CASE STUDY: Imperial College Business School – MSc Strategic Marketing

The MSc Strategic Marketing has embarked on an excellent new initiative that could provide a solution to improve the Teaching, Feedback and Assessment, Learning Resources and Academic Support areas of the NSS.

Upon hearing of a course giving out a free iPad to every student as a “gift” most people would pass this off as a novelty whilst issuing claims that not every department can do this due to the finances. However this is a naïve view of what this course is achieving. It’s more than just handing out a special gift for the students; they’ve provided them the platform for which future education will be based upon. It’s an example of innovation in teaching, using technology to make a more efficient, enjoyable and effective learning experience as well as improving student-staff communication.

We at the Union find the move in MSc Strategic Marketing commendable, demonstrating a bold move in teaching techniques.

Communication

One of the primary benefits of the iPads is the huge improved communication they provide. Students and staff are kept constantly in the loop via applications that integrate e-mail and social media, such as facebook and twitter. Subsequently communication between the two parties is hoped to be effective and efficient e.g. Whilst on their commute to University a lecturer can disseminate an interesting story on a website and all students who may also be on their commute to the University can read it before attending their lecture.

The strongest bond lecturers and students have revolves around their shared interest in the subject they’ve dedicated part of their lives to. By using social media to develop greater understanding of the wider reaches of the subject we expect more inquisitive student and more approachable lecturers.

Teaching

This innovation will greatly improve the student experience for teaching. The use of interactive tablets not only aids understanding, but also provides an alternative learning environment. The interactive nature of the course opens the doors for all types of learners. The more enjoyable the learning experience, the more appealing to students the course is.

Feedback and Assessment

Apps such as Goodreader allow students to make notes on the lecture slides during teaching, let them send annotations directly to lecturer so they can expand or explain points and send them after a lecture as a point for discussion in tutorials.

All feedback should be available “on-the-go” in order to maximise accessibility. With some subjects have coursework that is already submitted electronically, marked electronically and stored electronically; small changes here would result in universal accessibility.

As a university we should see more, if not all, coursework dealt with in the same way; there’s nothing worse than having a key piece of feedback stuck in a folder under your bed when it becomes relevant.
For MSc Strategic Marketing, students will be creating WordPress blogs, making applications, building websites and filming videos as part of coursework and research. Although this may appear only applicable to this subject others have similar coursework’s for which tablets would be greatly appreciated. Also a movement towards alterative assessment may aid in the delivery of 21st century education at the College.

Learning Resources

Questions 17 and 18 in the NSS relate to IT resources and specialised equipment. The provision of iPads or a tablet PC would definitely see our results in these questions hit the top marks.
In addition to the iPad, QR codes1 in lectures has been an excellent addition. Blackboard is used as storage for all material and students have the easy task and convenience of scanning a QR code; which provides everything that can be found intuitively with great GUI2 using the website.

Academic Support

Again, linking in with large improvements in communication with students, there will be an improvement in academic support. By taking full advantage of technology student and lecturer are far more efficient with their time and can communicate more effectively to one other on issues such as advice and support with studies.

Conclusion

Just a decade ago, it was uncommon to find students with a mobile phone. Now everyone has one and the majority have a smartphone. With ever improving technology, it’s not unfair to say that the majority of students in the next 5 years will also own their own tablet and there will be a huge demand for full integration with their teaching programme.

The Business School has taken a small step in terms of providing the 21st Century Education, it’s time for the university as a whole to take the initiative and make the leap before everyone else.

Source: Imperial College blog

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