Boost for tech enhanced learning

The 7th UCISA Survey of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) for higher education offers a long term perspective of TEL developments

The Report focuses on the current provision within universities and colleges, and the emerging and planned patterns of learning technology use across the higher education community.

Dr Richard Walker, E-Learning Development Team Manager at the University of York and Project Manager for the Survey said: “For this year’s TEL Survey we included additional questions on mobile learning provision – looking at the impact that this emerging service area is having on institutional policies, TEL provision and pedagogic practice.

“We also tracked developments in the delivery of open learning opportunities and the evaluation work that has been taking place on virtual learning environment reviews. The Report sheds light on these activities as well as long-standing areas of interest such as strategies and motivations for TEL provision, and how funding issues are impacting on central and local support for TEL services, and on staffing provision, and training and development opportunities.”

‘Feedback from students’, which was a new response item for the 2014 Survey, tops the list of factors encouraging the development of TEL and this reflects the emerging importance of student engagement in curriculum design activities. However, not all emerging trends in TEL development appear to be impacting on the institutional agenda. Whilst Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have commanded a lot of interest in the press, their importance is yet to be reflected in institutional TEL priorities, with ‘improving access to learning through the provision of open education courses’ ranked lowest in the list of driving factors for TEL.

‘Lack of time’ and ‘lack of money’ continue to be leading barriers to the development of TEL, but rising back up the list in 2014 is ‘lack of knowledge of academic staff’, which could be a result of the increased number of technologies and TEL developments that teaching staff have been asked to engage with in recent years.

Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) are still pervasive across the sector, with high levels of use of plagiarism detection and e-submission tools. There is a continued interest in reviewing the VLE with over half of responding institutions indicating they had conducted a review in the past two years. Perceived limitations in functionality and performance for the institutional VLE tops the list of reasons given for initiating a review.

The survey findings show a continued increase in the optimisation of services for mobile devices by institutions, particularly in support of access to library services, email and course announcements, and course materials for iOS, Android and Windows devices. Once again, support for mobile technologies was listed as the primary area of demand for TEL support teams and one of the leading challenges for institutions over the coming two to three years.

The Survey was written with the support of UCISA’s Academic Support Group.

The Report was launched at the recent Association for Learning Technology Conference by co–authors Richard Walker, Julie Voce (Imperial College London), Joe Nicholls (Cardiff University), Elaine Swift (Nottingham Trent University), Jebar Ahmed (University of Huddersfield), Sarah Horrigan (University of Derby) and Phil Vincent (York St John University).

The 2014 Survey of Technology Enhanced Learning for higher education can be found on the UCISA website: www.ucisa.ac.uk

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