Subscribe to our free fortnightly newsletter and stay ahead with the latest news in HE

What's next for edtech?

By Tony Gurney, Lecturer, School of Computing, University of the West of Scotland

Posted by Hannah Oakman | November 14, 2016 | Technology

UK HE is placing a higher priority on attracting international students than ever before. Indeed, my own institution, the University of the West of Scotland, has recently been rated as amongst the top 5% of universities worldwide. While this is an exciting development it also comes with its own challenges including tailoring teaching, research and the university’s procedures to ensure a fulfilling experience. Enabling all of this is the underpinning technical infrastructure.

While the traditional way of providing computing support was to introduce large labs with desktop PCs, the continuing drop in prices means that students now expect to bring their own devices and connect to an existing infrastructure in an ad-hoc basis to find their study materials, access personal storage and allow internet access. Fortunately, most IT service departments are experienced in providing roaming internet access services, not least through the ubiquitous eduroam service.

The extension of infrastructure for remote learning is providing proper provision for international students both on and off campus

Most universities are also forging ahead with on-demand provision of study materials, most commonly with an institutional VLE such as Moodle. Here the landscape is less good. While intentions are excellent there is a definite disconnect between the vision and the reality. Creating good online materials takes more than saving a PowerPoint presentation to the VLE and although tools like Office Mix show an encouraging movement towards a more interactive student experience the time and the knowledge to implement them is in short supply.

More encouraging is the emergence of cloud services, such as Office 365, for document creation, manipulation and storage. The availability of such pre-packaged services that already include industry standard data security allows much of the burden to be lifted from already pressured IT services and ensure the availability of industry standard tools for all students.

So, the outlook is good. The extension of infrastructure for remote learning is providing proper provision for international students both on and off campus and supports UK universities’ efforts in maintaining a truly global profile.

Visit the Microsoft UK Higher Education blog here: blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/ukhe/?wt.mc_id=AID553293_QSG_OLA_24165 

Subscribe to our free fortnightly newsletter and stay ahead with the latest news in HE

Related stories

The best of the best?

Students frustrated with lack of tech training

New cyber security degree launched at CU Scarborough

The August/September issue of Education Technology is here!

Student anxiety on the rise

Independent Education Today: September issue now available

5 top tips for planning preservation of research data

Brightspace VLE chosen for new online courses by Derby

How mobile technology can benefit learning

UB August issue out now!

Market place - view all

Casio Electronics Co Ltd

Casio is a market-leading global electronics manufacturer. It launc...

BENQ

BenQ Corporation is a Taiwanese multi-national company that sells a...

Webanywhere

Education Solutions for your School
Webanywhere provide the pri...

Listen technologies

Listen Technologies brings power and clarity to the sounds that enr...

Zones

Zones Solutions and Services
We're experts in technology.
...

Jamf software

Solutions for education. Power the digital classroom with Apple an...