise the profile of their organisations.
Full details are available on their website: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/fundingopportunities.
Further to the video walkthrough, I have now been able to integrate Careers’ PowerPoint presentation into this Storyline item to create a more seamless experience for students. It has been well received and the customer has been impressed by what Storyline can do, so there is almost certainly going to lead onto more work in the future which will enhance the online material which our Careers and Employment service provides.
An interesting first for me today, I hired someone. We had an intern vacancy in the team for the next six months to assist with customer support during our busy period and then to help with the upgrades to Mahara and Equella. This was all approved and most of the paperwork done some time ago, before I was even in post, but the final tasks were assigned to me which included liaising with the Intern Factory, advertising, selection and defining the interview questions and procedures.
I had a crash course on recruitment and selection on Thursday in time for the interviews on Friday afternoon. We interviewed three people, all of whom could have done the job, but one who had just a bit more experience and gave a slightly better interview, so I feel really sorry for the other two.
This will also be my first official experience with line managing someone, as opposed to just supervising, though I was responsible for an agency worker we had in for three weeks last month for a specific task.
Another quick Storyline presentation, this time a video walkthrough of how to access and use a vacancy search tool provided by our Careers and Employment Service. This will be used in the next couple of weeks as part of their induction for new students and is, presently, just a link on their PowerPoint, though I have suggested to them that their PowerPoint could be imported into Storyline and integrated with this video to make it all seamless.