Technology enhanced learning environments in higher education: A cross-discipline study on teacher and student perceptions

Publication Name

Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice


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.

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