Looking to the Past

As authors, we have witnessed this shift as we have been engaged in the higher education space both before and during this time of rapid transformation. Ten years ago, we would prepare for our lectures, usually accompanied by what is now, upon reflection, quite basic visual support, such as a PowerPoint, although at the time we were innovators. We would typically have a textbook, or a well-constructed set of readings, to support the class and, for those of us who were tech savvy, an online discussion group for students. Our lectures were delivered in theatres where the academic took centre stage, usually positioned at the front of the room and often on a platform. Students attended the lecture and took careful notes of the lecturers’ expert knowledge, and lecturers made eye contact with students as a way of ascertaining their engagement and understanding of the concepts being developed. This model clearly defined the role of the teacher as expert and holder of knowledge to be imparted to the student, and the learner was expected to value and receive this expert knowledge. The pedagogy reflected a didactic relationship. Students attended class, and teachers measured student achievement through assessment of learning. If digital resources were required, this usually occurred in tutorials where we would conduct our classes in a computer laboratory, resourced by the university. Academics were located on the campus in their own rooms filled with books and resources. We each recollect that this is what we experienced ten years ago. This model, and the fundamental underpinning pedagogical approach, had been in place and had served teaching and learning for higher education for centuries. The only glimmer of the digital disruption to come was the use of computers in our offices and as backup to our delivery of lectures.

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