Archive for the ‘Higher education’ Category
“Education is the cartel that technology is going to break next” “Higher education is just on the edge of the crevasse … I think even five years from now these enterprises are going to be in real trouble”. So where once you chose one college or university and hoped that each semester there would be an interesting subject available to you, the availability of MOOCs means that anyone with an internet connection can choose a course from the world’s top universities. For the remote and distant learners I work with, or those in developing countries where university-level education is not universally accessible, it means something even more – being able to study at all, and world-class courses at that. The other example of Education defying its ‘slow to adopt’ past has been the rise of mobile devices and the increased access to content they engender.
The rapid growth of OER provides new opportunities for teaching and learning, at the same time, they challenge established views about teaching and learning practices in higher education. This briefing paper provides the background to the current development of and future trends around OER aimed at adding to our understanding, stimulating ongoing debate among the JISC community and developing a research agenda. The briefing is structured in three sections:
- Discussion on the conceptual and contextual issues of Open Educational Resources.
- A review of current OER initiatives: their scale, approaches, main issues and challenges.
- Discussion on trends emerging in Open Educational Resources, with respect to future research and activities.
This report sets out to help decision makers in higher education institutions gain a better understanding of the phenomenon of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) and trends towards greater openness in higher education and to think about the implications for their institutions. The phenomena of MOOCs are described, placing them in the wider context of open education, online learning and the changes that are currently taking place in higher education at a time of globalisation of education and constrained budgets. The report is written from a UK higher education perspective, but is largely informed by the developments in MOOCs from the USA and Canada. A literature review was undertaken focussing on the extensive reporting of MOOCs through blogs, press releases as well as openly available reports. This identified current debates about new course provision, the impact of changes in funding and the implications for greater openness in higher education. The theory of disruptive innovation is used to help form the questions of policy and strategy that higher education institutions need to address.
Science, engineering and technology courses have been in the vanguard of the massive open online course movement. These classes also are providing fodder for scientific research on learning.
MOOCs had exploded into the academic consciousness in summer 2011, when a free artificial-intelligence course offered by Stanford University in California attracted 160,000 students from around the world — 23,000 of whom finished it. Now, Coursera in Mountain View, California — one of the three researcher-led start-up companies actively developing MOOCs — was inviting the University of Maryland to submit up to five courses for broadcast on its software platform. Loh wanted in. “He was very clear,” says Uriagereka. “We needed to be a part of this.”
As the current generation of college graduates wrangles with an unprecedented amount of debt, a sea change is underway in higher education. More and more elite universities are offering free online courses that might characterize the next iteration of the college experience for the forthcoming generation of students.
Will students be able to receive the equivalent of a bachelors degree for free? How will brick-and-mortar institutions be used in the future? Will academic rigor suffer? How will credentials or tuition apply to those who come to campus and those who complete courses online?
The leaders of the MOOC movement acknowledge the challenges they face. Perfecting the model, will require “sophisticated inventions” in many areas, from grading essays to granting credentials. This will only get harder as the online courses expand further into the open-ended, exploratory realms of the liberal arts, where knowledge is rarely easy to codify and the success of a class can hinge on a professor’s ability to guide students toward unexpected insights. The outcome of this year’s crop of MOOCs should tell us a lot more about the value of the classes and the role they’ll ultimately play in the educational system.
At least as daunting as the technical challenges will be the existential questions that online instruction raises for universities. Whether massive open courses live up to their hype or not, they will force college administrators and professors to reconsider many of their assumptions about the form and meaning of teaching. For better or worse, the Net’s disruptive forces have arrived at the gates of academia.
This review focuses on the use of Web 2.0 tools in Higher Education. It provides a synthesis of the research literature in the field and a series of illustrative examples of how these tools are being used in learning and teaching. It draws out the benefits that these new technologies appear to offer, and highlights some of the challenges and issues surrounding their use. The review forms the basis for a HE Academy funded project, ‘Pearls in the Cloud’, which is exploring how Web 2.0 tools can be used to support evidence‐based practices in learning and teaching. The case studies focus on evaluation of a recently developed site for learning and teaching, Cloudworks, which harnesses Web 2.0 functionality to facilitate the sharing and discussion of educational practice. The case studies explore the extent to which the Web 2.0 affordances of the site are successfully promoting the sharing of ideas, as well as scholarly reflections, on learning and teaching. Our aim in this review is to draw on the existing body of international literature in this field. It synthesizes.
Higher Education is currently undergoing some of the most profound changes in its history. Against a backdrop of increasing marketization, rising levels of student debt and far greater fully online offerings, the higher education lecturer is grappling with new ways of working and high expectations of teaching quality. This 3 year qualitative study based in The Open University UK investigates the ways in which HE distance learning lecturers are approaching professional development and learning, identifying what type of learning may be most effective in creating and sustaining an online teaching identity. The study also examines ways in which resistance discourse is shaping these identities and practices revealing emerging re-conceptualisations of what it means to be an effective and well-motivated distance learning lecturer. The investigation uses a framework for identity analysis which analyses professional identity via the expression of hegemonies, phenomenological, narrative articulations of identity, and a post-modern, constructivist view of identity which is shaped by social interactions and communities of practice. It highlights the importance of personal agency in identity formation. The results revealed a number of insights into the ways in which a combination of resistance discourse, professional learning and reflections from student interactions are shaping new understandings of professional knowledge in this context.
ECAR has surveyed undergraduate students annually since 2004 about technology in higher education. In 2012, ECAR collaborated with 195 institutions to collect responses from more than 100,000 students about their technology experiences. The findings are distilled into the broad thematic message for institutions and educators to balance strategic innovation with solid delivery of basic institutional services and pedagogical practices and to know students well enough to understand which innovations they value the most. See the 2012 report for a full list key messages, findings, and supporting data.
- Blended-learning environments are the norm; students say that these environments best support how they learn.
- Students want to access academic progress information and course material via their mobile devices, and institutions deliver.
- Technology training and skill development for students is more important than new, more, or “better” technology.
- Students use social networks for interacting with friends more than for academic communication.
The strangest thing about this MOOC obsession is the idea that something that very wealthy private institutions offer for free, at a loss, as a service to humanity, must somehow represent the magic numbers in the higher-education lottery. It’s new, it’s “innovative,” and it’s big, the thinking goes. So it must be the answer. Let me pause to say that I enjoy MOOCs. I watch course videos and online instruction like those from the Khan Academy … well, obsessively. I have learned a lot about a lot of things beyond my expertise from them. My life is richer because of them. MOOCs inform me. But they do not educate me. There is a difference.
Read also: Fixing College