TEL One Planning

This topic contains 6 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  jojacob_uk 6 years, 4 months ago.

  • Author
  • #23628

    Julie Voce

    Planning is an essential part of the project lifecycle to ensure a successful outcome. It is often tempting to just jump in feet first, especially on a small scale project, but starting a project with no firm plan of action is likely to jeopardise the whole process.

    Watch one or both of the following videos relating to TEL projects at an institutional and course level. Reflect upon the successes/failures highlighted by the presentations.

    Any questions about the presentations can be directed to Julie and Lisa:

    Now have a look at Jisc’s Project Management guidance. Thinking about a project you have been involved with, consider the following:

    • Who were your stakeholders?
    • What resources were used?
    • How clear/achievable was the project plan?
    • What fallback position, if any, did you build into your plan in the event of full or partial project failure?
    • What methods did you use to evaluate your project?
    • How did you measure project success?
    • Did you celebrate your success and did this encourage further developments?

    Reflect on these areas and identify what could have been done better in the planning and implementation stages to improve the project outcomes. Think about what tools and techniques were used to assist with planning and their effectiveness.

  • #24059

    Rose Heaney

    I thought both presentations were very clear and well thought through with plenty of food for thought – thanks Julie & Lisa. I wonder how a similar exercise in evaluating our implementation of Moodle might look – a working title could be “The rocky road from WebCT to Moodle … survivors tell all”.

    I have been on the receiving end of several big projects recently where I have been less than impressed by the organisation even where reasonably sound project planning has been applied at the outset. I think HE structures and culture often militate against efficient project management. The concept of a dedicated project manager who can concentrate on the job in hand and orchestrate the whole process is often never achieved. Instead busy people with lots of operational responsibilities (and not always trained in project management) get landed with it cf both Julie and Lisa. I have noticed, however, that there are some efforts to address this in my current institution with the employment of project managers whose sole job is to do project management. They are all employed by IT services, however, which can bring its own issues when it comes to learning technology depending on how your organisation is structured.

    At the other end of the scale, during the Moodle rollout I was responsible for a project where we employed a team of students / recent graduates to work with staff to migrate content and build new content on Moodle (once the rocky road had been traversed) on which we used a different form of project management (if you would even call it that). We used a tool called Asana to keep track of all the work and allocate tasks as they came in.  It worked really well and enabled us to manage the work and keep in touch with each other through a very flexible, user friendly medium.

    I would like to look more closely at Agile & Flexible project management (as referred to in JISC resources) as they seem to allow for the accommodation of changes in a way that more traditional methods don’t.



    • #25837

      guy saward


      great observations as ever. Having worked as a project manager in the IT sector, I find it so much harder to manage in an HE context. This is in part due to the scale of projects I have been involved in, but also the focus and culture as you suggest.

      I hope part of this comes out in my post referenced below.


    • #25870


      Julie’ presentation was clear and frank. This was clearly a very large scale and complex project and her summary of the lessons learned was very useful.

      I haven’t really experienced a learning technology project, although as a manager and staff in large organisations I have been involved in more general projects and project management. I think Julie’s presentation highlighted that applying project management principles was very important. I was incredulous when Julie let slip at the end that she undertook this project on top of her everyday work – no wonder one of her recommendations was for a dedicated project manager. I wonder what this says about how the project was viewed by senior leaders, that a review of a fundamental IT system affecting every learner and lecturer was just added to Julie’s job?

      The take home messages that came from Julie’s presentation were:
      1) set out clear objectives and scope
      2) identify key stakeholder and involve them in the planning and process
      3) agree suitable timescales but be prepared for slippage (or try to mitigate)
      4) I liked the framework for specification: must have, should have, could have, would like
      5) clear tendering process
      6) risk assessment and management, again a very useful matrix approach of probability, impact and total score
      7) dedicated project manager

      Julie’s approach to failure is encouraging and positive. It is true that we can learn as much, if not more, from what goes wrong than from success, but in many organisations failure is either not tolerated or swept under the carpet. It is clear that Imperial’s project was far from a failure, but being able to openly acknowledge that some aspects of the project and the project management were less than ideal gives a fantastic platform for personal and organisational learning. Furthermore, by sharing it more widely with communities of practice and learners such as ocTEL, there is scope for more of us to learn from mistakes.

  • #24442


    I agree Julie’s presentation was honest and clear.

    What she seemed to have which I have never been given by the FE institutions I have worked in is TIME and VALUE given to planning and agreeing the outcomes.

  • #25171



    Julie’s presentation was very good indeed. Lots done to highlight potential issues in projects and what to watch out for.  Presentation laid out very logically too. Here are my (quickly gathered) thoughts on TEL One Planning Feedback welcome.

  • #25607

    Simon Fokt

    I really like the methods you adopted in selecting a new VLE. I wish more universities did this, and were more consistent about their use of VLEs. In St Andrews, we use several environments at the same time – MMS, WebCT, Moodle, iSaint, and e-Vision, and frankly, it’s a bit of a mess. The study materials for some modules are on MMS, for some on Moodle, and everything else is all over the place. I understand that transcribing everything to one environment only takes a lot of work, but it seems like it would be really good both from the perspective of the students who would have easier access to everything they need, and the university which wouldn’t have to pay for several systems.

    I wondered about one thing regarding the review process. The review took two years. I understand the need to make it thorough, but I think that this might have had an influence on people’s involvement in the project. My guess is that many students who were told at the beginning of the project to get involved, because a new VLE will benefit them, weren’t students any more at the end of the process. Considering that an increasing percentage of staff holds only temporary posts, this might have well been true of large parts of the faculty as well. So it’s not surprising that some of them might have had less incentive to get involved, and some, as mentioned in the presentation, didn’t even know that such a process took place. I think that if some of the recommendations mentioned at the end of the presentation implemented (e.g. starting when students are around, having a dedicated project manager, etc.), the process could be shorter and thus more involving for the students and faculty.

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