In Michaelmas Term 2014, Education Committee approved the setting up of a Working Group to produce a Digital Education Strategy. The significance of the impact of technology on teaching and learning had been recognised in the University's Strategic Plan and an explicit commitment had been made to develop a strategy for digital education. Behind this commitment was an understanding that the way students are being taught worldwide is changing rapidly as universities harness the power of digital technology to develop new ways to teach and learn. The Committee was also conscious that, up to that point, Oxford had engaged unevenly with e-learning, its engagement being very much driven by the particular needs of individual departments and faculties or the enthusiasm of individuals. It took the view that institution-wide engagement was needed to bring about a more coordinated approach to new developments and a better understanding of the benefits of technology use.
Another important consideration was future employment opportunities for our students. These will be driven in large part by the development of digital technology and the creativity of individuals in this sphere. It was thus considered important to do as much as possible to equip our graduates for that future, ensuring that they are adept in the use of digital technologies, and encouraged to innovate and experiment. Embedding technology in their experience of learning is one way of supporting this.
The Strategy was formally approved by Education Committee in Hilary Term 2016 and by Council in Trinity Term 2016.
The Digital Education Strategy Implementation Group are:
- Julia Horn (Co-Chair), Head of the Oxford Learning Institute
- Marina Lambrakis, Vice-President of OUSU - Graduates
- Kate Lindsay (Co-Chair), Head of Technology Enhanced Learning, Academic IT
- Nicola Warren, Technology Assisted Lifelong Learning (TALL), Continuing Education
- TBC, Education Policy Support
- Damion Young, Head of Learning Technologies, Medical Sciences Division
The Strategy recognises that the University needs to provide an enabling support structure to foster the willingness and enthusiasm of staff to embrace new technology use. It places emphasis on the availability of appropriate technology platforms, templates and tools, and of support - in terms of both advice and people - to bring about progress. The existing team in Academic IT has recently been strengthened with the appointment of two learning technologists to support academics in achieving their goals. In addition, funding is available to support initiatives identified by divisions as priorities. Decisions on this will be made by the Education IT Board.