It is now the beginning of term time. The campus is buzzing with registration, new and old students returning, enrolment for modules…
The lecturers I have been working with over the summer, have prepared as much as is possible. Lesson plans with specifics of the technology integration have been made, ethical clearance sought and the only thing we are still unsure about is the readiness of the environment . This project has so far highlighted the need for earlier engagement between lecturers, IT, and administrative staff.
One of the difficulties has been that due to not being timetabled until September, lecturers do not know where they will hold the class, and in turn, IT cannot guarantee ensuring the network connectivity will be optimised in the particular location. Until a time when every room in the institute has guaranteed WIFI, reliable enough for learning and teaching purposes, it is important to work closely with IT. At the moment, the WIFI network here is classed as a “social network” rather than a “teaching/learning network.”
Furthermore, uncertainty in numbers of students until the “last minute” adds to further difficulties in planning, especially when considering first year modules.
As an eLearning developer, I now feel that we often do not understand the full gamut of considerations for integrating technology from the lecturer’s perspective. Even though I lecture as well, our labs in the LTTC are set up for incorporation of technology…to showcase best practice if you like, so our experiences don’t reflect those of lecturers in general. In reality, most lecturers face is they often do not have spaces like this. We need to be more aware of this and highlight ways to deal with this when recommending ways in which technologies can be leveraged.
It is hoped that Grange Gorman will have learning spaces that address the needs of teaching innovations such as those being facilitated here with provision of reliable WIFI areas, flexible working(learning and teaching areas), enough charging points for mobile devices.
In the meantime, I am looking forward to seeing how things work out this term.