VLE Review: next steps

Sarah Argles, Project Communications Officer for the Education IT Programme, writes:

As you will be aware by now, the VLE Review set out to determine whether WebLearn continues to meet the University’s requirements as the primary platform to support teaching and learning. In Michaelmas and Hilary terms 2016-17, the project team consulted staff and students, including those who don’t currently use WebLearn. Following the completion of the ‘landscape’ report (see ‘The VLE and institutional culture’ in this blog), the review is moving forward with a recommendation to look for a new VLE for Oxford. Potential suppliers will be invited to submit a proposal fulfilling Oxford’s requirements, and will then undergo a selection process.

The main reasons for this course of action are to seek to:

  1. Provide an improved user experience to staff and students by implementing a VLE that addresses many of the concerns raised regarding shortcomings in the usability of the Sakai platform.
  2. Benefit from simpler maintenance procedures, through these efficiencies, foster the development of specialised tools that accommodate requirements and activities specific to Oxford.
  3. As set out in the University’s Digital Education Strategy, support academic staff as innovative teachers by improving the functionality and usability of key digital platforms.

Following the selection of a preferred supplier in Michaelmas term 2017, the project will prepare an implementation plan that will outline the resources necessary to transition to the new platform. The plan will include support for departments and colleges in migrating existing content to the new platform. The proposed implementation plan will then be considered by the Education IT Board.

The selection process will focus on finding a solution that supports teaching and learning. For those people who currently use WebLearn for other purposes, WebLearn will remain available until an alternative is identified. Plans for this transition will be developed in collaboration with users.


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Image credit: CC BY-SA Nick Youngson via The Blue Diamond Gallery

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