A guide for support staff (LTSN Generic Centre e-Learning Series, no. 5)
2008-02-06T15:28:25Z (GMT) by
In Higher Education today, e-learning is becoming a dominant factor in the delivery of learning and teaching. As students increasingly come to depend upon online learning, either because they are in the workplace, based in a remote area, or simply through choice, support for their learning becomes ever more crucial. Not only will an e-learner require to have at least the quality of support of the oncampus student, they will also evolve a number of special needs that support services will be called upon to meet. Support service staff have a range of specialist skills that will be called upon ever more as the growth of team teaching and team development of e-learning continues. The challenges of working in teams and acquiring new skills (sometimes not by choice) must be faced if support services are to continue to meet the needs of their colleagues in the higher education sector. Combined with this challenge to the traditional roles of service staff is the threat that, as teachers become more involved in supporting their own online courses, they will fail to call upon support service staff expertise in resource location, technical support and student mentoring, leading to a failure of quality assurance of e-learning courses and materials. Those working in support of student learning must continue to work with these challenges and to evolve as elearning evolves if students are to receive the online experience that they need and deserve. This guide seeks to explore a number of issues that have arisen in recent years as e-learning becomes embedded in higher education. Many of these issues apply equally to face-to-face service delivery as they do to the delivery of online support. The guide poses a number of questions, and is very much focussed on the needs of the clients of support services, but also considers issues around strategic management and cultural change. The guide can be read as a standalone document, but many readers may wish to acquaint themselves with the contents of the other guides in this series, which focus on management, learning and teaching and student issues.