Technology is changing student experience: QUT Deputy Vice Chancellor

Australian universities are in a period of transition with the development of technology and online learning, according to Queensland University of Technology Deputy Vice Chancellor (Technology, Information and Learning Support), Professor Tom Cochrane.

Speaking at CEDA's event, Business transformation:information technology, data and massive change, Mr Cochrane said the student experience is changing due to the online environment.

"What is really changing is the quality of the online experience, (it) is really a step up from what was happening five or six years ago," he said.

The world's best universities including Harvard and Stanford are now operating Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as a branding exercise.

He said Australian universities will soon follow suit with QUT, for example designing their own MOOC platform at present.

New technology, especially increased bandwidth speeds are helping develop interactive and engaging learning environments, he said.

Technology has actually become centre stage, especially at an undergraduate level because young people expect it to be an integral part of university study, he said.

Mr Cochrane said the successful lecturer will be one who knows how to use technology to engage students in the topic and develop interaction online.

The audience also heard from Department of Defence, Chief Information Officer, Peter Lawrence about identity management and access to information in the digital world.

Mr Lawrence said knowing who provides information in a digital environment and who did what is difficult.

"Post-wikileaks, the requirements around identity management and who has got access to what is becoming more important to us," he said.

"The big challenge we face…is how do you run and manage unclassified information."

Mr Lawrence said the Department is in a transformative stage and is moving in different directions in regards to information management.

"We are starting to explore crowd based services or opening up certain things where we can," he said.

CEDA members can access full presentations and audio from speakers here.