Month: May 2023

adding another VLE

Lovely illustrations for our playful engagement website by the LTW

A year ago we identified  a missing component in the University’s Digital Estate.

Each year the University attracts large numbers of Learners (non-matriculated students) to non-credited courses yet there is currently a gap in the University’s learning and teaching platforms to support them. Our review of short course provision in 22/23 estimated that there are upwards of 10,000  learners across hundreds of courses, this is already University business but the digital estate does not accommodate this activity well, as none of the current VLEs are optimised for this type of  external business. Our VLE(s) are designed to deliver credit-bearing taught courses and ensure a consistent and positive user experience. There are currently no service(s) that can deliver a University-wide catalogue of non-credit-bearing taught courses to externally facing users or offer a clear and consistent end-user, learning, teaching, or administrative experience for short courses including continuing professional development (CPD) and executive education.

Since nothing is optimized to their needs, learner experiences are mixed and courses can be difficult to find.

This gap for a short courses platform was included in the Digital Estate Strategy and has now been approved. A board has been convened to oversee the procurement and the procurement is now underway to deliver a short course platform that enhances the learners experience across the lifecycle, allowing them to;

  • access a single university catalogue helping them to browse all non-credit courses with consistent course information.
  • identify the course(s) that meet their requirements including learning outcomes, course dates and delivery method (face to face, online, hybrid).
  • register, pay and learn in a way that encourages them to continue their learning journey with the University of Edinburgh.

In addition to improving the overall learner experience the benefits to the University include;

  • increasing the diversity and widening participation (WP) of our university learning community by enabling staff to create engaging and accessible catalogue and learning content
  • improved management information for decisions and planning for non-matriculated learners, these learners are mostly missing completely from standard reporting impacting QA and WP reporting, and size and shape planning
  • encouraging continued learning with the University either on further short courses or on credited programmes through lead generation, and in turn increasing University income.
  • enabling process and operational efficiencies by replacing end of life systems and enabling the University platform strategy
  • reducing the risks of non-matriculated learners being granted access to systems which have been licenced based on student FTE numbers
  • reducing pressure on students services not designed to be accessed by large numbers of non-matriculated learners.

The new platform for short courses will address a lacuna and allow the University to optimize each platform for type of learning and the needs of the audience. The benefits will be seen in the fact that students will learn on a platform designed and tailored for their degree level courses, staff will learn on a platform designed for workplace development, and external and B2B learners will have a platform designed so their interactions with our University are optimized and so courses can meet University business and teaching objectives.