Guest post: New, open, staff digital learning guides

The GSBS Learning Technologists have recently published a set of online guides focused on a number of digital learning tools including GCULearn, Turnitin Feedback Studio and Collaborate Ultra. All of the guides are available for anyone to access via edShare (links at the end of this post). Elizabeth McGlone, Learning Technologist, explains more in this guest post.

It was great to get another learning technologist on board in our team in June this year – not least because it immediately killed two birds with one stone!  Simultaneously, we had another resource to support a staff of around 160 – which can be challenging when there’s only two of you – but also a whole new skill set!  Another resource meant more opportunity to be proactive in investigating new technologies.  I had briefly explored flipsnack while looking for an online flipbook solution but had never had the time to experiment with it, so it was timely and resourceful when my new colleague took the opportunity to do this.

Supporting our staff happens through individual face to face support as new technologies can understandably be daunting and our kinesthetic learners are supported as a group in a lab setting.  However the time consumed in offering this support can often mean that there is no time to create physical training resources that would both suit the more independent learner and act as a learning consolidation resource following face to face learning.  A new team member with a background in design meant we had the opportunity over the summer to create staff user guides using his bespoke template incorporating a GSBS blended learning branding.

We were able to launch these guides at our GSBS Digital Assessment Event in September and having them printed as a glossy brochure made them so desirable that all available copies were commandeered on the day!  We now have guides ranging from the setting up of digital assessments and online marking using Turnitin Feedback Studio, as well as guides to enhance the delivery of blended learning using collaborative tools such as wikis, blogs and podcasts.  We will continue to build and develop these at quieter periods in the academic year!staff_guide_mock-up

Not only do we offer the guides as a physical hard copy that can be taken away from training sessions but using the aforementioned flipsnack software means they can also be viewed as online digital flipbooks, with an additional option to download as PDFs for storing offline.  The guides are stored in edShare as open educational resources so that we can embed them within our Better Blended Learning Community in GCULearn , and also share them with the rest of the university community and the world.

So, now we have this dynamic online software to support staff learning new technologies, are we making our own physical contributions to staff redundant?  While endeavouring to develop the digital capabilities in the staff we support, we use technology.  But technology doesn’t replace people, people enable the advancement, innovation and success of technology which in turn supports successful learning and teaching.  These guides are just another part of the support we continue to offer to our colleagues within the school, university and beyond.







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