Landing : Athabascau University

Athabasca Learning Environment Score card.: Revision

Last updated December 12, 2013 - 11:00am by Carrie Anton

This wiki is designed for us to accurately look at and assess our own Learning Environment. I've made a comparison to "Best practices". Even I have trouble understanding how a practice can be the "Best" in any context, but I meant it as a goal. I have seen most (all) of these 'best Practices" used at some postsecondary educational institution delivering at a distance. Or think of these as the competition.

I've seeded the wiki with my first look at these. There are those here who are better able to judge than I - thus the Wiki can be edited, to correct any inaccuracies.  You can also add rows, to add additional components of our teaching/learning environment. There is a comment feature as well, if you wish to leave the table as it is but wanted to add commentary to any of the 'scores'

Note: There is no single AU learning Environment as our system has both continuous enrollment and cohort models as well as large differences between faculties in terms of direct student support. Nonetheless, as a self proclaimed leader in online learning, we should have an accurate assessment of the current state of our Learning Environment.

Please edit this table to reflect your best understanding!!  Comments discussions, arguments at the bottom please!

Component                      Athabasca                     Best Practice                                          
Hardware Good? Excellent
Helpdesk limited hours 24 Hour, text chat, help bot
Online Help OK, no community help Both readily avaiable help and active help community
Student Enrollment Management

Good Plan, no resources yet

**limited not none.

Extensive from first interest (course, transfer, application) to allumni
Learning Analytics primitive **This is a definitional issue. We do not have institutional tracking inside courses.  extensive knowledge of student behaviours and effective interventions
Faculty/Tutor Development

Technical and irregularengagements and presentations. Instructional Designers aviable to course developers.

Tutor development??

Integrate learning activity, pedagogy with affordances of technologies
LMS OK, takes VERY long time for upgrades. Slow process for innovation and plugin support Clear way for innovations to integrate into mainline systems
Social Networks

Landing, world class, suffers from cold start/ adoption and support issues


Easy flow between external networks, semi private and secure contexts
Language/writing support Write Site - good??  **Understaffed ??
Online Library good? **We are building library of the future so where are you coming from? Terry writes: I'm not sure what you mean? So you are saying our online library is great?? if so just edit the entry. ? "library of the Future
Real time conferencing software Adobe Connect - Good? Immersive/text/meeting and class support
Admin Applications

Landing- wikis, files, photos, schedules etc

Grad Studies, still using PDF forms

**There are many shortcomings in the admin systems but no attention is being given to improving processes STRATEGICALLY

Cloud based, mobile ready
Student Records **Banner/SCT and various work arounds.  We meet standards for security.  Exceed them on work-arounds. ?
E-Portfolios Mahara - stable, but "not production" supported **Mahara designed to work with Moodle; all the University has to do is to say yes and the integration will be quick and easy - much of the background work already completed by the e-Lab Integrated with LMS and externally accessible
Aacdemic Computing No designated resources ??** I am pretty sure SCIS has their own servers so that would be Academic Computing along with the Research Servers.  What resources are you looking for??  Terry - I am thinking of research projects (from any faculty) that need a web presence or technical support - often just at incubator stage like the seed funding for Academic research. The kind of thing eLab aspires to.  
Research Computing 1/2 day/ a week for whole university  **You are talking staff... why not find grants to employ grad students like most other science labs in the world... **Terry is talking about tech support for research and development projects; this is a CS issue, not a grad student issue and significantly limits the numbers and kinds of grants that the OVPR can actually support.  
Speed of Course Production/  **How would you measure this...Cost wise we are a lot more expense. **my editor tells me that course production is now the last priority AFTER [1) e-text, 2) Architecture program, 3) online exam project, 4) Moodle maintenance, 5) regular course development]. Most of these tasks fall directly on the Production Group. - good luck, everyone, getting courses up and open!  
Speed of Minor course revisions **unlike the tardy business of getting new or revised courses up and open, PG Group is doing a great job of minor updates to courses at present.  
Continuous Enrollment

 Poor, Monthly Batch processing

**Monthly is light years ahead of one intake a year. If you want paced interactivity you are not going to get every day admissions.  

Terry - I brought people from NKI to Athabasca to demonstrate exactly how they do daily registration. It is the norm in for-profit higher educ world - IF they do continuous enrolment.

 Continous enrolment/tutor assignment etc.
Technological neutrality (capacity to deliver courses in print, digital, and other modes to maximize openness of student access)    
 Learning Outcome Assessment  Base program profiles include completion rates, Preliminary curriculum mapping undertaken. Annual summaries documenting capstone results, employer feedback, and revisions needed.
 Accessibility (WCAG 2.0)

Most CMS (HTML editors) provides facilities to create headings for navigation, alt text for graphics inserted, styling consistencies, and transcripts/captions for multimedia resources. However most workflow does not include providing these features which benefit all learners. There is a Moodle Text to Speech plug-in.  the Moodle Accessibility Page and Moodle Accessibility Bug Tracker help many get on board.

Study evaluating Moodle, D2L, Blakboard, Sakai  (2013, 4 institution collab, US)