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Using the Internet to Enhance Teaching at The University of Waikato

The University of Waikato brought the Internet to New Zealand, was one of the first Universities in New Zealand to graduate students who had completed a bachelor's degree online, and recently won an award for innovative use of video software in an online classroom. The video software was created by a company that had its beginnings within the University. However, the use of the Internet for teaching and learning in the University has reached a plateau in the last few years, as measured by the daily page views of the online platform (Moodie, 2004), the number of courses taught online and staff teaching online remaining fairly constant. This thesis sets out to investigate why the use of online teaching at the University has not increased to a point where a majority of staff are using online teaching to at least supplement their classroom teaching. Previous research into online teaching and learning focused heavily on technology barriers and lack of access to computers and the Internet. It is the position of the researcher that this lack of access is no longer a valid reason for academics not to use online environments for teaching and learning in a tertiary environment. This study hypothesized that enhancing their teaching using online technologies may be related to the culture of different subjects, disciplines and Schools of study. Accordingly three groups of lecturers from different Schools within the University were invited to participate in focus group interviews. Questions asked were related to their approach to teaching in their subject areas, the culture of their Schools and the University, as well as their reflections on teaching online. The study found that there was a strong relationship between the use of online technologies and subject areas as well as the culture that exists within the School of study. The influence of University management on the use of online technologies was also highlighted. But more surprising was the relationship between trained teachers in the University, and their uptake and use of online technologies. To take advantage of the changing student population, with their greater awareness and use of computing and new technologies, the University of Waikato, and indeed many other similar institutions, are now at a technological and educational crossroad. Decisions need to be made by senior management regarding the importance of the Internet and emerging media technologies in shaping the teaching and learning environment of tomorrow's University.

Identiferoai:union.ndltd.org:ADTP/238109
Date January 2006
CreatorsDewstow, Ross Albert
PublisherThe University of Waikato
Source SetsAustraliasian Digital Theses Program
LanguageEnglish
Detected LanguageEnglish
Rightshttp://www.waikato.ac.nz/library/research_commons/rc_about.shtml#copyright

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