As a student I didn’t really know much about the Learning and Teaching Institute (LTI) and even less about Academic Innovation. However, after spending the placement year of my Computer Networks course working in the Academic Innovation team I’ve come to realise just how important it is for producing employable and informed graduates.
Academic Innovation seems to be based around several key themes: e-learning, digital fluency, and new and emerging technology and pedagogy. Creativity is also an important strand to the work of the Academic Innovation team.
Take digital fluency as an example. This isn’t just being able to use technology; it’s about being able to critically decide how to trust information, when to use technology and what technology is appropriate. Since many employers rely on their graduates to help them decide on the best way to make use of technology, the ability to critically evaluate technology is a valuable graduate skill.
Developing an awareness of new and emerging technologies is essential for most graduates, particularly those on my type of course. If lecturers make use of new and emerging technology in their modules, and provide students with the opportunity to do the same, then students will be better prepared for careers where they need to always be on the cutting edge of technology. Not only that, but courses that make use of new and emerging technology can add variety and depth to the way students are taught and assessed.
Courses that support and use e-learning are often more engaging than those that don’t. Students can learn when they want, where they want, and fairly recent developments in technology have opened up whole new ways to be assessed and learn, one example of which would be wikis. Knowing that there are many ways to learn, students can find the approach that suits them best, and take that knowledge with them through life.
Creative thinking leads to innovation and is a key theme throughout all of these topics. I feel that if a course helps to prepare a student to be creative academically they will have a strong foundation for creativity in the world of work, which can only be a good thing.
Charles – LTI Placement Student