VLEs delivering strategic success – webinar panel announced

University of Huddersfield’s Andy Raistrick & University of Suffolk’s Ellen Buck to give insight and advice in D2L VLE webinar

We’re very pleased to announce details of the superb panel that will be participating in D2L’s webinar on ‘How VLE Technology Has Delivered Strategic Success at Suffolk and Huddersfield Universities’.

Representing University of Huddersfield will be Andy Raistrick, Business Analyst and Project Manager, Learning Technologies.

Representing University of Suffolk will be Ellen Buck, Head of Learning Services.

For bios and chosen discussion points please read on. To register to view the webinar please click here.

University of Suffolk – Ellen Buck, BA, MA, SFHEA – Head of Learning Services



In the last year she has project-managed the creating of new blended learning degree apprenticeships and International Foundation programmes, as well as the procurement and implementation of the new online learning environment, Brightspace. As Project Manager for the development of 3 new blended degree apprenticeships at the university, Ellen has been working with colleagues to design the academic experience for the apprentices joining the university, ensuring that learning is truly delivered in a way that fosters interaction with the university community and supports those learning in their working environments.

Discussion Points in Webinar

The value of modern VLE technology in delivering apprenticeships:

Harnessing the power of mobile technology, learning analytics and more to support the delivery of flexible, engaging degree apprenticeships that attract the 21st century learner.

Brightspace is currently being developed for students taking part in the university’s new blended learning degree apprenticeship programmes in nursing, social worker and Police constabulary. It will then be implemented across the entire university. 

We were recently awarded Hefce (Higher Education Funding Council for England) funding that enabled us to develop three degree-apprenticeship schemes in response to local need.

These students are often working remotely, therefore require a mobile, adaptable learning platform that enables them to work around their employment. Brightspace is fantastic as it supports a blended learning approach, which gives our students the flexibility to learn wherever and whenever they need to. Whilst other learning platforms we tested were restrictive, Brightspace enables us to teach how we want to teach, and our students to learn how they want to learn. D2L has been a breath of fresh air to work with and we look forward to continuing our relationship.

University of Huddersfield – Andy Raistrick BSc(Hons), MSc, CMALT – Business Analyst and Project Manager, Learning Technologies


Andy has worked in learning technologies for 9 years after spending the early part of his career working in the commercial sector providing consultancy and project management to various blue-chip organisations.

He has been instrumental in the increased adoption of learning technologies at the University of Huddersfield, developing and delivering a range of staff development courses and promoting the use of technology to enhance pedagogical practice across the institution. His technical background, coupled with project management skills and understanding of pedagogy, allows him to communicate effectively with technical, administrative and academic staff. In 2017, he undertook a project to analyse the learning technology business requirements of the university, and subsequently project-managed the procurement and implementation of our new VLE, Brightspace.

Discussion Points in Webinar

The University of Huddersfield is recognised for its quality of teaching. Not only have we been awarded Gold in the TEF, but we have also received the Global Teaching Excellence Award from the HEA and are ranked No 1 in England for qualified teaching staff.

The university is committed to not just maintaining this standard but improving upon it. By implementing Brightspace we intend to transform our online teaching. We are rapidly moving from an online, passive content repository to a truly collaborative, interactive online learning experience. At the same time, a combination of some of the new affordances of Brightspace, coupled with changes in internal processes will allow us to reduce administration and use learning analytics to improve retention and attainment.

Alongside functionality, usability was a key factor in our selection of Brightspace, and we are hopeful that we can leverage this usability to increase engagement of both academic staff and students alike.

To register to view the webinar please click here.