People and policy
As part of Flexible Learning, we are exploring new ways of working together.
As education has become more inclusive, accessible and digital, we need to offer colleagues more support in designing learning that works for diverse audiences and can be delivered through various modes.
This workstream explores how our policies, organisational design and processes need to change to enable more blended and flexible learning through ‘design and delivery by team’. This model of teaching delivery plays to our colleagues’ strengths to create learning that is flexible by design.
This workstream is led by Professor Steve Pettifer, University Academic Lead for Digital Learning and Deputy Programme Director for Flexible Learning.
- Digital Learning Service (DLS):
We will create a staff-facing service that supports teaching colleagues in creating digital resources in addition to providing support and advice. It will offer training to colleagues who want to gain advanced digital learning skills or enhance their understanding of digital and online pedagogy.
The DLS will help us to become more agile by allowing eLearning learning colleagues to be deployed flexibly where they are needed most. The service will combine the strengths of the current eLearning teams, maintaining the local knowledge and relationships important to service users, but bring these together with a joint mission and purpose.
The design and creation of the DLS pilots the new workforce planning approach led by the Organisational Design and Development project team.
- A permanent function for flexible learning:
We will explore setting up a function for scoping, coordinating, and supporting innovative courses for the future. It will develop and support the Flexible Learning strategy beyond the Flexible Learning Programme, alongside national and global policy. Its shape and scope will be determined as part of this workstream in collaboration with colleagues across the University.
- Bookable service catalogue and Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
- Training, Transition, Succession, and Talent Management Plans
Initially, eLearning managers from across the University are taking part in the high-level design of the Digital Learning Service.
Once a direction of travel is agreed, we will invite eLearning colleagues and the wider teaching community to help shape the service via a series of workshops that will be advertised on StaffNet.
The DLSsubgroup is responsible for overseeing design and delivery of DLS change.
- Steve Pettifer: Chair
- Helen Ashley: Head of Workforce Planning and Talent/ODD Project
- Emma Rose: HUMS rep
- Helen Eccles: FBMH rep
- Wayne Keating: FSE rep
- Jennie Blake: Library rep
- Chris Milson: Library Rep
- Collette Cooke: UCIL rep
- Anna Verges Bausili: HUMS E-Learning Manager
- Laura Bond Sykes: FBMH E-Learning Manager
- Dan Jagger: FSE E-Learning Manager
- Ian Hutt: Head of Digital Learning
- Caroline Bowsher: FL Technology Lead
- Fiona Coll: People and OD Partner
- Tracy Kaar: People and OD Job Families
- Lara Melville: FL Project Manager
- Evelin Peil: Business Change Manager
- Lindsay Dunn: Administrator
What is the Digital Learning Service (DLS)?
The DLS will be a staff-facing university-wide service delivered through the strengths of the existing eLearning teams operating in Faculty, Library and central teams. The service will cater for staff that want to develop advanced digital learning skills and/or enhance their understanding of digital/online pedagogy within current learning designs. It will provide services for the creation and refinement of digital resources, and support those in need of trouble-shooting support or advice, as well as flex, adapt and evolve to support our Teaching and Learning Strategy and respond to the future needs of our students.
Why do we need a DLS?
It will align with university-wide teaching and learning strategy and the commitment to flexible learning. It will provide a unified, organisation-wide approach to digital learning and support a model of teaching that plays to our strengths, enabling ‘Flexible by Design’ and ‘Flexible by Delivery.’
The DLS will ensure that local relationships with faculties, schools and other business areas will be retained while optimising services to allow staff to be deployed to activities or business areas that have the greatest need.
What will it offer?
- a service front door enabling immediate support
- a service catalogue with a range of services and agreed service levels
- online resources and sharing of practice between teams
The full services are under design and review, and as we co-create the service with colleagues, we will update the offerings.
What does the creation of the DLS mean for current teams?
The DLS will not bring about a formal restructure of existing teams.
- The aim of DLS is to offer a whole service that is university wide. To do this, we will be introducing a virtual team to provide a unified approach.
- We often work within informal virtual teams to facilitate best practice and collaboration across faculties, to reduce resourcing risks and standardise processes and requests.
- The DLS virtual team will mean that there is an access route and opportunities for those with specialist and localised skills. The virtual team will form an alliance of different teams or units working together to achieve a single goal.
- The key principles are collaboration, trust and empowerment. They will benefit from shared skills and knowledge and react quickly to meet new and rapidly changing requirements.
The Central Learning Environment (CLE) project is a good example of an existing virtual team as there are reps from all eLearning teams, faculty and ITS collaborating without boundaries, ensuring that necessary preparations and support is available for the procurement, testing, and implementation of a new CLE.
How will it work across teams?
The DLS will have elements of set and new ways of working. Primarily, it will be shared ways of working and a common approach. For current users of existing services, it may appear little more than a change of name. For newcomers with no experience of the current model, it will appear as a single entity that provides a range of services and expertise.
It is likely to have responsibility for looking after software licenses, making decisions about which tools to purchase/support etc. While it may be that functions like this are managed by the ‘central’ DLS team, this distinction would be unhelpful and confusing for users of the service.
Will anybody be required to adopt a new job description/title/role?
Yes. We are reviewing all existing job descriptions with a view to updating these to ensure they are fir for purpose and consistent for current colleagues and the external job market. These will be developed in conjunction with the eLearning Managers and existing role holders will have an opportunity to input, so that the nuances and complexities of job roles are fully understood and carefully integrated.
Will Trade Unions be involved in any discussions about changes to job descriptions?
Yes. Although we are not changing the structures of teams, which would require formal consultation, we are still engaging with the Trade Unions about the changes to the service and any revisions to the job descriptions. They will be able to ask questions, comment and provide feedback on the proposed changes.
Will it result in consistent structures within Faculty, Library and central teams?
The existing structures in these teams are not changing, however we aim to ensure a consistent approach to service provision, ways of working across teams and consistency in job description design.