Update on the WISE project


(text taken from ‘WISE Project: Update to Education IT Board’, written by Dr Liz Masterman, 22 October 2015)

Project aims

The WISE project aims to:

  1. Increase the uptake and optimise the use of WebLearn across the University to support and enrich teaching and learning.
  2. Increase student and staff satisfaction with WebLearn through improving the design, structure and usability of WebLearn sites.

To achieve these aims, a team of four learning technologists is collaborating with academic units across the University on the redesign of their existing WebLearn sites and on the design of new sites. The team is developing guidelines on ‘best practice’ in the design of WebLearn sites and fostering a community of ‘WISE champions’ to help disseminate these guidelines within the academic units.

The ultimate goal is a step change in the service offered by the WebLearn support team, through the development of a set of WebLearn templates and a support package for academic units who wish to redesign their sites in accordance with best practice. The templates and support documents are being progressively tested and refined through the team’s work with the units.


The project has been running for 6 months; 13 months remain. The team is currently working with, or has arranged to work with, 17 academic units (i.e. faculties, departments, doctoral training centres etc.). An additional two departments have expressed interest in becoming involved; faster than expected progress means that we should be able to accept them onto the project in early 2016.

The existing academic units represent all divisions and all course types: undergraduate, Oxford-based taught postgraduate, blended taught postgraduate and doctoral training. 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.

Positive feedback

  • ‘… 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.’
  • ‘It looks so much better than before and I shall look forward to using it.’
  • ‘…even from a first glance I can see that it is significantly more user-friendly…’
  • ‘This looks fantastic. It’s a great design. This will really help to make the training programme exciting and ensure consistency across the courses.’
  • ‘The nice thing about Weblearn is that you can evolve it. You can build it up bit by bit.’

Contact the WebLearn team for further information:  weblearn@it.ox.ac.uk

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