The changed dynamics of teaching on-campus Students
Traditional universities in Australia seek to provide academic programs based on a high quality campus experience for undergraduate students, where the role of technology is to enhance this campus experience. While the teaching mode of lectures and practicals has largely remained unchanged, as evidenced in the findings of the ten-year Australian study involving first year students, there has been a major shift over the last decade in the expectations students have from the university system, in particular in relation to their participation in on-campus activities. At the same time, the teaching programs have been subject to greater scrutiny for quality, and student satisfaction with teaching is one of the most important aspects considered in the formula for ranking and funding departments and universities. This paper will discuss the changed dynamics of teaching on-campus students shaped by the tension between what students want and what is academically sound, and the tension experienced by teaching staff between providing leadership to mould student expectations and attracting high ratings in subject evaluations. The discussion will be situated in the context of delivering first year science programs in a traditional Australian university, where the on-campus subject delivery is supported by a learning management system to facilitate access to information and communication, and to provide opportunities for self-evaluation and feedback. The issues discussed are universal in the western world and would be of interest to all conference participants.