The University of Western Sydney goes for blended learning – big time!
Griffith, C. (2012) University to roll out 11,000 Apple iPads, The Australian, December 20
All new students enrolling in first year courses in the autumn of 2013 will receive a free iPad. Faculty teaching first year programs will also receive an iPad.
Extracts from the UWS website:
The iPad initiative is staged to coincide with a progressive rollout of UWS’s curriculum renewal program, which initially focuses on first year units. Each School has been working on a blueprint for integrating blended learning in every course at UWS. There will be an increased use of blended and online delivery in 2013, with a major curriculum renewal program commencing in first year units in 2014. This blended learning model will make the most of interactive face-to-face learning, along with online learning opportunities that add flexibility and choice for students.
Students will be able to use their iPad to engage with the growing number of online University services including online lectures, library services and a suite of apps and tools currently in development (including live lecture streaming) which aim to provide them with the best possible learning and university experience. The University is working with staff and students to embed technology in the curriculum in 2013 and beyond. UWS will work with staff and students to embed technology in the curriculum and will provide staff with professional development opportunities to ensure they are equipped to make the most of the iPad in their teaching.
The Australian newspaper of course has focused on the ‘giveaway’ of technology, which must have cost the university several millions of dollars (all incidentally coming out of its IT budget). However, much more significant is that this is just part of a strategy at UWS to provide more flexible study options for students and a blended learning model for all UWS degrees.
In other words, there’s a long-term, strategic plan behind this use of technology, which is to be integrated with curriculum re-design. Way to go, UWS!