Using the virtual learning environment to build an inclusive learning development service


  • Casey Beaumont Liverpool John Moores University, Library Services



Prior to the pandemic, the library’s Academic Achievement Team provided learning development support in predominantly face-to-face forms. This was supplemented by a range of self-study resources made available on the library webpages and in a number of self-enrol Canvas courses. 


In response to disruptions to student access and experience in 2020, and to address increased barriers to learning and understanding of study and assessment practices, a new Academic Achievement Canvas course was created that specifically focuses on student transition and the development of assessment literacy. The course includes a range of asynchronous videos, presentations and quizzes which scaffold development of academic and digital literacy and self-efficacy. These resources are complemented by a live webinar series, regular chats, discussions, and virtual drop-ins, which further aim to support students’ understanding of academic practice.


The course was designed in five iterations aligning to the university faculties, both to foster a sense of belonging and development of learning communities at that level, and in recognition of the distinct learning and assessment practices across subject areas. In an approach that seeks to normalise learning development support, and to reduce barriers to engagement, the course was made automatically available to students using a SIS-integration Canvas enrolment method. This was trialled in 2020 with all first-year students, and led to increased levels of engagement, particularly by Access and Participation Plan target groups. In 2021, enrolment was expanded to include students at all levels of study and the course now appears automatically on all student Canvas dashboards. 


This session will explore how an assessment-literacy, faculty-based, automatic-enrolment approach can enhance both student engagement and inclusive learning support practices. It will also provide an overview of how the Academic Achievement Canvas courses can be used within faculties and academic programmes, for example as part of formative assessment, and as a resource to support individual students’ learning development.