By design: Facing the academic challenges of implementing technology enhanced learning in higher education and the example of a third year biology unit

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Brett Fyfield
Queensland University of Technology

Iwona Czaplinski
Queensland University of Technology

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Wednesday 6 December, 11am – 11.30am
Stream 4
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This paper takes a design research approach to the challenge of transforming learning and teaching in higher education (HE) as it is experienced at the level of an interdisciplinary team composed of content matter experts and specialists in education. It is based on the reflections of members of the team working collaboratively to transform an undergraduate biology unit to improve both student engagement and teaching staff satisfaction.
Using semi-structured interviews and reflective inquiry the authors attempt to uncover the salient features of the process of implementing technology enhanced learning, and generate constructive design solutions. The work is situated in the scholarship of learning and teaching as it encourages “reflection-in-action” and a commitment to sharing what works in STEM teaching and learning in contemporary environments. The teaching team focus on the complex problems of preparation, attendance, and engagement in a series of intensive labs, whilst the professional staff focus on the complex problems of innovation and student engagement in HE.

A number of known and hypothetical learning design principles are integrated with the affordances of the chosen learning environment (OneNote) and used to propose plausible solutions. These solutions are used to iteratively refine the learning environment and reveal new design principles. The paper emphasises the benefits of providing for and supporting the emergence of microcultures, and suggest strategies for those that wish to emulate the approach taken.

About the authors

Brett Fyfield

Brett Fyfield works with people and teams in education to improve learning and teaching through the appropriate use of technology. From his earliest beginnings as a multimedia developer he has designed and developed compelling user experiences in the classroom, online and in the real world that make the most of new media. Currently in his role as Instructional Multimedia Developer at QUT he works with academics, staff and students to develop and support technology enhanced learning. He is dedicated to transforming education through fostering personal and professional growth and promotes the use of design thinking in teams to produce new digital pedagogies. He is interested in understanding how casual conversations become the catalyst for change, and how their transformative power may be harnessed for broader organisational and social change.

Iwona Czaplinski

Iwona holds a Master in Applied Linguistics, an MPhil in Educational research and is currently enrolled in PhD programme in a School of Mathematical Sciences, at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). In her research, Iwona is looking at the ways of assisting modern Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) undergraduate students in becoming expert learners, that is strategic, resourceful and self-regulated. To this end, Iwona investigates students’ learning networks, their networked learning habits and the potential of using better the social, educational and technological affordances offered by new technologies, in the context of ever-changing learning environment.