The Learning, Teaching & Web Services Division (LTW) brings together the technology enhanced learning, digital education, website, web services and classroom technology teams to ensure that we offer a service to colleagues and students which meets the needs of Schools and Colleges.
LTW will support and engage with initiatives generated by our staff, students, alumni and those outside the University. I hope that colleagues across the collegiate university will engage with our services, case studies and events, give advice to our projects and invite us into ongoing discussions about how best to make use of the technology on offer.
Engaging with users
Since establishing the Division in August 2014 I have been out and about around the University, discussing the support needed for learning, teaching and outreach, and for an enhanced student experience. I have been delighted to find so many colleagues with enthusiasm for new ways of thinking and working as part of a University-wide conversation on digital innovation. Ongoing investment in this area will enable us to maintain excellent services within the University by providing a robust foundation for the enhancement of learning, teaching and communications. The University is moving towards an increasingly open presence on many digital platforms: open educational resources, open data, open science and open practice. Effective digital communications from the University will ensure that this digital shift benefits society on a national and a global scale. The success of massive online and distance learning courses demonstrates that we have found new audiences and collaborators from across the globe. Your help will be needed to make the most of the new website to ensure that those seeking knowledge about any area of academic activity discover relevant work carried out at Edinburgh.
Technology in the classroom
My conversations with colleagues have highlighted an increasing demand for digital skills training and for support to integrate technology into the classroom. The distinction between IT and AV is becoming increasingly blurred: it’s all digital now. For many colleagues it is the technology context – the technology available in the teaching rooms – which influences their choice of media to use. As you would expect in a research institution, colleagues are using the most up-to-date technologies every day in their research. Our challenge now is to find appropriate ways to model those activities in teaching so that students learn how professional researchers make use of the tools, methods and datasets in their field. The technology on campus should provide a flexible environment that lets students and staff experiment, co-create, build, share and learn from each other.
The digital estate
Digital content and tools which make up the university’s digital footprint, or digital estate are growing. Digital content and tools such as Learn, MyEd, Turnitin, PebblePad, mobile apps and webpages have a key part to play in equality and a consistently excellent student experience. Reviewing support for the digital experience requires us to look across the University at what systems and services we provide. It is important to assess how these are perceived, navigated and experienced by students and staff; what shortcomings and gaps there are; and what will be required of these systems and services in five years’ time. Should we invest as much in our digital estate as we do in our physical one?
I am looking forward to working with groups across the institution to identify the services that will help us to deliver what we need locally, nationally and internationally.