Guildford College of Further and Higher Education
Designing technology-enhanced classrooms for Higher and Further Education: meeting pedagogical directives using modular approaches to constructivism.
This short paper identifies an ongoing project for Guildford College – a joint Higher Education and Further Education college, delivering both degree programmes and vocational training.
In keeping with a directive to increase HE and FE enrolment, the college has embarked on an ambitious project to design and implement technology-enhanced classrooms – capable of videoconferencing between campuses and institutions, capturing lectures and presentations in high definition, making them available via the College’s Virtual Learning Environment, and though a partnership with Apple’s iTunes University programme.
While a complex exercise in managing multiple sources of data input and deployment of new resources, this is not the primary factor that makes this project an interesting exercise in elearning development. The key factors are how learning and teaching directives from national funding bodies can be combined with commercial requirement for student retention from the college’s governing body. At the same time, the implementation of the technology must occur in such a way that Curriculum development committees within the College can clearly identify their teaching and learning needs, allowing the technology acquired and configured to adapt to their practice.
The risk in such highly complex projects is that some of these needs go unmet, or worse, all parties receive a technological “solution” that disregards existing practice and institutional strategies and provides a disincentive for future eleanring initiatives.
This paper outlines how a modular, constructivist approach to large-scale multimedia projects can ameliorate the potential negative consequences of any large elearning project. Creating multiple avenues or “mini-projects” in which different groups can provide input, making use of the procured technology in different ways, provides multiple opportunities for success stories in elearning. Mitigation of risk through muliti-use technologies, and setting multiple learning-based objectives, provides an opportunity to build on successes as projects move forward, and reprioritise aspects of the larger initiative that are unsuccessful.
This paper outlines how the Guildford enhanced-classroom initiative is addressing these issues, and creating multiple avenues for success. It also provides a methodological and commercial rationale for investment in vide-based learning technologies, exploring how the two can complement each other.