By Dominique Parrish, ASCILITE President
Welcome to the newest ASCILITE initiative the TELall blog. This is a forum to engage with others about issues, topics, theories and research in regard to the use of digital technologies in tertiary learning and teaching. Everyone is welcome to connect and share articles so please join us in making TELall a successful initiative. Articles are most welcome and should be sent to the ASCILITE Secretariat.
I recently attended a digital transformation leadership institute aimed at enhancing the skills of higher education leaders to facilitate change, in regard to the use of digital technologies in learning and teaching. This forum identified issues that are challenging higher education leaders and the potential for digital solutions. I was not surprised that the challenges being discussed were the same issues that I have been facing but what did alarm me is that we seem to be at an impasse in effecting change on some of the key issues such as:
- Providing high quality education to a rapidly increasing and diverse student population.
- The compromise between flexibility in the online delivery of courses and the provision of support for students, particularly those entering tertiary studies through non-traditional pathways.
- Overcoming academic resistance to integrating digitally enabled learning and teaching and harnessing the potential of new and emerging technologies.
- The need for learning and teaching strategies to cope with issues associated with social media.
- Millennials, digital visitors, digital residents and digital natives … is there a need to revise strategies for teaching this new cohort of students?
- Are we adequately preparing students to be career ready and employable in an uncertain future?
There are no new insights in these challenges and the affordance of technology in addressing these difficulties is also not a new proposition. As higher education leaders grappling with how to encourage academics to employ engaging, practice-based activities in online environments, which harness the potential of new and emerging technologies we share a common dilemma. I found I walked away from my time at this leadership institute with more questions than answers, more concerns than reassurances and a pervading desire to find solutions. Societies like ours in ASCILITE bring experts in the field, from across different contexts, not only to present new and evolving ideas, initiatives and dilemmas but also to discuss solutions. I am looking forward to robust discussions, thought-provoking presentations and most importantly the opportunity to connect with like-minded eager practitioners at the 2016 ASCILITE conference.
Post conference there a number of ways we can continue to engage on these issues including webinars, this TELall blog, and a soon to be introduced initiative called FIKAs. We would also welcome member’s suggestions for topics of interest and how we can better align ASCILITE initiatives to the challenges we all face.