Structure and procedures should guide daily operations. This includes procedures for whom to contact, and how, and a support structure.Asad Naqvi, system manager, DTU
To Define Learning Platform Processes And Support
Once implemented, a learning platform must be managed and supported to be successful in meeting learning objectives. That requires governance, processes and a methodology for making changes as organisations evolve.
In 2021, the systems team at DTU recognised this challenge and set about establishing a governance structure for DTU Learn, the university’s implementation of Brightspace.
“We needed to put in place a structure and procedures to guide our daily operations,” explains Asad Naqvi, system manager at DTU. “This included procedures for who to contact, and how, and a support structure.”
The objectives were to outline the responsibilities, setup and workflows that make DTU Learn run, provide guidance to the systems team on day-to-day operations, and support the onboarding of new colleagues.
“The main purpose is for each member of DTU Learn to work according to best practice in decision-making,” adds Asad. “and also to make who we are, at DTU Learn, and how we work on a daily basis, visible within the organisation.”
The team also recognised the project had the opportunity to increase digital maturity of administrative work, streamline IT use through general governance and establish a framework to be able to define which type of tasks are suitable to be smaller ad-hoc tasks, while being able to define tasks that should be placed under the category of projects that require a ‘’smaller/larger’’ project plan.
A governance structure would additionally clarify roles and responsibilities within the team supporting DTU Learn so that requests coming in could be correctly and efficiently assigned.
A Comprehensive And Flexible Governance Structure
The team set about creating a document that describes DTU Learn’s use within the university. They began by brainstorming the sections the document needed to cover, discussed the content for each and reviewed all inputs.
Asad involved HR, IT, the student consulting team and D2L in the process. “Maybe D2L knew some other universities who had tried to do this,” Asad explains. “That could be helpful for us in understanding how they built it.”
The resulting comprehensive document outlines the purpose of a learning management system (LMS) at DTU, the criteria for a successful DTU Learn, an organisational overview, how to make changes to the platform, guidelines on the testing environment, roles within the DTU Learn team and IT support.
Success criteria are defined under organisational, pedagogical and technical aspects. This provides a structure for the annual review of DTU Learn, as results can be assessed against whether the criteria were met.
The first task is research – where do you lack information? Where do you feel weak right now? Brainstorm what you want to include in the governance. Research the main points of action and add detail to make it more specific.Asad Naqvi, system manager, DTU
The governance structure also provides an ideal framework for managing day-to-day tasks as the team can use it as a checklist to guide their activities.
Clear And Consistent Guidance
The DTU Learn governance structure serves a range of purposes. It outlines the purpose of, and success criteria for, the LMS within the university, documents working processes to manage and develop DTU Learn, and provides a framework to guide project management.
Asad believes it will enable the team to be more precise in its work and would like other departments to see the benefit of the structure as awareness grows. “A governance structure makes it more visual for people to see who they need to get in contact with so they can get an answer sooner,” says Asad.
Another benefit is the continuity it provides as people join and leave the team. Asad explains: “It can also be an onboarding guide for new people joining the team because it provides a very good picture of DTU Learn and how things are set up.”
Asad recognises that the governance of DTU Learn must evolve as change happens in the organisation. However, the structure has also been designed with continuous improvement in mind. “Twice a year we look back, reviewing if anything needs to be updated, removed or added,” Asad explains.
DTU set out to define and document the in-life governance of its learning platform DTU Learn, at the university. It established a team to determine what should be included in the governance structure, gather all inputs and produce a living document that can be updated as change occurs within the organisation. In so doing, the team has also produced a guidance document that helps the DTU Learn support team manage its daily tasks and bring new team members on board.
To find out about Brightspace for higher education, visit d2l.com/en-eu/higher-education.