Reflections on Practice

University of Malta (Valletta Campus)

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User Experience Considerations for Smarter Hybrid Distance Learning View Digital Media

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Pen Lister  

This paper discusses user experience considerations for smarter hybrid distance learning and teaching, concerning academic staff and students in higher education. Hybrid learning in the context of this paper is interpreted as learning and teaching practice where learning design might incorporate fully distance learning delivery of courses and include remote learners situated in various locations that preclude physically attending a single university campus. Teaching might include synchronous lecture delivery for both attendees in class and remote learners accessing via lecture capture technologies, but may additionally adopt pedagogies that place emphasis on active learner-centred learning rather than relying (only) on lecture delivery. Smarter learning is interpreted as technology-supported effective and efficient learning environments, content and process for learning. Technologies utilised to enhance learning and teaching might be mixtures of ‘smart enough’ apps or third-party platforms as well as utilisation of more common learning management systems (LMS) for effective content and activity delivery. Potential challenges in implementations and use of smart classrooms or virtual labs are additionally acknowledged. Focus is placed on West Balkans universities participating in the Smartel Erasmus+ Project, with user feedback highlighting factors of general awareness, enablers and hindrances to uptake of online course delivery, and possible mechanisms to support communities in the management of change. Practical issues are discussed for several key user groups, with attention to inclusivity of lower income, remote learners and accessibility for those with special needs.

Experiential Learning for Technology Accommodation: Understanding Students' Changing Perceptions towards the Employment of VR in STEM View Digital Media

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Patrick Camilleri  

The design and deployment of a composite analvtical instrument was directed to evaluate and understand users' changing technological frames with time. The comparison of perceptual snapshots; as expressed through the Technology Frames of Reference; taken before and after the use of VR in STEM and, the employment of subdomain variables from the Technology Acceptance Model catered for expressing users' changing opinions on VR. In the process nascent users' subjective opinions towards VR employment within formal educational settings complimented personalised learning qualities that are suggestive of E4.0 traits.

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