Developing Staff Further: The additional benefits of a TEL Toolkit

Colleagues, delighted to report that our abstract for the prestigious Association of Learning Technologists has been accepted – there has been significant interest in the BU work in this area, led by David Biggins, previously a CEL theme leader and now one of our Academic Learning Advisors working on Brightspace, our new VLE


Developing Staff Further: The additional benefits of a TEL Toolkit
Technology enhanced learning (TEL) in higher education is increasingly seen as going beyond the immediate benefits of supporting staff in TEL deployment and extending to the development of capability/competency which contributes to students’ long-term wellbeing, life-long learning and self-development (Biggins at al 2017). The role of TEL toolkits and training strategies within HE in the academic staff’s life and work however reminds under-researched. Presented through three rich case studies (Yin 2011) and drawing upon an analysis of a survey of TEL strategies across UK HE institutions (2016-2017, n=32), this paper will share our research findings and reflect upon how this work has contributed to the development and enhancement of staff skills, whilst asking how it could be further linked to their wellbeing, life-long learning and wider self-development.

Although the qualitative case study phase of this mixed method research is in progress, the survey has already offered insights that will guide the upcoming qualitative phase. The survey showed that even though all the responding institutions offer digital tools for teaching and learning, and that more than half of them (57%) develops their own in-house TEL tools, only 40% have some kind of an online toolkit collating the tools using different taxonomies. However, 37% claim to have a toolkit in development, demonstrating that TEL toolkits are becoming ‘the new normal’ in the UK HE. These toolkits and institutions’ strategies will be further explored and analysed within the follow-up case study research asking in what ways academic staff needs are included and/or addressed within these strategies. The survey further demonstrated that institutions spend more days training academic staff to use the available digital tools (66% more than 5 days per year) compared to students (33%). Yet less than 10% of institutions monitor TEL users ‘continually’, with the majority stating they ‘rarely’ monitor academic staff (63%). 31% claim to ‘frequently’ monitor the use of TEL tools among students. This could imply that academic staff are seen by the HE institutions as an interlink between them and the students rather than the primary target audience and users.

Our presentation will explore the research completed and its future direction. In addition, we will run a workshop to explore the additional benefits TEL Toolkits for staff including, but not restricted to, wellbeing, life-long learning and self-development.

Those attending the session will gain a thorough understanding of the TEL Toolkit landscape and how the additional benefits of toolkits can be used to further develop staff.
Biggins, D., Holley, D., & Zezulkova M., 2017. Competence and Capability Frameworks in the Context of Learning, Self-Development and HE Pedagogy. In Vincenti, G., Bucciero, A., Helfert, M., Glowatz, M., eds. E-Learning, E- Education, and Online Training, Springer e-book, pp. 46-53.

Yin, R.K., 2011. Applications of case study research. Sage.

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