A variety of commentators are suggesting we are witnessing a major transformation in higher education.
Thomas Friedman, of the New York Times, has written that he sees the end of the university as we know it and the beginning of an “unbundling” of college and university education enabling any student to build their qualifications from courses taken anywhere in the world. Others, such as Clayton Christensen, are also writing about the creative destruction of higher education. Indeed, he suggests that:
“A creative destruction is happening in higher education with technology as the trigger and the driver.”
The basic proposition of these writers and commentators is that technology, along with shifts in the demographics of those attending colleges and universities and both societal and individual financial circumstances, created a “perfect storm” for colleges and universities and their response is to reinvent themselves and change the fundamentals of how they function.
Why learn from a teacher or a tired old formal institution when you can learn from an online crowd? A couple of AU profs explore this question in their new book, Teaching Crowds: Learning and Social Media.
European higher education remains too conservative to adapt to technological innovations, said a Commission High Level Group on the Modernisation of Higher Education in its report published last week (22 October).
The group, which was launched in 2012 to examine such challenges, makes 15 recommendations to EU member states about how to integrate digital teaching and learning methods in their educational curricula.
Current learning systems are reluctant to leave behind conventional classroom methods and restructure the way universities and schools operate. Teachers do not have the necessary professional training to cope with new ways of schooling. The institutions themselves are poorly equipped with new technologies in order to deliver high quality, online education.
"Schooling and institutionalized education have become removed from true, instinctual, and human/humane learning. Humans have been learning since the beginning of time with major discoveries and innovations historically and currently emerging in spite of school. This is the biggest problem I have with schools – most are contrived and coercive and do not honor the innate human need and desire to learn, discover, and evolve."
Fear of something unknown is one of the biggest and strongest fears for all humans. What can be more "unknown" than something you're learning? :) We learn things we don't know - and here unites two different emotions. First one is the passion to explore new things, the second one
No matter how you approach it, you cannot mitigate the massive change agent that is competency-based education. It does not leave much room for “old school” notions of teaching and learning. It does not tolerate anything less than a committed belief that all students can achieve at high levels. It certainly demands a philosophical and ideological shift in thinking about “best practice” in education.
I have some concerns about flipping courses. Maybe I’m just hung up on the name—flipping is what we do with pancakes. It’s a quick, fluid motion and looks easy to those of us waiting at the breakfast table. I’m not sure those connotations are good when associated with courses and that leads to what centers my concerns. I keep hearing what sounds to me like “flippant” attitudes about what’s involved.
“Blended learning takes advantage of the power of technology to deliver training “just in time,” anywhere and anytime. However, in blended learning, technology (and in particular, online education) is not used as an isolated tool, but as a key part of a comprehensive workplace performance solution. Online education, therefore, is not considered the only means to educate, but it should be considered an adjunct to the overall education process.” Evolution of Blended Learning.
Actually giving learners the power to decide where, when and how they’ll learn is the ultimate example of Blended Learning — rather than trying to control what happens when.
This is sometimes a difficult idea for teachers to take on — the siren song of control is a sweet one, and giving it up causes a messy and chaotic environment. But once you’ve experienced seeing students take responsibility for their own learning it’s a powerful idea.
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