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Transformations Liverpool John Moores University

Project Name: Doing Digital

Lead Institution: Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU)

Project Lead: John Townsend


Not So Much A Project, More A Way Of Life”



See the full Transformations programme playlist


Aims and objectives

The basic premise of ‘Doing Digital’ was stated in the original project proposal as follows:

It is generally recognised that students have increasingly higher expectations of the online tools and facilities that will be available to them, and also that the effective and efficient use of IT is essential to the future operational and strategic success of our institutions, and to the delivery of an attractive student experience. A key area to address is not the provision of software and hardware to enable this, essential as this may be, but the capacity of staff to support and engage with the new, more online ways of working that will be expected. Major investment in IT will be ineffective without this capacity. Effectiveness and efficiency requires that IT services are useful, usable and used; we need to concentrate on the used, the people aspect, understand why services are not being taken up and/or producing anticipated new, smarter ways of working, and develop a plan to take us forward.


Experience has shown, however, that delivery of change management as part of a systems implementation is often ineffective, as the project team are focused on delivery of the system, and accusations of the technology driving the change frequently arise; attempts to deliver after systems implementation have proven to be equally unsuccessful. What is needed is a generic programme to raise awareness of the new ways of working that IT can enable, linked to institutional success and the student experience, and then backed up by specific training in the services available.


This premise defined the initial high level objective: to come up with a new, innovative approach to delivery of IT-enabled change, taking the change management away from both the IT project and programme level and seeking to adopt a people-based approach, promoting ‘Doing Digital’ as ‘the way we do things round here’.


Discussions with the JISC project mentor led to definition of more detailed aims and objectives as follows:


  • Intended Outcome 1 – Benchmarks – Answers to “How far do staff currently make effective use of IT for University processes?”
    • Notes. This refers to all staff who use IT in their work.
    • In benchmarking, maximum use will be made of existing data, including a recent baselining of practice in technology-enhanced learning practice across the University and views expressed in staff workshops on University systems and processes.
  • Intended Outcome 2 - Staff relate their own work to bigger University systems and processes.
    • Note. The rationale for this intended outcome is that the work of the University will be undertaken better when staff have a clear understanding of how their work relates to the work of others with whom they interact.
  • Intended Outcome 3 – A clear, accepted and evolving account of what Doing Digital means.
    • Notes: Doing Digital is about staff using University systems well. This generic account of Doing Digital will need to be fleshed out, and validated by those to whom it refers.
    • The evolved account of Doing Digital will include fundamental concepts like enterprise architecture and workflow, which should inform practice, alongside particular technical skills.
    • The account of Doing Digital will necessarily be dynamic, as systems and processes change over time.
    • The account of Doing Digital may vary between users, as well as having some common features.
    • The account of Doing Digital will necessarily include the capability to continue to develop one's own digital capabilities.
  • Intended Outcome 4 - Proven strategies and methods for getting from baseline to goal.
    • Note: As well as staff development, these strategies and methods will include organisational change initiatives.
    • Collaboration on these with LJMU HR will be sought.
  •  Intended Outcome 5 - Staff make effective use of IT for University processes.
    • Note: This, perhaps the ultimate goal of the project, will be achieved through bringing together the other outcomes.
    • Much the same measures and instruments used in outcome 1 for baselining can also be used to measure the attainment of outcome 5.



As is clear from the initial proposal, the context at LJMU was a scenario where the University was making continuing major and incremental investment in IT systems and services, with no certainty that the University community were able to make the effective use of these systems necessary to realise the investment. Programme Management had been adopted in 2003 as an approach to integrating IT projects and focusing on benefits management – the premise being that whilst projects deliver the capabilityto do things differently, benefits management focuses on the change management necessary to ensure that changes in working practices are adopted to take advantage of this new capability – to ensure that things aredone differently. Whilst there were some successes with this approach, it was clear that the University was still not ‘doing digital’, and that a change of direction was needed to achieve this objective, one that went beyond major top-down initiatives still closely associated with IT projects and programmes.


There have also been changes in the internal and external context which have changed the dynamics of IT-enabled change – rising student expectations linked to the shifts in funding; the consumerisation of IT and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device); customer IT development; privatisation, MOOCs and the continuing massification of Higher Education.


The rise of the student experience has quite rightly included the increasingly critical digital aspects of this experience, and another part of the premise of Doing Digital is that:


  • Most students have a growing expectation that their institution will interact with them in a rich digitally-enhanced manner*
  • University staff, and particularly academics, are the key interface between the student and the institution
  • Staff may not all have the capacity to interact in a digital context
  • All students will not receive an equally rich digitally-enhanced experience


(* caveat: evidence suggests that while this may be developing to a situation where it is ‘most’ students, by no means all are the predicted digital natives. In this context, given that the main student-institution interaction is with academic staff, enhancing staff digital literacy will also help to raise the level with students)


What we are trying to achieve, and what has changed during the process, is illustrated by the following definition of the different stages in maturity of IT use – something we borrowed from somebody else’s presentation once upon a time, so it should be attributed, but we don’t know who to – so if anybody out there knows, please tell us and we won’t have to attribute to ‘The Unknown Presenter’:


  1. Doing it to them: hopefully we’re mostly beyond this now, the days when IT was something done to others, neither willingly nor wholeheartedly adopted
  2. Doing it for them: the scenario where the new system is rolled out, but actually large parts of it are mediated, delivered or operated by central support. Still out there
  3. Doing it with them: where we mostly are now, IT projects delivered collaboratively with the business, gaining engagement as they progress, ownership still patchy at the end point
  4. Doing it to/for themselves: IT is a set of services available to the business that they pick choose and use as required and necessary. Some are internal, some are external, some are in-between. An App Store paradigm. The IT service has achieved what should be the goal of all services, albeit never achieved – made itself redundant. One new angle here is that the doing it to/for themselves aspect of IT maturity has already been taken out of the hands of the IT service – Apps again, Dropbox, BYOD; if IT services aren’t useful and usable enough, they won’t be used – but something else will.


The new LJMU IT Strategy has taken its strapline from the 2012-2017 Strategic Plan – to be ‘A University that embraces technology to the positive advantage of students, staff and partners’. What we should remember is that an embrace, like a tango, takes at least two.


The business case

The business case for Doing Digital has largely been made above, and is to a degree self-evident: to realise the investment in IT which enables the University to do things differently, the University must actually do things differently – and this means addressing the issues around IT being ‘used’. It is probably fair to say that to date one of the major reasons that IT investment in Higher education generally has not achieved the cost savings or changes to digital ways of working anticipated is that it has largely been ‘as well as’ not ‘instead of’; we will keep electronic records ‘as well as’ paper ones; we will access our documents on our iPads ‘as well as’ printing them for meetings; we will store our materials on Blackboard ‘as well as’ presenting them in Powerpoint and printing handouts; we will keep our local records ‘as well as’ updating central systems. MOOCs don’t have paper backup (maybe that’s a bad thing!); we can’t afford belt and braces, it has to be one or the other – and the one is digital.


Key drivers


  • Efficiency: to realise investment in IT through changes in working practices, reducing internal and external support costs through users doing it for themselves
  • Effectiveness: to achieve a position where each member of the University community understands how technology can be used to greatest effect within their role
  • Student Engagement: to enhance student engagement through interaction with a digitally-enabled workforce
  • Reputation: to achieve the vision of being ‘A University that embraces technology to the positive advantage of students, staff and partners’
  • Sustainability: to reach a level of comfort with technology such that each new development doesn’t require repeat change management investment


JISC resources/technology used


  • Enterprise Architecture. Whilst it was envisaged that an EA approach and the Archi modelling tool would be used within the project, this has not been the case. Work has consisted mainly of reviewing existing materials and discussions with others in the LJMU engaged in similar work. It is the case however that the overall EA approach of understanding the big picture and integrating people, services and systems has permeated thinking within the project. LJMU’s own experience on the original EA pilot has also informed our thinking around the ‘guerrilla’ approach to Doing Digital described in lessons learned below
  • The JISC Strategic ICT Toolkit. LJMU were a partner in the original piloting of this toolkit and again had envisaged that its use would be of value in the Doing Digital project. Review of the toolkit however revealed that it is at too high a level and concerned primarily with management views of the use of ICTs, whereas it became clear early on in the project that Doing Digital would have to permeate the organisation at all levels to achieve success, and the degree of management and technical jargon which forms the language of the toolkit would not be helpful. Again, however, overall concepts around maturity have been helpful.






  • Getting Doing Digital on the Map. This may not seem like a particularly major achievement, but we think it is – linked to the viral approach (see ‘Key Lessons’ below) getting Doing Digital on the map means getting it on every agenda, and we’ve been quite successful so far and hopefully this will continue. Key mapping hits so far:
    • Standing item on the agenda of the new IT Committee
    • Referenced in the IT Strategy, both as an extension of the LJMU Strategic Plan within the vision: ‘A university that focuses on promoting the effective use of technology by the user community not simply on the technology itself’; the delivery’; Working with the University community to ensure that IT Services are useful, usable and used’; and as a Digital Literacy programme within indicative projects and approaches.
    • The risk of failure of the University community to engage more effectively with IT is included on the Risk Register for the Division of Academic and Student Services
    • Overall the project has provided a ‘hook’ within the new IT Projects Panel and during IT project engagement on which to hang discussions regarding organisational readiness in relation to deployment of IT services ie we can provide the systems, but are you ready to use them?
  • Creating networks and relationships. The project has enabled us to interact with a number of other areas and projects, including:
    • The pre-existing ‘Overcoming Academic Phobias’ project, an academic-led project looking specifically at the lack of comprehensive adoption of digital technologies for teaching and learning
    • Prior work carried out by the LJMU Academic Enhancement Unit in relation to take up of the Blackboard VLE
    • Significant work on digital literacy carried out by the School of Humanities and Social Science – not by any means the only school carrying out this kind of work, but a useful case study with an approach to trying to get digital literacy embedded into the work of the school in a ‘the way we do things round here’ fashion. See Appendix C for further information on their work
    • Enabling discussions with Staff Development on the digital literacy elements of staff skills



Given that the overall objective of the project was to come up with a new approach to IT-enabled change management, whilst this has been achieved in theory the benefits will be realised in practice – it is therefore probably too early in the application of the approach to identify measurable beneficial outcomes. The expectation would be that with the continued application of the approach benefits would be achieved in the following areas:


  • Efficiency and effectiveness gains through enhanced staff capability in the overall use of IT
  • Swifter deployment of new technologies and approaches resulting from enhanced capability
  • Enhanced student satisfaction and digital literacy through engagement with a digitally-skilled workforce




  • The breadth of the topic – attempting to digitally-enable the whole of a large and diverse organisation can be a daunting prospect, hence the development of the viral approach referenced in Key Lessons below. This breadth also presented challenges in identifying and synthesising all related activity in the University – and it is clearly the case that all such activity has not yet been identified.
  • Keeping up the impetus – the approach developed requires sustained activity focused on all levels of the organisation, which is very sensitive to organisational change. As an example, at the start of the project the main activity was to be managed by the Programme Office, a unit within the IT Department responsible for Programme and Benefits Management and Enterprise Architecture. During the project the manager and another member of staff from this small – four person – unit were redeployed to form the Strategy Support Office, a new unit reporting to the Director of Strategic Management and responsible for promoting alignment of all University activities with the 2012-17 Strategic Plan. This could easily have presented a severe obstacle to project progress – and it is a measure of the success of the developing approach that this change has been beneficial and has helped to raise the visibility and priority of the project, rather than damage it.


Key lessons


  1. Things change. One of the key problems with change management is things changing that aren’t within your management that impact on your ability to manage change. This may be a roundabout way of saying that change ‘management’ is a contradiction in terms – perhaps change ‘guidance’ or even change ‘nudging’ (‘Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness’, Thaler & Sunstein, Penguin 2009) would be better. We’ve already referenced the move from the Programme Office to the Strategy Support Office; what also happened during the timeline of the project was:
    • Appointment of a new Vice Chancellor
    • Introduction of a new strategic plan
    • Implementation of an entire new senior management structure, including a number of new senior appointments
    • Restructuring of all professional service departments and faculties, including IT services
    • Implementation of a new University committee structure, including a new IT Governance framework
    • Introduction of a new IT Strategy

And the rest! The lesson being that a change management programme must itself be able to respond to change; flexibility is imperative and is less likely to be achievable within the confines of a major, well-planned, MSP-guided, top down programme, hence lesson two

  1. Think global, act local. Rather than some big, major top down programme with visions and objectives and milestones and all, we’ve decided that having defined the overall objective, we then go for guerilla change management, trying to get Doing Digital permeating everywhere, at all levels, so that we can just become part of the organisational DNA. This is supported by a third lesson learned, which is the key need to GOAT.



  1. GOAT. Go Out And Talk. This is terminology that we have adopted from Liverpool Students Union (see http://www.liverpoolsu.com/main-menu/campaigns/goating)and we think that it is essential to any change management approach – getting the conversation going, changing the language, keeping it going anywhere you can.


Looking ahead



As we’ve said, the approach that has been developed during the project requires sustained effort – but we believe that with the developing networks, the upcoming TEL conference, the GOATing, and the reaching out into University committee and other structures, the embedding of the approach is well under way.


Specific activities identified for the next phase include:


  • identification of a new senior sponsor; LJMU has recently undergone a major senior management restructure, with the appointment of new PVCs with key portfolios, and the project needs to be recognized and championed within this
  • a synthesis exercise to expand the identified good practice in Humanities and Social Science to include all areas where good things are happening
  • formation of a project team/working group to confirm the findings of "doing digital" - looking to replicate the good practice seen in Humanities and Social Science and other areas across the university.
  • confirmation with students and all stakeholders that this is the requirement.
  • further benchmarking (if possible) of current status and perhaps identification KPIs/KPOs that could be influenced/improved by improving digital literacy.
  • development of a "template" or suggested actions that other schools could adopt
  • identification of the change agent(s) that would deliver the change management required to embed Doing Digital in the frontline
  • setting up a forum for interested staff to exchange ideas and best practice


Doing Digital – Not So Much A Project, More A Way of Life”


Appendix A


The Team:

John Townsend – Director of Corporate Information Services

Sara Rioux – Strategy Support Office Manager

Meriel Box – Head of Staff Development

Joe Yates – Director, School of Humanities and Social Science

Paul Welsh – Senior Lecturer in Policing Studies, Humanities and Social Science

Marcellina Boyle – Online and Collaborative Services Manager

Alice Bird – Head of Technology Enhanced Learning


Appendix B

Blog Narrative (provided for reference)


Catching up ……

March 11th, 2013 Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

We had a conversation with our JISC ”critical friend” David Baume.

Below is the output from that meeting:


Doing Digital at LJMU

Interview with Sara Rioux and John Townsend, Strategy Support Office, LJMU, 4thMarch 2013

Latest blog post January 23rd, 2013


Significant changes in University senior management structure have led to changes to the way the project works. From June 2012 to February 2013, University committees were closed, thus leaving the project without a committee to report to. However the new location of the project in the University’s Strategy Support Office, reporting to the University’s IT Committee, is already proving a plus.


A new University IT Governance strategy, which includes Doing Digital (DD), has recently been approved. This was developed making use of the Jisc Information Management and Governance Toolkit. It is hoped that as a consequence the DD approach will be embraced widely across the University, in Faculties, in central units and in development projects.


Doing Digital was very well received at the recent IT Committee, and will remain on the Committee’s agenda. DD’s emphasis on the use of the technology rather than just on the technology was particularly liked. There was an immediate strong positive response from Humanities – a meeting with them will be held soon. Interest is growing across the University.


DD at LJMU may be shifting from being a project, through informing a series of University projects, to being a process of continuing improvement of University functions, sitting above and informing projects. It will maintain a technology focus, but will always direct attention to how technology affects University practice. DD will bring all projects to consider the same issues about change. A further advantage of this is that, by adopting some common language and common approaches, it will be more likely that projects will talk to each other, get out of their silos, and see how they contribute to the bigger University picture.


The implications of this shift will need to be drawn out. The DD approach needs to be integrated into projects – simply putting ‘change management’ into a tech project will not work.


DD is being employed currently in Humanities / Police Studies and in the Student Information System Stabilization Project. The latter is important across the University, affecting the work of many staff. The projects are very different. DD is working well in both.


Development projects will always involve some untidiness. However the DD venture is currently going well, indeed speeding up. It’s a never-ending quest. It’s called ‘Doing Digital’ rather than ‘Being Digital’ because the process is never complete, there’s always more Digital to Do. The rate of change will increase. It will not always be feasible / affordable to hold people’s hands through the process of learning to Do Digital. People will need to be able to develop their own necessary digital capabilities for themselves, working with peers. In their personal and academic life, people mostly just get on and learn what they need to learn. Universities may have been too helpful in the past, and thereby partly disabled people as learners of the digital.


David Baume

6thMarch 2013


Still plodding on ……….

January 23rd, 2013 Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »


We live in a fluid working environment. The last post from LJMU explained the move of part of the Programme Office to the Strategy Support Office and its more corporate re-alignment.


Since then, work has been at a rapid pace. Doing Digital never far from our thoughts and it weaves its way through many of the activities curently on-going.


In our original remit we were planning to focus our project on “Workflow” and its usage and “More On-line Assessment”. As we enter the “Implemetation” phase of our project, the project team felt a need to review this statement as we chose our “Pilot” Group.


In the pass few months, there have been wide consultation with stakeholder groups. Not purely with a “Doing Digital” focus, but by default looking at IT and related strategy. These meetings had obtained a raft of feedback and a strong message from users was the need to undersatnd “the big picture”. Success in “Doing Digital” is in a large part dependant on users understanding how things fit together and the domino effect that their interaction with various bits of the system can have.


Looking back at a previous post, with the help of our mentor David, we stated our outcomes. With the feedback we have received we can review these:


Intended Outcome 1 – Benchmarks – Answers to “How far do staff currently make effective use of IT for University processes?”

  • Based on the feedback we can see that use of IT can be far more effective IF the user understands the big picture.


Intended Outcome 2 – Staff relate their own work to bigger University systems and processes.

  • The better they can understand this, the more effective they can be.


 Intended Outcome 3 – A clear, accepted and evolving account of what Doing Digital means.

  • This in some ways has been the hardest bit. “Doing Digital” can apply, by definition, to a wide ranging set of activities. Bu identifying a pilot group we can firm up a methodology that can be applied to the various applications.


Intended Outcome 4 – Proven strategies and methods for getting from baseline to goal.

  • This is the outcome we hope to achieve with the identified pilot group.


Intended Outcome 5 – Staff make effective use of IT for University processes.

  • As stated in the previous posts. Our ultimate aim.


The pilot group has been identified as the “SIS Stabilisation Project” – this is a project focused on tuning the operations of our new Student Information System to better support core processes, to encourage acceptance by the user community and promote effective interaction with it. An essential element of this, which has been clear from various workshops as referenced above, is the need to understand how the system supports the entire student lifecycle, rather than just the silo within which an individual might operate. It is hoped that as this is a project that is strategically important to the University it will will have a visibility that will support the successful achievement of the “Doing Digital” project.


Still here ……….

October 16th, 2012 Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

There has been a distinct lack of posts on the blog. And there is a very valid reason for this.

LJMU has had a Programme Office for a number of years and this has been located in the IT department. Predominately the Programme Office offered project and programme support to IT projects.


It was recognised that this approac with IT projects would benefit other areas of the University and hence the Strategy Support Office was formed. The SSO sits within the Office of the Vice Chancellor. Its main remit is to ensure that the University delivers against the Strategey and it works to continuously monitors and analyse acheivement of this. Analytical data is then fed back to the Senior Management Team. It is hoped that not only will slippage be proactively identified and actions put in place to adjust performance, but also pockets of good practice can be spread across the organisation maximising the positive effect.


So what about “Doing Digital” ? Well now it has a more “corporate” home. Part of the inital work of the Strategy Support Office has been to identify all strategically important projects and map them against the Strategy. Projects and their contribution to delivery of the strategy will be clearly identified and their associated benefits stated. It is anticipated that this work will clearly define the impact that having digitally literate staff will have on the successful embedding and implementation of digital developments.


Still working on it …………..

July 2nd, 2012 Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

A couple of meetings have been held jointly with the Academic Innovation project group.

In the spirit of “joined up” thinking, we have always kept the “Doing Digital” project aligned with the work of the “Academic Innovation” project. From a practical point of view this has been relatively easy to do as both projects have been reporting into the Development Programme. This is where all major IT projects report into.

Tomorrow, reports outlining both work to date and proposals are being submitted to the Strategy Development Forum. It is felt that this is an appropriate step to both inform and get feedback from a wide range of stakeholders before we move forward.


An initial stab at collating various bits of data has been completed and we are attempting to benchmark where we currently feel we are so that we have something to measure our improvements from. This is usually the bit we struggle with, however I always keep in mind the mantra from Benefits Realisation training that we had ”don’t create projects trying to find measurements”. The trainer explained that, particularly for more subjective areas, as long as we could sensibly associate the measurements to the benefits we were trying to quantify and agree them then this should work. Having long discussions about measures and how “closely” they attributed to the benefit can prove counter productive and very time consuming.


A very useful visit ……….

May 14th, 2012 Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

Last week we had a visit from David Baume and it was an extremely useful session. The saying “can’t see the wood for the trees” certainly applied to us, and it was brilliant to have someone on the outside looking in and bringing clarity to what we are trying to do. Below, word for word, is Davids take on the objectives for our project. (Thanks David)


Intended Outcome 1– Benchmarks – Answers to “How far do staff currently make effective use of IT for University processes?”Notes.This refers to all staff who use IT in their work. In benchmarking, maximum use will be made of existing data, including a recent baselining of practice in technology-enhanced learning practice across the University and views expressed in staff workshops on University systems and processes.


Intended Outcome 2– Staff relate their own work to bigger University systems and processes.Note.The rationale for this intended outcome is that the work of the University will be undertaken better when staff have a clear understanding of how their work relates to the work of others with whom they interact.


Intended Outcome 3– A clear, accepted and evolving account of what Doing Digital means.Notes:DD is about staff using University systems well. This generic account of DD will need to be fleshed out, and validated by those to whom it refers. The evolved account of DD will include fundamental concepts like enterprise architecture and workflow, which should inform practice, alongside particular technical skills. The account of DD will necessarily be dynamic, as systems and processes change over time. The account of DD may vary between users, as well as having some common features. The account of DD will necessarily include the capability to continue to develop one’s own digital capabilities.


 Intended Outcome 4– Proven strategies and methods for getting from baseline to goal.Note:As well as staff development, these strategies and methods will include organisational change initiatives. Collaboration on these with LJMU HR will be sought.


Intended Outcome 5– Staff make effective use of IT for University processes.Note:This, perhaps the ultimate goal of the project, will be achieved through bringing together the other outcomes. Much the same measures and instruments used in outcome 1 for baselining can also be used to measure the attainment of outcome 5.


Walk the talk ………

April 3rd, 2012 Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

As the saying goes, until you have walked a mile in another persons shoes ……….

Taking this approach, the project met with colleagues of the Academic Enhancement Unit (AEU) and looked at ways in which the project could use the institutional VLE (Blackboard) to support learning around project management and the associated techniques. It was felt that this “hands on” approach would help in the analysis of the data we have collated to date and give it some context.


As mentioned in the previous post, it seems that the majority of the work that we are currently involved in can be underpinned by the “Doing Digital” concept. Much of the current work with a system implementation centres as much on “how” people are working with the new capability as much as looking at the service the system can provide. Recognising this as a key factor in any system implementation can only help to improve future IT projects.


Doing Digital ……. an everyday story

March 14th, 2012 Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

As we progress with the “Doing Digital” project, it has become apparent how this concept can be applied to many of the activities that we are currently involved with. For example, during a meeting regarding our Development Programme, the discussion centred on the need not just to concentrate on implementing IT. It was equally important that as an institution we looked at working in a different way in order to capitalise on the innovations that increased digitalisation gave us. In other words “Doing Digital”. A potential “rebrand” of the Development Programme seemed appropriate.


Gathering Data ……….

February 20th, 2012 Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »


This weeks work has involved us doing research into work that has already been done (or is ongoing) and seeing if the data will help us assess where we are as an organisation in terms of Digital Literacy. So far our trawl has got us the following sources:


  • Report from Phase 1 of P2P

  • Feedback from Using SIS workshops

  • Outputs from SICT toolkit

  • Blackboard Review (the raw data on meeting basic requirements needs further analysis by Alice’s team)

  • Benchmarking eLearning at LJMU – this work includes: Final Report & Recommendations 2010, TEL Action Plan, SMG Report, Deloitte Audit and Alice’s response to the recommendations in the audit

  • Digital Literacies Baselining survey results from the Organisational Development in Higher Education Group (this survey was carried out as Organisational Development practionners are central to embedding a more digital literature culture, however many are not comfortable with Digital Literacies. This work is around helping Organisational Developers to gain confidence with Digital Literacies through building a better understanding of best practice and this will enable them to contribute more effectively to the organisational take-up of Digital Literacy initiatives).

  • Academic Innovation project – the actual scope of this project needs to be agreed by SMG at the beginning of April



February 8th, 2012 Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »


Yesterday we had a meeting with Mike Riley (Academic Innovation Project) and Merial Box (Staff Development).


Below are the outcomes of this meeting:


  • Mike Riley (MR) will be providing the VC with an executive summary, including baseline data for the Academic Innovation Project by 29thMarch.
  • Mike Riley will provide a detailed update report for LSPG on 15thFebruary and circulate notes from the workshop on 29thMarch (attached) to the project group as a reminder of work that they need to carry out.
  • MR will arrange another project group meeting in March to progress work on the Acaemic Innovation Project.
  • JISC Doing Digital – the collation and analysis of current data is underway in order to establish information that is available to inform this project. This information will include: e.g. feedback from SIS workshops, Bb review, report from Phase 1 of P2P, ICT Toolkit, research Patrick Carmichael has carried out in ECL.
  • Sarah Payne is meeting with Alice Bird on Monday to discuss Blackboard and the summary of findings from the raw data on meeting basic requirements from work done by the LTO work placement students.
  • Meriel Box is a member of the Organisational Development in HE network group and she will report back on Friday or Monday about the findings from the survey that they are carrying out.



December 21st, 2011 Posted in Update No Comments »

On the 29th November 2011, a preliminary meeting of “Doing Digital” was held. There was representation from across the university and it was held at LJMUs “ideas lab” – The Automatic. The event was predominantly a “brainstorming” session to lay the foundations to move forward.

As you can see in the photo in the previous “post”, there was an exercise to explore and document relevant aspects followed up by reviewing these and identifying issues and linkages. In the photo you can see we did that quite literally giving us a “visual” of all that we were discussing.

From this, we split up the list of tasks and issues and allocated them to sub groups. It was agreed that we would come back as a larger group in March having completed the research allocated.

To give you a flavour of the discussions, these are some of the points made:

a) There is a need to develop staff digital capability and literacy and staff should also be able to support the development of student digital literacy to an extent.

b) Staff need to understand how technology can enhance the student learning experience. The project is not about teaching academics about IT but about exploring the opportunities to enhance the student experience.

c) A task group needs to identify what is happening in schools and highlight what students will be expecting. However universities are different to schools and students might not expect the same provision.

d) It will be important to focus on what technology is already in place and encourage staff to adopt it. Technology is the driver for getting the delivery right in order to enhance the student experience.

e) A communication strategy needs developing.

Brainstorming ‘Doing Digital’ in the Automatic


Appendix C: Dr J. Yates Senior Fellow Application Case study for the HEA


Case Study 2: Technology Enhanced Learning: Changing Cultures and Enhancing Practice

I believe that the evidence in this case study illustrates a commitment to professional values, understanding across all aspects of core knowledge, my ongoing commitment to developing teaching activities and successful incorporation of pedagogic research. It also illustrates my commitment to supporting staff in developing teaching and learning. The case study focuses on quality enhancement through increased use of TEL.


The VLE provides a vital role in supporting learning in HE (Browne et al, 2010). This case study relates to an ongoing project to enhance learning opportunities and student experience through the promotion of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL). Technology offers a range of opportunities to enhance student experiences in HE and is a key facet of the modern university experience. It also provides a vehicle to extend the notion of the learning community and to engage diverse sets of learners through a different platform which can support a wider range of learning materials. Research indicates that TEL, as part of a coherent and well designed teaching and learning strategy, can lead to improved learning (Nicol, 2009). Furthermore, use of online social software systems, such as blogs and wikis, have evidenced a range of benefits in terms of impact on learning (Crook et al, 2008), developing a sense of community (Kamel and Wheeler, 2007) and increasing student motivation. TEL offers the opportunity to not only enhance ‘old’ forms of pedagogy but also, through the development of new radically different pedagogical approaches, to revolutionise teaching practices.


On taking up post, I facilitated an audit of VLE use across the modules delivered in the School (K5; V1, 2; K 5). This was then cross referenced with student feedback, from a variety of sources. This was also supplemented with discussions with key staff. These exercises evidenced that usage of TEL was variable across the School (K6). It also identified that this impacted negatively on the student experience. There was also evidence that some students, and staff, needed more support to improve their ‘digital literacy’ in order to engage with TEL fully.


On reflection, staff use of TEL within the School is best understood in terms of a continuum. Considering TEL usage, and its impact on the learning experience of the students, as a continuum, enables us to view the issue holistically and to ‘dose’ interventions aimed at improving practice (K4). TEL usage, in the School, clustered around three groups


  • ‘Innovators’, who pro actively engage with technology, keep abreast of the changes and use it to enhance their teaching.

  • The stretched middle – these staff operate in the middle of the continuum. Often pressed by high staff student ratios they have limited time to innovate around the use of technology but are open to it. They need more support than the group above to do this. Often time pressures and technological literacy can act as a barrier here.

  • Some staff will do the bare minimum with TEL and can be resistant to it (although some excel in other aspects of their delivery).


As part of a school wide development day we ran sessions exploring the use of TEL and how practices could be adapted to enhance the experience of students reading different disciplines. Rogers (2003) argues that due to the nature of the technology and how it relates to different disciplines we should understand this process as ‘adaptation’ rather than ‘adoption’. The focus of our strategy was the ’diffusion of innovation’ (Rogers, 2003). This provided the groundwork to move on to develop a School wide TEL strategy which coheres with revisions to the University Teaching and Learning strategy as part of the new University strategic plan (2012-17). The School TEL strategy focussed on providing a framework to develop TEL as an aspect of the Schools identity as a learning organisation. The strategy, through the involvement of staff, also took into account the complexity of the tools and how they could be adapted to course context


The strategy focussed on the following areas (A1,4; K2, 3, 4,5, 6; A5).


Raising the base line of TEL usage across all modules to reduce the gap between the innovators and those who use it in a minimal way. One key aspect for many students, emerging from student feedback, was that frequency of use by staff is important – so for example updates on weekly basis to ensure the space was dynamic was seen as important (V1, 2 3 4). This ensured that this was a dynamic space which was continuously being updated and which would support students learning (A4). The focus here was exploring the ‘value added’ that TEL could bring to enhancing the student experience to reduce the gap between the three clusters of usage.


Employing TEL to improve the performance of students Here use of TEL is utilised as a space to enhance the learning experience of students, exposing them to multi media sources and using the VLE as a platform to provide cues for independent learning. It also provides an accessible environment which promotes participation for a diverse set of learners. One benefit was that students with dyslexia can choose to print off course materials in a font which is accessible for them prior to lectures (V 1, 2, 3; A 4, 2). In addition different forms of media can be used to promote engagement by students with different learning styles.


Bespoke staff development which caters for level of need - The challenge, with different levels of engagement, is how to engage staff in a manner which encourages all the different levels to innovate. An approach needed to be adopted which catered for all of these groups of staff (A5, V2, K4, K2) to foster innovation, re interpretation and adaption.


Acknowledging Amabile’s (1996) observation that individual and group innovation are influenced by their environment, we sought to create an environment which supported and fostered innovation and adaption. We invested in resources for the innovators (I-Pads and Tablets), we also brought them together in a group - to provide a supportive network to foster their creativity, exchange ideas etc. This group also involved our Technology Enhanced Learning Officer – a key change agent in the school (A5).


For those in the middle we devised a series of bespoke workshops in programme teams to explore ‘quick wins’ with technology to encourage them to explore how technology can enhance delivery. This has been facilitated by our School Technology Enhanced Learning Officer who offers ongoing support. Innovators were brought in to showcase how they had used technology to enhance the learning experience of their students. This served to embed TEL within the programmes in terms of their core business rather than an additional extra (A5).


Those at the bottom of the usage continuum were, as part of subject teams, also exposed to this element of the strategy. However our TELO also offered one to one support specifically around developing their skills and to improve their digital literacy.


This approach therefore focused on enacting a change in the use of TEL within the School;


  • Utilising TEL to enhance delivery (A1), to support learning (A2) and supporting its use to enhance the learning environment (A4)

  • Assessment of the divergent nature of engagement across the staff group with a clear focus on how this impacted on the experience of the students. This served to identify different staff development needs. Students were actively engaged in this process (V2).

  • Ensuring interventions were tailored to address the assessed need for both students and staff.

  • The IT induction around TEL for students was further developed to improve their digital literacy and ensure they had the skills to engage in TEL related learning (A4, 2; K4). This avoided seeing all students as ‘digital natives’ (Prensky, 2001) appreciating that some students, depending on age and mode of study for example, could find TEL use challenging (Currant et al, 2008).

  • Ensuring staff development activities were provided in an accessible way to ensure engagement (A5)

  • Working in partnership with students and staff to identify how they felt TEL could be used to better effect on their programmes (V2)

  • Avoiding a top down directive approach which could engender resistance (Mathews, 2008)


The impact of this strategy has not yet been fully realised. There have been a number of staff development activities set in motion and increased use of TEL has been evidenced across a range of modules. However, the impact of this on student experience will not be detailed until individual appraisals have been conducted of the modules and the NSS results are released. It is worth noting that we do not anticipate that the impact of this initiative will be fully realised until the next academic year.