This is a guest post by Dr Jess Power, Dr Cath Ellis, Vidya Kannara, Jonathan Marsh and Ben Fisher from the ‘Technology Enhanced Learning in the Creative Arts’ project. This is one of the 2013 Teaching and Learning Innovation Projects funded by the Teaching and Learning Institute at the University of Huddersfield (TALI). It is the ninth of 11 guest posts by TALI funded projects.
To identify knowledge gaps in digital literacy within creative arts and humanities and establish suitable strategies to close them.
In Higher Education there is a general trend to move to an anywhere anytime learning model in which the VLE must be developed to support the diverse needs of the learner. Digital literacy amongst staff in terms of embedding E and M learning is varied. The VLE thematic review (University Teaching and Learning Committee, 2010) recognises the fact that staff are most likely to engage with learning technologies through training that is directly related to their own teaching requirements. It is also of the view that a multifaceted approach is needed, to ensure technology enhances the student learning. A recent survey in the school of Art, Design and Architecture (ADA) found significant variations in the use and development of interactive and blended learning resources. Similar analysis has been undertaken in the school of Music Humanities and Media (MHM) with similar findings. Whilst the overall results are encouraging, showing a year on year increase of advanced use, there is significant further work to be done to support the transition to ubiquitous blended learning within creative arts and humanities.
- Analyse the level and type of e-learning opportunities provided across a range of undergraduate courses in creative arts and humanities.
- Identify examples of good practice in relation to blending technology to enhance teaching and learning within the VLE.
- Develop, implement and evaluate a strategy to support technology-enhanced blended learning in creative arts and humanities.
Evaluating the level and type of e-learning opportunities:
The preliminary phase of the project uses a qualitative approach (this has been presented at two internal conferences). Two literature reviews were conducted: the first identified institutional blockages in relation to the VLE, the second explored methods of auditing VLE use. Further to this a questionnaire was distributed to the seven schools within the university to determine which schools were auditing the VLE and how this information was enhancing T&L strategy. The outcome of this research has resulted in a national conference research paper being submitted.
The first stage of the project involved devising the criteria (level and type of e-learning opportunities) for conducting content analysis within the VLE for two schools (ADA & MHM) within the university. In total 704 modules were analysed to establish good practice in relation to technology enhanced learning within creative arts. Early analysis of the data support the requirement for a different approach to technology enhanced learning within practical based disciplines.
During March 2013 a staff questionnaire was distributed across the School of Art, Design and Architectire and School of Music, Humanities and Media to explore current and predicted use of e-learning tools. The project team is currently evaluating the data.
During April/May a series of seven focus groups are planned to explore the wider themes and to establish mechanisms for embedding and enhancing e-learning within creative arts and humanities.
Moving forward the data collected from the early phases of the project will enable the project team to develop strategy to close gaps in relation to technology enhanced learning.
The final phases of the action research will evaluate, compare and reflect on the implemented action in terms of improvement in digital literacy and technology enhanced learning in creative arts and humanities.