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Harnessing Technology for Teaching Efficiency Gains

Adrian Boucher, Institute of Education

Editors Note

In this paper, Adrian Boucher situates the potential of educational technology within the vast changes in higher education funding. He begins by describing the increase in number of students entering higher education, contrasted with the reductions in equivalent funding per student. This situation has lead to a strain on institutional resources resulting in, he suggests, some forms of teaching (such as tutorials) becoming impractical. In a time when academic staff are under pressure, there are increasing numbers of students, less funding and yet higher expectations – could IT-assisted teaching be the answer? Adrian Boucher argues that although such technologies are a viable consideration – one should proceed with caution. He suggests that it is important to thoroughly consider the benefits, efficacy and efficiency of educational technologies – issues where there have been no agreed methodological frameworks for investigation. Staff embarking upon or considering an ICT-related innovation will find Adrian’s paper thought provoking. He warns against the temptation to adopt ‘quick fixes’ to long term problems without being able to provide evidence for long term cost effectiveness. The paper ends with some comprehensive questions for researchers to consider. At the time of writing this article in 1998, Adrian noted that many of these remained unanswered. One can ponder whether or not this is still the case.


First appeared in Interactions Issue 5 Summer 1998