From how to why: Student experiences of a university’s technology-enhanced learning over five years

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Carol Russell
Western Sydney University

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Wednesday 6 December, 11.30am – 12pm
Stream 4
Room L209


This is a longitudinal case study of student perspectives on Western Sydney University’s strategic initiatives to promote technology-enhanced learning (TEL) from 2012 to 2017. The study analyses data from students throughout this period, and includes consideration of how the student experience is being shaped by academic and institutional support for TEL. Initially the university focus was on use of mobile technologies and ‘blended’ learning environments; as a platform for transforming pedagogy. In 2013, teaching staff and new undergraduate students were issued with tablet devices. As well as investing in the devices and supporting campus infrastructure, the institution also provided additional support for curriculum and staff development. For two years, students’ feedback about the tablets was overwhelmingly positive about their value for learning. In 2015, most undergraduates had tablet devices and TEL was becoming business as usual. However, the evaluation feedback that year showed that use of tablets had begun to decrease and there was a corresponding increase in use of smartphones. For some activities, laptops were preferred. In 2016, multiple types of device were issued to students, with some disciplines choosing laptops and in 2017 the University provided free digital textbooks instead of devices. Students’ use of different devices for learning activity has been shifting and evidence gathered internally from students and staff has played a role in adapting to this. While TEL strategies differ between universities, the analysis provides an example of how systematic evaluation evidence can support systemic adaptation as the learning technology environment changes.

About the authors

Carol Russell

Carol Russell is currently a Senior Lecturer in the central Learning Transformations team at Western Sydney University. In this role she has been coordinating the educational evaluation of institutional technology-enhanced learning initiatives.