Summary of seminar Building the Future, on open and distance learning and open learning resources, at HiOA on february 27. – 28. 2012.
Are existing institutions prepared for a new digital life, or will the future educational market be disrupted by new actors? A widely used example is Khan Academy, founded by Salman Khan in 2006, which shows how an initiative from an outsider flips education on its head. Khan’s approach focuses on exercises, as long as the students are in the classroom, and let students to download video-lectures after school.
All existing educational institutions will have to become more professional in combining campus-based teaching and online teaching. However, the most successful institutions will probably be those who become able to take advantage of technology to grow into new markets
Open educational resources can be freely accessed, used and further developed. such resources are on the education agenda in many countries and international organizations such as UNESCO and OECD.
Kyrre Lekve opened by showing a slide of a number of initiatives that provide open educational resources. Among the examples were Webcast Berkeley, Open Yale Courses, MIT Open Coursware and the coming MITx:
MITx will be coupled with an MIT-wide research initiative into online learning that will study ways in which students, whether on campus or part of a virtual community, learn most effectively. To the degree that MITxdemonstrates highly effective online learning tools from which campus-based students might benefit, such as self-paced online exercises, those tools will become part of the experience of MIT students.
Mentions the Norwegian initiatve eCampus, which is going to provide ICT infrastructure for webmeetings, streaming, podcasts etc, and facilitate collaboration between institutions.
An introduction was given by Frits Pannekoek, President, Athabasca University, Canada.
UNESCO wants to double the number of post graduate learners in the world. This can’t be done with traditional universities. the massification of learning can only be achieved by the use of digital tools
The digital environments makes learning less national and more international. Learning resources must be perceived more like a communal good.
- What MIT and others have done is tremendously positive. Open educational resources is one of the most profound developments in education, in an international perspective.
- Pannekoek mentioned a movement i USA called “Learning analytics”. An example: if one could build educational resources, e.g. in calculus, that made more people manage the course, one will make these people able to go into new areas in the educational system.
- There are also counterforces, like increased national control to learning. The last 4-5 years many governments have imposed restrictions on open learning. Some say that 80% of the learning must be residential.
- Some nations wants government based databases with quality controlled OLR. It is potentially problematic, especially if few, governmentally controlled resources are combined with a less open regime when it comes to reuse.
- Another threat is those who see one common course as a possibility to reduce professional staff.
- There is a increased protectionism by the traditional universities. In north-america there are restrictions on the transfer of credits between institutions. One must have a robust system for transfer of credits.
- Pannekoek refers to the boycott of Elsiever: Thecostofknowledge.com
The seminar continued with presentations by Yang Zhijian Open Univerity of China. 9 million have graduated from OUC during the last 30 years. 1/10 of the registered chinese students in higher education is from the OUC
The next speaker was Mandla Makhanya of University of South Africa. Higher education participation i Africa is 6-7%, where OECD states that 40-50% is needed for rapid economic growth. Open distance learning is a viable, affordable option, but with many well known challenges.
37,7% of enrolments i South Africa are enrolled in distance education. 83% of these are students of Unisa
Marta Mena from Argentina, and then before Morten Flate Paulsen who spoke from the perspective of EDEN – European Distance and e_learning Network (www.eden-online.org)
- an educational crisis will spur innovation and that the need for cost-effective education will result in many opportunities for e-learning
- the finacial situation will enforce more competition, merges, and new financial models. ODL providers will need to find sustainable and more efficient models in a more competitive market
- Some personal thoughts from Paulsen
- mobile gadgets in combination with social media are promising developments
- video lectures seem to have greater impact
- Announces the EDEN annual conference in Oslo 17-21 June 2013
Berit Kjelstad, Pro-Rector NTNU,
- Most of the teaching is in english (at NTNU) at most courses at master level
- You need to have special centres to facilitate distance learning.
- Take Credit, African History and Mathematics are internet only courses. However, most courses are blended learning. The blended model is where NTNU will expand. Many technical studies need laboratory facilities etc
- developed partly because the institite did not get funding to increase the staff
Marit Aamodt Nielsen, Univeristy of Agder, spoke about how to bring our identity and values into an online world
- PULS – Centre for Educational Reasarch and Development
- Beta UIA – meant to inspire colleagues
- Læringsarena 2020
- Digital university
- 10 mill 2012 and 5 mill the following years
- Digital exams are in focus
- Campus students also want more flexible studies and immediate response. But faculty memebers feel reluctant to provide blended learning
Kristin Dahl, Norway opening Universities
- LMS – used by 95% of students 90% of staff
- students access material and read messages
- teachers distribute messages and material
- students feel that there are little facilitation of the use of other learning methods
- administrators: engaged staff, but most lonely riders
- teachers: require training that is not currently offered.
- Individual conditions
- Advice for the road ahead
- focus on strategic and planning work
- include the use of ICT in subject descriptions and academic plans
- integrate digital technology into exams
- assist in developing documentation of the use of ICT
- focus on the students and work together with enthusiastic students
- take advatage of the students use of social media
- initiate national strategies
- encourage institutions
- contribute funding to effective research and development
- project development resources
- Are there any concerns regarding “cultural imperialism”
- free licences may makes it possible to for the developing countries to take advantage of resources and build their own
- As a physicist one has always been accustomed to learning material from the USA. There have been this kinds of discussions for quite some time. Might be different in eg the social sciences.
- At NTNU it is the users who have requested online material
- At the department of mathematics they do not apply what they are doing online to the campus students
- Without gender balance there is a risk for social imbalance
- Universities are reluctant towards using outcome measures. This is a debate that we should have, because most of the discussion is about input measures.
- We fail to differentiate between input and output. Family background is one example that has profound influence on student performance.
- Looking at the number of students that succeed
- The concept of quality is not uniform, especially not across national borders. The model of quality also holds the potential of being imperialistic.
- Collaboration will increase quality, but transparency and openness are key-issues. When other people can see what we are doing, we takes extra measures to secure quality.
- Quality in courses that include practice can be difficult to measure in respect of quality.
- Make it possible to take courses across national borders. There are still very few students taking courses across national and institutional borders.
- The biggest issue is that there is no international credit-transfer programme. Universities are interested in keeping these barriers and preserve their market.
- User driven development. A global issue.
- Moving form teaching oriented to learninng oriented.
- Disruptive initiatives, like MITx, which might change education.
- Teacher education. How to learn teachers to adapt to new possibilities.
- How to change pedagody, especially in the traditional universities.
- If “digital natives” learn different that “immigrants”, what are the differences.
Who should be responsible for the quality in education. Do we have the awareness of what the teachers actually do when educating. How to develop their skills.
- What is the role of libraries in open education
- more and more about the online presence of the library. The move towards ebooks is very interesting.
- The academic work is largely part of the hidden internet. content kept between passwords. Most students find their material through open search engines.
- there is a definite role for information specialists. The challenge i that in a open world people access information that is outside the quality control of institutions. Level one students might need controlled environments, with fewer choices
- UiT has organised the flexible education under the library. This was something that came up quite late in the process.
- a specific centre to teach teachers how to teach.
- what about the transfer of credits to end up with a degree
- One can manage without a degree. Many students do not go all the wat towards a degree. the bit of paper becomes less important when lifelong learning becomes more common.
- The degree porcesses becomes more flexible. We could be talking about the end of universities. Our image of what universities are are very much 20-century.
- There seems to more equal problems between different regions of the world than what was the case earlier.
- Why do we talk about “open universities”- because the universities hold the brand of excellence. This has market value.
- How can to pay salaries when we give something away for free. How to make things sustainable. Budgets are getting smaller.
- Open access: what is the business model. The MIT-example. What have they done: The know the strength of their brand. The are not really part of the open-access movement
- What do all the parts of the process cost you. What does it make sense to give away for free. Must think through this and make plans
- The big dragon in the room is the issue of quality. there is an underlying assumption that open univeriities do not hold the same quality. This is an issue that we always have to address
- Universities might well disappear. The traditional church has disappeared in north america. Is the University the new church?
- difficult to make pople become both excellent researcher and educators. Easier to measure research, which is winning this race