TELT Introduction

Funding has been approved to support the development of a new approach to e-learning at UNSW. The Technology Enabled Learning and Teaching, or TELT, Platform aims to shift the emphasis away from the “e” of e-learning to the benefits these technologies can bring to learning and teaching practice.

The fact is that no one educational technology will address all learning and teaching needs; yet too often institutions focus solely on one platform, usually a learning management System (LMS). A rich array of options is now available to support learning and teaching, regardless of whether courses are face to face or online. Engagement can be as simple as using a digital camera, or involve the use of a range of complementary and connected tools and spaces. The challenge is to identify what it is we are trying to achieve, and then to select the most appropriate technology to maximise good learning outcomes.

The suite of integrated applications and systems that will together form the TELT Platform offer options for ensuring flexibility and accessibility, and the enhancement of student experience.

While many of the applications proposed for the TELT Platform already exist across UNSW, there has not been until now, a central or integrated approach or enterprise-level IT support and infrastructure.

One of the TELT applications currently being piloted is Blackboard Learn v.9 which will become the principle UNSW LMS in 2010. Blackboard will be piloted during Semester 2 via the Faculties of Excellence Initiative (FEI) which involves approximately 18 courses across all Faculties. At present we are also piloting the Wordpress Multiuser blogging platform, and two wiki platforms, Wikispaces and Mediawiki.

The TELT Platform however is a dynamic, evolving solution to meet UNSW L&T requirements. An integral component will be an innovation/ R&D platform that will enable continual improvement in a field of constant change. Emerging technologies will continue to be identified, trialled and evaluated in small Faculty based pilots to determine their suitability for migration to the TELT Platform where they can be integrated, supported and maintained as part of UNSW enterprise IT infrastructure. At the same time ongoing systematic evaluation will identify which TELT applications are approaching end of life and require replacement.

Staff can look forward to a range of support strategies to ensure the successful uptake of the TELT applications. This will include just-in-time resources, a database of good practice, and networks to develop the capacity of academic staff to use the technologies effectively.

To ensure that Faculty needs are heard and appropriate responses found a series of reference groups related to the development of various aspects of the TELT platform have been established and will be maintained as part of the University’s overall strategy for the development of TELT.

Further information concerning the development of the TELT platform can be found at http://wikis.unsw.edu.au/teltprogram

Professor Stephen Marshall
Director L&T @ UNSW