Students and technology


This fall semester, most face-to-face courses at Memorial University will be delivered online with instructors teaching remotely.

Students do not have access to the same technologies for remote learning.

Photo: Dave Howells

This large-scale shift is a complex one, in part because of the reality that students don’t have access to the same technologies.

In an effort to help instructors and administrators in planning for a remote semester, Memorial is engaging with students to learn more about what they do and do not have access to.

Technological capabilities not equal

“It’s important not to assume that all students have access to a laptop or high-speed internet,” said Dr. Gavan Watson, associate vice-president in teaching and learning, and director of the Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL).

“In order to effectively plan how to teach and support students in a remote environment, it’s essential to be aware of their technological capabilities and limitations.

Dr. Watson also says that by having a better understanding of what students are equipped with, instructors can plan what remote teaching and learning might look like, and ultimately set students up to have a successful learning experience.

Understanding student realities

A survey for students eligible to register for the fall semester is currently open, and asks a range of questions focused on device access, operating systems, internet speed, data plans, comfort levels in using various technologies and more.

“Our goal is to understand the current reality students are facing.” — Dr. Gavan Watson

Once the survey closes, a summary of the results will be provided to administrators and instructors who will be teaching this fall.

“Our goal is to understand the current reality students are facing so we can help the university effectively plan for the engaging remote instruction and remote learning experiences that will take place,” said Dr. Watson.

Administered by CITL, the survey is accessible on the my.mun portal and will run until July 1. All responses are anonymous.

Questions about the survey can be sent to Thomas Hawkins, assistant director of technology at CITL.

Courtenay Alcock is senior communications advisor with CITL. She can be reached at c.alcock@mun.ca.



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