Welsh Universities Apply Technology to Enrich Learning and Inspire Teaching; EXPERT VIEW

Article excerpt

Byline: Philip Gummett

UNLESS you are reading this in the Western Mail, you probably found this article on a website.

If you are reading this in one of Wales' universities and colleges, your internet connection is being processed quietly and seamlessly behind the scenes by Janet UK, a world-class network for education and research in the UK.

Modern learners increasingly expect to use technology in their studies and expect to be able to use their own mobile devices (eg phones, iPods, laptops) to link with their institution's network.

With such a powerful network connecting our higher education institutions, the next logical step is for institutions to use it to improve flexibility in how they teach students.

It is one year since we at the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales made pounds 1m available to universities in Wales to meet the aims of our strategy for learning and teaching through technology.

We wanted to make use of technology in the lecture theatre or tutorial room the norm, while using high technology to extraordinary effect.

We also wanted to expand the use of technologies such as mobile phones, moving away from just using obvious internet technology.

The idea was to create courses that were more flexible and accessible to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student body.

The strategy also encourages universities to be inventive with technology, perhaps through teaming up with other institutions.

The HE sector in Wales would then gain a reputation for being at the forefront of "technology-enhanced learning", with the added benefits of becoming more competitive and attractive for potential staff and students.

The Higher Education Academy - which supports the UK HE sector to provide the best learning experience for students - has helped institutions in Wales to analyse their use of technology in teaching and to identify areas of good practice and for development.

This enabled universities to become more aware of the technologies that were being used, and to share good practices. …