Saturday, 3 July 2010

Reflections from Day 2 (am) EISTA 2010

The first day was very focused on curriculum change, the next day focused more on supporting blended learning using online tools and different approaches. A number of presentation looked at how "e" can replace paper, and whether "e" was in fact better. I noticed that in some cases there was an assumption that it would be better, and in others, where stakeholders were engaged from the beginning there was a recognition of the fact that user perceptions were that in fact it would be much harder, more time consuming and require extra resources not necessarily available to the tutor. Project that captured those perceptions at the start of their work were able to demonstrate better the success of their work when at the end those same stakeholders said that the "e" approach (for example to learner evaluation to teaching) actually improved the process and made them think more about the questions and the approach they had previously used. This relates to Enable nicely, we need to be able to show how people feel now, and how things are better due to intervention, support and adaption of new approaches. It also highlights issues with some initiatives and how they haven't captured that information which has made it harder for them to measure the impact of their work.
A particular paper that caught my attention focused on studies around software and if learnability of a particular tool impacted on its adoption to the mainstream. Interestingly the work demonstrated if the need/ motivation was high enough to use the technology even with negative learnability it will become adapted. This has come as no real surprise as it reflects my own experience of using technology, and those of people I talk to in the university with regards to some of our internal systems. It raises the question - should we (as a university) be looking at replacing these systems as the motivation is there from staff to use them regardless? It's a sticky one as surely with more positive learnability then tools may be used in more intuitive ways and information used to support learning more than what can be seen as a "chore" at the moment?
More reflections from EISTA coming soon!

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