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bullet Warwick’s e-Learning strategy and developments: Looking back and looking forward

Chairs of departments, programme leaders, representatives of faculty IT committees and members of the E-Learning Steering Group and IT Policy Committee recently attended an E-Learning Away day to consider current progress and future needs in implementing the University’s e-Learning strategy.

Held on Tuesday 2nd December in the Council Chamber, the purpose of the event was two-fold. Firstly, it intended to raise awareness of, and seek contributions to, the University's strategic direction in e-learning. Secondly, the event provided a means to present progress on a range of e-learning developments since the inception of the e-learning strategy in 2002, to consider departmental initiatives in this area, and to gather feedback on the opportunities and challenges facing departments in developing curriculum with an e-dimension.

Opportunities and challenges were identified throughout the afternoon in terms of how the University and departments can make best use of the infrastructure, tools and support available at Warwick to develop e-learning and support initiatives in this area. A number of key themes emerged:

Strategy and policy – clarifying the University’s strategic directions with the development of appropriate “Warwick” centric e-pedagogies.

Integrating e-based activities – considering continuing needs for access to computers, network capability and teaching room equipment as well as a collaborative and co-ordinated approach to pedagogic, library and technology support.

Planning, reflection and understanding – making time for quality issues and education strategies to address student expectations and need and to explore the possibilities offered by the technology through research and evaluation.

Departmental and subject needs – to identify disciplinary differences in relation to pedagogy as well as specialised software; addressing the distinctions between undergraduate and postgraduate curricula and student needs.

Skills development – building capacity to empower staff and students in the use of ICT as part of everyday activity, as well as in teaching, learning and research practices; ensuring tools are easy to use.

Overall effort and costs – developing a systematic and structured approach to tackle priority and longer-term initiatives, building on existing practice and experiences and ensuring equality of access for departments, staff and students.

The E-Learning Steering Group will be considering the outcomes of the event when it meets next term with a view to identifying further opportunities to consult with and assist departments in developing their e-learning provision.

The event programme, speaker presentations and discussion points are available from the CAP e-learning website  I would hope everyone who attended who wish to thank the presenters and the organisers for a stimulating and useful afternoon.

bullet From Camelot to Cyberspace: On-line Middle English Language Support 

At Warwick the teaching of medieval English literature to first year students incorporates hour-long, Middle English translation classes during term one. Students have opportunity to sit two, practise tests at the beginning of terms 2 and 3 but are not formally examined in the subject until June. To bridge the gap between the classes and the exam and provide a means by which students can maintain contact with the subject, the medievalists in English have embarked on a project to develop an on-line resource to support Middle English language provision.

The project proposes the construction of a permanent web page with two areas of development. These are electronically marked language tests whereby students can test their vocabulary recognition and the provision of extracts for translation with model answers released upon their completion against which students can assess their progress.  

With the help of CAP and E-Lab, the software to support the project is currently under investigation. Initial research has suggested the possible application of CASTLE; a system based on multiple choice questions used for language support by the University of Leicester.(see Leicester English Grammar Project)

Christiania Whitehead and Sue Niebrzydowski
Centre for English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick

bullet The Dragon’s Ascent: The Rise of Modern China

With a small award from the Teaching Development Fund the aim of this pilot project is to develop a resource-based learning tool for the study of Chinese history. This will involve the redesign of the module ‘The Dragon’s Ascent: The Rise of Modern China, 1550-2000’ and the development of web-based learning units which provide the students with the skills needed to use primary sources related to China effectively and independently. This small project will provide essential experience and information for the planned development of a much more widely applicable cross-disciplinary resource-based learning tool for the study of China.

For more details see the TDF site entry for this project

Dr Anne Gerritsen
Department of History, University of Warwick

bullet Multi purposing multimedia resources in Psychology

With a grant from the Teaching Development Fund, John Pickering in Psychology has been working with e-Lab to develop a set of multimedia resources to enhance his lectures.  The resources include digital video and animated maps and diagrams.  For classroom delivery the resources are emebdded in Powerpoint presentations but built into the project from the start was the idea that the resources could be utilised in a number of other ways such publishing to a website, making them a very flexible teaching and learning toolbox. 

For more details see the TDF site entry for this project

Dr John Pickering
Department of Psychology, University of Warwick

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