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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

How can digital capability promote teaching excellence?

Date 10/10/2016

​New research commissioned by QAA and carried out by Sheffield Hallam University explores ways of using technology in teaching that are best for improving the student experience, and how institutions can put the findings into practice.

Technology does not always transform learning, say the researchers. The report finds that:

  • technology may have the capability to transform teaching but is not always used to its full potential
  • technology can aid teaching, but is never a substitute for good teaching practice (such as student-centred learning)
  • we can and should measure student satisfaction with technology-assisted teaching, but only as one element of effective teaching
  • it is important to raise the digital skills of all staff, rather than just a few specialists.

Professor Chris Husbands, Vice Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University and Chair of the Teaching Excellence Framework, said: 'One of the most pressing of questions for university academics is to think in challenging and applied ways about the relationship between digital capabilities and teaching excellence.

'What makes that so interesting a question is the way it poses an enduring question: What does teaching excellence look like, in different contexts? And how does digital capability develop and what does it look like?

'It is important to explore and to understand the ways in which the opportunities afforded by changing technologies can support teaching of the highest quality.'

Read a summary of the report or the report in full, or watch a short video on the research team's findings.