Learning and Teaching Investment Fund 2009

Summary of Projects

Project Title

Innovative Use of Information Communication Technology in Learning and Teaching to Enhance Work Integrated Learning Experiences in RMITV-HCMC

Project Leaders

Associate Professor Jenny Martin and Damian Tan

Project Summary

Universities today are reliant upon efficient and effective information communication technology (ICT) systems as education and administration tools. Modern universities have an ICT platform, available for students to communicate with each other and staff, and to access learning materials and resources. ICT does not determine the educational experience. However it does provide opportunities to explore the interplay of technical, discursive social and cultural factors when developing new curricula (Facer & Stanford, 2010). Increasingly online learning environments are being used in higher education due to demands from students for courses that are delivered flexibly (Harris, 2009). ICT systems can be costly to implement and are eventually superseded due to the constant evolution of technology which spawns newer and more effective applications. A major challenge for universities is to provide access to the latest technologies at a cost that is affordable to the institution itself and students.

This study considers internationalisation of the curriculum, through student mobility and work integrated learning (WIL), the use of ICT services and tools to support and enhance the student learning experience. A case study explores the use of ICT during a WIL course delivered at dual campuses in Melbourne, Australia and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The findings of this exploratory study highlight the importance of ICT services and tools for supporting social, cultural and knowledge exchange during student mobility abroad. ICT is particularly suited to coordinating the active, learner directed approaches to teaching and learning frequently used in student mobility projects abroad.

Outcomes

Throughout the study student choices of ICT use were influenced by the purpose of the communication alongside; availability, functionality, reliability and accessibility. The study found that university provided internal ICT services (EMS and Blackboard) were adequate in supporting WIL students. However, the primary concern with ICT resources for WIL was the functionality of the Blackboard e-learning tool provided by the university, predominantly the discussion board, document handling and exchange functions. Facebook, an external ICT-ST, was considered more useful than the university’s internal ICT systems. Audio visual communication was a preferred ICT for inter-campus communication. However reliability was limited.

An ongoing challenge for universities is decision making around the type and level of ICT to provide internally and the external ICT services and tools to include when developing new curricula. A main recommendation from students in the study is for the establishment of a dedicated online project management tool ‘base camp’ for overall project coordination. This suggestion is consistent with previous study findings presented in this report, that illustrate the benefits of ICT for the management and co-ordination of student mobility abroad. However due to the limited sample size the findings of this exploratory study cannot be generalised to these or other settings. Further research, using substantial comparative case studies, on ICT use in student mobility abroad will result in transferable knowledge generation.

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