Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Download this course

Share this free course

The environmental impact of teaching and learning
The environmental impact of teaching and learning

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

4.2 New teaching models and how ICTs are changing higher education

Experimentation with the use of ICTs has led to technology-enhanced teaching and learning provision (see Jisc [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] ). This is supported by VLEs that many HE institutions now have to support their qualification programmes. A typical VLE provides students with online access to materials in electronic format, such as lecture or tutorial documents, assignments, and timetables, and offers forums for discussions.

In addition, a wide range of ICTs may be used to support and/or transform:

  • teaching, such as providing guidance, support and content
  • learning, such as supporting student thinking, reflection, learning and work on assignments
  • communication between staff and students, and between students on learning activities
  • assessment of evidence and enabling demonstrations of students’ learning.


Thinking about your experience of teaching and learning on a course or module, have you had experience of using ICTs to provide teaching, learning and assessment? Was this part of an educational programme to provide online teaching and learning? Can you give any specific examples of ICTs that were used to support this provision?


You can compare your list with the following examples of ICTs used for teaching, learning and assessment provision that you may have experienced:

  • Examples of ICTs for teaching provision:
    • educational software (e.g. DVDs, CDs)
    • structured content is online educational content provided using a defined template or schema for ‘structured authoring’ for website display (e.g. eXtensible Mark-up Language (XML))
    • podcasts – an audio/video file that learners watch, facilitated by online streaming from a website
    • electronic books, which are read using an ebook reader or via an application on an ICT device; enhanced ebook technology offers additional functionality, including embedded tutoring and supporting collaborative learning
    • digital library resources such as electronic journals and ebooks are accessible online and may be integrated and easily accessed on online educational programmes (e.g. RefWorks)
    • VLE study tools, such as an online planner provide guidance for students.
    • interactive multimedia (e.g. Flash animation) is a responsive media allowing a two-way interaction between learners and media
    • mobile applications (‘apps’) are available for download on ICT devices and provide access to digital educational resources
    • smart objects communicate 3D information online about the workings and interactions of objects – the ‘internet of things’ is a new generation of smart objects that derive data from objects with embedded sensors that is communicated and connected online, thereby allowing communication between objects, with each other and between learners and objects.
  • Examples of ICTs used for learning provision:
    • electronic portfolios are personal online spaces where internet-based resources can be created, collected and shared (e.g. ePortaro, Dropbox).
    • social bookmarking links to online resources that can be saved and shared (e.g. Delicious, Diigo)
    • digital presentation-sharing websites that support uploading, hosting, sharing and publication of slides and presentations (e.g. SlideShare, Prezi), photos (e.g. Flickr, Picasa) and videos (YouTube)
    • virtual reality worlds – computer simulations of real or imagined worlds where users navigate via an avatar (e.g. Second Life)
    • game-based learning, which builds on the potential of videogames to provide feedback on individual and collaborative activities to achieve learning goals (e.g. 3D GameLab Guildsite)
    • gesture-based computing, which allows learners to control ICT devices using physical movements or gestures to support interactive learning at an individual pace
    • online laboratories that include the opportunity to work in three-dimensional, immersive environments with virtual control instrumentation (e.g. eSTEeM)
    • wikis, which are websites that can be edited easily by users and are useful tools for collective authoring. (e.g. Wikispaces)
    • synchronous videoconferencing that allows online audio-visual communication and text messaging in real time (e.g.Skype)
    • online tutorial environments that allow teaching and interaction between a number of staff and students in several locations with options for audio-visual communication and sharing educational materials (e.g. Blackboard Collaborate)
    • mobile learning (or m-learning), supported by digital content, tools and applications hosted on mobile technologies, e.g. smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.
  • Examples of ICTs used to support communication:
    • VLE feedback tools allow students to provide feedback, e.g. with voting tools
    • asynchronous text communication allows messages to be sent over the internet and read by recipients when they next log in
    • asynchronous conferencing, such as on VLE forums, allows students and tutors to text each other in group discussions held in online group spaces
    • blogs and microblogs allow publishing of personal or topic-based views and news known as ‘posts’ or ‘tweets’ on websites shared with an online community (e.g. Twitter, Plurk)
    • synchronous communication is instant messaging using the internet, or via phone networks using mobile devices (e.g. Skype)
    • Social networking sites allow learners to develop relationships and share resources. (e.g. Facebook, Ning, Myspace).
  • Examples of ICTs used for assessment provision:
    • plagiarism-detection tools support assessment of learning (e.g. Turnitin)
    • VLE tools that support formative assessment, e.g. quizzes, questionnaires and summative assessment of uploaded assignments
    • computer-marked assessment or e-assessment can support interactive assessment and detailed reports about students’ performance (e.g. OpenMark examples)
    • certification of learning outcomes can be provided online (e.g. Questionmark) – online ‘badge’ award systems allow learners to build accreditation towards qualifications
    • learning analytics, together with diagnostic testing technology and rapid real-time feedback, supports individualised learning pathways (e.g. Learning Catalytics).

ICTs such as these offer learners the type of personalised online learning experiences that were only previously available in the classroom, as well as the benefits of being able to learn flexibly by reducing the effect of temporal and location differences between teachers and students. Richer media allow students to go beyond simply accessing educational content to be able to produce and record their learning online and collaborate with others on learning activities. ICTs open opportunities for students to learn at any time, in any place, at any pace and using multiple ICT devices.

To find out more about potential applications of key emerging ICTs for teaching and learning, there are annual reviews in the New Medium Consortium Horizon reports (Johnson et al., 2012) and the Open University report Innovating Pedagogy (Sharples et al., 2012).