The Transforming Nature of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: A University of the South Pacific Experience

Abstract

Consistent with the global trend, the Pacific Island countries (PICs) are attempting to shift the focus of instruction from teaching to learning. As a key player in educational technology, the University of the South Pacific (USP) provides blended and online learning to students in PICs. However, owing to the scattered nature of PICs, financial constraints and underdeveloped infrastructure, communication has always been difficult. Educational technology, nevertheless, has the capacity to interweave across these limitations, enabling students to study from where they are and collaborate and cooperate with their colleagues, educators and researchers across the USP region and beyond.

This paper discusses USP’s educational technology initiatives that promote the focus of instruction from teaching to learning in teacher education. This emphasis is necessary owing to the rapid changing scene in the nature of higher education as well as basic, primary and secondary education. Further, education now is seen increasingly as infusing graduates with competencies and skills like creativity, innovation and adaptability (Adams and Hamm 2012). This paper argues that change is a permanent feature of learning and teaching and the use of educational technology stimulates ongoing pedagogical changes and sustains constructively aligned classroom practices.

Keywords

Constructive alignment Online learning Blended learning Web 2.0 Teacher education Pacific Island countries Multiculturalism Collaborative learning 

References

  1. Adams, D., & Hamm, N. (2012). Tomorrow’s innovators: Essential skills for a changing world. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Education.Google Scholar
  2. Armstrong, P. F. (2004). Praxis in adult education: A synthesis of theory and practice. An account of the praxis study group. Paper presented at the SCUTREA. London. pp.1-39.Google Scholar
  3. Bakalevu, S. (2005). Regional perspective on current status and trends of ICT applications in education. In ICT Capacity Building at USP Project (Ed.), ICT in secondary education in the Pacific region: Status trends and prospects. Suva: The University of the South Pacific.Google Scholar
  4. Biggs, J., & Tang, M. (2011). Teaching for quality learning at university. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies Incorporated.Google Scholar
  5. Butcher, N. (2013). Reflections on an OER engagement at The University of the South Pacific and the Commonwealth of Learning (COL). Paper presented at the University of the South Pacific. Suva: The University of the South Pacific.Google Scholar
  6. Chief, I., Naqiolevu, E., & Tuitoga, A. (2014). Pacific Island students paddling in the information digital literacy canoe: A study of University of the South Pacific Students. In E-Learn 2014–World conference on e-learning in corporate, government, healthcare, and higher education, 2 October 27–30. New Orleans.Google Scholar
  7. Coutts, G. (Interviewer), & Koroi, T. (Interviewee) (2012) The Fijian Teachers Association claims there is a shortage of teachers in the classrooms. [Interview transcript]. Retrieved from ABC Radio Australia http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/onairhighlights/retirement-age-of-55-leads-to-chronic-teacher-shortage-in-fiji
  8. Evans, J., & Hazelman, V. (2006) Hard digital realities: Teaching with technology in the Pacific Islands. A paper presented at the Fourth Pan Commonwealth Forum of Open Learning in Jamaica on 30 October–3 November 2006. http://pcf4.dec.uwi.edu/viewpaper.php?id=192
  9. Fiji Bureau of Statistics. (2008). 2007 census of population. http://www.statsfiji.gov.fj/index.php/2007-census-of-population
  10. Gonzalez, N., Moll, L. C., & Amanti, C. (2005). Funds of knowledge. Theorizing practices in households, communities and classrooms. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.Google Scholar
  11. Henderson, J. G., & Gornik, R. (2007). Transformative curriculum leadership. Upper Saddle River: Pearson.Google Scholar
  12. Heredero, C. P. (2006). A model to measure the impact of web-based technologies in different teaching styles. In A. Cartelli (Ed.), Teaching in the knowledge society: New skills and instruments for teachers (pp. 89–99). London: Information Science Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hogan, B. (2005). ED403 principles of distance learning. Suva: The University of the South Pacific/Centre for excellence in learning and teaching.Google Scholar
  14. ICT Capacity Building at USP Project. (2005). ICT in secondary education in the Pacific region: Status, trends and prospects. Suva: The University of the South Pacific.Google Scholar
  15. Johansson-Fua, S. (2005). Regional workshop on ICT in education: A summation. In ICT Capacity Building at USP Project (Ed.), ICT in secondary education in the Pacific region: Status trends and prospects. Suva: The University of the South Pacific.Google Scholar
  16. Kala, S. S. (2013). ICT education in Fiji. Issues and challenges faced by tertiary education sector: An empirical survey. Education Journal, 2(3), 91–97. doi:10.11648/j.edu.20130203.16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Khan, N. (2005). Fiji Islands. In ICT Capacity Building at USP Project (Ed.), ICT in secondary education in the Pacific region: Status, trends and prospects. Suva: University of the South Pacific.Google Scholar
  18. Pelgrun, W. J., & Law, N. (2003). ICT in education around the world: Trends, problems and prospects. Paris: International Institute for Educational Planning.Google Scholar
  19. Raturi, S. (2010). Learners’ satisfaction of, and preference for, different instructional delivery modes: A case study from the University of the South Pacific. Unpublished master of education thesis, The University of the South Pacific, Suva.Google Scholar
  20. Schonn, D. (1987). Educating the reflective practitioner. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  21. Sharma, A. (2009). ED402 curriculum design and evaluation in higher education. Retrieved from The University of the South Pacific: School of Education ED402 Moodle site.Google Scholar
  22. Swami, N. (2013, November 13). No teachers shortage says Bole. Fiji Times. Retrieved from http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?ref=archive&id=251091
  23. The University of the South Pacific. (2013). USP Strategic Plan 2013–2018: Towards excellence in learning and knowledge creation. Suva: The University of the South Pacific.Google Scholar
  24. The University of the South Pacific. (2014). The University of the South Pacific Handbook and Calendar. Suva: USP.Google Scholar
  25. UNESCO. (2002). Information and communication technology in education: A curriculum for schools and programme for teacher development. France: UNESCO division of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001295/129538e.pdf.Google Scholar
  26. UNESCO. (2011). ICT competency framework for teachers. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002134/213475E.pdf
  27. Whelan, R., & Bhartu, D. (2007, December, 2–5). Factors in the implementation of a learning management system at a large university. In R. Atkinson, C. McBeath, S. S. W. Soong, & C. Cheers (Eds.), Paper presented at Ascilite 2007 ICT: Providing choices for learners and learning. Singapore (pp. 1053–1062). Retrieved from http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/singapore07/procs/whelan.pdf
  28. Williams, E., Kato, M., & Natasha, K. (2004). Evaluation of computer science curriculum in Fiji secondary school (ICT Capacity Building at The University of the South Pacific Project). Suva: The University of the South Pacific.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationThe University of the South PacificSuvaFiji
  2. 2.Centre for Flexible LearningThe University of the South PacificSuvaFiji

Personalised recommendations