Raising aspirations among colleagues – exciting e-plans at Bishop Auckland

Lee and Elaine with their e-learning BTEC certificates

Lee Phillips and Elaine Mattinson with their e-learning BTEC certificates.

Last week, we popped across to County Durham to drop off Lee’s and Elaine’s BTEC certificates.

We also wanted to catch up with the Bishop Auckland duo to see how they’re getting on since we last saw them at the e-Learning Essentials workshop in September.

Having been convinced of the benefits of action-based e-learning, Lee and Elaine have been busy spreading the message among their colleagues.

“The workshop has really been the instigator for us [the advanced practitioner team] to be more confident and start disseminating good practice among other staff”, Lee told us.

Shifting perceptions

Elaine and Sue at Bishop Auckland collegeLee said they’re beginning to see a shift in how e-learning is being perceived at the college.

“There is still some anxiety over what people feel are “poor IT skills”, but they are increasingly starting to see that it’s not about how “whizzy” you are with the technology – good e-learning is actually exactly what you do in the classroom anyway.”

“Me and Elaine have been ideal in terms of creating interest and inspiring other staff because we were both initially also worried about our IT skills. So when we show the work we did on the workshop to others, we can say ‘if we were able to create something like this in one afternoon…'”

Bigger e-plans

The timing of the project couldn’t be more ideal for the college. They are currently in the midst of implementing wider strategic plans to make e-learning an essential part of everything the college does.

A new web development team has been put together to develop the student page portal to be a one-stop place for e-learning.

Lee and Elaine, together with other advance practitioners team members, are working to create guidelines for developing e-learning materials based on the more interactive, action-based approach.
Lee catches up with Sue on the progress of the e-learning project at Bishop Auckland College

Buy-in from the top

Following the publication of Ofsted’s FELTAG report, there is a strong incentive in raising the college-wide aspirations around technology enhanced learning.

And now, the work has robust backing from the top too.

“We’ve been doing a lot of awareness-raising to move from using the VLE [Virtual Learning Environment] as a “filing cabinet” to be more interactive and the senior leadership team now recognises that it’s not enough to use the VLE as just a repository”, Lee said.

New year’s resolutions

As soon as the Christmas holidays are over, the team will start trialling the project modules in the classroom.

We look forward to another trip down the beautiful (and by then, wintery!) County Durham to see how things are progressing.