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.

2 thoughts on “Changes in Higher Education

  1. Pingback: MOOC x.0 is coming our way! | Learner Weblog

  2. Pingback: More reflections on MOOC | Learner Weblog

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