Friday, July 22, 2011

Enhancing University Teaching

Greetings from the Australian National University where details of the Vice-Chancellor's Teaching Enhancement Grants are being presented. Of the $100,000 available, half is reserved for technology enhancement of education. Grants are normally for a maximum of $10,000 so these are relatively small investments, which can be for innovative (and risky) ideas. The Case Studies of Educational Excellence provides examples of previous successful projects, including Judy-anne Osborn's "Student-run Mathematics Film Showings". Another interesting previous project was "Law Student Well-being and the Law Curriculum: Exploring the Links". Also the Teaching Ideas 7 Principles of Good Practice from University of Tennessee were recommended.

My interest was in applying for a grant for my courses in Green ICT and e-documents to add video and some software. However, the emphasis for the grants is on how to use the technology for better learning for students. In particular we were discouraged from just applying for a grant to buy some Apple iPads (there are many Apple iPad University Trials). Also it was pointed out that the university already provides a range of software applications and Training & skills development.

It was suggested projects should be innovative and, for example, just taking a face to face course and putting it on-line is not. Also the initiative should be broadly applicable and be able to be communicated. One aspect of communication was that proposals should avoid educational jargon and use clear language. One aspect of interest is that the applications are made with electronic documents, with PDF discouraged.

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