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Institutional Technology Adoption And Integration: A Holistic Grass Roots Approach To Inform Institutional Transformation

Speakers
Dr David Bruce Porter, Ms Kristy Newton, Dr Sue Downie, Mr Dave Rigter

University of Wollongong

Abstract
Background: The capability to integrate educational technologies has become increasingly important for higher education institutions to be scalable and competitive. Addressing the barriers and enablers for the adoption of educational technologies can potentially catalyse institutional technology initiatives. To address one university’s technology adoption challenges, an ad hoc group of academic and professional staff, representing information technology, the library, educational design, and faculty units engaged in a collaborative reflection and institutional scan to identify the barriers to adoption and potential solutions.

Methods: Beginning in April 2018, the group met fortnightly over three months to map the issues related to supporting technology integration across the institution. Through discussion, review of feedback from academics and professional staff, and considerations from the literature, themes emerged, presenting a “mesh” of inter-related issues contributing to staff disengagement from the institutional strategy for technology integration. Findings: The emergent barriers--infrastructure, learning spaces, service model, digital literacies, and motivational factors–-aligned with previous findings from the literature. Addressing these issues on behalf of academics and professional sta across the institution in building digital capability transcends the single-unit ownership. The resulting recommendations from the process indicate the need for cross-functional teams and ongoing engagement and evaluation across the institution to ensure better alignment of resources to support staff.

For participants, identifying and de ning these issues built an awareness of the importance of more holistic thinking and broader institutional engagement. Furthermore, the process underscored the bene t of prioritising long-term strategies, over quick xes and short-term wins in addressing the issues.

Discussion: Addressing technology integration barriers from the grassroots level enabled the identification of issues and the breaking down of silos. Given their positioning within the organisation, the staff responsible for enacting institutional technology strategy are uniquely placed to identify the gaps in support for the strategy. This process brought together several units and enabled a broader appreciation of the institutional challenges, as well as yielding opportunities for further cross-unit collaboration.