As we reported in ‘Project Spotlight’ in the Week 1 issue, the WebLearn Improved Student Experience (WISE) project is collaborating with academic units across the University on the redesign of their existing WebLearn sites and the design of new sites. The work also involves developing a set of WebLearn templates and a support package for academic units who wish to redesign their sites in accordance with best practice.
The project has now been running for six months, and the team is currently working with, or has arranged to work with, 19 faculties, departments and doctoral training centres. The units represent all divisions and all course types: undergraduate, Oxford-based taught postgraduate, blended taught postgraduate and doctoral training.
Work with each unit starts with an initial meeting, and then proceeds through a phased cycle of requirements gathering, prototyping (ie customising the chosen templates), building and populating the site, launch (ie going live) and usability evaluation by students. Nine units have now launched their revamped sites, and the evaluations are getting under way.
The size and complexity of the sites in different units vary, which is enabling the team to gain an understanding of how to scale its estimates of work in the future.
An initial event for the emergent community of ‘WISE champions’ was held on 13th October and attracted 18 participants. Participants from two units gave short presentations showing how their sites had changed as a result of the redesign.
Feedback recently received includes:
- ‘… the new site looks super. Thanks for all your work on it.’
- ‘I’ve been pointing my new first-year undergrads towards the WebLearn pages on their papers and the ease with which they can now access this information is incredibly helpful, so thank you.’
- ‘…even from a first glance I can see that it is significantly more user-friendly…’
- ‘The nice thing about Weblearn is that you can evolve it. You can build it up bit by bit.’
WISE project team: Jill Fresen, Fawei Geng, Xavier Laurent, Steve Burholt, Liz Masterman