Changes in Higher Education

In reflection of this Models of Technology and Change in Higher Education, I think we are now moving into an era where changes are accelerating at an extremely high speed, and the trajectory is yet to be known.

If we were to review the conclusions based on 2002 findings:

1. Change is slow and not radical

2. ICT in teaching and learning: Widespread but part of a blend

3. Instructors gradually doing more, but with no reward.

we could ask further questions at this time:

1. Is change fast and radical?  Probably yes.

2. Is ICT widespread in teaching and learning?  May be, for some institutions, but not all, and not in all domains or disciplines.

3. Are instructors gradually doing more?  That requires more researches to reveal the extent of work done, but it appears that more instructors are prepared in doing more, with ICT.

More than ever, “information and knowledge available online is modified constantly beyond the boundaries of time and space (EPA).”  In response to these rapid changes, so do the Higher Education Institutions.  Photo credit: from this post

Recent changes include the involvement of Google in the development of MOOCs as posted here.

See this comprehensive critique on MOOC entitled making sense of MOOC by John Daniel.

Relating to the paper, my comments below:

“that xMOOC learners preferred teachers to scrawl formulae on the modern equivalent of a blackboard rather than presenting them on slides.”

I doubt if xMOOC learners preferred teachers to scrawl formulae on blackboard (or that on Youtube).  What learners are looking for could be interaction with the instructors, if ever possible in those type of presentation.   Learners who are keen to learn through dialog would prefer to raise questions, when in doubt of the content or unsure about the concepts explained in the presentation.  It is a rather passive way of learning by watching the instructors “broadcasting” their short video lectures.

“I have argued that modern ICT, what my former Open University colleague Marc Eisenstadt named the ‘knowledge media’, are qualitatively different from previous technological aids to education. That is because they lend themselves naturally to the manipulation of symbols (words, numbers, formulae, image) that are the heart of education, as well as providing, through the Internet, a wonderful vehicle for the distribution and sharing of educational material at low cost.” (Daniel, 2012)

I reckon the use of ICT is just part of the solution in Higher Education, especially when the focus is shifted towards higher level, deep and meaningful learning.

“But while the potential of ICT to improve and extend education while cutting its cost is not in doubt, the results so far have generally been disappointing (Daniel, 2012b, Toyama, 2011). We should bear the reasons for these disappointments in mind in trying to ensure that MOOCs contribute to these goals for improving education and are not just another flash in educational technology’s pan.”

ICT should and would enable learners to have a meaningful experience if they are incorporated into the learning platform based on teaching, social and cognitive presence.  This aligned with:”The central core of an education experience, or learning experience is deep, thoughtful, and reflective study and engagement with a body of knowledge in a multiplicity of forms – facts, techniques, algorithms and practices, analytical frameworks, evidence.  (Open Education Chapter 7)

The story as told by Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman in this Networked The New Social Operating System well illustrates that:

The networked operating system gives people new ways to solve problems and meet social needs.

Whether MOOCs could heighten learners to such a level of networked learning is still mooted.

I would however, think there are still lots of positives and potentials in the MOOCs, as I have shared them in the past posts.

Though there are lots of criticisms on x MOOCs, I think institutions are using these opportunities to steer the changes needed in Higher Education.

This is perhaps a time of huge change for Higher Education that would leave a huge footprint in its landscape.  There is simply NO RETURN.

I have made some proposition about the MOOCs here.

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MOOC is on the BIG Move

MOOC – Wouldn’t it be the future of Higher Education?

Melbourne University jumps on the MOOC Bandwagon.  See this post for more details.  University of Queensland joins in (here in Queensland-uni-to-join-online-course-stampede).  A current post on the MOOCs here.

Would these provide hints on what would happen next in Higher Education?

I reckon this is the pattern of Open Online Higher Education we are anticipating.   This MOOC trend would surely be forthcoming and it would likely be adopted by institutions which are branded as prestigious Higher Education Institutions.

Here is my previous post about MOOC being the future of Higher Education.  

It seems that such MOOC movement follows the pattern as revealed in the research by Clayton Christensen on disruptive technology and innovation http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/05/14/120514fa_fact_macfarquhar

“In industry after industry, Christensen discovered, the new technologies that had brought the big, established companies to their knees weren’t better or more advanced—they were actually worse. The new products were low-end, dumb, shoddy, and in almost every way inferior. But the new products were usually cheaper and easier to use, and so people or companies who were not rich or sophisticated enough for the old ones started buying the new ones, and there were so many more of the regular people than there were of the rich, sophisticated people that the companies making the new products prospered.

Christensen called these low-end products “disruptive technologies,” because, rather than sustaining technological progress toward better performance, they disrupted it. After studying a few exceptions to the pattern of disruption, Christensen concluded that the only way a big company could avoid being disrupted was to set up a small spinoff company that would function as a start-up, make the new low-end product, and be independent enough to ignore what counted as sensible for the mother ship.”

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/05/14/120514fa_fact_macfarquhar#ixzz27LE2M8dK

Isn’t MOOC taking a similar pathway, based on a spin-off from their mother institutions (the education ship)?

Here MOOCs require no enrollment fees and are open to anyone in the world who are interested in the courses, so far if they could access the internet and afford the time necessary for completion.

The significance of this MOOC could be huge, where such pattern of disruption would “revolutionize” education.  Such revolution may not necessarily be based on the pedagogy (flipping the class, or Mastery Learning), but the disruptive business model that has never been fully exploited before.

Here the cheaper, easier to create and use and more readily deplorable educational products are launched into a global market of Higher Education.  As an ideology, it is a win win situation on Education.

There are however, different versions of MOOCs, though the x MOOC would likely take on the “Olympic torch” – giving out the flames, and sharing the “glories” throughout the world.

How would MOOC evolve in terms of pedagogy?

There are many schools of thoughts and “classes of MOOCs”.

The c MOOCs, x MOOCs and the Unknown yet EMERGENT MOOCs as shared in my previous posts of MOOCs: More is less and Less is more.

Here are some thoughtful posts from MOOCers:

1. Instead of giving instruction, and providing the golf cart to people who should walk in order to loose weight, see here.

2. MOOC, or not? There are differences between course and class as Lisa elaborates here.

More on MOOCs

MOOC has become a venture capital education platform, full of opportunities.

Will MOOCs revolutionize Higher Education?