It wasn’t long ago that the Learning Management System team at the University of Oklahoma was largely focused on providing technical support and lecture-based training. But we had a vision for engaging with faculty and students and broadening our portfolio of tools to provide a more holistic approach to learning management. How did we achieve this? By realigning our team’s focus and building strong cross-campus relationships. Read on to learn more!
First things first: build internal relationships. We prioritized building internal relationships before pursuing any functional changes to the team. We identified both our Marketing & Communications and Infrastructure teams as strategic areas that would help us provide a solid foundation for our tools and ensure a professional, cohesive look for communication materials.
Next up: form external partnerships. We started collaborating with groups across campus, such as our Center for Teaching Excellence and OU Libraries. Partnering with other areas on campus increases visibility and buy-in for a new approach and helps foster continuous growth. Additionally, we’ve leveraged vendor relationships to their maximum potential, relying heavily on them to provide technical support. Although some vendors provide technical support resources for free, outsourcing support is not always cheaper and easier. The benefit is that it ensures on-campus resources are available to dedicate time to higher value activities.
And finally: begin implementing changes. Over the last few years, we have been able to implement a number of key changes, including:
- Providing faculty and students with on-demand technical support including help articles, videos, and PDF quick guides. It’s important for our users to get help when they need it and in their preferred format. Example: OU IT Knowledgebase
- Providing information toolkits to faculty and students so they are aware of available tools and how to get assistance. With so many different tools and applications available, a toolkit can help raise awareness. Example: Faculty Toolkit
- Involving faculty and students in decisions that will impact them directly. It’s important they feel their feedback is valued. Example: Use It or Lose It (LMS Pilot)
- Hosting events to promote new features, encourage utilization, and share use cases. By getting faculty and students together, you can help drive collaboration! Example: Academic Technology Expo
The results are in! Our portfolio has grown from managing only the campus LMS to managing five enterprise applications (with adding only one full-time resource to the team). We’ve been able to successfully make this leap by minimizing the demand on our team for providing technical support. It’s been a rewarding shift in focus, and the increased engagement with faculty and students has been an incredibly positive experience for both our team and the campus we serve.