April 2023 will/did find Henry Cook, Steven Booten and I giving a presentation with this title at the THETA conference. The talk will describe, reflect, and extrapolate from work we did as part of a Blackboard to Canvas LMS migration. Our aim being to glean and share insights from this work that can help make the institutional work of enabling quality learning and teaching more sustainable and effective.
Below you will find a growing collection of related resources. Initially, it will be just the abstract. Eventually, it will contain slides and pointers to other resources, including software we’ve developed which you may find useful.
The pandemic reinforced higher educations’ difficulty responding to the long-observed challenge of how to sustainably and at scale fulfill diverse requirements for quality learning and teaching (Bennett et al., 2018; Ellis & Goodyear, 2019). Difficulty increased due to many issues, including: competition with the private sector for digital talent; battling concerns over the casualisation and perceived importance of teaching; and, growing expectations around ethics, diversity, and sustainability. That this challenge is unresolved and becoming increasingly difficult suggests a need for innovative practices in both learning and teaching, and how learning and teaching is enabled. Starting in 2019 and accelerated by a Learning Management System (LMS) migration starting in 2021 a small group have been refining and using an alternate set of principles and practices to respond to this challenge by developing reusable orchestrations – organised arrangements of actions, tools, methods, and processes (Dron, 2022) – to sustainably, and at scale, fulfill diverse requirements for quality learning and teaching. Leading to a process where requirements are informed through collegial networks of learning and teaching stakeholders that weigh their objective strategic and contextual concerns to inform priority and approach. Helping to share knowledge and concerns and develop institutional capability laterally and in recognition of available educator expertise.
The presentation will be structured around three common tasks: quality assurance of course sites; migrating content between two LMS; and, designing effective course sites. For each task a comparison will be made between the group’s innovative orchestrations and standard institutional/vendor orchestrations. These comparisons will: demonstrate the benefits of the innovative orchestrations; outline the development process; and, explain the three principles informing this work – 1) contextual digital augmentation, 2) meso-level automation, and 3) generativity and adaptive reuse. The comparisons will also be used to establish the practical and theoretical inspirations for the approach, including: RPA and citizen development; and, convivial technologies (Illich, 1973), lightweight IT development (Bygstad, 2017), and socio-material understandings of educational technology (Dron, 2022). The breadth of the work will be illustrated through an overview of the growing catalogue of orchestrations using a gatherers, weavers, and augmenters taxonomy.
Bennett, S., Lockyer, L., & Agostinho, S. (2018). Towards sustainable technology-enhanced innovation in higher education: Advancing learning design by understanding and supporting teacher design practice. British Journal of Educational Technology, 49(6), 1014–1026. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12683
Bygstad, B. (2017). Generative Innovation: A Comparison of Lightweight and Heavyweight IT: Journal of Information Technology. https://doi.org/10.1057/jit.2016.15
Dron, J. (2022). Educational technology: What it is and how it works. AI & SOCIETY, 37, 155–166. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00146-021-01195-z
Ellis, R. A., & Goodyear, P. (2019). The Education Ecology of Universities: Integrating Learning, Strategy and the Academy. Routledge.
Illich, I. (1973). Tools for Conviviality. Harper and Row.