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HE Teachers and Institutions and Instructional Technology (HIIT)

Funder: European CommissionProject code: 2021-1-IE02-KA220-HED-000032025
Funded under: ERASMUS+ | Partnerships for cooperation and exchanges of practices | Cooperation partnerships in higher education Funder Contribution: 291,887 EUR
Open Access mandate
Publications: NoResearch data: No

HE Teachers and Institutions and Instructional Technology (HIIT)

Description

<< Background >>According to a recent OECD report, the COVID pandemic has had “a severe impact on higher education as universities closed their premises” and although quick to replace face-to-face lectures with online learning, “to remain relevant, universities will need to reinvent their learning environments so that digitalisation expands and complements student-teacher and other relationships”. This adds to the challenges already affecting teaching and learning as outlined by the Irish Universities' Association Enhancing Digital Teaching and Learning project, namely that student numbers are increasing, while the staff/student ratio decreases. The student population is also becoming more diverse demanding more flexibility in when and how learning opportunities are provided. The extensive use of digital devices and applications enable this to happen. Therefore, to respond to the challenges of the transfer towards on-line learning, sped up by the impact of COVID, changes in student population and the increasingly pervasive digital environment, educators must develop their digital skills and adapt to more innovative teaching approaches. This is supported by the voice of the students.While it is important to support HE teachers to develop digital competences; this is not sufficient; they must change their perspective and way of teaching ensure that no student is left behind. Instructional Technology provides an answer to the challenges. It goes beyond digital tools and ensures a more applied systems approach that accommodates these successful learning technologies. In HIIT, Instructional Technology refers to the creation of engaging, effective learning experiences using available technological tools for pedagogical purposes and motivation. It concerns the design, development, use, management, and evaluation of the process of learning mediated by technology applications.We will do this by creating an ontology (to help map tools to requirements), a repository (comprising digital tools, good practice examples and cases) and a curriculum specifically targeted at the needs of HEI STEM teachers. STEM education has a strong practice and lab-based component in the pedagogical approach which creates more challengescompared to more theoretical subjects. Hence the main aim of HIIT is to equip HE STEM teachers with the self-efficacy, competencies and skills needed to understand the principles and constructs of Instructional Technology and rapidly leverage these to mitigate the impact of closure and safeguard the inclusive nature of learning opportunities.The target group is HE STEM teachers who do not know how to take maximum advantage of learning technologies and digital tools in subject-specific teaching and learning as well as their Institutions. The recent sudden shift to online and distance learning requires a different approach to instruction (especially when it comes to practice or lab-based courses). HE STEM teachers must change their perspective to ensure that learners are not left behind. HE teachers are predominantly research focused and specialists in their specific domain. They are currently ill equipped with the skills, competencies and capacity required to absorb the principles of good educational design needed to create bespoke materials in short time frames.HIIT therefore aims to equip HE STEM teachers with the ability to integrate instructional technology into their courses by teaching them how to design, develop, use, manage, and evaluate the process of learning mediated by technology applications. It will also show them how instructional technology can increase the inclusiveness of students with learning barriers.<< Objectives >>The quality of the expected impacts will be directly influenced by the initial inputs (knowledge, expertise, experience and network) we bring in; the project activities (the actions we plan to take) and the results (planned products and experiences). The KPIs we intend to use to measure these impacts are described in the Management section (KPIs to measure achievement during the project lifetime) and below (KPIs to measure impact during and after the project lifetime).The major impact on HE STEM TEACHERS is that they will develop the self-efficacy, competencies and skills needed to understand the principles and constructs of Instructional Technology and rapidly leverage these to mitigate the challenges related to on-line teaching. It will also help to increase the quality of online education and safeguard the inclusive nature of learning opportunities. Increased motivation and engagement in the learning process will have a longer-term positive effect on HEIs. During the project, they are motivated to exchange knowledge and learn from peers, this is expected to last in the long term, not only by increasing teacher´s knowledge base, but by increasing the resilience of the HEI they belong to. HE STUDENTS will benefit from engaging in effective on-line learning experiences in which HE teachers use technology that ensures the realisation of the pedagogical objectives, their motivation and skills attainment. Students that experience learning barriers will experience an increased attention for their context, with inclusive and equal learning opportunities in online settings.<< Implementation >>Our planned project activities are as follows: Conduct research; create educational initiatives; develop training; apply innovative approaches to teaching; provide teaching for staff; pilot test training; create an e-learning space based on instructional technology principles; disseminate and exploit the results; management activities; quality activities; team building activities. They will help us to achieve the project objectives, which will target HE teachers and Institutions as follows:- Conduct research: starting in the early stages of the project, this activity will help to identify the real needs of the teachers and ensure that we have validated our objectives and proposed solution.- Create educational initiatives: this activity will equip HE STEM teachers with the self-efficacy, competencies and skills needed to understand the principles and constructs of Instructional Technology to provide an answer to the challenges of on-line teaching and safeguard the inclusive nature of learning opportunities. - Develop training: this will help us to teach Instructional Technology concepts, methods and tools; provide a framework to allow teachers to integrate instructional technology into their courses and enable HE STEM teachers to rapidly pivot to teaching online.- Apply innovative approaches to teaching to identify and use existing education technology tools to ensure our students are supported to learn. - Provide teaching for staff towards the end of the project will help us to generate awareness of the methods, prepare the HE STEM teachers for using instructional technology, increase engagement of the teachers, help to embed the topic in targeted courses and contribute to changing the culture of the institution.- Pilot testing the training with the intended audience will help us to identify if the training is as successful as we hope and how it can be improved.- Creating an e-learning space will help us to provide quick and easy access to the learning content in a user-friendly way and show learners how digital online technology can be used to deliver subject-specific teaching, training and learning.<< Results >>The project will produce interim outcomes, results and formal project results (PRs). PR1 HIIT Instructional Technology Curriculum & Syllabus builds upon the analysis at proposal and preparation stages and based upon a solid methodological approach, will employ focus groups and surveys to refine the learning objectives, methodology, content and skills assessment method. Using PR1, PR2 HIIT Instructional Technology Learning Content & Assessment Method is developed. Based on Instructional Technology concepts, methods and tools, the underlying processes of educational innovation, and the application of the Instructional Technology principles in the design, realisation and evaluation of the taught subject on-line, considering the learning contexts and circumstances. PR1 and PR2 will be accessible through PR3 e-Learning Space, is also based on Instructional Technology principles, and extensively tested by HE STEM teachers in a comprehensive pilot study. The role of the wider HE community in the transfer and application of Instructional Technology is ensured through PR4 Recommendations showing HEI, HE STEM teachers and stakeholders how to use and uptake the PRs in a coherent way. For interim outcomes see “Project Results”.Through a collaboration between HEIs, HE (STEM) teachers, and Instructional Technology experts, HIIT embeds a knowledge sharing and mutual learning process, building synergies and ensuring the quality and adequateness of the proposed outcomes. This leads to an increased understanding of the day-to-day challenges faced by HE teachers and institutions as well as new knowledge arising in the field.

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