How do we make good practice with technology the norm?

Graciano Soares, JISC RSC London Manager

Graciano Soares, JISC RSC London Manager

Our end of year event, The e-Factor, as it is known, has become a fixed feature in our events calendar. It attracts staff from across the spectrum of our learning providers – from academics to senior managers and executives, as well as representatives from partner organisations and funders.

“I always thought that I am the RSC!”

I like this definition of the JISC RSC London once given by a senior manager because it reflects two key characteristics of our presenters this year: they are all from the sector and they do it as their kind contribution to the effective network that the JISC RSCs have become.

I’m delighted that Peter Mayhew-Smith, Principal of Kingston College, has agreed to be there as a friendly observer in order to give us his own reflections of the day, while sharing his College’s experience and vision for technology during the afternoon plenary.

“It’s all about the learner”

The theme of our event this year is very fit for our current times. Government policies have placed the learner at the heart of the debate. Learners at the centre is certainly nothing new. What a way, though, to introduce the end of free post-compulsory education! The truth is, the consequences for both learners and learning organisations are considerable.

The need to deliver high-quality teaching, services and training involves complex operations to support and guide learners before, during and, very often, after their time at a university or an FE and Skills provider.

In the new Common Inspection Framework, Ofsted will only award grade 1 to providers that can demonstrate quality teaching across the spectrum. Pockets of good practice may no longer be good enough.

Increasingly, learners are being required to pay for their courses. From September this year, it will cost up to £9k to go to university. This changes the dynamics between the learners and the organisations in which they choose to study. They will be seen more and more like clients or customers than ever before.

Shouldn’t good practice with technology be the norm?

Based on what we at the JISC RSC London have seen this year throgh discussions in our forums, events and site visits, there are a number of success stories in the use of technology that has made a difference to the learner experience. It has taken a while, but Ofsted is increasingly reporting on good practice with technology that is relevant to the learner experience.

Our e-Factor 2012 will feature a selection of those stories via the showcases. They illustrate the good practice that exists in different parts of the sector. But, like the evaluation of teaching and learning, isn’t it high time good practice with technology were the norm wherever our learners chose to study? The key question you might want to address is, “how do we get there?”. Or put in another way, “What should be done to ensure good practice with technology is consistently widespread across a learning provider?”

I am confident that delegates, presenters and exhibitors will have an idea. 27th June is nearly upon us. If you are attending, I’m looking forward to welcoming you there. If not, I’ll be following your #efactor2012 tweets.

Graciano Soares
Regional Manager, JISC RSC London