At the recent EdMedia conference in Victoria, BC, I noted a recurring theme around the integration of learning technologies. Many people were talking about the ongoing issue of these technologies being used in a course here and there as opposed to being integrated across programs. There are a number of problems with this approach to learning technologies.
Blogs and ePortfolios can both be useful tools for students to assemble evidence of their learning, reflect and show their growth. When these are only used in a course or two throughout a students program, the blogs and ePortfolios are often incomplete, interrupted (if used in two courses at different points in a program), have less depth and the students see little value (the same is also true of non-electronic student portfolios).
It makes more sense to the students if these tools are used throughout their programs as opposed to the current smattering that many of them encounter. In addition to the reasons mentioned above, there are some significant advantages to programs making a concerted effort to use the same or similar technologies.
Students can see a greater connection between courses when their work and reflections on each course are collected into a cohesive volume. They may also find it easier to reference earlier materials when beginning work on a capstone project for a program.
Less time can be spent showing students how to use a type of technology, whether it’s a blogging or ePortfolio platform, clickers, wikis, Blackboard, etc. if courses across a program use the same types of technologies, something that will be seen as a benefit by both students and faculty.
A concerted integration of technologies throughout a program also creates an opportunity for instructors to support each other in the use of these tools in their teaching and learning (yes, instructors should be using many of these same tools for reflection, collaboration and growth).
If you’re interested in learning more about using learning technologies for teaching and learning at the U of S, please see our Web pages related to Educational Technology, register for the new Introduction to Learning Technologies course or contact us at the GMCTE for consultation. If you are looking for more technical assistance with learning technologies, please contact ICT.