What are the key trends in technology enhanced learning across the UK HE sector?

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Front cover of the UCISA Technology Enhanced Learning survey reportEvery two years the UCISA Digital Education Group survey UK Higher Education institutions on their use of technology enhanced learning (TEL). The Survey team includes City’s Head of Educational Technology, Julie Voce. The TEL Survey report has now been published; here are the highlights from the report with some reflection on activities at City:

1. A core set of TEL services has been identified

A common set of institutional TEL services supporting course delivery has been established across the sector. The top five services include the virtual learning environment (VLE), text-matching tools, provision for the electronic management of assignments (EMA), reading list software and lecture capture provision.

City is with the majority (46%) who are using Moodle for the VLE; however Blackboard users come a close second representing 42%. The market share for lecture capture is dominated by Panopto with 61% of institutions using the system; City is one of 14 institutions who reported using Echo 360.

2. External hosting of TEL service provision is gathering momentum

Over half of respondents to this year’s Survey have chosen an external hosting model for their VLE service provision, with cloud-based SaaS provision doubling since the last Survey. Just under half of respondents have done so for their lecture capture provision, and cloud-based SaaS services are the most common form of service provision for digital repositories and media streaming services, as vendors favour this mode of delivery.

3. Course delivery modes are not changing greatly

Despite the investment in TEL services, we are not seeing major changes in the way that technology is being used to support learning, teaching and assessment activities. Blended learning delivery focusing on the provision of lecture notes and supplementary resources to students still represents the most commonly supported activity, with active learning, open learning and fully online course delivery modes showing little change from 2016.

4. Fully online delivery remains a strategic priority, despite the slow progress to date

Top three TEL challenges - Electronic Management of Assessment, New modes of course delivery and Learning Analytics

Top three future challenges

Despite the limited tangible progress in distance education to date, institutions are exploring ways of expanding their fully online provision through the creation of dedicated distance learning units and collaboration arrangements with external/commercial partners. New modes of course delivery are identified as one of the top three challenges for the future. The other priority areas are electronic management of assignments (EMA) and learning analytics.

City is exploring the potential of learning analytics in collaboration with Jisc through the Learning Analytics Project (LeAP). Fully online delivery is also an area of interest for City, with several established online programmes, such as the LLM in International Business Law and the MSc in Global Finance, and new online programmes, such as the MSc Supply Chain Management and Global Logistics with the University of London.

5. TEL system reviews continue to be important, but there is less emphasis on the evaluation of student learning and staff pedagogic practices

TEL review activity is well established across the sector with just under half of the institutions having conducted some form of TEL review over the last two years, and two-thirds planning to do so over the next two years. VLE and lecture capture systems represent the most common systems under review. Whilst City hasn’t undertaken a formal review of the VLE recently, we regularly obtain user feedback in order to ensure the system is still meeting the needs of staff and students. Our most recent development has been ‘New look Moodle’ which has been a redesign of the Moodle interface for 2018/19. This term we have been carrying out user evaluations of the new interface. From a lecture capture perspective, our Spotlight on Multimedia project is looking at the use of video at City and includes a focus on the use of lecture capture. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to both of these projects so far.

In contrast, there is very limited evidence of evaluation on the impact of TEL on the student learning experience. Where it is taking  place, it tends to focus on student satisfaction as part of a general review of TEL services. The evaluation of staff pedagogic practices is at its lowest level since 2012 and has most commonly focused on a general review of TEL services, determining the take-up and usage of TEL tools across an institution.

6. Staff digital capabilities and knowledge are under the spotlight again…

Lack of academic staff knowledge re-emerges as one of the top three barriers to TEL development in this year’s Survey, in combination with lack of time and a supportive departmental/school culture. This is a concern, given the proliferation of systems that staff are now being asked to engage with, and the perceived lack of staff digital capabilities and awareness of the affordances of TEL tools that are given as reasons for less extensive use of TEL in this year’s Survey. The availability of TEL support staff at an institutional and local level tops the list of encouraging factors identified by respondents to help promote TEL development. Encouragingly, the evidence in this year’s Survey shows that there has been an increase in TEL support staff across the sector to help support TEL activities within institutions.

City’s Educational Technology Team are here to support you with the use of technology in your teaching. We run a series of Educational Technology workshops as well as providing more tailored support for Schools or departments. We also have online guidance available on how to use City’s educational technology systems. Need help? You can log any issues or requests for new accounts via Service Now. To find out more about how we can support you either contact Julie Voce or your Ed Tech School Liaison Team.

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