Things we’ve been reading about

Things I’ve read in the last week:

Disrupting ourselves: The problem of Learning in Higher Education by Randy Bass.

If you have a spare 10 minutes read this article – it may offer a different perspective on the nature and causes of disruptive innovation in higher education.

ECAR study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology 2012 report

The findings included in the most recent ECAR report echo some of the priorities of our TEL strategy; the importance of supporting students to use their own mobile devices on campus, the need to use existing technology better (rather than “better technology”) and a focus on blending TEL with face-to-face teaching are all present. Interestingly in this US study staff  are decreasingly perceived as lacking the skills needed to use TEL effectively by their students.

Report on the 2012 Survey of Technology Enhanced Learning by Ucisa.

The Ucisa survey offers a rare glimpse into longitudinal data on TEL activity in post-compulsory education in the UK.  Some things are surprising e.g.  the decline in the perceived importance of local “champions” to promote TEL and  separate e-Learning strategies to define and shape TEL provision.

Less surprising is that the top ranked drivers for TEL are:

  1. Enhancing the quality of learning and teaching
  2. Meeting student expectations.
Key factors in encouraging TEL development:
  1. Availability of TEL support staff
  2. Central university and departmental senior management support.

—Access to tools (2nd in 2010)  and availability of local champions (1st in 2008 and  2003) are no longer key  for TEL development. (Hilary)



Things we’ve been reading about

The ever-present imperative of academic integrity gains precedence as students are increasingly perceived as ‘consumers’ of Higher Education. The University of Bristol is committed to treating students as academic partners rather than consumers, and promoting the positive attitudinal culture of academic integrity is central to strengthening this relationship

  • This video, filmed during the ICAI 2008 International Conference, summarises how academics perceive the concept of academic integrity and provides a clear, practical definition of the importance of academic integrity to both the ligitimacy of scholarly research and professional accountability. (Hilary)
  • The ICAI Fundamental Values Project collates quotes from academics defining each element of academic integrity: honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. (Jilly)
  • It is interesting to compare these to the student perspective portrayed in this video by Economics and Business students at the University of Sydney, and this one by a student at the University of Waterloo in Canada. Both mention fear of reprisal as a motivating integrity in their academic practice, but also offer more positive motivations relating to the intrinsic value of education and taking pride in their own work. (Jilly)
  • This article about a writer who made a living writing academic essays for students highlights some of the attitudinal challenges we face to promoting academic integrity in our ‘consumer’ culture. (Jilly)
  • In light of the tendency for discussions of academic integrity to focus upon plagiarism, I was interested to read this article about different forms of academic dishonesty in scientific research. Despite its slightly sensationalist tone the article does highlight the imperative for a more holistic approach to promoting academic integrity, at all levels. (Jilly)


An important strand of the University’s TEL strategy is to support active, collaborative and participatory learning

  • Some examples of ways in which this could be done were discussed at The EduWiki conference , including initiatives to encourage content creation from students as part of their learning, such as the Wikipedia Education program (Roger)


In line with Bristol’s approach of promoting TEL practices rather than tools, I was interested to read

  • This article by a school teacher about integrating technology into geography teaching. It emphasises the importance of using technology relevant to the task, and of letting students learn for themselves the relative advantages and disadvantages of different technologies. (Jilly)


Things we’ve been reading about

Consistency in TEL, promoting academic integrity, and support for maths-phobic parents: just some of the things the TEL team have been reading about over the last couple of weeks.

  • Following a recent team discussion around the relevance of invisible systems to improving consistency in TEL, this blog post on the importance of ‘invisible technology’ over complicated user interfaces is both interesting and highly relevant to the convenience element of the TEL Strategy. (Pete)
  • An interesting insight into the debate on formative use of Turnitin, from the other side of the fence: the perspectives of an e-learning technologist-turned-PGCE student on submitting work to Turnitin.  Part of ongoing research into the potential for formative use of Turnitin at UoB, to help students understand plagiarism and develop practices which strengthen academic integrity. (Roger)
  • With maths-phobia a much-talked-about issue, I was interested to read this article on a worksheet for maths-phobic parents – helping parents who find maths daunting to get their children talking about mathematical concepts from an early age. (Suzi)
  • With much attention currently focused on supporting student transitions into HE, I was interested to find this blog post by a postgraduate student offering advice to students on academic writing. It illustrates the pressure on students to produce high quality academic writing; and I think also implicitly supports the case for more formal teaching of study skills as part of a positive and ‘holistic’ approach to promoting academic integrity. (Jilly)