The infusion of emerging technologies in complex higher education settings
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In the context of an increasing reliance on, and integration of, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) into the Higher Education (HE) sector, innovative approaches are being sought in response to infrastructural and resource limits, and mounting pressures to increase participation and throughput rates. This is particularly evident in South Africa, given its history of exclusion and marginalisation. Here, the potential of eLearning has been recognised in expanding access to educational opportunities and in equipping university staff and students with the eSkills and ePedagogy needed to make full use of emerging technologies. At the University of the Western Cape, the Centre for Innovative Education and Communication Technologies (CIECT) was established in 2005 to champion the adoption of emerging technologies at that institution in support of teaching-and-learning practices, and to provide support and training to staff and students in their use. After nearly a decade of experience and refinement, the Centre’s activities are structured according to a systemic framework that drives the infusion of emerging technologies into its particular complex higher education setting. The framework encompasses the areas of Teaching-and-Learning, Research, Community Engagement, and Collaboration, and aligns all eLearning activities with institutional and national policy. The goal of this case study is to share these activities in a complex HE setting, since in order to successfully drive the adoption of emerging eLearning technologies, a systemic framework aligned to institutional and national policy goals is required.