Dear Colleagues,

I am deeply thankful to all the AU team members and students who joined us on May 21 to kick off an ongoing campus-wide engagement in exploring the integrated virtual learning environment that will best support our Imagine Learning Framework. Approximately 140 people attended this event in person, and over 75 participated online. For those who were unable to attend, a recorded Adobe Connect session is available here:

VLE Day Recording

Our keynote speaker, Mr. Phil Hill, urged us not to be afflicted by "feature-itis" in considering options for a VLE. Instead, we should consider our core strategic requirements: for a system that is scalable, enterprise-wide, with little to no downtime, and open to the broader "ecosystem" of tools and social media.

A further highlight of the day was a student panel that brought together representatives from AU's graduate and undergraduate organizations. Panelists reinforced key messages that were shared earlier in the morning as part of a qualitative analysis of past survey results:

  • Learners appreciate and are deeply grateful for AU's flexibility and the ability to complete learning at their own pace;
  • Learners appreciate academic quality and the value of a degree from a public Alberta comprehensive university;
  • Navigational inconsistency from course to course and program to program is confusing, frustrating and detracts from learning;
  • A lack of alignment between learning objectives, course materials, assessments, and other aspects of courses detracts from learning;
  • Text-heavy learning resources, and a lack of video and other media detract from the learning experience;

We reconvened after lunch for afternoon work sessions in which participants considered the results of a "VLE survey" that was sent out to AU team members prior to the May 21 event. An analysis of those survey results, which point to broad categories of requirements for AU's integrated virtual learning environment, are available below. Afternoon sessions also generated rich feedback on additional considerations for academic requirements. This feedback will be made available soon, and will inform the drafting of academic requirements by the Academic Policy, Planning, and Standards (APPSC) working group to be submitted for approval to General Faculty Council. I invite you to stay connected and to participate in follow-up sessions over the course of the summer months. Days and times for these follow-up sessions are still being finalized. Whether or not you are able to attend these sessions, I encourage you to complete the VLE Survey (if you haven't already). This survey will close on July 2, 2019. Please visit here

Matthew Prineas, PhD
Provost and Vice President Academic
Athabasca University

VLE Milestones
VLE Survey Results

Results of our Community Conversation

VLE Activity 1

See this document on: Reactions and questions

VLE Activity 2 Group 1

VLE Activity 2 Group 2

VLE Activity 2 Group 4

See this document on: A Learning Framework that Learns

VLE Activity 2 Group 5

See this document on: Re-imagining Assessment

VLE Activity 2 Group 6

VLE Activity 2 Group 7

See this document on: Experiential learning

VLE Activity 2 Group 8

VLE Activity 2 Group 9

VLE Activity 2 Group 10