Memorial University's distance learning and learning technology unit has changed its name to better represent the full range of services the unit offers.
The change is subtle, but will hopefully be effective, said Ann Marie Vaughan, director.
Formerly Distance Education and Learning Technologies (DELT), the new name is Distance Education, Learning and Teaching Support (DELTS).
The reason we changed our name was to reflect the full gamut of services in the department, she continued. I think many interpret us as the distance education providers in the university which we are of course. But we also offer support for technology-enabled components of on-campus courses, as well as support for distance and on-campus faculty and instructors regardless of the mode of delivery. We will always be Memorial's distance education provider, but we are much more than that and we want people to know about what services we provide.
DELTS is also re-vamping their website to more accurately indicate all services offered. Part of the way this will be publicized is through various social media tools.
We hope the new website will be up and running and fully operational by the fall 2011 semester, said Ms. Vaughan. We have an obligation to provide teaching support to faculty, as well as services to mature learners who face accessibility challenges due to geographic location and/or social circumstance. Social media is a fantastic way to bring communities together, so we're exploring ways we can utilize these tools to better serve all of our clients.
In addition to the distance education services the unit is known for, DELTS also provides classroom technical support on-campus, plus instructional development support for faculty through training, workshops, customized support and other pedagogical support.
Ms. Vaughan also mentioned that the unit's growth has been exponential in the last decade, and that the adoption rate of technology-enabled learning paired with the increase in students and faculty requests for the unit's services creates challenges towards meeting the expectations of the academic units, maintaining and expanding current service levels for students, and providing increasing support to faculty. In addition, we recognize the need to provide in parallel our service to communities of the province (distance education) and our internal community of faculty and students (teaching and learning).
Some of our goals over the next several years are to maintain Memorial's connection to the people of the province through the provision of education opportunities to the home or wherever the student resides, but also to enhance relationships with the academic units and their faculty and students to increase service to the community and to the unique learners we serve, she added.