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New appointment shines spotlight on e-learning

Friday, 31 July 2015

Jane Astley
Jane Astley.

A new role of instructional designer has been created at the school to help design, develop and support e-learning across all study programmes.

Jane Astley, who was most recently the learning development officer at Cardiff Metropolitan University, and previously e-learning developer at the Royal Agricultural University in Gloucestershire, has been appointed to the role. She began in April and her appointment as Professional Practice Fellow in educational technology and instructional design is shared with the Dunedin School of Medicine's Department of Women's and Children's Health.

In a varied career Ms Astley has worked as a researcher in molecular immunology, and as a lecturer in biomedical science at the University of Wolverhampton in the UK, prior to working in educational technology.

Ms Astley says she hopes to work in collaboration to enhance learning and teaching wherever possible.

"I'm particularly enjoying the enthusiasm and ideas of the Otago University staff, who clearly have a commitment to high-quality learning provision."

School of Pharmacy Dean, Stephen Duffull, says the role was established to help initiate, develop and support e-learning across all of its nine programmes of study. For the undergraduate progamme, this revolves around the implementation of e-learning processes and support for learning opportunities outside of the classroom. For the postgraduate programme it involves enhancement of the current e-learning activities.

An initial focus is likely to be the development of e-portfolios for all students.

Ms Astley says that in addition to being used as a professional record, the e-portfolio can provide opportunities for developing professional skills such as reflection and communication and for providing evidence of professional competencies.

Professor Duffull says he is very excited about the new appointment. "There are few appointments of this type in the university, so we are all learning. We need to ensure that we are providing the best education support and opportunities for our students."

Article written by Liane Topham-Kindley for Pharmacy Today, July 2015.