Jason russell and anant deshpande 2011 cdl conferencePresentation Transcript
The People’s College: Building on Traditions of Business and Labor Education at Empire State College Anant Deshpande, Ph.D. Jason Russell, Ph.D.
The Roots of Distance Education
Online distance education seems like a new phenomenon since it emerged in the late 1990s, but it is in many ways an outgrowth of well-established program that were offered for many years by institutions in the United States and the United Kingdom.
It will show that online distance education – in this case in Business and Labor Studies – is not simply corporate Computer Based Training.
The Roots of Distance Education
It is appropriate to compare how Empire State College approaches business and labor education with the methods used by Ruskin College, the University of London, and the Open University because there are important similarities.
Empire State College and the Origins of Distance Learning
Empire State College (ESC) drew direct inspiration from the Open University in the United Kingdom (OU). The OU was not the UK’s first university to offer distance learning programs. The University of London originally opened in 1836. Charles Dickens called it the “people’s university” because it provided access to education for students with modest economic means.
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Empire State College and the Origins of Worker Education
Empire State College’s pedagogical approach is also quite similar to teaching theories developed by a person named Albert Mansbridge who founded the adult education movement in the UK in the early twentieth-century. He founded the Workers’ Education Association (WEA) in 1903. The WEA was founded, and still operates, on the principal of worker-centered education. This is another term for student-centered learning, which is what is pursued at ESC.
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ESC Labor Programs in Perspective
ESC’s Labor Studies programs,particularly those offered by the Harry J. Van Arsdale Jr Center for Labor Studies, share much in common with those offered by Ruskin College in the UK. Ruskin was founded in 1899 by two Americans – Walter and Anne Vrooman - to provide learning opportunities to working-class men who could not enter other universities. It became a model for, and inspiration to, labor colleges and programs around the world.
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Labor Studies and worker education programs offered through schools like ESC and Ruskin have been substantive as they have focused on both practice and theory. Courses have often focused on policy issues like employment standards and technological change.
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Labor Studies and worker education programs are increasingly using new learning technologies, but are not simply using them as computer based training. Instead, efforts are made to use technology to understand work and labor issues.
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The Way Ahead
Work and employment issues will continue to be at the forefront of public discourse. This is because most people will eventually seek paid employment at some point. Work and employment issues also attract very distinct opinions and policy positions.
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The Way Ahead
Ongoing issues include how to handle workplace diversity, demographic change, part-time and casual employment, and new technology. Education programs, including those at Empire State College, will have to respond to these emerging issues.
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ESC Business Programs in Perspective
ESC’s Business programs, particularly those offered by the Center for distance learning for Business, share much in common with those offered by OU in the UK.
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OU,Ruskin College and Empire State College courses
Non Credit bearing courses-Professional courses
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Business Programs across ESC, Ruskin College and OU
Wide variety of Business courses at ESC as compared to OU and Ruskin
Emphasis on practical and theoretical aspects
Curriculum designed such that there is significant emphasis on the use of practical experience to solve problems
Programs promote collaborative learning, flexible thinking, subtle management skills, and the ability to work with a diverse group of people
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Today’s environment is rapidly changing and highly competitive. The business program at ESC delivers graduates as leaders who understand themselves, and their organization, in the context such a rapidly changing business climate.
The business programs at ESC further develop leadership and personal impact skills as students not only learn theories in business but also explore how to enhance their own practice.
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Additionally the business programs provide students with tools to generate creative local and global strategies. In addition means are also provided to evaluate and implement them.
The design of the study programme follows a ‘developmental’ approach for the student.
The approach or the methodology used in the classes enable students to develop an enhanced sense of themselves as a manager and as a leader.
In addition a deeper sense of awareness of the diverse and cross-functional nature of organizations is also developed.
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The courses also provide students with an appreciation for the dependencies on and interactions between their organization and the global business environment.
Students are also encouraged to apply their learning to manage change in organizations and realigning the business strategies of their organizations with the changing nature of the environment
Pedagogy centered on:
Active student learning
Consideration of the human factor
Both synchronous and asynchronous
Reflective and reflexive
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To provide equal opportunity for students at different locations to participate effectively
To seamlessly integrate students with different languages and culture
Need to develop a flexible curricula to meet the changing needs of the business world
Develop new approaches to validate learning at workplace
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Integrating different work needs in the curriculum
Follow-up and coaching after the completion of courses
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