Explaining and applying a postdigital perspective on curriculum design and teaching - UoE learning and teaching conference 2020
From Tim Fawns on June 29th, 2020
Presenters: Tim Fawns, Gill Aitken and Derek Jones
Presented at the University of Edinburgh Learning and Teaching Conference, 25th June 2020.
The scary-sounding term “postdigital” is, at one level, a straightforward concept: the digital is not separate from the physical and social (e.g. in digital education, we still learn in the physical world). Yet this simple insight can be extrapolated to insights that powerfully inform curriculum design and teaching. First, it helps us recognise that technology cannot determine learning or student experience. Second, it highlights the importance of integrating technology into existing cultures and practices. Third, it shows that teaching and learning are not bounded by classrooms or computers. All teaching, face-to-face, online, or blended, is influenced by digital technology (whether directly used in teaching or not) and physical and social spaces (whether on campus or in the local settings of online students). All learning spills out beyond designated spaces, tasks, and technologies, carrying on in the non-university lives and worlds of students, through subversions, workarounds, and trial-and-error, all of which combine digital and physical activity. Technology is never a solution but only part of the environment in which students learn. This view helps us understand the value and limitations of design and teaching practices, and the importance of considering student diversity.
In this presentation, we explain our postdigital perspective and show how we have applied it in research into the online MSc in Clinical Education, including work on online pedagogy, impact on graduates and their workplaces, and the infrastructures that support student learning.
By embracing complexity and rejecting instrumentalism or unified solutions, our paper encourages critical application of principles of inclusivity and uncertainty in curriculum design and review.