The web-site is now in readonly mode. Login and registration are disabled. (28 June 2019)

Support roles for DL within Higher Education

Introduce yourself and your role in supporting/managing distance/flexible learning

Cloud created by:

Alex Moseley
6 October 2009

The way distance and flexible learning are supported in each institution varies. To introduce each other within the new 'DL Support and Design in HEIs' cloudscape, and get some idea of the variety of support provision across HEIs:

  •  introduce yourselves here with brief details of your role in the design / delivery / support / management of DL in your local context.

Click the add extra content link to add your information to this cloud.

Extra content

After having had a devolved Faculty-based system of support (and non-support) for years, the University of Leicester is now moving towards a stronger centrally-collected and distributed support model for DL.

I joined the nascent central Course Design and Development Unit earlier this year as Educational Designer. Key features of this support model are:

  • central place to direct any DL design/delivery/support issues
  • working with departments throughout the whole course design and delivery process, helping to scope the course, design teaching and learning / pedagogic activity, develop online resources and put help and systems in place for the administration of the live course.
  • maintain close links with all other central services (library, IT Services etc.) and departments, so that central resources and best practice within departments are shared and reused.

We're just developing and growing the service at the moment, but sticking to these core principles.


Alex Moseley
08:59 on 6 October 2009

At Athabasca University we primarliy employ a centralized course design approach, although some exceptions remain. I won't try to speak to that, but rather will forward the information about this cloud to people who know a lot more about it than I do :)  

My work is primarily in the areas of strategy and new initiative advising / document preparation for senior administration. I work for Vice-President Academic Margaret Haughey, who most of the DE planet seems to know. So my main interest may be a bit different from others in the cloud; it is more connected to dialogue with government about the role and nature of open online education, maintaining positive relationships with residential institution leadership, fitting into sector-wide funding and planning mechanisms that are designed for traditional institutions, dealing with being a provincially funded institution serving a national population, responding to growing quality assurance expectations, and the politics of having ICT as primary infrastructure.  I am at points connected to supporting design and student services teams, but primarily in terms of working with them re: the above.

Some general AU issues that may be of more general interest to others in the cloud include delivering services to our asynchronous undergraduate students that can start courses at the beginning of every month, increasing efforts to move into web 2.0 platforms for all courses, attention to simple mechanisms to increase retention and re-registration rates, and - potentially - how to cope with the possibility of shrinking government grants in the face of the recession.  I hope that some of my colleagues will take the plunge and put up some information on some of these topics according to their roles.

If anyone wants to connect with AU or me generally, please let me know!

Deanna Douglas

Deanna Douglas
22:56 on 7 October 2009 (Edited 15:22 on 8 October 2009)


I am the manager for course design in the Centre for Learning Design and Development at Athabasca University and am responsible for the design of about half the undergraduate courses at the university. The rest of the courses (undergraduate and graduate) are managed by others in disciplinary centres. For my part I have a team of 8 instructional designers,  3 visual designers, and 1 programmer/analyst. We work with editors, copyright, and digitial media technologists to produce distance learning courses.

We have been undergoing departmental revision now for about 2 years (although it seems much longer) and are slowly managing the transition from distributing printed course packages by post to delivering courses on line. As we grapple with the change in delivery method we are also wrestling with a major shift in approach from a primarily transmission model to a more constructivist one. I believe we face the same obstacles as other institutions but also have some that are peculiar to an institute that is almost entirely distance delivery and has continuous enrolment.

I look forward to participating in this cloud.

Rodger Graham
14:10 on 13 October 2009

Hi all,

Its Jan Thiessen here, from Athabasca. I work in the Faculty of Business (FB), providing ID advice to authors as well as editing undergraduate business courses. 

I came to FB in 2001. The first course I edited was FB's first course delivered solely online. Since then we've moved all our courses online, and I've watched the "DNA of print" grow fainter with each revision.  Our model of self-paced, individualized learning, and continuous enrolment  makes AU an interesting environment.

Looking forward to hearing about what learning specialist type folks are doing in DL within higher education.

all the best,



Jan Thiessen
00:39 on 4 February 2010

Embedded Content


Deanna Douglas
3:22pm 8 October 2009

OK I sent the word out to a few others at Athabasca, so let's see what happens!

Rodger Graham
1:58pm 13 October 2009

The word has reached my ear at any rate.

Deanna Douglas
2:59pm 13 October 2009

It's great to properly understand what you do Rodger :)

8:23pm 9 December 2009

Hey . . . where are the AU folks???? Hi Deanna & Rodger. Marguerite

Contribute to the discussion

Please log in to post a comment. Register here if you haven't signed up yet.