THE NEED FOR A SOLUTION THAT SUPPORTS DIVERSITY
The Digital Learning department at the university is dedicated to improving two main areas as part of its ongoing mission. These are to continue to support its diverse user base, and to also improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities or learning difficulties on an ongoing basis.
Blended and online learning are priorities for supporting the University’s diverse student population, as it often hosts assistive technology integrations such as JAWS, Zoomtext and Texthelp Read and Write. Course slides can be uploaded for students who need to take more time to review them outside of lectures, and most virtual learning environments (VLEs) now provide a way of navigating around the course without a mouse and ensure the links and additional files can also be navigated by using keystrokes only. Therefore, it is vital that constant improvements and updates can be applied to drive the flexibility of the platform to assist in all of these areas, as well as ensuring online learning tools are up to date and easy to use.
Three years ago, the Digital Learning department decided it was time to enhance one of its key online learning tools, its VLE, as its eLearning team found it to be too static and wanted to engage students and teachers further in the use of online technologies as part of the learning experience. The existing solution provided challenges to the eLearning team for any development work or new integrations. As a result, they were looking for a versatile solution, that would allow the integration of new products and upgrades easily, and for the VLE to be hosted by a vendor which provided comprehensive support with any of these amendments or developments to the platform.
Reliability was also an important factor for the eLearning team, ensuring that downtime was minimal, and that the host was readily available if any issues should arise.
In order to select a new partner, the University of Roehampton went out to tender. Moodle was identified by the Digital Learning department as the most suitable platform for its needs, due to its clear and modern interface, but what was more important to the University was selecting a partner to implement and host the platform flexibly, supporting new integrations, and it was vital for the new vendor to prove it could improve on the static service currently provided. CoSector – University of London was selected due to its reputation within the HE community for its versatility and its proven experience in providing all the services required.