Section

Educational technology

Abstract

Teacher and student perceptions of using technology enhanced learning (TEL) in higher education have received growing attention, particularly during COVID-19, however existing studies are mainly discipline-specific. This study adopts a holistic cross-disciplinary approach. It compares teacher and student perceptions on defining TEL, promotors and barriers for its use, and solutions offered for better use of TEL in the future. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected from an Australian university. A total of 75 teachers and 48 students completed an online survey, and of these participants, 24 teachers and 29 students participated in follow-up focus group interviews that included Kahoot! surveys. Quantitative results show that teacher and student perceptions on TEL were generally aligned except that self-reported technology savviness and confidence was rated higher than how students and staff rated each other. Qualitative analyses reveal that both teachers and students identified the main promoters for TEL as being: modern and expected in higher education, while being equalising, efficient, engaging, authentic, collaborative and flexible. The common barriers for using TEL were identified as fear, time, organisational culture, knowledge and technical/support issues, along with the perceived pitfalls of distraction, and superficial student learning. Solutions offered for TEL in the future from staff focused on the institution and a desire for strategic, pedagogical and holistic approaches, while students focussed on the accessibility, flexibility and collaborative potential of TEL. This cross-discipline pre-COVID-19 study of TEL perceptions offered by teachers and students has contributed to knowledge in this area by identifying barriers and solutions for TEL common to all disciplines that have the potential to be applied to whole of institution strategic approaches for the more effective use of TEL in teaching and learning in higher education. Student accessibility to TEL and the development of pedagogically sound digital learning resources bringing together educational developers and discipline experts are of particular relevance during and post-COVID-19.

Practitioner Notes

1. Our holistic cross-discipline research on TEL perceptions of teachers and students undertaken just prior to COVID-19 identified barriers and solutions for TEL in higher education common to all disciplines that can have potential applications to whole of institution strategic approaches for the effective use of TEL in teaching and learning. 2. Identifying the misaligned perceptions of TEL between teachers and students (the ‘digital divide’) can enable a more targeted approach for overcoming barriers in successful TEL implementation. 3. The rapid switch to online delivery in higher education during COVID-19 meant little time was available to develop the most pedagogically sound delivery of content, however as postulated in our study, a cross-discipline approach that includes connecting subject content experts with educational developers for designing flexible content delivery, may assist in finding methods that are more engaging and fit for purpose. 4. The accessibility and flexibility provided by TEL and its collaborative potential will serve students and staff profoundly as we navigate our way through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic in higher education.

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