7. Meeting Strategic Objectives II: Learning and Teaching — Programmes and Methods

OUCS seeks to develop ICT services where they supplement existing teaching methods, especially as part of the tutorial system. This is the main approach of another of OUCS's units — the Learning Technologies Group (http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ltg/). With reference to IIb, via its Academic Computing Development Team (ACDT), the group develops innovative projects alongside academics. Throughout 06/07 one of these projects will be the rolling-out and embedding of the Tutorial Reporting System (OxCORT), an initiative led by senior tutors at colleges and funded in part by the HEFCE E-learning Innovation Fund and by college contributions. This has been developed by the ACDT from a product used at Cambridge University.

Elsewhere, under the WebLearn team (the University's central VLE — see section 11), the Learning Technologies Group is directly working on an e-portfolio system in collaboration with the Graduate Skills Committee and the University's Careers service (IIb, and IIg). This has now been launched under the title ASPIRE11. The system allows one to record and reflect on past experiences and achievements, plan personal development by scheduling goals and activities, undertake an audit on one's confidence on a broad range of transferable skills, and automatically construct a draft CV for the data entered into the system. There are 3 separate versions of the software: undergraduate, taught masters and research postgraduate (which include contract research staff). The Research Postgraduate version has been funded by the EPSC GSAG by so-called ‘Roberts’ money, and the UG & Masters versions by the HEFCE e-learning fund.

WebLearn's development will be taken forward according to the demands of the user community, and it is also working alongside the SAKAI project in collaboration with the Universities of Cambridge, Hull, and Leeds in the UK; and worldwide ANU, Cornell, Georgetown, Harvard, MIT, NYU, Penn State, Princeton, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCSB, etc.

Specifically therefore, over the next five years OUCS plans to:

  • Continue the roll-out of ASPIRE with the Careers Service. Target date: Ongoing;
  • promote the outcomes of its analysis of the workshops held in 06 on IT tools to relieve the Administrative Burden on academics via training, and documentation. Target date: 07;
  • launch the Tutorial Reporting System (OxCort) as a pilot service, and then as a full service. Target date: TT 07, MT 07 (full service). Cost: purchased by colleges and E-learning Innovation fund. Development costs partly met by ACDT, but annual maintenance cost thereafter £10-15k;
  • develop and promote the use of the VLE WebLearn (see section 11 below);
  • research and implement technology that provides teachers and learners with assessment technologies that increase the quality and ease by which questions can be authored and subsequent marking performed (IIb);
  • promote the effective use of ICT facilities in the classroom by exemplar teaching rooms at OUCS 9e.g. the ISIS lecture room);
  • research and implement technology that allows learners to share and express their understanding. Specifically this could be through the use of blogs and wikis or through more advanced shared graphical simulation technologies (IIc);
  • fund the development of new teaching rooms in OUCS. Target dates: 07-09. Estimated cost: £600k.

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