At the Blackboard Teaching and Learning Conference hosted in Brisbane last week, Professor Michael Sankey (Deputy Director of Learning Transformation, Learning Futures) joined colleagues from various universities in Australia and New Zealand to co-facilitate the academic adoption of educational technologies workshop. This discussion was framed within the context of sensemaking around the technology enhanced hierarchy of needs within higher education.
This lead to a very focused discussion around how the adoption of new tech to support quality teaching practices is not only an opportunity for the individual academic, but also the institution as a whole, to explore the affordances of a quality led practice.
Taking into account feedback from students, through multiple sources, new quality standards are being proposed by our national quality agency Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) that will re-enforce good teaching practice and learning experiences in the online space. This will be done through the lenses of:
- Consistency (not sameness) – not all courses and experiences need to be the same, but students should feel a sense of familiarity and a clearly understand of the expectations for their learning. This is assisted by providing common terminology, navigation (virtual and physical) and links to clearly articulated support. This means that students don’t have to ‘re-learn’ the processes or technologies and can focus more on the content and learning objectives.
- Aligned Support – provisioning of quality support against known touchpoints throughout the student learning journey at University has been shown to lead to improved retention. By extension, providing this support across the multiple systems we use to help evidence their success (ePortfolios, badging, etc), students can then start to piece together the evidence of success as they navigate through their studies.
The conversation in this session focused on intentional learning design to meet the best possible student experience. If designs focus on what the students need to know to best understand what is expected of them, when they will be challenged and where they can get the appropriate support – then we have more likelihood of success.
Consequently, in the brainstorming session around enabling these levels of support, the following themes led our discussions towards considering some actions:
- At a University level, good learning design needs to be supported and celebrated.
- People and processes should be in place to help map the curriculum to learning objectives and assessment at a program level.
- Focusing on using the right technologies to suit the students’ learning experience and the context of the course or program.
Thank you to Michael Sankey (Deputy Director of Learning Transformation, Learning Futures) for contributing this post.