06 February 2012

E-learning at Carlton in focus

Here's our latest guest blogger: Sarah Deasey from Carlton NLC. Thanks so much Sarah, and welcome (michael). 

Hello this is Sarah. I am the Further Education coordinator at CNLC.
There have been many opportunities for development of basic computer and online skills in the last 10 years or more. Past projects include:
  • Skillsnet funding in the Nineties for broad community training;
  • a telematics trust  grant for disability students; and
  • various grants through the flexible learning framework.

Most staff have taken up the opportunities with goodwill and a range of enthusiasm.  It would be fair to say that everyone (by now) understands the value and necessity for professional skill development and its application both in the classroom and in administrative tasks.

We have been lucky in all this time to have a few staff members who respond with great interest, skill and enthusiasm; putting in a lot of time and acting as leaders and inspiration to everyone else.   At the moment it’s Jill Koppel!

So what has worked?
  • funding to pay people for their PD time;
  • linking the learning to the “Big Picture” that is, relating the learning to all the domains where it can be applied: personal, work, study and community; and
  • the knowledge that web-based applications and Office applications are essential and effective learning resources. 
    It is fair to say that we have a culture a CNLC where we:
    • value e-skill development for staff and students
    • have equipment that demonstrates this– a training room, interactive whiteboard in one room and internet access in 2 out of 3 classrooms
    • have a reasonably functioning website
    • have a staff wiki communication hub and a student wiki which functions as both repository for learning and a showcase for students’ work- both set up by Jill and to which staff are encouraged to actively contribute content.
      What are the impediments?
      • Lack of time: ‘I don’t have time!’ is the most common catchcry.
      • When the technical problems obstruct access, this creates frustration and a feeling that its all too hard!
      • When home access is limited.
      What are the solutions?
      We need to make time through business planning. E-learning is not an ‘add on’. Any measures need to be incorporated ‘from the top’: in strategic planning, job descriptions, budget allocations for learning, administration systems, and technical support. This is where we need to move forward.