This is a report on the present landscape and future needs of those in the Faculty of Arts using technology to enable their teaching and learning. It has been produced by the Faculty of Arts Dean’s Advisory E-Learning Working Group, a consortium of nine University of Calgary colleagues (faculty, students, and staff).

We consulted colleagues and wrote this report between March and October 2013, and posted it online in November 2013.


We believe that there are significant benefits to post-secondary students and educators in utilizing the various methods of e-learning that are currently available. Nonetheless, we share with our colleagues a series of common concerns about certain forms of technology, particularly that they promote a climate of remote interaction with students and sometimes are used merely because they exist rather than for the benefit of our students and desired disciplinary outcomes.


This report begins with an introduction on our mandate and our working definitions of e-learning. After addressing our methodology, we describe the four areas of feedback we received from our colleagues: their uses of classroom technology and of internet resources; and their healthy skepticism about the use and impact of technology on student engagement and the Faculty’s teaching mission, including their critical thinking about Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs). Finally, we make seven recommendations to the Faculty of Arts and its departments to determine the future of e-learning, both within the Faculty and in the University at large.

This report is also available as a PDF.


We have two motives for posting this report online: to make our seven recommendations public, and to solicit feedback on them. We are especially interested in constructive ideas for how to implement these recommendations — and for the constructive criticism that adds nuances and contexts to these ideas, and reflects the diverse and creative approaches that only our Faculty can offer.

Feedback and comments from students, faculty, and staff are equally welcome.

These discussions are an opportunity for future-thinking, so commenting is only available on the Recommendation pages.