Putting the Tech in Teaching

Students at Inverness College UHI are benefiting from exciting new technology-based teaching methods after a group of lecturers completed a unique qualification designed by the Centre for Engineering and Technology Skills (CETS).

The Inverness College UHI-based Centre developed the Professional Development Award (PDA) in e-Learning to raise awareness of new technology and software systems amongst teaching staff and to demonstrate how they can enhance the student learning experience.

The European Social Fund (ESF) supported the development and delivery of the Scottish Qualifications Authority accredited course, whilst Inverness College UHI funded the purchase of new practical equipment for the use of students and staff.

The new equipment includes a supply of tablet computers, Articulate Storyline software, which enables lecturers to development web-based learning materials, and workshop equipment such as hydraulics test benches and the PicoScope Automotive system, which turns a PC into an engine diagnostic tool for motor vehicle maintenance students.

Billy Andrews, lecturer in electrical engineering at Inverness College UHI, was one of the staff members to have completed the PDA. As a lecturer with over 30 years’ experience, Billy was keen to refresh his learning to keep his teaching style up to date. He now uses the innovative software to develop web-based assignments for students such as building virtual electrical circuits.

Speaking of the course, he said: “Through the PDA I learned how to use e-learning technologies to enhance student engagement and develop independent learners.

“Teaching styles have evolved significantly since I started out in my career. Nowadays, students expect a virtual learning experience – the chalk and talk method just doesn’t cut it anymore. It is imperative lecturers keep up to date with modern technologies so we can ensure our students receive the best learning experience possible, because at the end of the day, that is what’s important.”

Dr Peter Dennis, who led the project on behalf of CETS added: “The CETS project was established with the support of ESF to enhance the delivery of technology based subjects at Inverness College UHI.  We have delivered this through the PDA and the purchase new equipment to improve practical training and the blended delivery of courses.

“Many of our students are part-time or distance learners, so it is vital our lecturers can develop engaging course materials that can be accessed remotely. New technology and software systems like Articulate Storyline make this a lot simpler. Similarly, technology can be used to enhance the classroom environment and allow us to implement innovative teaching techniques.

“The project has given us a legacy of trained staff who understand the theory and practice of up-to-date teaching methods. Combined with the new technology and equipment, we have everything we need to give students a first class learning experience.”

Inverness College UHI has been in operation for over 50 years and is an integral part of the local community.  Home to more than 6,500 students with around 200 courses on offer across nearly 30 subject areas, the College offers flexible learning methods to suit a wide variety of student needs and locations. Find out more about the college at www.inverness.uhi.ac.uk