Paul Rudd Information Professional

expertise gained through experience

Buckinghamshire New University’s Learning Development Unit

Reasons for visiting

I visited the LDU at Bucks New University to discover the following:

  • Best practice in delivering learning development information to students and staff
  • How a professional LDU is run and managed
  • How the service is marketed internally and externally
  • The range of information and advice the service provides
  • How staff provide help and advice to students

Buckinghamshire New University has two campuses, one located in High Wycombe and another located in Uxbridge. Both campuses have LDU’s but the largest campus is at High Wycombe and the largest LDU is also based at the High Wycombe campus. The LDU consists of eight staff members with one member of staff full-time and the rest part-time, making a total full-time equivalent equal to 4.5.

The LDU is exists to provide information and advice to all levels of students with all levels of ability. As Dr Simon Lee-Price (LDU manager) is quick to point out, the service exists to provide high achieving students with advice just as it exists to provide advice to students that may be struggling with their assignments or coursework.

The LDU provides an extensive level of service and offers students the option of face-to-face or remote advice and information. The remote advice and information can be either via video calling, or they can send in their work via email to LDU staff, who will read through it and provide comments and advice on aspects such as the use of language through to information on the structure of the work.

The university specialises in teaching subjects that include the following:

  • Business and Management
  • Children and Young People
  • Education
  • Health and Nursing
  • Sport and Fitness
  • Social Science
  • Social Work

Technologies and services used by the University and the LDU

The university and LDU staff use the following services to provide support and information to students and staff:

  • WebEX – Web conferencing and collaboration
  • Skype –video calling
  • Ning –Social networking
  • Blackboard – virtual learning environment
  • Marketing and awareness of the service

Awareness and marketing of the service is carried out in via the following ways:

  • Word of mouth by students that are currently using the service
  • Information placed on LCD screens located around the university campus
  • Lecturers who recommend the service to students
  • University publications
  • Regular emails sent direct to students
  • Involvement in university events, such as open days
  • leaflets and flyers around the campus