Graham Lewis, Centre for Academic Practice
An important concern associated with the introduction of educational technology is how best to prepare staff for using and integrating new methods effectively. This article highlights how the staff have differing developmental needs, which need to be accommodated through provision of a range of approaches to staff development. This is in contrast to a ‘one size fits all’ model where the variation in staff's previous experiences and technological abilities cannot be fully addressed.
The author describes an informal programme developed at Warwick, which strived to combine support for staff in the technical elements of e-learning with some theoretical considerations of implementing it. Warwick staff were accepted on to the programme on the basis that they had a project in mind. WOCC (Warwick Online Course Construction) consisted of a series of workshops designed in a flexible way to accommodate the varying needs of participants. The aim was to create a community of practitioners keen to introduce learning technologies who could support each other and move forward in the development process. Ultimately, the longer term goal was to create a ‘critical mass’ of staff able to drive forward change on a larger scale. Since this article was published, WOCC has been replaced by an accredited programme – the Warwick E-Learning Award (WELA). This has enabled Warwick staff to achieve formal recognition of their e-learning developments and achievements, whilst retaining much of the flexibility and informality of its predecessor.
First appeared in Interactions Issue 18 Autumn 2002