ICTs in innovative teaching practice

UWC colloquium (11 March, 2009)

Opening address

Professor Brian O'Connell sits on the board of the International Association of Digital Publications

“We worry about the problems that are closest to us” - See the bigger picture because playing the game in a small space can be deceptive. Increase the size of the frame of reference. What are the “African” challenges?

Different knowledge = different power. We must understand the different types of knowledge.

OBE was a satisfying result ideologically, but not enough thought / debate went into it's implementation. Didn't look for the satisfying answer.

We must look to set learner's free (parallels with ”Pedagogy of the oppressed”) i.e. take ownership of their own learning. How can we arrange the environment to encourage engagement / contestation.

Revolution, not evolution

Keep things in perspective:

  • UWC did not profit / benefit from apartheid but is still expected to perform at the same level as UCT / Stellenbosch.
  • “Redress” as a concept only works when 90% of the population is in need. Only works in middle class economies
  • The only solution is for 90& of the population to move themselves forward (another parallel with ”Pedagogy of the oppressed”)

Change hinges on access to content → open access textbooks

Remember that intellectual property is important for publishers

Innovative pedagogies in higher education using ICTs

Professor Vivienne Bozalek

The UWC Institutional Operating Plan discuss the “engaged” university (this plan has since been released)

What does “innovation” in education mean?

ICTs increase the complexity required for 21st century ideas around education

Use assessment as part of the learning process, rather than a separate / isolated activity

Requires the input of many stakeholders, including: management, e-learning, support, academics, e-moderators, facilitators, students

Blended learning (what components of the physiotherapy curriculum are appropriate for this?)

Giving access to e-books: is is scalable?

Juliet Stoltenkamp

This section is mainly my own thoughts made in response to the presentation.

  • There are so many “support / admin” services involved in KEWL (instructional design, student support, ICT training, materials development), why not just upskill educators to be able to manage the tasks performed by support?
  • “Copy and paste” is not an ICT skill. Digital / information literacy goes far beyond basic text editing
  • I wonder if this process is moving too slowly. The presentation suggests a staggered approach to implementation. It takes too long to add functionality to a monolithic structure like the current e-learning platform. Impossible for us to be flexible if we're relying on tools that can't change fast enough.

Mastering e-books

Dr. Nicolette Roman

The presentation revolved around the idea that e-books might be a feasible solution for some students on campus. These are my thoughts on that idea:

How is an e-book fundamentally different from a hard copy? Do students engage with digital content in an e-book in a different way than if it was a real book?

Relies on proprietary software (with associated licensing fees):

  • Registration with Adobe (or any other provider)
  • You don't own the book (DRM common)

Why should students have to download entire books? Is there an option to download the chapters / sections they need?


  • Don't seem to be able to annotate e-books (may be different according to what reader you use, but then you can't switch readers, and if you do, you lose the annotations)
  • Don't own the books
  • Can't move them between machines / devices
  • Needs specific software

I don't see e-books as a suitable replacement for hard copy, especially at this institution.

The IADP process, e-books and undergraduate social work curriculum

Neal Henderson

The IADP is the International Association for Digital Publications. It's goal is to ”…advance education and thereby relieve poverty, especially in developing countries, by facilitating the introduction and use of digital publications, and by related means”.

Used a weekly podcast (downloadable mp3 file actually) to give course instructions to students. How is that fundamentally different to an email, or just telling them in person? Is it worthwhile to use technology just because you can?

Students didn't use the chat room feature? No reasons given as to why not. Where objectives set for the chat room? Did they interact effectively and regularly offline / on Facebook?

Seems to be a strong emphasis on moving content online. An embedded welcome video on the home page? To what end? Is it for students who want to be welcomed again? Again, using technology for the sake of it, rather than for adding to the traditional approach.

Consolidated peer review

Web-based writing and review tool used in a class of information systems students. An online system allows instructors to design assignments. Student submit online and other students review their work.

  • Stage 1 - text entry, students are provided with source material
  • Stage 2 - calibration and review, instructor provides 3 samples (good, bad, indifferent), students are assessed by the tool on their ability to review
  • Stage 3 - results, review own assignment

Poor writing skills of students highlighted. How can writing skills be improved? ++writing exercises with a lot of feedback

Peer review process among students could be contentious. Some students felt that they were competent to review, but that others were not.

How can students be better reviewers? Can they participate in designing the marking rubric?


Philip Schmidt

“Opening up drives innovation” and innovation doesn't only need to happen within the confines of coursework e.g. radio show in Khayelitsha with bursary and vaccination info.

If we give students the tools and the skills to use them, they will innovate on their own.

If an application creates value for students, they will learn to use that application on their own (think of Facebook and it's informal use by students as part of their studies).

UWC has signed up to the Open Courseware Consortium, where they must publish 10 courses per year under Creative Commons licenses (Free Courseware Project).

Involve students in the design and production of open courseware material, rather than view them as consumers of education.

Publish course material at Free courseware at UWC

Student perceptions of factors affecting collaborative online learning

Professor Vivienne Bozalek

Does “discussion” and “dialogue” occur naturally in a wiki?

Method = reflective essays by students and then questionnaire survey

Exercises to socialise groups before actually working together?

What was the collaborative environment used, and could it have affected the students' behaviour?

Chat rooms were virtually useless in this context. They're good for live presentation / lecture / real-time interaction.

Students preferred individual work, rather than group work (similar to the results of my OpenPhysio assignment)

Cultural context is important, it can lead to a good learning process if designed around

Blogs: an integrative and collaborative learning environment

Dr. R. Knight

Different narrative - decentralised control that supports free speech (goes around the filter), empowers people to give expression to their ideas (saw this clearly in the Ethics blogging assignment earlier this year)

Used Expression Engine CMS

Began the course with a bare skeleton and built content (a resource library) during the course

Blogs for education integrates a rich environment

Google Forms export to spreadsheet, which can then be imported into SPSS for analysis

Converted text to speech and registered podcasts on iTunes

icts_in_innovative_teaching_practices.txt · Last modified: 2009/11/07 18:44 by Michael Rowe