For some years, members of our Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) community have yearned for an Educational Technology Governance Framework they could use to manage the space between policy and practice. In 2018 and 2019, previous the Technology Enhanced Learning Reference Group – Associate Deans Education (TELRG-ADE) Forums gave weight to the need for some dedicated attention to the matter.
Consequently, under the steam of Alexandra Webb (TELRG Chair), the ‘sod was turned’ at this year’s Forum held on 13th October 2020. Picking up on past indications, the proposed Educational Technology Governance Framework should reinforce some key principles, beginning with the notion that technology itself is not its primary focus.
Instead, the Framework to be developed in 2021, will bring to the fore matters of teaching and learning so as to guide appropriate choices in supporting educational endeavours happening across the ANU campus. In addition to guidance, the Framework will also support the development of an innovative culture that strives for improvement and protects the context of experimentation, as taking risks and addressing failures can create learning opportunities. If from such educational endeavours, we want to manage risk and celebrate success then it is also the task of an Educational Technology Governance Framework to reference a knowledge-based community that looks to evidence for TEL decisions and directions.
The recent TELRG-ADE Forum was well attended and representative of College and Service area experiences. To establish some common ground, the session began with an overview of the TELRG’s role in providing the Teaching and Learning Development Committee (TLDC) with advice, recommendations, communication and governance relating to educational technologies.
Looking to bolster context, it must be said that examples of other institution’s Educational Technology Governance Frameworks are not easily found. The Google trail most often retrieved more specific examples of IT Governance Frameworks that high-level committees use to coordinate infrastructures aligned to the needs of enterprise architecture teams. As such, ANU has a newly established Digital Road Map with associated committee structures that when up and running will dovetail with a lower-level framework focused on governing educational technologies.
In this way the TEL community at ANU will have a Framework that gives them visibility at higher levels of strategy, design and investment. The ‘on ramp’ that opens up access to the larger road map has a Business Owner sign-post, pointing the way from current to future state aspirations. In this context, the Educational Technology Governance Framework will assist teachers to frame their business as education and to better advocate for the needs of learners who want to make the best of available digital applications in contemporary learning environments.
As we know, innovation often happens in the back room and has a habit of surprising us when revealed. If successful, the Educational Technology Governance Framework will harness operational energies so that collectively we can leverage bigger gains – lifting obstacles for the advantage of all.
Tim Grace is Senior Manager of the Education Communities and Environments (ECE) team – one of the three teams within the ANU Centre for Learning & Teaching (CLT).