The use of mobile technologies and a more innovative use of existing institutional systems such as virtual learning environments will be increasingly important to colleges that provide higher education according to a new JISC funded study.
Phase one of “Creating a Virtual Faculty” looked at 34 members of the Mixed Economy Group of colleges (MEG) to investigate how targeted investment in information learning technology could benefit emerging markets in the higher education sector. The role of colleges of further education in providing higher education is recognised as increasingly significant, serving the needs of a growing number of students.
Colleges that provide higher education enable students from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in higher education to pursue higher education in a local environment, enabling them to live at home, minimise costs, avoid disruption to their families, and acquire a qualification that may open the door to better economic circumstances. In many cases, these learners are already in employment and have opted to pursue a part-time course.
Sarah Knight from JISC’s e-Learning Programme says:
“We are delighted to be working with the MEG colleges on this project. The study highlights the strategic importance of developing increased capability of technology enhanced learning in support of the growing demand for HE in FE provision. Although all colleges are using Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) to support students’ learning, more effective and innovative uses can be made of the technology.
We support the finding that practitioners and senior managers working in this area should be encouraged to share best practice in their use of information learning technology (ILT) in their programmes and have opportunities to do so at a regional and national level. JISC already offers support with this through its Regional Support Centres and JISC Advance.”