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What exciting technological times we live in and thank goodness for Microsoft Teams.

Teams load up page

I have recently been looking to make the leap from working and supporting teaching in physical learning spaces to the virtual learning environment (VLE).

Due to the current pandemic forcing the university to close the campus and moving teaching and events online – I have seen a large reduction in my workload given the fact my department Learning Spaces Technology supports 400 physical teaching spaces, over 2000 open access PCs, on site conferences and events alongside the equipment loans service. Therefore, I have taken this less-than-ideal situation as an opportunity to utilise my existing digital knowledge and learn new skills within online technology enhanced learning by helping-out colleagues in other LTW departments.

I have recently started a secondment assisting the Technology Enhanced Learning Service and Media Team within DLAM who look after the University’s VLE and all its tools.

I have found the experience of starting with the new team very surreal having not physically met my new colleagues, although we are on regular video calls and instant message chat, I have still been made to feel very welcome and part of the team. After a lot of online sessions and a couple of weeks of shadowing (very much online support for the online support) I believe I’m now pretty much up and running and have gained a lot more knowledge in using and supporting the following:

  • VLE Blackboard Learn
  • Virtual classroom and meeting tool Blackboard Collaborate
  • Turnitin assignment submission tool
  • Online portfolio PebblePad
  • Blogging services (which helped me start this blog)
  • Lecture recording tool Media Hopper Replay and Create
  • Kaltura Capture desktop recording tool

I have also taken the opportunity to complete online LinkedIn Learning courses on Learning Technologies such as Teaching with Technology, Flipping Classrooms, Teaching Techniques: Blended Learning and Creating Multimedia Learning. I am also in the process of completing courses on WordPress, HTML Essential Training and Python programming fundamentals. So much learning!

I do feel my skills have transferred well as I am still helping to look after services, providing user support and contribute to service improvement. In a way a lot of it feels very familiar. When you feel that dread as you read that unidesk call for the first time and think oh no!!! To the satisfaction of closing that same call after working through the problem or issue with a “thank you for all your help” from a grateful end user or colleague. I do still have a lot to learn but I’m really enjoying the experience and new challenges so far and look forward to what the coming weeks will bring.

(Photo taken by Alan Hamilton)

(Photo taken by Alan Hamilton)


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