I. About Enhancing Learning through Technology

At DMU the use of technologies in the curriculum is an important catalyst for innovative learning and teaching, and for the development of curricula, where staff and students are co-producers and consumers of, and contributors to, their educational experiences. In response to the clear focus on shared learning, we define Enhancing Learning through Technology (ELT) as

the situated use of technology by staff and students to transform learning.

Our model of ELT will focus on the following strategic aims for DMU.

  • To deliver the University Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy vision for ELT, focused upon the production of an innovative learning environment.
  • To be sector-leading in enhancing learning through the appropriate pedagogic application of technologies, including the development/delivery of digital resources.
  • To be a recognised leader in the development of academic skills and digital literacies in our students and staff.
  • To enhance the resilience of DMU’s academic provision through the situated use of technologies.
  • To enhance the reputation of DMU as a research space for ELT.


II. About ELT in the Curriculum

The model outlined below is based on a simple set of curriculum design principles.

1. We anticipate that curriculum teams (in modules, programmes, schools or faculties as appropriate) have a clear ELT plan that identifies how learning outcomes are explicitly connected to contact and non-contact time tasks, in order to allow the students to develop their mastery of those prescribed learning outcomes. [See Figure 1]

2. The critical, pedagogic use of technologies should prepare the learners for the assessments that they will undertake, in order for them to demonstrate their mastery of the learning outcomes. [See Figure 1]


curriculum_alignment2Figure 1: Curriculum Alignment

Source: Brown, G. (2001), Assessment: A Guide for Lecturers (LTSN Generic Centre Assessment Series, Number 3), p. 4.

3. Teachers/teams might also consider how they can make good use of technologies in structuring independent learning activities for their learners, and in demonstrating clear links between technologies and the delivery of both contact and non-contact time activities. This includes the co-creation, sharing and reuse of content by both students and teachers.

4. We encourage teachers/teams to engage with technologies to create what Laurillard has called a ‘conversational framework’ between tutors and learners (Laurillard, 2002). This framework focuses upon: discussion of learning materials; interaction in learning opportunities; adaptation of the learning process; and reflection on the individual’s approach to learning.

5. An underpinning element of this framework is co-production of the learning environment, resources and tasks. We encourage the creation of networks where dialogue can emerge, and where static information and resources can be extended.

6. We understand that both teachers/teams and students are at different developmental stages, in terms of their engagement with pedagogies and technologies. The role of the tutor is very important in the process of transition from getting used to a technologically-rich context, to swapping information, constructing ideas and adapting approaches. [See Figure 2].


Figure 2: a model of e-moderating

Source: Salmon, G. (2000), E-Moderating: the key to teaching and learning online (London: Kogan Page).

III. Our Emergent ELT Model

In engaging with the six principles noted above, there are 12 characteristics to our emergent ELT model. These characteristics are deliberately abstract/generic. However, they are developed and detailed for staff in the “Threshold for the use of Technologies in the Curriculum”, which is noted in Appendix 1.

1. Technologies are used to share and interact with core content, such as web links, learning materials and module handbooks.

2. Technologies are used to shape the management of the module, by making announcements, giving contact details or emailing students about matters arising from the module.

3. Technologies are used to give students the opportunity to clarify the assessment process, by posting criteria, rubric etc..

4. Technologies are used to shape the curriculum architecture: to reflect the broader learning aims and outcomes of the module; and to provide a recognisable and delineated structure within which students can adapt their learning.

5. Technologies are used to produce and share interactive content, in order to adapt student approaches to conceptual evaluation and synthesis.

6. Technologies are used for open-ended dialogue about general concepts or management issues that are tutor-led.

7. Technologies are used to structure non-contact time tasks by connecting materials and people, in order for students to reflect on their understandings.

8. Technologies are used for embedding tutor-student feedback processes with the overall learning environment.

9. Technologies are used to enhance assessment preparation through production, sharing and interaction with content and dialogue in groups.

10. Technologies are used to manage both group and tutor-student communication/dialogue, that is task-oriented, and co-produced.

11. Technologies are used to upload curriculum-related work for critique by a network or community.

12. Technologies are used to ask students for feedback on the module.

The following model of use emerges from these characteristics. It is not meant to be hierarchical or judgemental about the quality of ELT. It is meant to be used as a guide for staff and students as they plan how best to use technologies in their curricula. However, the model indicates that at Type 3, the student ELT experience will be more embedded and extended through dialogue. This does not make a judgement about the overall quality of the pedagogic experience.

Student use
Type 3: Full integration of ELT in the curriculum
ELT used to enhance the connection between contact and non-contact-time activities.
Specific tasks structured around learning outcomes and assessment.
Interaction, discussion and reflection all enhance adaptation of learning.
ELT environment focused upon co-produced spaces for interaction and dialogue.
On-line non-contact time task work and materials fully aligned with face-to-face activities.
Tasks lead to knowledge construction, demonstration and sharing.
Type 2: Emerging integration of ELT in the curriculum
ELT used to supplement and reinforce contact-time activities.
Some interaction and discussion, with some adaptation and reflection.
ELT environment controlled by staff, with some spaces for student interaction.
Content and activities extend face-to-face work.
General on-line tasks and information-sharing.
Currency of student use through announcements, discussion boards, web links, value-added content, assessments and feedback.
Type 1: Threshold involvement of staff with ELT in the curriculum
ELT supports face-to-face processes.
Limited use of ELT for interaction or discussion.
ELT environment controlled by staff.
Access to module management information; email available; basic learning materials on-line.
Student consults site for information.


Appendix 1: threshold for the use of technologies in the curriculum

Download a printable copy of these guidelines

The criteria below are a minimum that are expected for your use of technologies to support your curriculum and your students. Meeting the threshold applies to your use of DMU-supported tools like Blackboard and non-DMU web-based tools.

  1. At programme-level there is a consistent, team-based approach disseminated to students at induction about why specific technologies are, or are not, being used. Students should be made aware of specific resource implications for them. The whole delivery team are enrolled as instructors on relevant sites.
  2. At module-level your students know why they should use specific tools and how they underpin the broader delivery of your module. [e.g. through a “Read this first” area, or a welcome Announcement that explains the purpose of the site.]
  3. Contact details for each member of staff delivering the module or programme are available on the site [e.g. using Staff Information].
  4. There are regular updates or Announcements about new content or tasks.
  5. The structure of the site contains no empty areas/buttons, and all others have meaningful and consistent labels.
  6. As a minimum the team should upload the module/programme handbooks, details of assessment tasks and criteria, and any generic feedback. These should all be made available in accessible formats.
  7. Text is used to describe each item of content that you upload, so that its nature and purpose are clear to your students.
  8. You have not uploaded material for which you do not own the copyright, or which is not cleared. You have attributed ownership as appropriate. Check copyright with your subject librarian.
  9. External Links on your site include the DMU Library OPAC, your Reading List on-line, and support materials available from both faculty and student services. All External Links must be opened in a new window to avoid copyright infringement and to simplify navigation for your students.
  10. Where you use tools for on-line assessment there are formative opportunities for students to understand both the process and content, including feedback on performance. Teams should also make provision for the transfer of assessed, on-line, student work directly to assessors, using a method that is secure and reliable, with a means of proving or confirming the safe receipt of the student’s work. Please consider the “Guidelines for e-assessment @ DMU”.
  11. Turnitin is used for all first-year, text-based assignments, and students know why this is the case.
  12. Where you use discursive tools like blogs, wikis or discussion boards, your students are clear about their purpose and have access to the “DMU ELT Guidelines”.
  13. Where you are using non-DMU tools, you have considered all the issues in the DMU Guidelines for using Web 2.0
  14. Clear monitoring processes are in place to ensure a comparable on-line learning experience for all students across all sites delivering the programme. This means that teams should consider the impact of their use of technologies and on-line resources/tasks on equality and diversity.
  15. Where appropriate, professional, statutory or regulatory bodies should have approved the ELT elements.