Managing Expectations: A Changing Landscape

Managing Expectations: A Changing Landscape

Jo Coldwell-Neilson
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3649-1.ch001
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Expectations of, and by, students and staff in the classroom have been well researched. Yet, still there is a gap between the expectations of students and what they experience in their studies. The classroom itself is changing with the introduction of Web 2.0 technologies into the mix. Further changes are being driven by the changing profile of a tertiary student in the twenty first century. Education will not fulfill its goal if the gap in expectations is not addressed. The discrepancy in expectations is explored from the perspective of students and staff and strategies for bridging the gap and enhancing eLearning in the Web 2.0 environment are offered. The chapter begins with a scenario that demonstrates the issues and concludes with suggestions to avoid them in the future. In doing so, the key drivers of change in the learning landscape in Australia are identified and the impact these may have on staff and student expectations is explored.
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Managing student expectations in a classroom setting is a well researched area with many pedagogical and administrative processes having been developed by teachers since teaching began! In the late twentieth century information and communications technology (ICT) tools were introduced into the classroom with dramatic effect. Suddenly students and teachers were expected to be computer literate and be willing and able to use these new, innovative tools to support teaching and learning. Hiltz (1994, p. 259) suggested that “what we are going to see in the future are more virtual universities”, that the “meaning of the ‘university’ will change, and the idea of a ‘campus’ as we know it may disappear. It is now possible to run a university from a closet”. This expectation that the bricks and mortar classroom would disappear in favour of technology supported virtual learning centres for example, has proved to be unfounded and, as Burdett (2003, p. 84) suggests, “despite anticipated benefits … ICT is not embraced enthusiastically nor completely by all academics”.

With hindsight we know that these changes in the classroom are an ongoing process. Face-to-face teaching is still the core business of educational institutions at all levels. But the classroom has been enhanced and, in many cases, transformed with the introduction of ICT tools. Interactive white boards, laptop computers and social media for example are used extensively to enhance the learning experience of students throughout the education system (see for example Preston & Mowbray, 2008; Hemmi, Bayne & Land, 2009). Learning management systems (LMS) have also been widely adopted providing opportunities for students to gain access to learning resources and activities without temporal or geographic boundaries. There are opportunities for students and staff to communicate with each other and for students to be supported in ways that are just not possible in a traditional face-to-face setting alone.

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