Contextual statement

CMALT Guidance

Contextual statement

The portfolio should commence with a contextual statement – the kind of thing you might write in a cover letter for a job application. It should provide a concise biography, outlining your career history and current role(s), highlighting briefly the operational context in which you work or have worked, and reflecting on why you are submitting your portfolio for CMALT and how this relates to your future career aspirations. This section is not assessed, but can be very helpful for the assessors as they approach the rest of your portfolio.

Original submission

I joined the Online Masters Programmes in Public Management in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York, as a casual worker in 2004 with the responsibility of uploading and coding online content. After completing my MEng degree in Electronics with Media Technology, I joined the team in a full time post in 2007. My role includes maintaining web-based content, developing new multimedia, deploying new additions to the VLE, researching the impact of web 2.0 technologies and supporting staff and students. Part of the role also includes advising on and implementing web-based marketing.

The Online Masters Programmes are three well-established, wholly online, part time degrees for public sector professionals. There are currently over 200 students from approximately 50 countries, who come from a variety of backgrounds, such as local service managers, senior civil servants and world organisations such as the UN. Content is available both online and in printed books posted to students. The principle learning takes place in asynchronous group discussions, using an implementation of Moodle as the VLE.

I began a growing interest in teaching and learning and demonstrated my abilities as course designer, author and tutor when I was asked to lead on developing the first of a series of skills short courses for the online students, on the subject of searching and using web resources (the ‘eLibrary and Web’ short course). The course was primarily designed to support students in the use of ‘MetaLib’ (an online system provided by the University to search e-resources).

The short course and my marketing work for the Online team then led me to a role in the wider Department, working with the institutional Blackboard VLE. I work with the heads of the teaching sections in outlining future strategies and work directly with academic staff to introduce technology enhanced learning in a traditional face-to-face teaching department. A lot of my time now involves sharing experience and practice from both the Online Masters team and wider University teams with Department colleagues in order to ensure the use of technology is based on sound pedagogy: structured, collaborative and with specific learning objectives in mind.

In applying for CMALT status, I am looking for recognition of the work and achievements I have made in this sector. CMALT is one way that I can add professional credibility to a job which involves a wide mix of technical, teaching and communication skills. I will be continuing work in the Department for the forthcoming year, however holding CMALT status will put me in good stead for taking on new challenges at the University and at other institutions.

Portfolio update

This section has been updated as part of Portfolio Review: Summary of recent work/practice.