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Learning Technologies Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) Western Sydney University seeks to secure success for our students and the Greater Western Sydney region through innovation and discovery in a dynamic and technology-enabled world.

(2) The University uses a variety of technologies to support learning and teaching. They cover a broad range of digital tools including software, mobile apps, electronic devices (e.g. mobile phones, tablets) and internet-based applications.

(3) The purpose of this policy is to provide a framework for University-wide, and in some instances school-level, adoption of technologies, and to:

  1. delineate the decision making processes;
  2. clarify responsibilities; and
  3. coordinate the adoption, use and management of learning and teaching technologies supplied and supported by the University.

(4) This document establishes a coordinated approach to ensure that technologies are used effectively and efficiently, and in a pedagogically appropriate way which enhances educational quality and the student learning experience.

(5) The policy and its associated documents also provide guidance on the use and selection of technologies before they become supported by Information Technology and Digital Services (ITDS).

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Section 2 - Definitions

(6) The following definitions apply for the purposes of this policy and its associated documents.

  1. Learning technologies - digital systems and tools enabling learning and teaching. See the list of technologies currently recommended and in use at the University.
  2. LaTTe - Learning and Teaching Technologies Advisory Group.
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Section 3 - Policy

Principles

(7) Learning technologies should be used effectively and efficiently, and in a pedagogically appropriate way to enhance educational quality and the student learning experience.

(8) Access to and training in the use of centrally supported and approved learning and teaching technologies will be made available through professional development activities.

(9) The University encourages a transparent and collegial approach that recognises the role and responsibilities of all stakeholders in the development and adoption of learning technologies.

(10) Innovation is encouraged, and proposals for adoption of a new learning technology can be developed in any area of the University. A new learning technology may be piloted by an individual, on a small scale, or across a school.

Learning Technology Standards

(11) Proposals for wide scale adoption of technology, in particular those requiring University level investment and implementation require a comprehensive review of educational need, technological feasibility and financial implications, and must be consistent with the IT Systems Approval and Implementation Policy and the Procurement Policy.

(12) The design and development of University-wide supplied and supported learning technologies will be consistent with the University's Web Technical Style Guide, Web Design Style Guide and Visual Identity Manual.

(13) The University is obliged to comply with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) 2.0 with the aim to meet level AA success criteria, as defined in the WCAG guidelines.

(14) All technology enabled learning environments will be consistent with the Basic Standards for Blended Learning and comply with the Copyright Policy and Guidelines.

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Section 4 - Procedures

Part A - Roles and Responsibilities

(15) Academic Senate's Education Committee has established a Learning and Teaching Technologies Advisory Group (LaTTe) which guides and monitors the use of learning technologies and makes recommendations about University-wide systems. The LaTTe considers proposals for technology innovations to ensure that initiatives are coordinated across the University.

(16) Schools may authorise the piloting and use of a learning technology or software in their area.

(17) Project and funding proposals with a major IT component are reviewed by the IT Management Executive Sub Committee and then recommended to the appropriate Executive Committees, most notably the Business Infrastructure Development Committee.

(18) All University supplied learning technologies will be categorised by the level of support available to staff and students and managed using ITDS Service Management protocols.

Part B - Proposals for Learning Technologies

(19) Proposals for University support for or adoption of new learning and teaching technologies must follow the procedures set out in the Learning and Teaching Technology Acquisition, Implementation and Evaluation Framework.

(20) Proposals will be reviewed by LaTTe to ensure they meet learning and teaching needs and ITDS requirements.

(21) Projects will be considered as either Innovation or Infrastructure projects based on cost, impact and risk assessment. Guidance on this assessment is available in the LaTTe Project Guidelines. The application wizard will assist applicants to determine which pathway to follow.

(22) Applications for Innovation Pathway Projects should be made using the LaTTe Funding Application Form. LaTTe will review and respond to proposals within 30 days and, if endorsed, will refer them to the delegated officer for approval and release of funds in accordance with established guidelines.

(23) Successful applicants for Innovation Pathways Projects must report to LaTTe on the project conduct and outcomes of using the technology in teaching within 30 days of the conclusion of the project.

(24) For those proposals classified as "Innovation", it is expected that the initial use will be self-managed by the proponents and that no formal ITDS support will be provided. In the event that this level of support is required, the proposals will then be re-assessed as an "Infrastructure" initiative.

(25) Applications for Infrastructure Pathway Projects should be made using the Business Case and Communication Plan templates from the University's Project Management Methodology webpage. LaTTe will review and respond to proposals within 90 days.

Part C - Annual Review

(26) ITDS and the Blended Learning Team will present a report of learning and teaching technologies in use at the University annually, and will update the Blended Learning Toolkit.

(27) The review will be guided by feedback from all stakeholder groups, will encompass a systems and academic perspective, and will re-evaluate the University support level for each learning technology.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(28) This policy should be read in conjunction with the following policies:

Copyright Policy
IT Systems Approval and Implementation Policy

(29) Procurement Policy

IT Acceptable Use of Resources Policy
Web Policy
Web Content Accessibility guidance
Intellectual Property Policy

(30) The following documents may also be useful:

Designing for Learning at the University
vUWS: Basic Standards for Blended Learning Sites

(31) Additional information about the University's Learning and Teaching strategic projects and priorities can be accessed on the Strategic Projects and Priorities webpage.