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From strategic planning to meaningful learning: diverse perspectives on the development of web-based teaching and learning in higher education

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This paper reports the results of a study on strategic planning and implementation of information and communication technology (ICT) in teaching and describes the level of quality awareness in web-based teaching at the University of Helsinki. Questionnaire survey data obtained from deans and institutional leaders, ICT support staff, teachers and students (n = 333) at the University indicate that strategic planning has proceeded well, and all the faculties of the University have developed virtual university strategies in order to continue existing ICT initiatives, to further increase the use of ICT in teaching and to assure student information literacy. The data indicate that all the faculties and institutions have monitored and reported the use of ICT in teaching, but quality assurance or enhancement as tools for monitoring were mentioned less frequently. The available ICT training was found satisfactory to meet the actual training needs of the teachers, but their lack of time was judged to be the main obstacle to their participation in it. The teachers identified two basic functions of ICT in teaching: (1) distribution of course material via the web, and (2) the creation of interactive and collaborative learning opportunities. The male teachers and students consistently estimated that their ICT skills were stronger when compared with the judgements made by female teachers and students. The teachers generally felt that the greatest problems arose from students’ lack of time management skills and from deficiencies in the usability of the technology. The students did not perceive lack of time management as a problem. Rather, they experienced isolation, loneliness and the lack of practical ICT usability to be the main obstacles to learning. The teachers had a higher assessment of students’ learning than the students did. The greatest difference between teachers and students concerned the contextual nature of learning in a virtual environment. The fact that the teachers’ views were markedly more positive signals a distinct challenge for pedagogy.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Centre for Research and Development of Higher Education at the University of Helsinki

Publication date: 2007-03-01

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