VLE Support
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Tom Franklin Consulting Ltd

No 5

17-19 Elsworthy Road

London

NW3 3DS


07989 948 221

Tom@franklin-consulting.co.uk

Registered in England and Wales No. 6948162



Last updated: 06 October 2014








Franklin Consulting

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University

VLE support staff

Student support

VLE development staff

Staff development

Faculty / school support

VLE

Lund (Sweden)

1/2 time person on our computer centre does the general server maintainence, supervision, and backup

Student support on LUVIT issues is integrated as a smal fraction in a general student helpdesk. Two older students 4- 5 hours a day provides this service. Let us estimate that LUVIT issues make up for less than 1 hour a day.


One fulltime person (shared between myself and one collegue) does the:

application service and administration of our VLE (called LUVIT)

teacher heldesk for LUVIT

course design consulting for LUVIT

staff training on LUVIT

(in addition we do

staff training on web pedagogics in F2F and online courses)


We run now 2 LUVIT servers with 6.287 and 5.654 participants respectivelly.

They contain about 550 courses.

UCL

Two of our technical staff are responsible for the technical running of the WebCT server, but not full time by any means - it's one of the many servers they administer.



2

There are also four "FISOs", allocated to one faculty each, such as myself

- and one of the things we do is train/support staff in their use of the VLE as well as other e- learning things.

WebCT

FE college - Anon

we have 'me' to do most of what you suggest And I'm seconded elsewhere for half my time!  Of course we have the IT Services Manager who is rebuilding our Intranet and trying to make it work with Moodle





Moodle

HE College

(8000 students, 300 staff)

3 staff who provide support for learning technology This is not totally their main function so would not be 3 FTE's

0The real number in terms of FTE is probably zero. One of the systems people does it as a 'hobby', they upgrade and patch for us as is necessary (with very minor customisation). Probably about 3-5 days a year in total. (Though we also have a support contract with moodle.com)

This is the same three people who support learning technology




Harper Adams



1 at present, soon to become 3.5 following CETL bid.

this is a central team, serving the whole college.




Pre-1992 university

18,000 students

have 5 staff:

LT Manager

VLE Systems Co- ordinator

Learning Technologists x 2

Clerical Assistant x 1

Blackboard isn’t, of course,


All of the above play a part:

– the VLE Systems Co-ordinator has a specific role to both develop the VLE within the broader systems and to provide technical user support

- the Learning Technologists support Bb users as an when required as well as developing content intended to be delivered, where possible, through the VLE

- The LT Fellows support their own constituents with day- to-day issues and provide a local context

EDU (Education Development Unit – separate to our Division) provide the formal training through an external trainer. This is technical in orientation, and I am increasingly concerned that it misses the point somewhat by failing to focus directly on the issues of online pedagogy.

The reason for this split between training and support /development is political. We must move towards developing a better staff awareness of the issues related to the use of online learning and not simply show them how to ‘do’ things in Blackboard – if we move to WebCT or MOODLE in the

future many of our staff would be lost – they are being specifically skilled in Bb

The University has appointed four Learning Technologies Fellows (0.5WTE, 2-year

appointments initially, one per Faculty) to ‘connect’ the Centre to the Schools

and Faculties. The current Fellows consist of two ‘academics’ and two colleagues

from a more technical/curricul um support background. This was purely by chance

following an open call and interviews.

Blackboard

Post- 1992 University

25,000 students



In house VLE at present; about to recruit for 5 staff involved in curriculum design and content creation, with at least two of the new recruits will be involved in academic professional development as part of their design positions

Small team of in-house developers (but this is changing from a dedicated team to an institutional development capability)

Varies across faculties; no common approach

In house VLE

University of the Arts London

Primary support, research and development related to the University's VLE is handled through the IT Research and Development Unit and employs 12 FT and 2 PT staff

At any one time there are usually 2 ITRDU FTEs directly involved with VLE support for staff.

Most colleges handle VLE student support through IT

In the ITRDU we have about 4 FTEs who are directly involved with e-   learning software developments, this includes software extensions to our VLE (Blackboard) - Building Block development.

Some staff support through colleges is handled by local e- learning staff - about one person per college. college staff are coordinated through the ITRDU's Technology in the Learning Environment (TILE) group  That is 4 FTEs but they are also involved with other e- learning activities.

We have 2 or 3 staff within the ITRDU who are involved with staff development related to e- learning. We run central VLE training, workshops and demonstrations of good practice, online courses and conferences. Our provision of e-learning related staff developments partly overlaps with central IT and HR training courses.



Loughborough University

Our VLE isn't ringfenced as far as content providers are concerned, so the content comes from academics, departmental support staff, faculty support staff and central support staff, with Computing Services looking after the operations side and developments. These staff may also contribute to other online sites and services, unconnected with the VLE.

1.3 FTE


0.3 FTE, but in practice other non- dedicated staff both within and outside Computing Services are called on, esp. for testing and trialing new developments.

4 FTE in Professional Development, but all Learning Technologists contribute to the staff development programme one way or another (includes Distance Learning support).

We are pretty certain that our support provision is below average, and is complicated by the decentralized nature of the university.  And of course what constitutes the "appropriate level of support" depends on a whole load of factors.

Faculties: We have just appointed 5 FTE Online Development Officers on 2- year contracts, to add to the 4 already in post.

tends to be the largest departments.  2 FTE + 2 *

Schools / Departments: 0.5 FTE dedicated staff.

It is not uncommon for existing IT support staff in the departments to assist academics with content provision on an ad hoc basis. This is rarely part of their job description, but may take up 0.15 FTE of their time.

The VLE itself is a home- brew based on an Apache server running on Linux, with added open source tools for discussion boards, blogs etc. The CAA system (QM Perception 3.4) is separate from the VLE, but accessed via it.

We constantly examine the VLE marketplace, but haven't found a pre- packaged solution which offers us more than we have already got.

York St John

5000 students

240 Academic staff

One full-time e-learning adviser


The e-learning adviser does this, with support from IT services. We use WebCT

This is the main role of our e-learning adviser

none


University of Stirling

1 Manager/System admin



1 CPD specialist

1 individual for each faculty (there are 4)


Waterloo University, Canada

1.5 FTE (one full time position, and one half) who provide faculty and student technology support (documentation, hands-on courses, help response, support for pedagogical staff, announcements, etc.).

1.0 FTE (two half positions) as the systems persons in charge of planning the technology path (upgrades, hardware systems, local infrastructure connections, expert knowledge on VLE workings and database)


Regarding the first answer above, part of the central staff time (the 1.0 FTE) goes towards integration and some development and customization associated with integration and local tools development (our VLE, ANGEL, facilitates adding local tools quite nicely). Perhaps 0.3 of that 1.0 FTE may go to this task.


There is also about another 0.7 FTE from the LT centre based on a person who looks at developing new ideas for the VLE, thus far devoted to migrating from the old mostly homegrown system, and looking at an e-portfolio system. This 0.7 is in addition to the 1.0 FTE in the IT department mentioned earlier.


We have decided that for the initial stages, at least, we will contract with our vendor to develop significant functionality we see missing, and for which we are willing to pay. We may decide to do some of our own functionality development later.

That number does not include:

- computer platform support including operating system support, system builds, student information systems used for classlists, central authentication, etc., which are done by other components of the central computing support group.

Approximately 4.0 FTE in "official" support, comprised of 4 half-time positions and two full-time. (The Faculty of Arts has a full-time person because of higher uptake in that area; similarly Accountancy within Arts has a half-time person.) These are staff members from a learning technology (LT) centre on campus and they work in the six Faculties.

They provide the first point of contact for faculty members, and provide course and instructional design support along with some technical assistance during course development (backed up by the 1.5 FTE IT support mentioned above).


We have seen an emergence of support from the Faculty computer consulting offices. In two Faculties (of the 6) the computing directors have designated support staff who participate in the support of instructors wanting to get started in the VLE, while in others it is more informal support emergence.


FE College

7,000 students

2 staff who do everything, but due to cuts in funding from LSC this is likely to fall to 1.






Survey of support staff for VLEs

The survey was undertaken in 2005 as there was felt to be a lack of support for VLEs, and especially for pedagogical support for teaching staff.  An informal survey was therefore conducted, and the responses were as shown below.