E-learning, e-teaching, e-literacies: enhancement versus exclusion

Watling, Sue (2015) E-learning, e-teaching, e-literacies: enhancement versus exclusion. In: Academic Practice and Technology Conference 2015: Flipping the Institution, higher education in the post digital age, 7 july 2015, University of Greenwich.

18218 Greenwich 2015 Flipping the Institution Sue Watling elearning eteaching eliteracies FINAL.pdf
18218 Greenwich 2015 Flipping the Institution Sue Watling elearning eteaching eliteracies FINAL.pdf - Presentation

Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Presentation)
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There is an absence in the literature of technology enhanced learning. The missing voices are those of the digitally shy and excluded, who teach and support learning but prioritise face to face practice. Their engagement with virtual environments is often mandated, consisting of uploading lecture notes, creating electronic reading lists or using online submission. Debates around OER, MOOC, social media and flipped learning can be exclusive. They might not have an internet enabled phone, be on Facebook or get Twitter. They are excellent teachers but for a variety of reasons have chosen not to pursue the digital route through choice. This poses a unique challenge in a post digital age. As the use of technology within teaching and learning becomes more of an expectation, and the drivers to engage with digital practices increase, so the learning curve gets steeper for those just starting out on digital paths. With regard to the influences on these academic staff, who don’t consider themselves technologically minded, the literature is often written by e-specialists, with research privileging e-learning and the development of student e-literacies, but with less to say about supporting academics to become e-teachers and find ways to adjust to internet enabled teaching practice. This paper reports on the author’s doctoral research into attitudes and behaviours of staff who teach and support learning towards their virtual learning environments. This is particularly pertinent at a time when the rationale for flipped learning is rekindling debates around online pedagogies, reminiscent of the early days of e-learning as promoted in the 1997 Report of the National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education, chaired by Ron Dearing.

'C&IT will overcome barriers to higher education, providing improved access and increased effectiveness, particularly in terms of lifelong learning. Physical and temporal obstacles to access for students will be overcome with the help of technology. Those from remote areas, or with work or family commitments need not be disadvantaged. Technology will also allow the particular requirements of students with disabilities to be more effectively met by institutions.' (Report of the NCIHE, 1997: 13.4)

The report recommended staff and students receive ‘appropriate training and support to enable them to realise its [C&IT] full potential’ (NCIHE 1997: 8.9) yet digital divides on campus between the early and later adopters are getting wider. Digital innovation in teaching and learning continues to be led by the few rather than the many. Education may be on the brink of transformation through learning technology but has been on the brink for some time (Laurillard 2008: 1). Digital engagement tends to be self-selecting. Late adopters are less likely to attend digital conferences, read digital educational journals or take part in digital capabilities surveys. As a consequence, they risk not only being invisible but stuck on the edge. The principles of flipped learning offers useful opportunities for revisiting e-learning, e-teaching and e-literacies, for challenging myths of digital competence and filling the uncertain spaces between the theory and practice of learning and teaching online. The challenges is to reach the digitally shy and excluded as well as the digitally confident and experienced.


Beetham, H., and Sharpe, R. (2007). Rethinking pedagogy for a digital age: Designing and delivering e-learning. Routledge.

Laurillard, D. (2008) Digital technologies and their role in achieving our ambitions for education. Inaugural lecture, Institute of Education, University of London, 2008. Available online:http://eprints.ioe.ac.uk/628/1/Laurillard2008Digital_technologies.pdf

Laurillard, D. (2012) Teaching as a Design Science: Building Pedagogical Patterns for Learning and Technology. Routledge

NCIHE (1997) Report of the National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education. HMSO. Available online: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/ncihe/

Sharpe, R., Beetham, H, and De Freitas., S. (2010) Rethinking Learning for a digital age: How Learners are Shaping their Own Experiences. Routledge.

Weller, M. (2011)The Digital Scholar; How Technology is Transforming Scholarly Practice. Bloomsbury

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Additional Information:Flipping the Institution, higher education in the post digital age
Keywords:Virtual Learning Environments, e-teaching, digital literacies
Subjects:X Education > X200 Research and Study Skills in Education
X Education > X342 Academic studies in Higher Education
X Education > X142 Training Teachers - Higher Education
Divisions:Professional services > Lincoln Higher Education Research Institute
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ID Code:18218
Deposited On:03 Aug 2015 13:03

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