#ocTEL: Activity 0.1: Big and little questions

Activity 0.1: In which I identify the most important question about TEL that matters to me… 


I’ve registered on ocTEL, a six week online course run by the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) which aims “to help you understand better how to use technology to enhance your teaching practice“.

The course outline:

  • Week 0: TEL & the future (induction) – 28 Apr 2014
  • Week 1: Concepts and approaches – 5 May 2014
  • Week 2: Learners and learning – 12 May 2014
  • Week 3: Materials, platforms and technologies – 19 May 2014
  • Week 4: Support, feedback and assessment – 2 Jun 2014
  • Week 5: Leadership, management and keeping on track – 9 Jun 2014
  • Week 6: Enhancement, review and evaluation – 16 Jun 2014

This course is free, open and it’s up to you which bits you want to participate in. I’m currently evaluating DigiThings, an online course we ran recently, and am already finding approaches in the delivery of ocTEL that it I will include next time – always learning!

Our first task is to reflect on work experience and ambitions for developing teaching through answering…

Can you identify the most important question about TEL that matters to you?


I’m a Learning Technologist and my role is supporting staff in their use of technology for teaching, learning and research. I’ve been doing this for 13 years now, originally developing e-learning materials and currently, like many others I suspect, working to develop the digital literacy skills of staff and students. It’s quite astounding how much my role has changed in this time!

However the big challenge has always been the same – how to enthuse staff?

There have always been enthusiasts and champions. There also used to be funding. Now, although I truly believe there is a lot of enthusiasm, everyone is really stretched for time and energy. In reality CPD seems to have been put on the back-burner, despite the demand to move towards blended learning provision which requires a different set of skills and thought processes.

Another thing that seems to have disappeared in recent years is ‘communal time’ – projects and ideas used to be discussed over coffee and lunch breaks. There seems to be little time or space to accommodate these discussions now.

Dr Helen Webster’s online CPD course for researchers to explore digital tools inspired me. The format is the basically the same as ocTEL. I volunteered to join Helen’s LD5D Team, running a similar course for Learning Developers. This resulted in me leading ‘DigiThings’ which aimed to encourage staff to investigate different presentation tools. Participation was low and the drop-out rate increased steadily – lack of time being a major factor. However, staff liked the format and content, and appreciate it is a resource they can return to. I’m learning a lot from the evaluation so far and am really keen to do it again.

I’m also really interested to hear how others get staff to engage with TEL …or any ideas!


2 thoughts on “#ocTEL: Activity 0.1: Big and little questions

Add yours

  1. Hi Flea, I hope you find a way to get what you want out of the course. I empathise with your challenge of trying to get staff enthused. Do you know what the challenges are that are leaving them stretched and short of time to explore or collaboration on communal initiatives? If so, might there be any way in which TEL might help with these challenges? All the best, and BTW I once worked for the Employment Service too (as a psychologist in head office).


    1. Hi David and thanks for your response. The challenges are very clear – we are currently moving to Moodle as our VLE and also changing the way we deliver the curriculum, as well as revising our programmes which has an impact on staff numbers and morale. These initiatives are obviously linked and TEL will help enormously – in fact it’s a great opportunity for staff to revisit how they teach and how they could embed TEL more effectively. The frustration is them not having the time to fully engage with it and therefore finding ways to best support them.

      Small world re. the Employment Service! I was the New Claims Receptionist at Torquay so had to help fill in many forms. I also had the pleasure (not) of meeting Jim Davidson!


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