Exciting times and big plans

Well, it does feel as if a number of things are starting to move forward now across GCU. Last week there was a cross-university consultation event led by Bernadette Kelly, CIO, on the direction of travel for GCU’s new Digital Strategy. Lots of ideas came through about making the student/staff experience more effective and coherent, and ensuring our various business systems are fit for purpose and more ‘joined up’. The learning and teaching aspects still need fleshed out a bit, especially the alignment with the Strategy for Learning, but no doubt these will develop further as discussions continue. Learning and teaching is after all our core ‘business’.

The consultation builds on last year’s discussions around what it might mean for GCU to become a Digital University, based on the work done by Sheila MacNeill and colleagues Prof Keith Smyth (UHI) and Dr Bill Johnson (formerly Strathclyde). The key themes that emerged then are still relevant –

• Digital Infrastructure
• Digital literacy (for students and staff)
• Policy and guidelines
• Learning Analytics
• Open Education & Digital participation
• Need for a GCU definition of ‘Digital University’

These are all big issues which need to be taken forward, but it does feel now as if there is some positive momentum building up and a sense of common purpose emerging.

The day after the consultation event we had a demonstration of some of the features of Lynda.com which provides extensive online resources for a wide range of software applications and approaches to blended learning. A number of us will be piloting and demonstrating these videos and courses to colleagues in June, with a view to deciding whether to go ahead and purchase a university wide licence for staff and students. Extending digital capability is key to moving GCU forward.

The development sessions for the new online postgraduate programmes are also continuing with the 5th in the series taking place next week on the 21st May. Local workshops on curriculum planning have also been held with programme teams in Schools. Marketing, and Governance and Quality have also been involved in looking at some of the broader issues such as marketing and branding, and quality processes for online programmes.

Exciting times indeed. Work on all of these areas will continue over the summer. Summer break? What summer break?!

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