By this time (2003), I am managing e-resources for Havering College of Further & Higher Education. We get a new E-learning manager, his first task is to install and manage a VLE (Virtual Learning Environment). I’m made Department ILT Champion, which means I get to join the E-learning Manager in travelling to E-learning events all over London, meeting our counterparts from other colleges and education providers and sharing best practice.
Finally! People who understand!
My first major e-learning project
I’d watched the process for a couple of years running. The students’ first day. They get shuffled from place to place. Staff talk at them, telling them everything they need to know. That is, everything. Students yawn, eyes glaze over, vacant stares of young people oversaturated with information.
At the end of the presentations they get a leaflet with the information on again, which they then throw on the floor on the way out, or put in a bin if they are the more tidy ones.
“This”, I said to my manager and the heads of departments, “…cannot be the best way to get the information to students. Let me take this and revise the whole induction process”. This had the additional benefit of getting the students into the Library, logged on to the VLE and aware of what online resources they were able to access in their first week at the college.
Awards! Fame at last!
I collected all of the information from different sections – Student Support, Resources, The Student Union, Finance and so on, and using nothing more than a web builder, created a learning unit out of all of the input that tracked the visited sections, included simple interactions (such as how to find and reserve a book using the College Online Catalogue), how to submit work and much more.
We entered the course as a College in a competition organized by BECTA – a government funded, nationwide ILT initiative, winning 2nd prize – a grant of £7000 for the College. My course was distributed on CD-ROM to every FE college in the UK, as a shining example of good practice.