3. Background and strategic alignment
For a number of years the University has pro-actively developed and promoted technology-enhanced learning (TEL), and beyond the well-established Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) a rich range of new and currently emerging technologies are being effectively used to support learning in classroom, blended and online contexts. While predominately used in our undergraduate provision, TEL is increasingly effective in supporting postgraduate programmes and in widening the University’s reach into new markets of CPD and work-based learning. TEL has also become a key mechanism for meeting student’s wider academic and support needs, particularly around articulation and induction activities to support the University’s widening access agenda, and in improving support for students out on placement.
Feedback from the 2009 MLE Evaluation highlighted that Edinburgh Napier students expect all their modules to be supported online, and that they value a balance of face-to-face contact with online interaction. While few modules or programmes can be taught fully online, an underlying principle of the benchmark is that all modules can adopt technology to benefit some aspect of the learning, teaching and assessment experience. This could involve the use of technology to:
- free up time for face-to-face contact
- allow students to study at times which are most conducive to their learning
- provide opportunities for self-testing to reinforce factual knowledge
- facilitate the collection of and feedback on assignments
- encourage peer support and greater participation from all students
- enable effective learning within and across different groups of learners, in learning from guest experts, and engaging with relevant professional groups
- foster the development of key skills and attributes including collaborative skill, autonomous learning ability, and digital literacy.
The benchmark builds on the previous minimum administrative online presence, by promoting the active use of technology in modules. In this respect it aligns directly with the University’s Academic Strategy which states the need to focus on
promoting the assumption that technology-supported learning and teaching has progressed beyond the stage of being considered as a 'special' method and has become an accepted norm for all staff.
In addition, TEL has an important role in supporting the University's LTA Strategy, and has particular relevance for key statements such as student learning being at the heart of what we do, our teaching being pedagogically informed, and ensuring that feedback supports effective learning.
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