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Q1: What is the relevance of the student experience to the role of the educational technologist?

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Rebecca Galley
25 August 2009

'Although it's true that some of the drive to go "on-line" has come from above through academic development plans and university strategies, one of the main drivers for the development of online learning has been the student body. One of the greatest levers we've found has been student demand'. (Education for Change, 2004, p.3)

Is there any literature that substantiates this view?

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I'm drawn to several comments above.  Both Grainne and Helen suggests that there as yet no literature that makes a direct linkage between learning technologies and student experiences, though Ian highlights it as being of fundamental relevance to the ed tech.  Currently, the best we have are varies proxies. As Helen says: '.. if it can be shown that learning technologists play a role in enhancing and augmenting tutor skills ... ' .   The literature is awash with such attempts and often notes the disjuncture between student and staff ICT (which of course is not necessarily the same as TEL) competencies.   So is our real target staff development?  But then we must take note of various cautionary tales as the one most recently published by Janet Hanson (see refs above) in which she raises concerns concerning the impact of e-learning [sic] on academic identities.  Ruth aludes to this in her 3rd para in her comment above.

Grainne raises a fundamental point - are the relationships ed techs foster predominantly with staff?  Do they / we have any direct exposure to students?   The absence of literature noted above may answer this question as well?

Andrew raises the challenge of using students as ed tech placements.   Close, though not exactly that model, but at Exeter we have run the 1st iteration of a 'Students as Agents of Change' programme.   Some of the projects involved aspects of TEL, working with our ed techs.  A presentation given by 2 Exeter colleagues (Roos Zandstra and Elisabeth Dunne) is available at: at a conference last September at Sheffield Hallam (

Tom Browne
16:28 on 14 September 2009 (Edited 15:07 on 2 October 2009)

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