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Educational IT must make sense

The Department of Law has just completed a large project in which Educational IT was incorporated into an entire Bachelor’s degree programme. The process was rewarding, but challenging and has given Vice-dean for Education Per Andersen food for thought. Among other things, lecturers must have increased access to technical support in future, and Educational IT should only be used when it makes sense academically.

2017.03.22 | Sinne B. Jakobsen

Digital tools contributes to improving the quality of the teaching. Photo: AU Foto

The recently completed Educational IT project at the Department of Law is the first project at Aarhus BSS in which digital tools were incorporated into an entire degree programme. The project involved approximately 22-25 lecturers, who were all responsible for selecting specific tools for their courses on the Bachelor’s degree programme in Law with the help and guidance of the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL). For the lecturers involved, the process was highly rewarding, but also challenging, says Eva Naur Jensen, associate professor at the Department of Law.

“When we had to select the specific digital tools, we were forced to rethink our teaching and the objectives of the different courses. Having to change our habits and see things from a different perspective was a very interesting process. However, in terms of the more technical aspects, the entire process took up a lot of time for the individual lecturer. This is important to be aware of when working with Educational IT at Aarhus BSS in future.”

Proper framework required

CTL and the Vice-dean for Education Per Andersen agree that the use of Educational IT should not take up too much of the individual lecturer’s time - but also that it is a question of resources. Today, CTL offers pedagogical support and counselling, helps the lecturers choose technologies and guides them through the technical set-up. However, the centre does not have the resources required for manually installing the tools for all lecturers, explains Dorte Sidelmann Rossen, who is Educational IT team leader at CTL. For this reason, Per Andersen aims at initiating a re-evaluation of the technical support offered and at allocating more resources towards technical support in future.

“Using Educational IT must be as easy as possible for the individual lecturer,” he stresses. ”Among other things, this requires easy access to technical support. In this way, the individual lecturers will be able to concentrate on the academic substance and on ensuring that the tools actually elevate the teaching for the students.”

Focus on the academic effect

The project at the Department of Law is part of a strategic initiative at Aarhus University that focuses on the use of digital tools in the teaching - and even on entire degree programmes. In June, AU will unveil the university’s strategy for Educational IT, and during the autumn, each faculty will develop an action plan for how to realise AU’s strategy. However, Vice-dean Per Andersen already emphasises that although all degree programmes must contain elements of Educational IT, it should only be used when it makes sense academically on a specific course. In addition, he is also aiming for an increased focus on measuring the academic effect of the different tools and activities:

“There are many good reasons for using digital tools in the teaching,” says Per Andersen.”They contribute to elevating the course, strengthening the learning process of the individual student and generally improving the quality of our teaching. At Aarhus BSS, we already have a great deal going for us in terms of Educational IT. We have lots of talented people at CTL and lots of lecturers who are passionate about using digital tools. But all degree programmes and courses are different, and it should be easier to get an overview of the many possibilities and of how the different tools actually elevate the individual courses. From now on, we must conduct a lot more research into what tools and activities that work and how,” he concludes.

More information:

If you want to know more about the project, please contact:

Maria Hvid Stenalt, Educational IT Consultant, CUL
Email: mstenalt@au.dk
Tel.: 87166079

Assistant Professor Eva Naur Jensen, Department of Law
Email: ena@law.au.dk
Tel.: 87165669

Associate Professor Caroline Adolphsen, Department of Law
Email: ca@jura.au.dk
Tel.: 87165479

 

 

Aarhus BSS