It’s been a positive challenge to study my Open University H880 module this year, at times very challenging when work has been especially busy. However, juggling and sometimes struggling have led to exciting and energising outcomes in recent weeks. We were asked to read the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and consider the connections between them and our course. Contextualising my learning, and then my work, in terms of the SDGs has given me a new focus. Academic development has the purpose of enhancing learning and teaching in higher education. SD Goal 4 is Quality Education: to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. This refers to all levels of education, and to learning across our lives. Access to technology is addressed as part of gender equality in Goal 5. Our work as teachers/educators, academic developers, educational technologists, and indeed open practitioners, links directly with the SDGs. We seek to improve the educational experiences of all students, and help our institutions to achieve their access and retention missions. This has been valuable in helping kick-start work ahead of the new academic year, but has also started me thinking again about how we frame academic development in relation to open education.
Normally I wouldn’t cover stock market news, not even when a leading Online Program Management (OPM) company’s stock drops 65% in one day. But this followed a frank assessment of the OPM market, and that is worth covering. ” Online program management is a difficult business to be in. Online education is increasingly competitive, student acquisition and marketing costs are going up, and the regulatory landscape is becoming more complex… attracting large numbers of students to a particular online program is more challenging and more expensive than it was just a few years ago.” Those who watch the technology space in general will recognize this as a familiar pattern – when you tie yourself to a platform, whether it’s Facebook or the university system, your fortunes are tied to that platform, and that platform will eventually turn on you.
Direct link: https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2019/08/01/bad-day-2u-highlights-vulnerability-online-program-management
Tony Bates weighs in with a longish and well-thought-out post on the potential future of public education through the vehicle of a news report on education in the future province (?) of Cascadia: ” Forget content delivery. Almost all the content we need to teach is already out there on the Internet, either as open educational resources or freely available through the Internet… we had to focus on the hard stuff, and that is high-level skills development that requires a skilled person – an instructor, although I prefer the term ‘counsellor’ – to help with the learning and training.”
Direct Link: https://www.tonybates.ca/2019/07/28/some-thoughts-on-the-future-of-public-higher-education/
Bryan Alexander discusses the strategies being pursued by universities in the face of fiscal pressure: “Quality over quantity, right-sizing (from corporate America): key words for describing this strategy.” But there’s a disturbing aspect to this: “Will those be students from wealthier families?” The thing is, the more universities serve a small wealthy elite, the less there will be broad support for public funding. We already see this with complaints that student grants and loan forgiveness only benefit the rich. A lack of public support pushes them to contract even more. It’s a downward spiral universities can correct only if they find a way to serve the wider public. Of course, my scepticism is such that I don’t think many of them really have an interest in doing that.
Direct link: https://bryanalexander.org/horizon-scanning/how-to-shrink-a-university-and-how-to-talk-about-it-one-campus-begins-the-process/
Staffordshire University’s 2030 strategy aims to make it the UK’s leading digital university. It’s an ambitious goal and to achieve it the university is working on a large culture change project that has staff and student digital capabilities at its core. The aim is to make sure people are equipped with the skills they’ll need to make the most of all that Education 4.0 has to offer.
If you’ve spent any time thinking about complex systems, you surely understand the importance of networks.Networks rule our world. From the chemical reaction pathways inside a cell, to the web of relationships in an ecosystem, to the trade and political networks that shape the course of history.Or consider this very post you’re reading. You probably found it on a social network, downloaded it from a computer network, and are currently deciphering it with your neural network.But as much as I’ve thought about networks over the years, I didn’t appreciate (until very recently) the importance of simple diffusion.This is our topic for today: the way things move and spread, somewhat chaotically, across a network. Some examples to whet the appetite:
- Infectious diseases jumping from host to host within a population
- Memes spreading across a follower graph on social media
- A wildfire breaking out across a landscape
- Ideas and practices diffusing through a culture
- Neutrons cascading through a hunk of enriched uranium
In earlier posts I discussed
formative and/or summative assessments , and journaling as a good opportunity for implementing one form of formative assessment .
Several readers reached out and asked that I drill down into assessments a bit more to explain these processes. In this post I’ll describe the six categories, or criteria that can be used to describe assessments.
I was at one of the Microsoft Teams education road shows on Thursday (11th July) at their Paddington offices. There is clearly a lot of thinking to be done in this space but I wanted to put down some initial thoughts about what I observed, not just in terms of the presentations I saw, but in terms of the people who were there, their reactions and comments. In terms of who was in the room, it was a mix of IT, teaching, and e-learning staff. I think it is also fair to say the audience was mixed in terms of MS Teams “evangelists”, sceptics, and people there who were trying to get a handle on what they need to do to support teachers and teaching in light of their institutional strategy, and who were looking at Teams as a potential part of that picture.
Private journaling is a better alternative to meditation.
He/she who dies with the most death bed points, wins.
An overview of my current workday habits. (March 2017)
This report complements our recent student insights report: Digital experience survey 2018: insights from students in UK further and higher education. It is the first foray into uncovering how teaching staff in colleges and universities really experience their digital environment and although this is a pilot study with a small sample of institutions we think the voices of these teachers deserve to be heard.
The skills needed in the 21st century workforce will be driven by Industry 4.0 with the next industrial revolution fuelled by data and machine learning. In addition to meeting student and staff expectations, education leaders need to be confident that their digital environments can accommodate these technological advances.
Jisc believes that Industry 4.0 cannot truly succeed without a corresponding Education 4.01. Our role is to help colleges and universities make the most of the potential of new and emerging technologies. Our digital experience insights surveys help colleges and universities to see their digital environments through the eyes of their learning communities. They provide unique datasets that inform and support initiatives to enhance quality.
Digital experience insights gives you a unique view of all aspects of your digital environment through the eyes of your students and staff.
This Jisc service is important in amplifying the student voice, identifying what makes a difference to students and creating opportunities for meaningful discussions to take place. It provides opportunities for colleges and universities to work collaboratively with their students and staff in the quest to develop digital environments, experiences and skills that will help them to prosper in an increasingly digital world.
The PAH Continuum: Pedagogy, Andragogy & Heutagogy
Guest post by Fred Garnett
In my teaching practice, mostly with socially-excluded kids attempting to get some qualifications in college, I developed a number of techniques for showing them how to be successful on their own terms. College is classically a context in which an andragogic approach works best, where you negotiate with your students to find an agreed learning path. In the department where I worked, at Lewisham College in London, we had developed a universal entry test, followed by an interview, which everyone took. We had found this process to be a better predictor of success that their school results, which usually just measured their dissatisfaction with an education system, which was designed to fail them. We then offered to the prospective student what seemed to be appropriate courses and subjects on which they might be successful.
However, over time, I developed a technique that I now call brokering that was much more about negotiating with the learner in the learning context of the subject that they had chosen. I had started teaching in the USA and one of the aspects of teaching there which I particularly loved was that for any subject that you taught you developed your own syllabus. It went through a quality assurance process so that the University approved what you taught, but you had designed the learning. When I started teaching in England I took it for granted that you would write your own syllabus. Consequently I was soon on all the course committees and before long had written a unit on the social impact of Information Technology, still my favourite course of all the many that I taught.
Writing the syllabus and developing the schedule of delivery along with the work to be completed meant that I was, in effect, building the framework of what I was teaching. Consequently I really understood what the boundaries were and so could better broker between the formal requirements of the education system and the personal desires of my learners; I had found that all these ‘failing’ students wanted to learn.
The Collaborative Knowledge Exchange for Learning Impact – or, simply, Crannóg, for short, is a partnership between NUI Galway, UL, MIC, and DCU, which aims to support the professional development of those colleagues in roles such as Head of School/Department, Dean, etc.
Specifically, the project focuses on aspects of leadership of teaching & learning, and the building of digital capacity/capability. It builds on the work of Ireland’s National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning, and seeks to encourage the sharing of ideas, the dissemination of research and scholarship, and the development of a professional network.
The project has been curating resources on key topics raised by Heads of School and Discipline in the partner institutions.