Quality and Web-based learning objects: Towards a more constructive dialogue

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Quality Conversations Vol. 25

July, 2002, 794 pages
Published by
Tony Herrington
0 908557 54 X

The use of Web-based ‘learning objects’ is rapidly expanding in all areas of the operation of Australian universities. As universities invest in and develop these new technologies, the need increases for educators to critically evaluate the impact of this paradigm shift (Alexander & McKenzie 1998). The failure to undertake independent verification of its outcomes is a problem for all claims of quality related to teaching, and is seen as a key contributor to the failure to recognize and reward achievements in this area (Brennan & Shah 2000). It also means that the academic community is not well placed to reflect on and debate strategies to achieve more powerful forms of learning—“forms that bring students to deeper understandings and engage them in making meaning” (Hutchings 1996, p. 231). This paper gives attention to the purpose of some conversations about quality. It does so in relation to a specific initiative currently under development, namely a scheme to allow for peer review of Web-based learning objects. The IEEE’s Learning and Technology Standards Committee (http://ltsc.ieee.org), defines a learning object as “any entity, digital or non-digital, which can be used, re-used or referenced during technology supported learning”. Here the term is restricted in its scope to Web-based entities. The background considerations in this paper include discussion of: the need for such a scheme; the nature and purpose of peer review; and, the nature and purpose of conversations.

Keywords: Dialogic conversations; peer review; learning objects.

Quality and Web-based learning objects: Towards a more constructive dialogue

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Taylor, P.