On November 15, 2018, the Centre for Flexible Learning held a Research Talanoa on Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) in the FBE Postgraduate Lecture Theatre at the University of the South Pacific.
In welcoming over 60 participants to the launch of the TEL Research Talanoa session, Pro Vice-Chancellor Flexible Learning and Director of the Centre for Flexible Learning, Professor Som Naidu, said that the purpose of this session was to showcase work that had been done over the past six months on a University Strategic Plan funded initiative on researching the integration of technology in teaching and learning at the University, focusing on areas such as:
- Student familiarity with digital technologies;
- Student experience in the use of digital technologies in learning;
- Student preferences for digital devices especially mobile technologies;
- Student preferred learning mode, and the origins or any preference;
- The influence of studentsí cultural background on the use of digital technologies in learning;
- How current USP students engage with digital technologies when learning.
Research projects under this initiative sought to understand how current USP students engage with digital technologies when learning with the help of the following research questions:
- What level of knowledge, skills, and behaviors used in a broad range of digital devices, do USP students possess?
- What experience do students have of using digital technologies in learning and teaching prior to coming to USP?
- What are the preferences of USP students for particular technologies and modes of learning and teaching? And why?
- What use do USP students make of digital technologies during learning at USP?
- How does a studentís cultural background and context influence their approaches to learning in a digitally enhanced learning environment?
The purpose of this Talanoa was to provide a forum for discussion and dissemination of this round of research initiatives that focused on the influences of online and digitally enhanced learning and teaching and the use of ICTs in education at USP.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Learning, Teaching and Student Services, Professor Richard Coll addressed an audience that included Faculty heads, representatives from schools, and senior staff from various departments as well as students. During his address, Professor Coll offered insights into the importance of doing institutional research on the use of technology in learning and teaching, stating that the data gathered through the various research projects will provide valuable information to the university that will support institutional planning, policy formation and decision-making around Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL).
The session saw the following researchers from different faculties across the university come together and present the preliminary findings of their research:
- Dr. Fiona Willans (School of Languages Arts and Media, FALE): Evaluating learner engagement with academic literacy via a virtual learning environment.
- Mr. Krishan Kumar (School of Computing, Information and Mathematical Sciences, FSTE): Effectiveness of peer-review assessment strategy in online/blended learning course. A case study of the Pacific Islands.
- Mr. Pita Tuisawau (Centre for Flexible Learning): Facilitating collaborative online reading.
- Mr. Eroni Racule (Centre for Flexible Learning): Evaluation of the studentsí perception of their blended learning at USP.
- Dr. Irene Chief (Centre for Flexible Learning): Evaluate the use of ePortfolios in the Hospitality Industry Practicum Course at PTAFE.
- Mr. Evan Naqiolevu (Centre for Flexible Learning): Effective use and integration of technologies in support of Flexible Learning at USP.
- Mr. Rona Finiasi (Centre for Flexible Learning): Digitization of archival material to promote digital learning at USP.
- Ms. Fulori Manoa (School of Government, Development and International Affairs, FBE): Mobile habits of remotely located online students.
- Dr. Nicholas Halter (School of Social Sciences, FALE): Evaluating the effectiveness of content curation and app design in the teaching of Public History online.
- Mr. Dhiraj Bhartu (Centre for Flexible Learning): Turnitin audit in courses.
- Mr. Mohammed Hussein (Centre for Flexible Learning): Exploring online e-exam proctoring.
- Mr. Mojito Jione (Centre for Flexible Learning): A longitudinal study of technology access and use by USP students and staff.
- Mr. Sanjeet Chand (Centre for Flexible Learning): Learning Analytics.
- Dr. Mansour Assaf (School of Engineering and Physics, FSTE): Enabling students with severe disabilities to communicate with learning environments.
- Dr. Mansour Assaf (School of Engineering and Physics, FSTE): Equal educational opportunities for students using blockchain technology-based bursary scheme.
As concluding remarks, Professor Coll was overwhelmed by the diverse topics of research and he praised the initiatives of the researchers and the way the session brought together different critical perspectives on technology-enhanced learning and teaching from across the faculties. This event provided a valuable networking opportunity and set the stage for further discussion and collaboration among Faculty staff in Laucala and beyond.