12 October 2007

Staffing for e-Learning

From Presentation by Vicki Marchant, Manager - Teaching and Learning Initiatives, TAFE NSW - Illawarra Institute.

Vicki explored the role of Managers in supporting staff implementing e-learning as well as the different skill sets required of managers, support staff and facilitators.

Some of the key points discussed included -

  • the need to critically evaluate eLearning;
  • the importance of time - managers need to allocate time for themselves and their staff to explore and discuss and to acknowledge different cultural perspectives/attitudes to time;
  • Network, network, network for learning and understanding;
  • IT support for students as well as staff is critical but not yet happening - what's the answer?
  • Patience, perseverence and a willingness to share and be flexible are critical for a facilitator of e-learning;
  • Co-facilitation makes a difference - a great learning strategy for developing online facilitation skills and techniques;
  • Innovation is best when embedded, and an element of risk supports innovation;
    A strategic approach is critical;
  • Systems and tools need to underpin and enable e-learning;
  • re-use, re-purpose, share rather than start from scratch;
  • e-Learning = Learning - should be integrated into a blended approach and it will become ubiquitous;
  • Modelling by managers works, but also modelling by colleagues.

Certainly one of the pertinent points, I believe, is accepting and supporting 'a different way of working' for e-learning teachers. Do they need to be in an office at the institution or can they do it from home, or from the beach, or wherever? Do you need to be able to 'see' them doing their work? Staff could be facilitating online subjects anywhere in QLD, Australia, or indeed, overseas. This requires 'trust' and opens up so many wonderful possibilities. Timetabling could become more flexible, or challenging!

George Siemens says that a key role of managers is to 'remove the barriers' so that staff can do their jobs. (Siemens interview (October 2006) recorded by Parker, TAFE NSW – Illawarra Institute. Not always easy, eg ICT firewalls, but certainly understanding the issues and working with the different stakeholders is essential.

What do you think is the key role of Managers of e-Learning?

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