a) Understanding and engaging with legislation
As eLearning Manager it is vital that I have an understanding of legislation across data protection, privacy, copyright, discrimination, accessibility and child protection. For the purposes of this example, I will be concentrating on one item of legislation central to online learning in Further Education
● General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
Basic GDPR training is yearly mandatory training for all college staff (Ref. 3.1. GDPR training certificate – pdf). In general, the GDPR legislation doesn’t impact our VLE usage day-to-day as the information is taken from the student records system. We have procedures in place to adhere to a request for information we hold about an individual as all logs are retained. Most data is used for the day-to-day business of the college and the information we hold is name, photograph and ID number but access to our Moodle courses is internal only and authentication via LDAP. When a student leaves the college their academic activity is retained in line with assessment policies but their access is revoked. Students are enrolled/unenrolled from courses based on their registration status in the student records system. Staff are made aware that they should be mindful of GDPR when directing students to use third-party apps or sharing information about students and the activities and the college has guidance in place for teaching staff.
As eLearning manager I have a pragmatic attitude to staff using external applications. Staff will innovate and use new technologies and with the college working with students from age 14 to adult, including Work Based Learning, Apprenticeships, ESOL, Functional Skills and Academic qualifications, it is impossible to evaluate all the learning technologies available, and monitor all the teaching staff involved. We have one clear policy around communication but the aim has been to guide staff in good practice and remind them of their legal obligations. A continuing issue is gathering information from staff on the 3rd party applications they are using, as they often feel that if an app is free then there isn’t an issue. From my perspective I want to know about any system that students are using online and what information it is gathering. With this in mind I regularly circulate a survey to Heads of School asking what applications they are using in their teaching. At the recent EdTech Update (online conference, 28/29 April 2021) I attended a presentation on Age Appropriate Design and the implications for Schools and Colleges A,B. Following on from this I researched more thoroughly the Age Appropriate Design Code of Practice (AADCOP) and our potential obligations. While AADCOP doesn’t directly apply to our systems, we do have a responsibility to monitor data sharing, minimise shared data and ensure that where data is shared students are aware of this. It has meant I’ve issued updated guidance on using 3rd party applications in teaching and what it means in terms of GDPR A,D. (Ref. 3.2. Guidance on evaluating 3rd party application for teaching – pdf). Teaching staff should use this guidance to evaluate technology platforms used in teaching and make sure students are informed of use of their data.
b) Understanding and engaging with legislation, policies and standards
In this section, I am going to discuss how service standards are incorporated into the work of the eLearning team. In my previous role although we logged our tasks we had no service delivery standards or a written oversight. This made it difficult to judge if I or other members of the team were meeting expectations.
On moving to the college I was interested in this part of the job description
- To provide a responsive e-learning service, and develop, implement or withdraw digital services as required, to support the strategic aims of the organisation
- To manage the E-Learning Administrator, and continuously monitor support requests to establish training needs, identify service issues and allocate resources, as appropriate, to support the delivery of teaching and learning
The eLearning team sits within a wider Student Services team at the college and I was asked to produce a set of service standards for the team. These are aligned with other standards within student services and with college policy and legal requirements. It sets a minimum expectation of service delivery from the team including response times, accountability and competencies for the team. The standards are reviewed yearly to ensure they continue to align with college values. Ref. 3.3. eLearning team service standards 20/21 – pdf)
During my appraisal and my co-worker appraisal, we both cover the service standard. Given the diverse ways that staff can contact us (phone, email, webchat, Microsoft Teams) it’s cheering we’ve maintained our response times, typically within 15 minutes, rarely more than a few hours. Unfortunately, given these disparate ways, we have good analytics for web queries, but less detailed reporting for email and phone as we use separate numbers and email addresses. Fortunately we’ve not had a test of our service standard procedure as we’ve not had to deal with any direct complaints or access request queries. Having developed a service timeline (Ref. 3.4. eLearning team service timeline – pdf) we will be increasing the detail in this and including how this cross feeds with our key college groups of IT, Information Services and Quality C,D.
When the service standards are next reviewed I will be incorporating changes in college policy, particularly around inclusivity and accessibility D. I will also be including JISC digital insights into our customer insight procedures. Moving on from the service standards and service timeline, I have implemented a shared email address for requests to better track our activity and improve our reporting functions.