The Engagement Model for New eLearning Service Requests

ITS participates in a collaborative process with the faculties, ITaLI, and Library to develop eLearning service enhancement proposals for Teaching and Learning Committee review. Here is an overview of the engagement model, endorsed at the June 2013 Technology Enhanced Learning Sub Committee.

  1. Needs Collection: High level needs for service additions or enhancements are collected from a variety of sources.
  2. Needs Prioritisation by ADAs with Teaching and Learning Committee review: Twice a year the current list of high level needs is confirmed with Elearning Operational Forum members, and submitted to the Teaching and Learning Committee for review before going to AD(A)s for prioritisation. AD(A)s may elect to consult within their faculties or with each other as they see fit. The results of the prioritisation survey then return to the Teaching and Learning Committee for review before being disseminated to the full instructor community in order to solicit potential solutions.
  3. Investigation and Evaluation: Requirements for the highest priority needs are documented in greater detail talking to the stakeholders. In collaboration with Library, ITaLI and the faculties the options are identified and shortlisted for a pilot in a collaborative manner using the elearning operational forum. Experts in the ITaLI and faculties are fully utilised wherever they are willing to participate. For transparency and to encourage contributions the status of investigations are documented openly to invite scrutiny and maximise accuracy.
  4. Pilot with ADA sponsorship: Promising solutions are piloted in real classes to confirm suitability, and to confirm training and support requirements. Pilots require sponsorship by an ADA. Sometimes pilots may require funding from the Technology Enabled Learning Fund. The outcome will be a pilot report and sometimes a proposal for implementation or funding.
  5. TELC Review of Proposals: Proposals are reviewed and approved by the Technology Enabled Learning Committee. Some proposals may be funded from the new elearning services budget when its established. Some proposals may involve policy change that are escalated to higher committees. Some proposals may be achievable with existing elearning support resources. Proposals should identify potential functioning sources.
  6. Implementation: ITS, ITaLI and Library collaboratively implement the new service.

The enhancement process is optimised to address broad enterprise needs, in a timely manner, with usable services as outcomes. The faculties retain an ability to have ITS make small system modifications that are possible within the resources available in the elearning SLA, or pay for modifications they need for their faculty alone.

Requirements Sources

Before faculties are asked to prioritise work, ideas and requests are collected from a wide variety of sources in order to achieve a reasonably complete list. Sources include:

  • Enterprise needs (Collected from the University strategic plan, the elearning strategy, PVC(T&L, DVC(A), ELOF, ITALI etc.)
  • Faculty needs (Collected from the ADA, TEL meetings, elearning operation forum members, or individual instructors)
  • eLearning Strategy Committee – 5/year
  • School needs (HOS meets, HOS survey, 30+ School T&L meeting attendances/year)
  • Through helpdesk 40 interactions/day
  • Feedback at staff training (1100/year)
  • Staff satisfaction and needs surveys on TLS support – each year
  • Direct submission from individual instructors
  • Student surveys – e.g. Deliotte’s Student Experience Report 2010, ITS 2012; SOM 2010; TEDI 2009, Niche Consultants 2009
  • Inter University benchmarks and meetings
  • Conferences

Pedagogical Guidance

The Teaching and Learning Support team includes qualified teachers and all technical staff receive training in pedagogy to give context to their work. TLS also seeks pedagogical guidance from experts in ITaLI, the schools and faculties. ITS is focused on technology that supports real learning as reported by J. Hattie for instance.

Making Submissions

Some suggestions for staff submitting requests. To help with balanced prioritisation:

  • Give a fair estimate of impact. Real data is better than anecdotes.
  • Polite requests rather than demands are always welcome.
  • Balanced data, understanding the issues below is fine. Squeaky-wheel escalation shortcuts cause problems, not solutions.
  • Beware of claiming UQ expert or champion status. There are many experts at UQ. Balanced data is fine.
  • Understand that:
    • there may be more urgent requests, with broader impact
    • sometimes we get incompatible - conflicting requests from different units, that need to be resolved. What may appear to be a simple request from one unit is not simple when it conflicts with the advice from another unit.
    • prioritisation will be objective.
    • we are transparent

Locally Funded Initiatives

If Schools and faculties have their own funding they can elect to engage with ITS on a fee for service basis. The ITS Software Services team can write and support bespoke systems, and the Enterprise Support division offers hosting services for externally authored systems.


Solutions may require: a) funding (acquisition costs), b) policy approval (ESC), and c) support (who/cost?). In a federated environment funding and policy will be provided at multiple different levels as follows:

  1. Local solutions: For solutions to local-only problems. These require faculty or school funding.
  2. UQ-wide solutions are funded as follows:
    1. Automatic upgrades to existing systems – e.g. Turnitin release audio annotations. Already funded through DVC(A) budget to ITS
    2. Small mods to existing systems (e.g. Si-Net integration, external user tool etc): Covered within TLS capability at  TLS discretion with external input. Note this is very limited and work is strictly prioritised according to how wide the impact is.
    3. Additional enterprise wide applications: Methodical evaluation processes lead to submissions to the UQ Technology Enabled Learning Fund. Proposals are strictly driven by enterprise wide needs and priorities collected from multiple sources above. Evaluations cannot be done by local experts alone as the process requires awareness of enterprise wide requirements, and expertise in acquiring and running enterprise wide systems in a sustainable way.