Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Leadership. Management and Keeping on Track

Part A of #ocTEL Week 5 If I only do one thing... 

Two people from Imperial College London, Julie Voce, and Lisa Carrier, generously shared their ed tech implementation projects with the ocTEL community (via presentation tool PANOPTO utilising Microsoft Silverlight):

It seems that both projects were successful overall (and interesting), albeit each experienced some tricky issues and shared lessons learnt from the process.

CS1 involved the comprehensive project of determining what VLE to use (after WebCT was consumed) from an institute wide perspective, including short-listing four products before piloting two in trial sites and selecting and implementing a new VLE.

CS2 established a new blended learning Master course (allergy specialisation for health professionals) in an institute that did not previously offer online learning.

Below I have tabled some of their respective successes shared, then I have grouped issues discussed (including points of failure) and lessons learnt as there were some like themes to compare and contrast across the cases. These may be heavily summarised, so I recommend visiting the presentations for follow-up detail.

Some successes

CS1: New institutional VLE
CS2: New blended learning program
Project objective
Achieved and delivered within 1 month of time plan
Achieved and delivered on time and on budget
Thorough evaluation of VLEs (to confirm/question deliverables)

Set-up and migration to new VLE to 500+ courses within 4 months
Innovative template inspiring others; positive recruitment, retention, etc.

Some factors of focus re potential failures/issues and lessons learnt

CS1: New institutional VLE
CS2: New blended learning program
Plan development of specifications;
Plan each stage = CRUCIAL
Have project objective clearly defined plus project scope;
Planning is everything, use processes and tools and work out dependencies;
Complete design BEFORE implementation
Consult widely in institute (staff and students) and allow all a voice;
Consult with vendors and other institutes;
Some in institute unaware institute VLE review took place
Map and consult with stakeholders: external, internal; primary, secondary; power matrix; etc.; give them all a voice;

Time scales
Review at commencement took longer (students, as key stakeholders, unavailable)
Only 3 months from employment to delivery (meant no time for pilot)
Project Manager role
Need dedicated PM (not half a role)
Need dedicated PM, and to begin at the start (not part way through)
Project team
Get commitment from committees and key stakeholders
Team roles need to be clearly defined; have project board and team structure;
Don’t assume resources available (e.g. assuming academics are free to help); Map stakeholders and secure buy-in
VLE review time consuming and expensive process
Main cost = staff time
Pilot stage
Conducted pilot of two comparison tools in trial space (not effecting student’s study)
No time to carry out pilot stage
Test systems to ensure vendors promises are accurate
Evaluate risks; have contingencies

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