29 July 2019 - From business change management to lecturing through a ucisa bursary

Lessons on learning technology change from the Association of Learning Technology (ALT) Conference 2018


In September 2018, I received a ucisa bursary to attend the Association of Learning Technology (ALT) Conference 2018. This conference aims to bring together different critical perspectives from the field of learning technology and provides a practical forum for practitioners, researchers, managers and policy-makers from education and industry to disseminate information and network. Six months later, I have been reflecting on the benefits of receiving a ucisa bursary and how it has shaped my perspectives and work.

When I attended the conference, I held a position of Business Change Officer within Cardiff University, working on a project which implemented lecture recording capabilities across the institution. During the conference, I attended a number of sessions which focussed on lecture recording, and the capturing of other educational activities, within higher education institutions across the UK. It was a valuable experience, which I reflected on at the time in this blog post. It was evident that the issues and challenges associated with implementing widespread lecture recording were similar across institutions. At the conference I presented on my experiences of working in partnership with students to research how lecture recordings are used by learners.

During the conference themes emerged about how learning technology change is managed and recognition that such large scale initiatives impact on many individuals differently. I was exposed to new methodologies, frameworks and approaches in how change is managed in different institutions. I also came away from the conference with a sense of optimism that the work we had undertaken at Cardiff University was considered good practice and some pleasure that we were advancing perspectives in some areas (e.g. aligning structured change management methodologies with learning technology implementations).

My reflections and learnings from the conference have been shared with my project team and with colleagues across the institution who work in the areas associated with learning technology, beyond the central IT department. At the time of the conference, I was actively involved in managing the implementation of a new ‘opt out’ lecture recording policy in the institution. The conference showcased lessons learned from other institutions who had impelmented similar policies and some specific takeaways unquestionably helped shape how we approached the management of our policy. Internally, the project is now seen as a success and an exemplar example of how to manage the implantation of a large-scale initiative.

One of the most positive aspects of the conference was the opportunity to network with colleagues from different institutions. I have maintained contact with a number of individuals who I met at the conference via LinkedIn and Twitter and I believe that I now have a bigger network to approach for support and advice. Personally, I was enthused and simulated by the academic debates during the conference and the critical perspectives offered. The conference renewed my interest in academic discourse and motivated me to explore opportunities in this area. In February 2019, I was appointed as a lecturer within the University, teaching on education and learning theories, which I am enjoying very much so far.

Thank you ucisa for offering me the position. It was a very rewarding experience which has undoubtably has been of benefit to me personally, and the wider the institution.