Within higher education it is becoming increasingly important to understand the place of technology in student learning, professional practice and social interaction. Teaching with technology is not just about keeping up to date with the latest tools. It is about understanding the role digital literacy plays in student learning and their future workplace environment and knowing how to successfully support learning through the use of technology.
The Guidelines to enhance the use of the Learning Environment Online (LEO) were developed as a Learning for Life project during 2015. This project aimed to consolidate and enhance the foundations established for University teaching at ACU by providing clear guidelines concerning basic requirements for all LEO units.
The resource outlines key principles and clarifies the intentions of each, along with their implications for practice. The document was developed through a wide consultative process that included key learning and teaching stakeholders such as Faculties, Library, ACU IT, eLearning LTC and Students Learning and Teaching.
While not exhaustive, the Guidelines provide an overview of what each of the key principles might look like in practice and help initiate discussion, collaboration and sharing about actual experiences, in key learning areas. The Guidelines can be accessed from the Learning for Life website.
Dr Mark Lyall, Lecturer in Media Theory, Faculty of Education and the Arts, was part of the sixteen member reference group for the project and has provided this feedback:
"As an academic in the field of media, I am delighted that these guidelines encourage staff to incorporate new and social media platforms into their unit design, where there is a sound pedagogical reason for doing so," Dr Lyall said.
"Emerging technologies and platforms help us to engage with our students in diverse ways whilst simultaneously building new literacies, but they may also present challenges of access, equity of learning experience and privacy.
"Thankfully, the guidelines also provide staff with principles for navigating these complexities to ensure that the LEO experience for students is aesthetically and functionally aligned with our institutional goals."
The project has now moved into its second phase, involving the operationalisation and communication processes across the University.