EUNIS conference report: UCISA survey sneak peak and emerging trends in TEL

Richard Walker recently attended the European University Information Systems Organization (EUNIS) Congress in Portugal to deliver a paper on a national research project (UCISA Survey) on trends in TEL across UK HE sector.

The UCISA Survey has been running on a biennial basis since 2001. The 2012 survey was completed by 98 HEIs – (targeted at institutional heads of e-learning). Of the key findings, e-assessment is now seen as the primary driver for adoption of e-learning across the UIK HE sector, and take-up of e-assessment (defined response testing & e-submission, marking and feedback) has overtaken web 2.0. tools as a companion to campus based teaching. 50% of institutions have 50% or more courses using e-submission for the handling of assessed coursework. The full report on the survey data will be published in September, timed to go out at the same time as the Association of Learning Technology Conference, at which a more detailed presentation of the results will be given.

The highlight of the EUNIS Congress was a presentation by Ron Boning of Gartner – the technology research experts, who highlighted emerging trends in technology enhanced learning in HE. The leading trends in IT service provision to students include:

  • Lecture capture, including search capabilities within lecture recordings to home in on particular information or lecture themes;
  • Shared services;
  • Development of commercial support for open source software (e.g. Sakai and Moodle VLEs)
  • Development of customer relationship management systems to build student engagement with an institution
  • Social software – being offered as a front-end to VLEs to help build relationships across cohorts – especially useful for distance learning programmes;
  • Mobile computing: with particular emphasis on digital textbooks, multiple e-readers and ubiquitous access and functions for learning and teaching resources.

Ron noted that social learning platforms are currently at the peak of the hype cycle (inflated expectations on what they will deliver to institutions). Ron predicts that lecture capture provision is less than 2 years away from being a mainstream service offered across the HE sector.

Of the emerging trends, cloud email for staff is on the rise, as is support for BYOD tools (bring your own devices), integrating them with university systems.

It is good to see that the University of York is on track with its own technology developments, with the upcoming launch of our own lecture service and support for mobile access to the VLE.

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