The aim of this chapter has been to provide a guide to some of the most popular forms of technological innovation in higher education teaching, with a particular focus on economics teaching. We have stressed that students tend to have preferences over the use of technology in education and it is important that instructors take these preferences into consideration when innovating in their teaching. Indeed, if technological innovation is carefully planned and implemented, it can help educators meet students' needs and improve their learning experience.
What students really want
In the introduction we described the insights regarding what students really want when concerned with the use of technology in higher education provided by the submissions to a Jisc competition. How do the innovation practices described in this chapter match students’ needs?
Students expressed a desire for more personalised teaching. Identifying and producing digital resources (for example audio and video files) and releasing them for students to access when required can improve the learning experience. Adopting video capture, students can access the information provided during lecture at their own pace and when most convenient. In addition, the use of online assignment (possibly enhanced with adaptive features) and personal response systems allows instructors to tailor assessment and practice and revision to the particular needs of each student.
Students expressed a need to access platforms to communicate and share information with other students. We explained that personal response systems and social media allow students to interact with the instructors and with the rest of the class. Similarly, when students are asked to access online video posted by instructors, they may be allowed to post comments and initiate a debate. We also stressed that students should be invited, when possible, to contribute to discussions and production of digital resources.
We have critically discussed some of the most common forms of technological applications in higher education. In particular we have identified the advantages and disadvantages of various practices and highlighted the importance of assessing the pedagogical benefits and costs.
An important message that this chapter has put forward is that students should be at the centre of the teaching innovation process. They are the end users of the outputs of technological innovation in learning. It is essential that instructors acquire a good understanding of students' needs and, at the same time, consider ways to allow students to contribute to the development of teaching practices and digital resources that could benefit peers and future cohorts.
Mario is a lecturer in Industrial Economics at the University of Manchester. He has taught UG (Advanced Mathematics and Business Economics) and PG (Health Economics) modules. He is also serving as the Economics UG Director and Economics Pathways Lead in the BAEcon Programme at Manchester. Mario is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, an Associate of the Economics Network and member of the Centre of Innovation in Pedagogy (University of Manchester).