The Heads of eLearning Forum (HeLF) is a network of senior staff engaged in promoting, supporting and developing technology enhanced learning (TEL). We have 140 nominated Heads from UK higher education institutions and a regular programme of well attended events.

Monday, 10 November 2014

HelF Workshop: Blending Physical and Virtual Spaces

The 33rd HeLF Meeting  was on the 12th November, 2014, on the topic of Blending Physical and Virtual Space. Registration starts from 10.00, with the fist session from 10.30. The workshop will finish at 3pm.

We had a number of speakers from during the day from within UK HEIs and Sarah Knight from JISC.

We would like to say a very big thanks to Hilary at University of Bristol, for hosting the event.


Sarah Knight: JISC

Mark Gamble: University of Bedfordshire

Peter Bryant: LSE

What did attendees take?

We are starting to offer Mozilla Badges as recognition for attending our workshops. To collect your Open Mozilla Badge the attendee needs to reflect on what they have taken from the session. The following is some of their reflections.

  • Talk to Charlie Davis (Derby) about their implementation of Panopto and Kaltura for video feedback (we have similar pilots in the works).
  • Read UCL's Learning Spaces Guidelines document and pass on to relevant person in AV Services in preparation for new build.
  • Explore feasibility of using JISC/Ulster's Viewpoints approach to cultural change within our newly formed gasification community of practice.
  • As usual the day was a good mix of practitioner led sessions and thought provoking discussion. In relation to how this will impact on my own practice, I already have a few new ideas on how to make the most of lecture capture.
  • Looking forward to the next one :-)"
  • Creating resources similar to those demonstrated by the speaker from the School of Pharmacy at UoB as a means of flipping the classroom. I also picked up some really useful insights into issues that need more in-depth pedagogic consideration when creating learning spaces. The best presentation for me in terms of taking something away was that of Peter Bryant. I thought it was refreshing to here how things hadn't worked and it has given me the confidence to adopt a similar tack when presenting findings from a pilot I am currently coordinating.
  • For me, one of the most interesting things from the workshop was looking at the 'toolkits' of the various institutions represented. I hadn't yet contributed to this, but am now very keen to do so. This piece of work will be very helpful in getting an idea of how what we have compares with other institutions, and also knowing who to contact if we want to discuss the use of particular tools or technologies. This conversation also brought up some interesting discussions around confidentiality. Whilst all the attendees are committed to maintaining confidentiality of any information shared within the group, as necessary, it is definitely worth thinking about whether this commitment should be clearly stated as a condition of membership. If we were to ‘sign up’ to this commitment, this would also help us to make other people aware of this commitment, not only for this group, but also for other areas of our work too.
  • I have already written up the summary of the event and distributed to several teams. We are following up on Change Management (JISC Infonet); institutions who are currently doing VLE reviews; improvements to learning spaces and the guide created at UCL.
  • I meet Rob Howe on the way to the meeting and we had a long talk about current practice and development, which really help both technically and pedagogically.
  • I didn't find the introduction speaker that useful. its nice to set the scene but i would recommend that in the future someone reviews what happened at the last session ,and the main topics of conversation on the HELF message board. kind of like reviewing the minutes from the last meeting, so it 'seems' like we are processing:)
  • The break was really useful. i would suggest that the first sessions could have had another coffee break in to allow more informal chatting. there are so many people to get around and not enough time. Having Peter Bryant talk about stuff that 'missed the mark' was really useful to. Although its hard to stand up and talk about the things that went wrong its very useful to hear and discuss.
  • The notion that students inhabit a different cultural space to ourselves as members of the same university; this emerged throughout the morning session as an underlying theme.
  • I have admired the clarity of the Viewpoints methodology for a while and Sarah Knight's talk was very timely for my own institution. I will be using it in the near future.
  • The afternoon session that struck a cord was Peter Bryant with the thinking around an emergent third way for technology uptake within institutions. I believe most successful HEIs use this method when they are successful, but do not necessarily record it very well as it has a lot to do with the culture of the organisation and where it is at in its evolution. Which takes me back to thinking about 'culture of the members of the university'.
  • "I think most of the presentations touched in an issue or project I am currently involved in at my institution. And for me the power came from the synergies and connections that were relevant to me from across all the presentations.
  • The first speaker challenged me to broaden my view of what 'digital literacy' might mean for staff and students - that it is essential for us to be both informed consumers and producers/contributors. The last part I hadn't really thought about in any great depth, focusing on the former. The final speaker, when talking about the new 'middle out' approach of tackling change and development also offered a glimmer of a new approach that offers new opportunities. So some re framing and scoping of our 'digital literacies' project (although intend to rename it).
  • The presentation on ChemLabS linked into a new oncampus facility I am taking my students (new academic staff) to visit this week - our STEM building which is an outreach initiative with schools. Potential links there. I am also using learning spaces as a theme to bring together different strands of the module I am delivering on teaching and professional practice and the presentation from UCL was really relevant - rushed straight off and downloaded the policy.
  • It was of great interest to me to deputise for Fiona at this meeting. The landscaping of which (e)tools different institutions are using will be something we watch with interest as it will help inform our choices. The discussion following my presentation on physical space design and the challenges of building project teams helped further my understanding of how other institutions tackle similar issues.
  • "Very useful to hear similar priorities mentioned by colleagues in the sector, e.g. Digital literacy of staff needs major attention, students as creators. Good to know the areas we are pushing forward on are important across the sector and to fellow professionals.
  • Good presentations highlighting some of the challenges, lack of pace of change in institutions, not using potential of technology, sceptical view of reaching the 'tipping point'
The location was: Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Exploring how to blend physical and virtual spaces (HeLF 33rd Workshop)

We are glad to announce, the University of Bristol (thanks Hilary) are hosting the 33rd HeLF Workshop on the 12th November, 2014.

The topic is exploring how curriculum teams within UK HEIs are trying to blend the physical and virtual learning spaces, and how the Head of e-Learning can help to facilitate these developments.

The booking details have been shared with members through the list.
Image - With Thanks -

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Thank you University of Leeds: Summary 22nd May, 2014

The 32nd HeLF Event was hosted by University of Leeds, and a big thank you to Jane O'Neill for all her work and kind hospitality. The theme for this event was Big Projects: Big Data

The slides will be released over time, and I'll update this blog post as they come in.

It was a great turnout ... 35 attended (40 booked), and based on the buzz it met the aims of sharing ideas and promoting discussion. A standing activity in the afternoon is a reflective task in small groups. The outcomes are pulled together below. Apologise if I missed any out. If I did, please use the comments on this post.

Are going to do to help progress what you have heard today in your institution or team?
  • Investigate SonicFoundry and Leeds experience
  • Explore how we can tie USW work on OER and Lecture Capture
  • Look at Leeds policies
  • Leeds website. Http://
  • Lots of us a going to pick up Leeds policies on Lecture Capture - and start the battle at home
  • Looking at how we can include DLs in curriculum with checks at design and validation stages
  • Propose a sector-wide MOOC on digital literacy/digital scholarship - coordinated by JISC and developed by Helen Beetham, Dave White and Martin Weller.
  • Promote the at-desk recording for Panopto to get the more negative people using it
  • Create an internal digital literacy MOOC to free up Learning Technologists for other projects
  • Look at big data/learning analytics - work with ICT to make sure focus is not just tech
  • Take Leeds blended learning strategy/model back to own institution - develop lecture capture policy & start to raise awareness of OER etc
Need or want your institution to do to help you support implementing these types of initiatives?
  • Would be good to bring HeLF to Wales :-)
Would like HeLF (or another organisation) to do to support this area nationally?
  • Survey like tablet survey of different types of hardware, extent of use, student feedback, policy on lecture capture
  • It would be great if we could have a model policy on lecture capture thats been through JISC Legal (Actually a HeLF repository of model policies would be useful)
We had a couple of changes to the agenda due to illness. However, I have included a few session overviews below:

'Digital' students? Reporting on students' expectations and experiences of the digital environment Helen Beetham, Independent Consultant on behalf of Jisc
Looking for jewels in the midden: Exploring the mountain of MOOC data: Anne Marie Scott, Technology Enhanced Learning Team Manager, University of Edinburgh

Open Badge Generator: Andy Ramsden, e-Learning Development Manager, University Campus Suffolk. This short session covered rationale for why we have developed an Open Badge Generator, demo'd iteration one, and outlined the pilots this summer. For more information, see the UCS Elevate Team blog post;

Image source (Big Projects):

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

We've released an archive of our previous events

I have recently archived the presentations from our previous web site hosting (thanks to ULCC for all the help) as we move across to this site.

If you would like to access the presentations from our previous events you will need to click on the Previous Meetings tab, and scroll down to the Historical Record: Event Archive sections. There is a list of the events we've run, and a link to where they are hosted. Please note, the archive is not complete as not all the presentations have been collected from the events we ran. If you have any questions, please contact us.


Thursday, 15 May 2014

University of Leeds: HeLF Meeting: Big projects, big data

The 32nd HeLF Meeting is being held in the University of Leeds, on the 22nd May, as is entitled: Big Projects, big data.

The session include;
  • Digital students? Reporting on students' expectation and experiences of the digital environment - Helen Beetham, Independent Consultant on behalf of JISC
  • Looking for jewels in the midden: Exploring the mountain of MOOC data - Anne Marie Scott, TEL Team Manager, University of Edinburgh
The broad theme for this year is eLearning at Scale - internal and external: Tensions for Heads of eLearning

The booking form and password has been sent via the JISCMail List to our members.

Source: Blenhelm Terrace:

Thursday, 8 May 2014

UK survey of HE provision, policy and support of tablet technologies

On behalf of Barbara Newland

Many thanks for all your responses to the survey. The following links are to a presentation on the context and initial findings, and the second link is to the a pdf of the quantitative data, which can also be found in our projects area.

The following slide share pulls together the emerging story from the survey data. 

Image Source: - Letter on a clay tablet sent by the high-priest Lu'enna to the king of Lgash. It tells the king of his son's death in combat.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Steering Group Meeting Agenda: 1st April, 2014

Agenda items are as follows:
  1. Welcome to new and returning steering group members.
  2. Matters arising from meeting held 16th January 2014.
    • 2.1 HeLF Terms of Reference
  3. Allocation of steering group roles and responsibilities (role document previously circulated)
  4. Review of 31st HeLF event, Birmingham, 19th February 2014
  5. Planning for 32nd event (Leeds University, 22nd May meeting)
  6. Initial planning for 2014-15 academic year events
  7. External Liaison Update (BN)
    • Jisc co-design group for EAM projects (BN, NR, LM)
    • Turnitin letter and subsequent HeLF actions (NR)
  8. HeLF members tablets survey (BN, NR, LM)
  9. Membership Update (PA)
  10. Communications Coordinator Update (AR)
    • Website redirect & archive (AR)
  11. Any Other Business
  12. Date and venue of next meeting
Posted on behalf of: Lindsey Martin, Secretary

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Members: What are your priorities for 2014/15

The HeLF Steering Group are meeting in a few weeks to start planning the activities, themes and topics for 2014/15. To ensure this meets the diverse needs across the membership, we have released a simply survey (4 questions) as a snap shot of current priorities.

Members should have received a link to the survey through the appropriate JISC email list. If you haven't, please email Andy Ramsden (


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Tablet Technologies: Survey

Over the next month, HeLF members are undertaking a survey on UK HE provision, policies and support for tablet technologies across our membership institutions. The outcomes will be disseminated through a number of routes, including with Projects area on this site.

Members should have received a link to the survey through the appropriate JISC email list. For more information, please contact Dr Barbara Newland ( who is leading on this project.


Thursday, 27 February 2014

HeLF Steering Group: New Members

On behalf of Neil Ringan, Chair of HeLF.

As I mentioned at the HeLF meeting at Birmingham last week, the term of office for the previous HeLF Steering Group expired at the end of December 2013 and you will recall that I emailed the list for expressions of interest from HeLF members to serve on the new Steering Group

Following discussions amongst those people who put themselves forward, I’m delighted to be able to report that we have been able to form the Steering Group without the need for elections. We have decided to expand slightly the size of the steering group (from 9 to 10 members). The main reason behind this is so we can formally allocate 2 members of the Steering Group to work on the 2 core areas of our activity – HeLF events and the web site. The intention is that going forward we will have 2 Events Co-ordinators rather than 1 (currently undertaken with great dedication by Kyriaki Anagnostopoulou from Bath) so that 1 person will work on one session with the other event co-ordinator working on the session after that, and so on.

Specific roles for members of the Steering Group will be agreed at the next SG meeting on April 1st, but for now I’d like to formally welcome the members of the HeLF Steering Group
  • Phil Alberts – Brunel
  • Kyriaki Anagnostopoulou – Bath
  • Martin King – Royal Holloway
  • Lindsey Martin – Edge Hill
  • Scott Miller - Sunderland
  • Barbara Newland – Brighton
  • Mark Pelling – Cardiff Metropolitan
  • Andt Ramsden – University Campus Suffolk
  • Neil Ringan – Manchester Metropolitan
  • Mark Wetton – Edinburgh
I’d also like to formally thank Susannah and Martin who have stepped down from the steering group for their input, advice, guidance and hospitality over the past.

I will be update the Steering Group Members page in the next few weeks.

With Thanks: Image:

Friday, 21 February 2014

University of Birmingham: Summary 19th February, 2014

Many thanks to University of Birmingham for hosting your 31st workshop. The theme for this event was, e-Learning at Scale: Tensions for the Head of e-Learning.

A number of key questions where addressed throughout the day, including;

  1. Where are you up to as an institution with MOOCs?
  2. Why are you engaging or not engaging with MOOCs?
  3. What impacts have their been / do you foresee on your role as a Head of e-Learning?

The presentational slides are below, and in no particular order. These have been automatically converted by Google, so there might be a few rendering issues. If you encounter any problems please contact us.

Why Universities are investing in MOOCs: Hugh Davis

Establishing capacity to deliver MOOCs at Leeds: impacts on the University: Neil Morris

Exploring Educational Boundaries: A MOOC based reflection on quality and impact: Amy Woodgate

MOOCs ... all you need to know (in 10 minutes …): Darren Marsh

The MOOC experiment: An academic's view: Momna Hejmadi

With thanks: Image:

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Thanks to Susannah Quinsee and Martin Oliver

This is posted on behalf of Neil Ringan, Chair of the HeLF Steering Group

Thanks to Susannah Quinsee and Martin Oliver who are stepping down from the HeLF Steering Group.

The HeLF Steering Group term of office runs for 3 years, at the end of which all members of the Steering Group stand down and can put themselves forward for re-election.
The current HeLF Steering Group term of office ended in January 2014 and we are currently in the process of recruiting a new Steering Group membership.

Two members of the existing Steering Group will be stepping down and not putting themselves forward for re-election, and I’d like to take this opportunity to extend my personal thanks as Chair of HeLF, and on behalf of the Steering Group and wider HeLF membership for their input and support.

Martin Oliver, from the Institute of Education has been on the Steering Group for 3 years and as well as providing us with a fantastic venue in Central London on several occasions, has contributed his wide-ranging knowledge and expertise in a broad range of e-learning pedagogy, research, implementation and evaluation. HeLF members will be very familiar with much of the work Martin has contributed to the e-learning sector over many years (sorry Martin !) and one of the first e-learning events I ever went to was one he ran with Grainne Conole to discuss their evaluation toolkit way back in 1998 (both Martin and I were still in short trousers at the time, of course :-)

Susannah Quinsee from City University London was one of the founding members of HeLF and has been a member of the Steering Group from day one, seeing HeLF through from a very informal group of like-minded individuals trying to set up a mutual support group, right through to the major organisation which we are today, with membership from over 130 UK HEIs. Throughout her role Susannah has brought her experience of supporting the implementation of e-learning within institutions and managing e-learning teams to the Steering Group and HeLF more widely. Personally I’ve learnt a massive amount from Susannah and have been through similar pains and tribulations during our joint membership of HeLF – with the exception that I haven’t had to endure the pain of childbirth !! Susannah has also hosted many HeLF meetings and Steering Group events at City, for which we thank her as well.

So a massive thanks to both Martin and Susannah for your support, input, advice and counsel to HeLF.


Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Booking form for University of Birmingham event is open

Roll up, roll up ... the bookings page for the 31st HeLF Meeting at the University of Birmingham, on the 19th February, is now open :-)

I will be updating the events page on this blog early next week.

The booking form and password has been sent via the JISCMail List to our members.

The broad theme for this year is eLearning at Scale - internal and external: Tensions for Heads of eLearning

Image Source:

Monday, 13 January 2014

The value of HeLF: A comment from a member

Kyriaki Anagnostopoulou, Head of e-Learning at University of Bath has started to review the results of a recent HeLF survey (November 2013). When browsing through Question 33, the following jumped out:

Question 33: How/from where do you think leadership development will be provided?

One respondent wrote: “Mutual support from other Heads of e-learning through HeLF. We have been involved in some LFHE and ALT initiatives and neither have had any benefit due to total lack of understanding of the role or remit from those involved so for me HeLF is the only organisation that supports me in my role.”

A feel good reply for us, a need to engage with ALT to ensure they are aware of our roles and a call to our members (you) to ensure everyone takes advantage of the Forum, and what it offers. Hopefully see you all at the next meeting in February, 2014 :-)

Image Source:

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Summary of HeLF JISC Mail traffic: TurnItIn & HeLF Steering Group Elections

I am hoping all HeLF members you've read the HeLF JISC Mail list about two important issues being discussed which need your input. The actual emails contain information on how to submit your thoughts.

Input to TurnItIn User Group

As many of you are aware there is a TurnItIn User Group is next month in Birmingham. Will Murray from TurnItIn has indicated that the CEO of iParadigms is planning to attend this meeting and has asked HeLF if we would raise specific questions which he can address at the meeting.

The email Neil Ringan sent contains information on how you can submit questions

Elections to HeLF Steering Group

The Terms of Reference for HeLF specify that a full election for the HeLF Steering Group is required every 3 years when the period of office for each Steering Group expires. The 3 year period during which the current Steering Group has been in operation came to an end on December 31st 2013 and I would therefore like to formally announce that nominations to join the Steering Group for a new period of office until December 31st 2016 are now open.

Nominations to join the Steering Group are submitted on your own behalf (i.e. you indicate that you want to nominate yourself rather than nominating someone else). Nominations may be submitted by the named HeLF institutional representative only, including existing members of the Steering Group. Nominations from any other party will automatically be excluded from consideration.

Nominations to join the Steering Group can be submitted via the following form, and should be received by 17:00 on Tuesday 21st January 2014.

The email Neil Ringan sent contains information on how you can submit your nomination