Students give tech tutorials

February 9, 2007

Lecturers are getting lessons from students to help them keep up to date with the latest computer wizardry, writes Rebecca Attwood.

Students at Hertfordshire University are helping staff to make the most of technology in their teaching, showing them how to podcast lectures and introduce animation into PowerPoint presentations.

In exchange, the students are paid for their time and acquire skills they can add to their CVs.

The project began in the business school, but it has been such a success that it is being rolled out to the schools of humanities, law and education. A total of 51 lecturers have signed up to the scheme.

Jenny Evans, project leader and a senior lecturer in marketing, said: "We are delighted with how eagerly the students responded to the campaign and also how keen staff are to ask students for help."

She said the 15 student mentors were helping staff to make the most of the university's online learning environment, StudyNet.

Ms Evans said: "From the start, our concerns about StudyNet were not whether students would be able to use it but whether staff could manage."

The idea is to develop opportunities offered by technology to improve students' learning and increase flexibility in how, when and where they study.

Ms Evans said: "Quite a lot of lecturers in the business school now record their lectures. Students upload them as a podcast - it means they can listen to them wherever they are, whether at their computer or on a bus.

"And the students have really enjoyed working on the project. They like earning some money, and it looks good on their CVs as evidence of their employability."

Sally Bunce, principal lecturer in marketing, said: "I met with my mentor last week and he was brilliant. He showed me how to set up an assignment on StudyNet, download adverts, sorted out my sound files and helped me think about my PowerPoint presentations.

"We spent about one and a half hours together. The most fantastic thing is that he was so patient and explained things very well. It's not just a case of having my computer 'problems' sorted, but a learning experience for me."

One of the student mentors, Emma Obichukwu said: "This project has helped me to open my eyes and to see things from the lecturers' point of view. They don't have it easy."

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