Setting the Standard – Minimum Expectations for VLE Use

front_pageThe primary aim of the YSJ TEL Quality Framework is to facilitate and encourage a consistent and well considered approach to the use of Technology Enhanced Learning across the University.

The quality statements relate to firstly a set of minimum expectations, and secondly ideas that would further develop learning and teaching activities involving the use of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL).

The statements are intended to establish a minimum standard in the use of a particular technology/tool and to ensure a consistent student experience. They are also intended to support tutors by providing examples of how to move beyond the minimum expectations towards the University’s vision of creating an exceptional student experience. The minimum expectation statements could be expressed as the lowest standard expected regardless of whether that particular technology is used to enhance, extend or empower students’ and their learning.

Course Design & Layout

Minimum expectations

  1. Relevant information about the module is made available to students from the first topic area, including information such as:
    1. Assessment deadlines
    2. Assessment criteria
    3. Timetable information
    4. Staff contact information
    5. Plagiarism information.
  2. Reading list is linked (
  3. Content is relevant and up to date.
  4. Links to content are descriptive and do not use the file name e.g. ‘week1 powerpoint2014-15.pptx’ should be linked to with more clarity: ‘Week 1 PowerPoint File’.
  5. Content is linked to from appropriate places within the VLE e.g. Week 4 content resources are in the area for Week 4.
  6. Content should be designed to be as inclusive as possible.
  7. Information related to plagiarism advice is clearly linked.
  8. A link is provided for students to run their work through TurnitinUK in accordance with the YSJ Turnitin Policy.
  9. Where appropriate, codes of conduct/practice should be made clearly available.


Minimum expectations

  1. The announcements tool is used to communicate important information to students.
  2. Links are available for electronic submission of assignments.
  3. Instructions for submission are detailed and clear.
  4. Dates are consistent with information in the handbook.
  5. A mock assignment is available for practice.
  6. Instructions on how to submit are available for students.
  7. Where possible and relevant, past assignments or exemplar materials are made available to students.

Approaches in meeting these standards vary across the University, but in particular we have seen recent examples of good practice in Theology & Sport. Theology have created a course template which staff can use to populate their module content. Sport haven’t gone as far as creating a template, but staff have collaborated and combined to devise a consistent approach & layout for their content. In both cases the emphasis on consistency is for the ‘administrative’ content, creative freedom & innovation remains intact for teaching, learning & assessment resources.

Over the coming academic year we will be looking to review the TEL Quality Framework, and with it the minimum expectations for VLE use. We’ll be evaluating the impact the Framework has had to date, investigating sector-wide subscription to minimum standards and existing research, benchmarking ourselves against the research, and consulting with staff & students on their perceptions of the minimum expectations for the future.

Alongside this work we will be collaborating with ILS to investigate the opportunities for integrating content from external sources, and options for automating as much of the content as possible upon creation of new courses.

If you have any questions or comments then please use the comments feature below, or contact TEL at


Phil Vincent

Phil’s focus is to work across Faculties to support the implementation of the Academic Strategy, and in particular contribute to the effective development and implementation of technology enhanced learning.

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