The year is starting with the UK Blackboard Users Conference in Durham this week. One of the presentations I am giving is looking at change in the elearning field, what can be attributed to the release of Blackboard 9, and what institutions can learn from this period of change. Here is the abstract for my presentation:
During the last eight years there have been rapid development in pedagogies for online learning and the underlying technical systems to support these pedagogies. These systems have matured to form a next level environment, encapsulated in systems like Blackboard 9, and the expectations for Moodle 2.0. These platforms have looked to bring the technologies implemented up-to-date (look and feel, underlying code, standards compliance) and to provide a sound platform to build on in the future.
However, the move to Blackboard 9 has been demanding for many institutions in many ways – bugs, stability and performance, staff training, staff engagement and expectation management to name but a few areas. These experiences have highlighted the significant issues that this change process is raising for our field, and fuelled concerns that central VLEs should be making way for more agile socially driven solutions. As many institutions are at the point of deciding what direction they believe will provide that next generation experience that we are all aiming for, there is value in discussing the extended issues they may face:
- Do we want the change we say we do?
- Are we capable of moving large scale VLEs forward?
- Are jumps away easier than jumps forward?
- How do we focus attention on learning and teaching and not the underlying technology?
- How can we manage expectations and change processes?
- Is our understanding of the elearning infrastructure at institutions the same as our users?
This talk will refer to the University of Dundee as a case study example, but will be discussing the broader conceptual and strategic direction of the field at this time. Discussion welcome.