English Subject Centre Mini Projects
E-learning Advocate Project 2006/7
Author: Matthew Day
English Department, Bishop Grosseteste University College
English Subject Centre Departmental Projects
This report and the work it presents were funded by the English Subject Centre under a scheme which funds projects run by departments in Higher Education institutions (HEIs) in the UK. Some projects are run in collaboration between departments in different HEIs. Projects run under the scheme are concerned with developments in the teaching and learning of English Language, Literature and Creative Writing. They may involve the production of teaching materials, the piloting and evaluation of new methods or materials or the production of research into teaching and learning. Project outcomes are expected to be of benefit to the subject community as well as having a positive influence on teaching and learning in the host department(s). For this reason, project results are disseminated widely in print, electronic form and via events, or a combination of these.
Details of ongoing projects can be found on the English Subject Centre website at www.english.heacademy.ac.uk/deptprojects/index.htm . If you would like to enquire about support for a project, please contact the English Subject Centre:
The English Subject Centre
Royal Holloway, University of London
Egham, Surrey TW20 OEX
T. 01784 443221
(Briefly describe what your e-learning advocacy project set-out to do (your initial goals), why you wanted to be a part of this project etc) We sought participation in the project for a number of reasons: i) to gain a better understanding and make better use of the technology which increasingly surrounded us in the classroom and which was available to us on our computers; ii) to increase our skills in using e-resources and e-technology and those of our students; iii) to understand better the benefits and drawbacks of using e-technology and resources in terms of pedagogy; iv) to establish links within the University College with colleagues on other programmes who taught in the subject area – e.g. on PGCE and Primary QTS courses; v) to establish links with colleagues in other institutions to share practice and ideas.
Institutional Context / Background
(It may be worthwhile to explain a little about your departmental context in terms of staffing, resources (digital and non), e-learning provision and resourcing, availability of networked computers, suitability of teaching spaces for technology-based teaching etc) The University College is a small institution with only some 1500 students. Nevertheless it has invested significantly in e-learning in terms of technology, software and staffing. There is an E-learning co-ordinator who provides staff training and advice and the general standard of equipment within teaching rooms is high. Additional equipment is also available in IT dedicated suites such as the TALOS suite, the IT suite and from the IT department for loan. Within the English Department there are additional resources including DVD, Video players, video and digital cameras. The department has also actively encouraged the institution to purchase on-line resources. This has resulted in last 2 years of the purchase of JSTOR, Humanities International Complete, Literature Online, The Shakespeare Collection, the Women Writers’ Project and other resources.
The institution is very well equipped technologically and the availability of this equipment in part drove the desire to exploit its potential. In particular, in the year prior to the bid BGUC had purchased a VLE package (Blackboard) and relatively little use had been made of it within the Department. In addition to this...