Comments on Thema Project Executive Summary #2

These comments relate to the JISC-funded Thema Project Executive Summary for the University of Oxford: .

Section 3: student’s use of digital technologies. Recommendations.

Content Provision in WebLearn

In relation to the institutional VLE, WebLearn, lecturers within the same course should:

  • Provide students with the same “base level” of service (i.e. in making PowerPoint presentations, lecture notes and so forth available), even if they do not all use the other tools and features provided.

We would wholeheartedly support this recommendation. Remember there’s lots of training available for WebLearn.

Podcasting as a Revision Aid

In relation to the use of digital technologies in lectures and other classes, lecturers are
encouraged to:

  • Consider the recording of lectures as podcasts to aid students’ revision, without fear that
    students will cease to attend lectures as a consequence.

There is a ‘Podcast’ tool within WebLearn, this allows podcasts to be uploaded and access restricted to site participants. Alternatively public podcasts can be hosted on the University’s public ‘Oxford Podcasts’ website (and on iTunesU) and re-used in WebLearn via the ‘News’ tool.

Reading Lists

In compiling students’ reading lists, lecturers should:

  • Make photocopied study packs of print-based materials available where possible, subject to copyright restrictions and cost implications.

It should be pointed out here that the University’s CLA licence allows material to be scanned and hosted in WebLearn within ‘Resources’ on a course site. This will be more cost effective than producing reams of photocopies each year.

Support for Mobile Phones

The Erewhon project is enhancing WebLearn for use on Smartphones. This technology should be available in the 2010/11 academic year and lectures are encouraged to think how they may use the new functionality.

For Training Providers

When planning the delivery of training through the academic year, providers are encouraged to:

  • Be mindful of students’ preference for “just-in-time” training.
  • Consider the creation of online “refresher” guides to supplement face-to-face training.

Just-in-time training and refresher guides can be hosted within WebLearn. Think about recording lectures and hosting within WebLearn or on the Oxford Podcasts site.

We are planning a special ‘study skills’ area in WebLearn where generic training material can be deposited and used by students. Details to follow.


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