Conceptualizing the role of ICTs and the ICT intensity of HE teaching models

We have now held scoping meetings and consultations to agree a common framework for conceptualizing the role of ICTs in different Higher Education teaching models, although the process is still continuing. To be able to measure the role of ICTs in HE teaching and their consequent contribution to the energy expended in the teaching and learning process, we need comparable methods for determining how much effort (time) is spent by teachers teaching and students learning for a particular course or module , and what proportion of that total sum is attributable to the use of ICTs. This summary sets out our current thinking on the steps to be used as the basis for assessing the ICT intensiveness of Teaching Models and classifying the role of ICTs.

We have drafted a working paper to account for the transformative effect of ICTs on HE teaching and offer a number of related approaches to conceptualising the role of ICTs in teaching models and assessing ICT intensiveness, for the purpose of data collection and analysis of their environmental impacts.

We would favour a classification that encompasses a time-based measure associated with the learning design provision and UK CAT system that also includes a measure of the quality or ‘richness’ of the ICT tools used for learning, as well as the use made of ICTs in teaching delivery. We propose adopting a number of related approaches to conceptualising the role of ICTs in teaching models and assessing ICT intensiveness. The ICT intensiveness of Teaching Models may be assessed by (1) time planned using ICTs on the module (2) richness of ICTs used (3) ICTs used in the planned teaching delivery method. The following steps may be taken to achieve this

1. Identify the CAT points associated with the teaching module.
2. Identify what proportion of the time associated with module CAT points uses ICTs for the learning provision. To aid this process, we can first take the total number of points/hours per module (e.g. 30 pts/300 hours) and split this between the time planned for learning provision by the module designers/leaders, that is Teacher-directed time, Student learning time, and Assessment time. We will focus on the time planned by academic staff although we recognise that students may vary in the time that they allocate for learning.
Recognising that it is not always easy to separate time for teaching from learning, a second aid to this process is to focus on specific learning activities that are designed to meet the learning provision and to estimate the percentage of the ICTs designed on the module to meet this provision. So the objective here is to arrive at an estimate of the percentage of time planned to meet the learning design provision using ICTs (focusing on the learning objectives and the planned learning tasks to aid this process).
3. The richness of ICTs used in Teaching Models may be assessed by identifying the type of ICTs used for the learning design provision, and observing and classifying their characteristics. Identifying ICT-richness in relation to the time planned on modules for using ICTs for the learning provision would give a reasonable indication of how ICT intensive a module is, but it would tell us little about Teaching Models that don’t use ICT’s as part of their teaching delivery. Neither would it tell us much about alternative teaching delivery methods (alternative to using ICTs) that are adopted fully or as a blended approach to delivering teaching.
4. To address this and ensure greater applicability to Teaching Models in HEI we propose examining the ICT intensiveness of teaching delivery methods, both the online and offline teaching delivery methods, including face-to-face, distance-taught using printed text, face-to-face using ICTs, and distance-taught using ICTs offline and online.
The teaching delivery methods adopted on a module may be expressed as a percentage of the time planned for the module. This may be further refined by splitting the planned time associated with the teaching delivery method according to the planned location for the learning provision.
5. By following these steps we can arrive at quantitative and qualitative measures of the role of ICTs on teaching models and a measure of the ICT intensiveness of the planned teaching delivery method (expressed as a percentage of the time planned for the module).

Based on the previous research (Factor 10 Visions project) it is expected that more online distance-taught modules will have smaller carbon impacts. But it is not clear what the impact of blended teaching modules is on energy consumption and carbon emissions. So we hope that the approach detailed here will help us to classify and profile teaching models to represent HEI teaching models which will help to progress aims to assess their environmental impacts, and to develop the SusTEACH environmental appraisal toolkit to support the learning provision designed for new modules.

About Sally

My research interests lie in sustainable development and innovation solutions to address urban challenges. I have an extensive research record examining innovation processes associated with the design, use, impact and evaluation of new technologies in different contexts. Have also worked significantly to support innovation and enterprise in SMEs. Have strong interests in the design of web-tools and resources which led to development of educational tools to support innovation, enterprise and sustainability.
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1 Response to Conceptualizing the role of ICTs and the ICT intensity of HE teaching models

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