Today's guest blog post comes from one of our MIE Experts Chris Melia, a Learning Technologist at the University of Central Lancashire. Read his account of his MIEE journey below and how he is using Microsoft Teams in his institution to drastically change communication and collaboration.
My name is Chris Melia and I am a Learning Technologist at the University of Central Lancashire. I work closely with our Faculty of Health and Wellbeing as digital learning lead, to effectively embed technology into learning and teaching practice. I am passionate about my work and find the collaboration between academic colleagues and technologists to be particularly rewarding.
I became an MIE Expert last August after becoming more involved with the Microsoft Educator Community. At our institution, we have invested heavily in Microsoft technology solutions. This has seen us equip every member of academic staff with a Surface Pro and transform our learning spaces to support more innovative teaching methods. Office 365 has provided a suite of applications we have successfully embedded across the learner experience to setup e-portfolios, start online communities and create more engaging and interactive learning materials. In March of this year, I was fortunate enough to present at the Microsoft ‘Transformational Technologies’ conference hosted at UCLan, and more recently at the ‘Association for Learning Technology’ conference in Manchester. These case study sessions looked at the impact of using Microsoft Teams to create active learner communities within the School of Nursing. Fantastic feedback following the events highlighted that colleagues from other institutions have since been inspired to start running their own pilots with Teams. As an MIE Expert, I aim to showcase the work that we do, share good practice and hopefully inspire others to adopt new and innovative digital approaches.
"Most importantly for our staff, it’s really about helping them to inspire our students to become a modern workforce of the future, in a sense that they are truly digitally enabled.”
James Crooks, Director of Learning and Information Services
In my last post on this blog I looked at the how and why we introduced Microsoft Teams at our institution, as well as some early student feedback from a pilot learner community.
The following video features interviews with some of our academic colleagues who were involved in that pilot.
Since that time our collective use of Teams across services and faculties has only grown, with even more clear benefits coming to fruition.
To celebrate a year since our initial adoption of Teams, we decided to start a series of video case studies to celebrate the fantastic ongoing practice and share more visual impact with our wider communities.
The entry below, entitled; “Communicate, Collaborate, Create”, identifies a number of key examples where Teams has been used to effectively manage people and projects, and also facilitated across Faculty collaboration.
In my own role as a Faculty Learning Technologist, Teams has enabled conversations across the five Schools which would previously have proved difficult to facilitate. As a digital learning community, the Teams area has provided a real output for our colleagues’ passion and enthusiasm for technology enabled learning.
In addition, it has encouraged them to engage with the Microsoft Educator Community (MEC) where they are now achieving MIE & MIE Expert status through earning various badges and sharing their innovative practice.
Staff feedback on this Teams community has been particularly positive:
“I feel that this platform has created a community where as a Faculty we can collaborate, share our ideas and support each other. It is incredibly inspiring to see what technologies our colleagues within the Faculty are utilising in their teaching.”
Kirstie Harrison, Lecturer (School of Nursing)
“I find it really valuable as a way to share ideas and resources with colleagues and to seek support and inspiration when needed. It’s great to be able to put a call out and get ideas back and helps to strengthen our community of practice, which in turn will benefit our students. I am looking forward to using Teams to help build communities with our students in the new academic year.”
Hazel Partington, Senior Lecturer (School of Community Health & Midwifery)
“The community site is collaborative, accessible and informative. I have found it such a useful platform on which to share ideas and take inspiration from other colleagues. The support is fantastic and will definitely benefit both staff and students!”
Andy Sprake, Lecturer (School of Sport and Wellbeing)
“It’s been great to have a network for sharing ideas and skills. Hopefully I will be able to develop my skills and incorporate new digital approaches into teaching.”
Debbie Brown, Principal Lecturer (School of Social Work, Care & Community)
“It’s very supportive - I can feel part of a community when working out and about and have learnt new skills!”
Samantha Pywell, Practice Learning Support Tutor (Faculty of Health and Wellbeing)
At the University of Central Lancashire, we are particularly looking forward to another exciting year of future developments in Microsoft Teams as well as the wider capabilities of Office 365.
Why not follow our journey each step of the way via our Twitter handles: @ChrisLearnTech @UCLanTELT