Learners’ needs and aspirations have changed. As our DVC (Corporate Programs and Partnerships), Peter Little tells us, we need to ‘get modern’. As in all prospering ecosystems, the ecology of learning at QUT must adapt.
Transforming learning and teaching at QUT is well underway. Six course teams are developing chunks of learning for online delivery – these are our first forays into a more open learning ecology sustained by the kinds of technologies our learners use daily. Twelve Transformational Learning and Teaching Fellows seconded from across our Faculties are leading this work. I’m in my 25th day on the job with four core-team members in LTU – we are supporting the work of our Fellows. Colleagues from all parts of QUT are joining in to shape QUT’s digital learning future. We’re adapting. Our Fellows, with our support, are reaching into their networks (and beyond) to source good ideas and effective practices to engage and connect modern learners; drawing all of our learning together to benefit students’ experience.
Why are we doing this?
Higher education is changing – this megashift is most notably signified by the emergence of MOOCs. We must answer some old questions in new ways. How do learners want to engage with us? What do people want to learn? What value the credential - in life and work? How must our curriculum, teaching, accreditation, research and administration practices adapt? (George Siemens gave us some ideas about this at VC’s Forum). What kinds of platforms for learning are most effective? How, if at all, will we fund the learning experiences we offer? What are the IP implications of more distributed learning? Using everyday technologies to engage our learners is our obligation.
Adapting to the changes around us means
understanding and responding to our learners
developing ourselves to effectively engage with our learners
considering our modes of delivery
choosing appropriate platforms, technologies, techniques and tools for learning
developing learning experiences that are collaborative, peer-to-peer, and inquiry-based
We will do this in the way we know best – through robust engagement with each other in ways that foster learning. The essential qualities of collaboration and interconnectedness between our people and our learners are things we value and we will hold them close.
Where have we come from?
QUT’s physical learning environments have undergone significant transformation in recent times. Many intrepid staff (academic and professional) have embraced ‘Learning and Teaching in Collaborative Learning Environments’ in the LaTICE initiative – a community of practice supporting change. Our students’ experience has changed for the better, underpinned through integration of pedagogy, space and technology. Collaborative, peer-to-peer learning is alive and well and student engagement is prospering through a focus on students as co-creators of knowledge. We can learn to prosper in digital learning environments on the back of these LaTICE lessons. We can adapt our practices to digital learning environments.
Who’s responsible for transformation?
There is work in this for everyone and our roles as agents for transforming learning will change as our work unfolds. Anyone who supports learning, facilitates learning, manages learning technology, budgets for learning, leads learning development, undertakes research about learning, helps learners find their way to the right experiences at the right time or ensures equity and quality for our learners has a role in transforming our practices. QUT’s ecosystem for learning will develop along new lines but will retain, we hope, essential qualities of collaboration and interconnectedness between our people and our learners. We welcome you to join in and tell us what you think.
Director Learning and Teaching Transformation