Students and Technology

So if I am a student, what do I want with technology? As a private student, I would be doing lots of the things that I am doing now – playing around with blogger, wordpress and everything else to make my life perhaps easier.  Some things I would continue using; others, I would register for, use a couple of times, and then decide they are not that useful. This is all well and good – it is up to me whether I use them or not. But whatabout the university where I am studying?

As a Centre we want students to use our eLearn platform. It’s a content management system, but one of the better ones so students can play around on the blogs, forums and wikis, as well as doing on the fill in the gap exercises and drag and drop ones. In future doing these things might become part of their final grade. We also have an eportfolio – using a good social network platform.  This is not so widely used, but it appears to be getting a lot of attention, so who knows in the future. There is also other stuff knocking around, while individual teachers (myself being a culprit) use things like wikispaces and online voice recording.

Remember this is just our Centre for which students have to do a very small number of credits compared to the total number required.  So students have their department platforms to use , as well as University wide ones.  Often these are repeated – how many eportfolios does a student need! As a student, all this would really annoy me, although I guess the pragmatic ones would just work out what is needed to be done to pass the course, and then do it.

What would be a good solution? One student / teacher centred content management system with social networking capabilities for the whole University would be nice. Who would run it ? Given the recent fiasco of logon requirements for classroom computers, somehow I don’t see our IT staff being up to it. So maybe this idea is a non starter and students had better get used to having to use multiple systems.

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