Latest news Navigation
- Latest news
- Your options for mature age study
- Everything you need to know about mid-year entry
- How to do well in your course (and still have fun)
- Tips for using a higher education pathway
- How to cope with the transition to tertiary study
- Top tips for getting top marks
- Dealing with your institution's admin office
- Your guide to O-Week
- What to do if you didn't get into your first preference
- To defer or not to defer?
- The benefits of the Asian Century for tertiary students
- How to approach the change of preference period
- How to choose your student accommodation
- Why take a gap year?
- What to do once you graduate
- Tips for exams
- Average fees in The Good Universities Guide 2013
- Choosing a research degree
- What is a direct application?
- How to deal with loss of motivation in Year 12
- Vocational or higher education?
- Tips for choosing course preferences
- The pros and cons of immediate postgraduate study
- How to choose a course if you're not sure what you want to do
- Returning to study as a mature age student
- Why choose a double degree?
- Preparing for university open days
- How to keep to a budget while at uni
- How to get the most out of your course
- An update on Victoria's TAFE cuts
- Five uni myths debunked
- News for apprentices and trainees
- Why you should consider mid-year entry
- The facts about private providers
- Australian graduate employment prospects
- Why you should (or shouldn't) drop a subject
- Australian universities perform well in global rankings
- Getting the most out of student services
- How to beat the post-holiday blues
- HECS to increase for maths and science degrees
- Uni offers — first preference is not the only option
- Change of preference tips
- How to prepare for a job interview
- The benefits of a gap year
- How to avoid committing plagiarism
- The top five study apps for university students
- Financial assistance for regional students moving away from home
- The benefits of student exchange
- Living on campus
- Australian universities excel in Shanghai Jiao Tong rankings
- Five tips if you're planning to drop out of your course
- HECS repayment discounts reduced
- Five tips for tackling open days
- Demand-driven funding to benefit students
- Incentives to study maths and science
- New media technologies at university
- Five benefits of completing an internship
- What's going on with VSU
New media technologies at university
The Australian university experience is certainly not what it used to be. As technology evolves, so too does the flexibility of teaching at universities. As a result, the capability of students to complete their studies outside the classroom is increasing.
Online tools such as student portals allow students to engage with their teachers and peers in a more virtual manner. The use of online blogs and discussion boards is now commonplace and in some cases are compulsory components of particular subjects. The potential offered by these technologies is astounding.
Apple’s iPad is already an integral part of the university experience for students of the University of Adelaide’s faculty of science. The university moved their curriculum online and distributed free iPads to first year undergraduate science students in a pilot initiative at the beginning of 2011. These students no longer need to purchase textbooks; all teaching materials are available online, ready for them to access using their iPad. Another advantage of the iPad initiative is that online course materials are able be updated with the latest information at the touch of a button (or the swipe of a tablet).
The aim is to make learning more accessible, economical, engaging and appealing to students. If successful, this kind of technology-based curriculum could become stock-standard around Australia.
Apple’s ‘iTunes U’ is also making waves in the world of tertiary education, allowing institutions to create their own customized iTunes sites from which students can access everything from lecture outlines and study guides to recorded lectures, slideshows, films and books, wherever and whenever they want.
While new media technologies can make learning more engaging and interactive, there are also concerns about the potential for these technologies to affect students’ university experience for the worse.
In previous decades, students were physically on-campus all day, attending lectures and hunting for books in the library.
Today, students can download podcasts and vodcasts of lectures and listen to them or watch them anywhere, use online library resources (such as journal article databases) to complete assignments from home and even submit assignments from home using online plagiarism checking systems. The flexibility offered by online technologies means that students have the ability to be on campus much less, meaning that students may no longer be as in-touch with on-campus life as they once were.
The concern is that students will no longer be as involved with university clubs and societies, be as likely to attend university events such as faculty balls, or even have the opportunity to forge lifelong friendships with classmates.
Journalist Sarah-Jane Collins raises this concern in a recent article , writing that ‘the increasing isolation of students from their teachers, peers and course content has already reshaped the higher education landscape from one of high immersion to a world where students control how and when they learn.’
She insists that there needs to be a balance between technology and maintaining the quality of teaching and the university experience.
So, what does all this mean to you, the student?
Don’t be afraid to embrace new technologies: in many ways they have the potential to improve your engagement with particular subjects, providing an interesting and fun alternative to the usual textbooks and handouts. At the same time, don’t forget that the campus provides a vital component to the university student experience; while it is handy to be able to work from home, it would be a shame to miss out on all the on-campus activities.
Uni is a great time to get involved and hopefully, with a bit of luck, new online technologies make it even more possible to immerse yourself in the university experience.