ICT in Higher Education: Policy Perspectives


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ICT in Higher Education: Policy Perspectives

  1. 1. ICT in Higher Education:Policy Perspectives Adrian Kirkwood The Open University, UK
  2. 2. Introduction• Long-term interest in teaching &learning with ICT – at strategic and tactical levels• Informed by enquiry and evidence of what actually happens – rather than fashion, assertions, speculation and wishful thinking• Effective use of ICT is much more complex than most people in HE imagine• Many educational issues and problems persist much longer than technologies and tools 2
  3. 3. ICT in Higher Education –Main areas of impact • Administration • Research • Teaching and learning This talk is mainly about the last of these – the least well understood 3
  4. 4. ICT in Higher Education Context Design for Learning - of Learners & Learning; Function & Nature of Activities, - of Course & Teaching Materials & Resources Technology Characteristics, Constraints, Potential 4
  5. 5. Access to Technology• Technology associated with a range of social changes• Having a differential impact – the digital divide• Higher Education institutions increasingly adopting ICT - in differing ways• Considerable costs involved – not just for ICT itself, but also staff and student time• Policy dilemmas for some universities – e.g. those meeting the needs of the ‘hard to reach’ 5
  6. 6. Clarifying InstitutionalAims & Goals Need to clarify the types of enhancement that are sought form ICT use• Increasing the use of technology?• Improving the environment in which educational activities are undertaken (e.g. more flexibility)?• Improving teaching practices?• Improving student learning (quantitatively and/or qualitatively)? 6
  7. 7. Learning – A ‘Net Generation’? 7
  8. 8. Evidence from ResearchConfusion of 2 separate issues –• Technical skills and familiarity – Many young people have good access and familiarity• Intellectual skills – digital literacy for education – Little evidence that use of ICT for social and entertainment purposes develops competencies appropriate for higher education• ‘Net Generation’ / ‘Digital Natives’ concepts are technologically deterministic 8
  9. 9. Evidence from Research• Students’ study behaviour is NOT driven by technology• Students will make more use of ICT tools and resources and rate them as helpful when they relate well to the pedagogy and assessment requirements of the module or course they are studying 9
  10. 10. Assessment• Assessment is the primary driver of students’ study behaviours:• Assessment is the main determinant of WHAT gets studied by students• Assessment is also the main determinant of HOW it gets studied 10
  11. 11. PlagiarismICT enables learners to easily locate, copyand use – or misuse – information & data• Use detection software • Help learners develop on all students’ scripts appropriate digital literacy skills – the technology- • Design assessment tasks focussed approach that require more than copying – e.g. personal involvement & application – the learning-focussed approach 11
  12. 12. Learning –Qualitative Improvements• Learners develop and deepen their knowledge & understanding – Not just knowing more, but knowing differently• Develop capacity to participate in a ‘community of practice’• Develop autonomy and self-direction in learning• Appreciate the relative & contested nature of much knowledge• Developed ‘generic’ or ‘life’ skills, etc. 12
  13. 13. Teaching –Influences on How ICT is Used• Differences in teachers’ attitude to the adoption of innovations• Differences in teachers’ conceptions of & approaches to teaching• Departmental / faculty / institutional ethos and ways of working• Competing demands of research & administration 13
  14. 14. Differing Views of Teachingwith ICT• Focus on the technology • Replicating and/or – how it might be used supplementing existing for teaching teaching practices (teaching-centred)• Focus on learners and • Enabling and supporting learning – what different forms of learning educational benefits can / types of learner be derived (learning-centred) 14
  15. 15. Professional Development• Many professional • A learning-focus development activities enables teachers to for academics have a consider why the use technology-focus of ICT might be of• Attention to technical educational benefit issues – How to use • Many teachers need to tools and technologies reconsider their beliefs• ICT often seen as just and practices for a means of delivery enabling learning 15
  16. 16. Conclusions• Policy makers in Higher Education need to be clear about the aims and purposes of using ICT• Implications for many aspects of institutional culture: – Policies for infrastructure & technical support – Policies & strategies relating to student assessment – Policies for developing the digital literacy of students – Policies and strategies for the professional development of academic staff – Policies for promoting & rewarding scholarly activities relating to using ICT for teaching and learning 16
  17. 17. Thank you 17