The primacy of pedagogy

Year: 1999

Author: Burmeister, Oliver, Owens, Anthony

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Rapidly changing educational technology is by far the most prominent of forces driving current curriculum development. Despite the willingness of many educators to adopt new technology, limited time, money and personnel hinder optimal technology implementation. Even the most willing technology users have trouble adjusting to the wealth of opportunities offered to education by technology. Improved technology appears to offer ease in achieving educational goals. However, the over-riding concern of educators really ought to be with the basic pedagogical design of subject delivery. This paper concerns a subject that enrolls over 1,000 students annually & has been ear-marked for technology-based teaching. Alpha & Beta trials with students have been completed. In semester 2, 1999 the subject will be taught totally online. The university has spent considerable funds developing the subject for delivery via advanced technology, yet very little has been spent on reviewing educational efficacy. This paper examines subject design in light of pedagogical principles & compares aspects of its delivery with other highly web-based subjects which have been judged to be pedagogically sound. The paper examines a number of key elements that educators will recognise as desirable in any course whether traditional or online. Elements discussed include learning environment (teacher or student centered), catering for different styles and motivations in learning, aids to memory, student empowerment to form their own cognitive schemata, & ways that technology can assist learning through inclusion of colour, music, loci, & the promotion of integrated student activity and cooperative learning.