VUT Distance Learning, E-learning unit launched its funky project Espresso on the vibrant platform VUTela.
We have reached a point at VUT whereby VUTela use has increased sufficiently for us to advocate for the deeper, more engaging use of VUTela that will foster improved teaching and learning in a blended delivery mode. Mehta, et.al. (2017) state that if a course is designed well, with due diligence to instructional design elements, such as course organization, direct instruction and quality assessments, it adds to the value that students derive from the online component of a blended course. Project Espresso will not only enable this new, more operationally efficient model of academic delivery to take place but it will transform the institution from a traditional contact based centre to one which can operate and perform across multiple levels of engagement, spaces and markets for further student enrolment.
The name: Project Espresso is a play on the name of the Espresso blended coffee and accelerated (express) development by a team of professionals supporting lecturers to maximize their efforts in delivering a blended learning module.
The project is divided into two complimentary processes that run concurrently: Digitization and Deployment / Blended learning facilitation. The goal of the digitization process is to render 50% of the 1400 modules by 2020 in all four faculties for greater engagement and uptake by students for learning development and delivery. The goal of the Deployment / Blended learning and facilitation project is to build the capacity of lecturers at VUT in the design, development and implementation of a blended learning module and the facilitation thereof. One of the key outcomes of this project is the transfer of skills of instructional design and content development to e-learning staff and academics of VUT. The Graphic design unit of CAD will work in close collaboration with content developers to design the graphical elements of a module in VUTela.
The Blended learning unit strives to:
- increase the adoption of E-Learning and contribute to the success and engagement of students.
- enhance the student experience, skills and satisfaction to increase retention and throughput.
- enable greater access and flexibility in the delivery of quality teaching and learning in particular blended learning with a focus on professional development of lecturers
- encourage a culture of innovation and continuous improvement in learning and teaching and in particular blended learning.
- establish an environment that will encourage uptake and embed E-Learning in core practice.
- support the institution’s goal to deliver a “student-centred” learning experience through E-learning.
VUTELA – a blackboard propriety based learning management system (LMS) which is externally hosted to ensure reliability, scalability and sustainability is the institution-wide LMS.