change in higher education
The Electronic Journal of e-Learning (EJEL) provides perspectives on topics relevant to the study, implementation and management of e-learning initiatives. Volume 11 Issue 2, published in June 2013, includes a selection of papers which demonstrate the widening range of possibilities for e-learning.
Technologies continue to develop and change, and issues of adoption and innovation persist. Like any other technologies, e-learning hardware and software is best used when it is introduced to solve a real problem which has been carefully thought through. The articles in this EJEL issue edited by Roy Williams show that there is tremendous promise and opportunity, but there are no quick fixes, and no one-size-fits all solutions.
EJEL has published regular issues since 2003 and averages between 3 and 4 issues a year.
“We need to educate more people all their lives and we can’t do it using the elite model developed in the past”
Dr. Fred Mulder, UNESCO Chair holder in Open Educational Resources (OER) at the Open Universiteit in the Netherlands and former Rector of OUNL, and Dr. Rory McGreal, UNESCO Chair holder in OER and professor at Athabasca University, recently stopped by Rome to deliver keynote addresses at the LINQ2013 conference.
eLearning Papers has recently launched an issue on MOOCs. What is your opinion about this phenomenon?
FM: I think MOOCs are an interesting phenomenon that gained a lot of media attention recently. This attention can help make OER mainstream in education and get OER in the policies of governments. MOOCs are still in an infancy stage and they can further develop in various ways in the future, but I think they can anyway help reach this ultimate OER goal.
RM: I am very excited about MOOCs. We were involved with the first MOOCs that came out in Canada and George Siemens, one of the founders of the MOOC concept, is one of our faculty members. I have been supporting scalable education nearly all of my professional life and I think the major challenge for the 21st century is how we educate people around the world who are capable of a university education and just don’t have access, which is an issue not only in the developing world, but even in Canada and in Europe. We need to educate more people all their lives and we cannot do it using the elite model that we have developed in the past.
What are the challenges that MOOCs face at the moment?
RM: I think one that has not come yet is the revanche of the traditional universities, but MIT and their initiatives made OER respectable and they are making the same for MOOCs, a real possibility for mass-education.
FM: I think another challenge is to cherish diversity. We should think about how we can serve diversity in terms of language, cultural context, and educational models. There is not a single model that will work for every situation.
Do you think also access and cultural barriers can be other challenges?
RM: The benefit of having MIT or Harvard lead the way is the bigger impact it has on developing countries and it can be a stimulus for smaller universities to do their own. In many cases, in developing countries education is only for the elites, so this new trend breaks away the idea that in order to have an education you need to have an elite system.
FM: In my view it is a mistake to think that you can capture the whole world with US-styled courses in the English language, even if they come from reputed research universities. It’s better to have a collaborative model with universities at different continents to develop their own MOOCs. My concern is to have this at global scale indeed and to have it applied in countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America in different languages and adapted to their own cultural contexts.
Will MOOCs replace more traditional educational models?
FM: MOOCs can have different applications in different situations and some universities might decide to include MOOCs into their curriculum, but I don’t think they will replace a full curriculum. A curriculum is not just a set of courses but rather a coherent program in which courses are related and other components are included as well.
RM: I think it would be difficult, but not impossible. We have the possibility of getting a Bachelor of General Studies solely via prior-learning-assessment or challenge exams at Athabasca University. The possibility is there. As MOOCs develop, there will be numerous career paths: some of them will be MOOCs, some regular courses, some OER, and some with regular textbooks.
So, blended learning is the future. What are the keys for this to happen?
RM: One is the ability to divorce the assessment process from the delivery process. The other big issue is the transferability of your credits so that people’s acquired learning is accepted.
FM: MOOCs will be a challenge especially for open universities. That’s why we started OpenupEd: to offer a good alternative to the US-based MOOCs by putting the learner at the centre and by delivering quality learning materials in a wide variety of languages and with a decentralized model.
If you want to read some more information about OpenupEd, please read this other interview.
Dr. McGreal, in your talk yesterday at LINQ2013 you mentioned that OER should be applied and formatted on mobile devices for M-learning. Why do you think this is priority?
RM: Look around, the world is mobile. It’s not “going mobile” anymore, it is mobile! And yet we are continuing to design our OER as if people have a desktop rather than designing for a small screen, chunking your information. It’s a lot easier to take that and put it on a desktop than the other way around. This is the world we live in, and a lot of educators don’t seem to see it.
You also mentioned that there is a need for OER because we cannot effectively use commercial content. Do you think this can be solved by putting in place the right policy on property rights?
RM: I’m a bit cynical about policies because we have all kinds of policies that we don’t pay any attention to. Policies are often a diversion from doing anything. We can’t use commercial content in designing for mobile devices, and this hasn’t struck anyone yet, they think they have a choice. If you get a commercial e-text, it’ll be in one format, and you can’t switch it to another. There are a lot of people with all sorts of devices and we need to have that capability to adapt from one to the other.
What implications this could have with people with disabilities, for instance?
RM: Again, we have to have these capabilities: text to voice conversion for blind people in particular. These things we need to do and we cannot do them with commercial content. These kinds of restrictions are going to ruin it for educators: we have students in open universities from 60 countries and it’s impossible to negotiate intellectual property licenses with each of them. We cannot use proprietary content on these courses without breaking the law, so OER and Open Education are the key.
And now just a last question for both of you: what is your role as UNESCO Chair holders in OER?
FM: Using the UNESCO chair provides an interesting independent mechanism to promote OER but having the privilege to use the UNESCO label. There are four UNESCO chair holders in OER besides the two of us: Tel Amiel, from University of Campinas in Brazil, and Wayne Mackintosh, from Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand, and we of course would like to expand the number of chairs in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In 2011 we began designing a common plan of action to add value to the OER world. I’m coordinating the Global OER Graduate Network (GO-GN), a network of PhD students and their supervisors from universities in different parts of the world. Currently we have about 15 partner universities and close to 20 PhD students who all will have additional supervision from experts in different countries. The network will meet in an annual seminar where the PhD students present their research plans and outcomes and get feedback.
RM: I am coordinating the OER knowledge cloud, a repository with over 600 referred papers and reports on OER that help students on the Global OER Graduate Network and other researchers working with OER issues to find the information which is full-text searchable. Another major action is the OER University, Wayne Mackintosh coordinates 23 universities members from 6 continents to create pathways for using OER to assessment and accreditation, and Tel Amiel in Brazil is working on K-12 issues.
Technology educational affordance: Bridging the gap between patterns of interaction and technology usage
The research paper “Technology educational affordance: Bridging the gap between patterns of interaction and technology usage” reports on an empirical and descriptive investigation into how teachers and learners use technology in three prototypical learning activities in a higher education online learning environment.
The results from the three learning activities indicated six overall educational uses of technology in an online learning environment. Moreover, the results also indicated differences in technology usage in some different patterns of educational interaction in each learning activity.
Researchers Badia, Barbera, Guasch and Espasa from the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) argue that the notion of technology educational affordance is useful as an effective bridge between the real use of technology and instructional aims. Therefore the distribution of educational uses of technology is not only related to some attributes of both technology and instruction but also to its interaction.
Media & Learning 2013 is targeted at practitioners and policy makers interested in exploring and discussing media supported learning at all levels of education and training.
Media & Learning 2013 is for all those interested in the latest developments, services and uses of media in education and training. Aimed at both policy makers and practitioners, the purpose of this annual event is to identify policies and initiatives that promote digital and media competence at all levels of education and training as well as to promote best-practice in the take-up and application of media in education and training.
ICERI2013, the 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation, will be held in Seville (Spain) from 18 to 20 November 2013.
A platform to discuss the latest developments in the fields of teaching and learning methodologies, educational projects and new technologies applied to Education and Research, ICERI2013 is inviting authors to submit research papers based on a wide array of topics, which they may present in person during the event or virtually. The submission deadline is July 11th.
Two ISBN publications will be produced with all the accepted abstracts and papers, and all accepted contributions will be included in the IATED Digital Library to form part of its database of innovative projects in Education and Technology.
ICERI2013 Publications will be included in Google Scholar and sent to be reviewed for their inclusion in the ISI Conference Proceedings Citation Index.
More than 700 delegates from 75 different countries are expected to attend ICERI2013 in Seville.
This is one of the main questions that the VI International GUIDE Conference 2013, to be held in Athens (Greece) on October 3-4, 2013, will tackle, while providing a comparative analysis of the effects of governmental policies on new training and research strategies.
“The Global Economic Crisis and its consequences on the national educational systems: Can online education contribute to overcome the crisis?”. This is the main question that the VI International GUIDE Conference 2013, to be held in Athens (Greece) on October 3-4, 2013, will try to answer.
Abstract submission through the Call for Papers form by May 31.
Organized under the patronage of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Greece, the event will provide a comparative analysis of the effects of governmental policies on new training and research strategies in response to the economic crisis. In particular, the Conference will highlight the role of digital technologies in providing cost-effective equal learning opportunities, while maintaining a high quality university education.
In order to do so, the Conference will be opened by several high-profile keynote speakers, who will give a extremely valuable insight on these questions:
- Welcome address, by Prof. Alessandra Briganti (Marconi University, Italy)
- The Impact of the Crisis on the Structure of Higher Education Systems, by Prof. Andrea Gentile (Marconi University, Italy)
- Surviving Economic Crises through Education, by David R. Cole (University of Western Sydney, Australia)
- Distance Learning and Labor Market Flexibilty, by Christodoulos Stefanidis (University of Pireus, Greece)
- Global knowledge, information technology and the humanities: can intellect exist? A historian's view, by Dr. William Mallinson (Ionian University, Greece)
- OER and MOOCs in a Time of Economic Crisis, by Sir John Daniel and Stamenka Uvalic-Trumbic (Academic Partnerships, USA)
- Economic crisis and online education, by Panagiotis E. Petrakis (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece)
- MOOCS: Disruptive Force or Disorienting Distraction?, by Dr. Arthur F. Kirk Jr. (St. Leo University, USA)
Besides, many experts coming from across the world will discuss new trends and developments in technology-enhanced learning, such as:
- Distance learning as a Strategy for National Development: Blended Education that serves the Mission, Muhammed el Sadanni (MISR University for Science & Technology, Egypt)
- On the Effectiveness of Virtual Labs in Universities - Case studies from an Indian National Mission Project, by Shyam Diwakar (Amrita University, India)
- Distance learning impact on the public agenda setting, by Krzysztof Gurba (Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow)
- The elearning as a response to social challenges: Portrait of a situation, by Maria de Fátima Goulão (Universidade Aberta, Portugal)
- MOOCs and Global Distance Learning: Compatibility or Conflict?, by Paul Edelson (Stony Brook University/SUNY, USA)
- The civil society and the complexity of crisis: cooperation for educational change towards an open system of learning, by Antonis Lionarakis (Hellenic Open University)
- Improving the efficiency of educational process by immersion in virtual reality, by Mikhail Lavrentyev (Novosibirsk State University, Russia)
- Online Learning for All. Accessiblity in Distance Education, by Pilar Orero (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)
- Building Better Online Education Programs Using a Formal Quality Model, by Robert W. Robertson (Argosy University, USA)
You can check the working list of confirmed speakers here.
Please visit the official website of the conference for more information and updates.
The VI International GUIDE Conference 2013, "The Global Economic Crisis and its consequences on the national educational systems: Can online education contribute to overcome the crisis?", organized under the patronage of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Greece, will provide a comparative analysis of the effects of governmental policies on new training and research strategies in response to the economic crisis. In particular, the Conference will highlight the role of digital technologies in providing cost-effective equal learning opportunities, while maintaining a high quality university education.
• Reforming national higher educational agenda
• Pedagogical Innovation in course design and delivery
• Higher Education in a time of economic crisis
• Social Implications of Distance Learning
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