Senior Educational DeveloperCentre for Educational Development
Liza Zamboglou is a Senior Educational Developer in the Centre for Educational Development and is the Team Lead for VLE Pedagogical Support, helping staff to adopt and use Canvas, Queen's new Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Liza also oversees a programme of continuing professional development and wider support for staff and students.
What does your role as Senior Educational Developer involve?
As many people will know, the University is rolling out Canvas, a new Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) at Queen's for academic staff and students. I lead a team of Digital Learning Consultants (Aaron, Jenny and Steph) who train and provide staff development in the adoption and use of Canvas to support teaching, learning and assessment.
We are very much focused on pedagogical development with our academic colleagues and how this can enhance the student learning experience.
What projects are you currently working on?
Supporting the rollout of Canvas across campus is the main project we are currently working on. Canvas is replacing the current VLE provided through Queen's Online (QOL) and will be used by students and academic colleagues to support learning and teaching activities.
Canvas streamlines digital tools such as discussion spaces, assignment submission and accessing media content for a simpler and more connected learning experience. This is because all of these elements for supporting learning are in one place and so a clear learning journey can be created for students.
The rollout of Canvas also involves integrating with key University systems such as Qsis, Office365, Mediasite and Turnitin. With regards to staff development, we have employed a wide range of delivery methods and have taken a flexible approach to facilitating engagement with as many academic colleagues as possible. Over the past 16 months, 82% of academic and support staff at Queen's have availed of at least one Canvas training/support activity. In addition to traditional workshops and drop-in sessions, colleagues have been able to engage in lunchtime webinars and online classes streamed through virtual classrooms.
What is the best bit about your role?
The best bit is getting to work with a wide variety of academic colleagues across lots of different disciplines and subject areas.
Also, working within a dynamic team in the Centre for Educational Development means that I can collaborate and draw on the expertise of my colleagues who are looking at a range of professional development activities that are key educational initiatives, such as curriculum development, learning, teaching and assessment, student engagement and progression.
What are the challenges?
When supporting approximately 1,500 staff (academic and support staff) and 20,000 students (UG and PG), all working in different disciplines that take different approaches to teaching and learning, it can be quite challenging at times to get your head around certain scenarios which require a tailored approach to support. It certainly keeps things interesting and no two days are ever the same.
What makes you most proud about your contribution to the educational experience for students and teaching staff?
I am proud to be part of an institutional change where academic colleagues are discovering new ways of doing things using the enhanced learning environment.
Witnessing those 'Aha!' moments when they try different approaches which ultimately enhance the overall teaching experience and promote student engagement is very special.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I'm a big fan of Saturday morning 5km Parkruns in Ormeau Park. It's a real stress buster and provides some much needed headspace at the end of a busy week.
I also spend a lot of time entertaining my seven year old daughter playing with Lego and reading Goosebumps.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
My dad hails from Limassol, Cyprus. My grandfather owned a sweet factory called 'Zamboglou Sherbets' which introduced candy and squash drinks to the island of Cyprus back in the 1940s. Might explain how I got my sweet tooth.
What is the best advice you've ever received?
The only way to make sense of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance!
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without?
My Nespresso Coffee machine, especially at weekends! It's amazing how the world begins to change through the eyes of a good cup of coffee.