Chapter 11: Ensuring quality teaching in a digital age
Purpose of the chapter
When you have read this chapter, and in conjunction with what has been learned in previous chapters, you should be able to:
- define quality in terms of teaching in a digital age;
- determine what your preferred approaches are to teaching and learning;
- decide what mode of delivery is most appropriate for any course you are responsible for;
- understand why teamwork is essential for effective teaching in a digital age;
- make best use of existing resources for any course;
- choose and use the right technology and tools to support your learning;
- set appropriate learning goals for teaching in a digital age;
- design an appropriate course structure and set of learning activities;
- know when and how to communicate with learners;
- evaluate your teaching, make necessary improvements, and improve your teaching through further innovation.
What is covered in this chapter
- 11.1 What do we mean by quality when teaching in a digital age?
- 11.2 Nine steps to quality teaching in a digital age
- 11.3 Step One: Decide how you want to teach
- 11.4 Step two: what kind of course or program?
- 11.5 Step three: work in a team
- 11.6 Step four: build on existing resources
- 11.7 Step five: master the technology
- 11.8 Step six: set appropriate learning goals
- 11.9 Step seven: design course structure and learning activities
- 11.10 Step eight: communicate, communicate, communicate
- 11.11 Step nine: evaluate and innovate
- 11.12 Building a strong foundation of course design
Also in this chapter you will find the following activities:
- Activity 11.1 Defining quality in teaching and learning
- Activity 11.3 Re-thinking your teaching
- Activity 11.6 Building on existing resources
- Activity 11.7 Mastering the technology
- Activity 11.8 Setting learning goals
- Activity 11.9 Structuring your course or program
- Activity 11.10 Communicating with your students
- Activity 11.11 Evaluating your course or program
1. For the purposes of this book, quality is defined as: teaching methods that successfully help learners develop the knowledge and skills they will require in a digital age.
2. Formal national and institutional quality assurance processes do not guarantee quality teaching and learning. In particular, they focus on past ‘best’ practices, processes to be done before actual teaching, and often ignore the affective, emotional or personal aspects of learning. Nor do they focus particularly on the needs of learners in a digital age.
3. New technologies and the needs of learners in a digital age require a re-thinking of traditional campus-based teaching, especially where it is has been based mainly on the transmission of knowledge. This means re-assessing the way you teach and determining how you would really like to teach in a digital age. This requires imagination and vision rather than technical expertise.
4. It is important to determine the most appropriate mode of delivery, based on teaching philosophy, the needs of students, the demands of the discipline, and the resources available.
5. It is best to work in a team. Blended and especially fully online learning require a range of skills that most instructors are unlikely to have. Good course design not only enables students to learn better but also controls faculty workload. Courses look better with good graphic and web design and professional video production. Specialist technical help frees up instructors to concentrate on the knowledge and skills that students need to develop.
6. Full use should be made of existing resources, including institutionally-supported learning technologies, open educational resources, learning technology staff, and the experience of your colleagues.
7. The main technologies you will be using should be mastered, so you are professional and knowledgeable about their strengths and weaknesses for teaching.
8. Learning goals that are appropriate for learners in a digital age need to be set. The skills students need should be embedded within their subject domain, and these skills should be formally assessed.
9. A coherent and clearly communicable structure and learning activities for a course should be developed that are manageable in terms of workload for both students and instructor.
10. Regular and on-going instructor/teacher presence, especially when students are studying partly or wholly online, is essential for student success. This means effective communication between teacher/instructor and students. It is particularly important to encourage inter-student communication, either face-to-face or online.
11. The extent to which the new learning goals of re-designed courses aimed at developing the knowledge and skills needed in a digital age have been achieved should be carefully evaluated and ways in which the course could be improved should be identified.