Below are my two cents from a recent UTS survey. Without seeing the rest of the “rank these things from 1 to 5″ questions, I think you can grok what it was about.

Judging from the questions asked in the survey, it appears as though UTS is interested in using more technology to help students. This would be achieved through more services offered through UTS, as well as more interactive, online technology to supplement (or replace) traditional lectures and tutorials.

To the first point, it’s my belief that you can give students the most technically advanced, easy to use university collaboration systems, but they won’t use them (or will use them reluctantly if forced). Millennials engage in social networks with established friend lists, and they’ll always revert to the tools they’re used to. To that end, the best way the university can support learning is to deploy a small, fast, streamlined system that allows students to access the materials they need for a course with as little trouble as possible. Needless to say, Blackboard doesn’t fit this role.

To the second point, it’s an intriguing idea that tech can be used to supplement lectures. Dr. Bernard Wong recorded his lectures for us during Business Requirements Modelling at UTS, which I used to study from during commutes. That said, as I answered in a previous question the key is to still provide engaging human contact. Some people just attend university for a qualification, others of us also go to engage with industry professionals and to learn from their real world experience. Technology (in an of itself) can’t replace this.

Compared to the other (albeit limited) places I’ve been, I’ve been quite surprised and pleased by the willingness of UTS staff to accept feedback.

Clara has since written a thoughtful follow up post. To address her first concern though, it wasn’t in an email, it was advertised as a banner on UTS Online :)