Collaboration beyond boundaries: enabling cross-institutional practice

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Presentation given by Dr Keith Smyth (@smythkrs) and Dr David Walker (@drdjwalker) as part of #fdol132 in 2013. …

Presentation given by Dr Keith Smyth (@smythkrs) and Dr David Walker (@drdjwalker) as part of #fdol132 in 2013.

The presentation provided background on the Global Dimensions in Higher Education project http://globaldimensionsinhe.wordpress.com/ and examined some of the issues/challenges that confront institutions as they attempt to engage in open collaborative practices.

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  • 1. Collaboration beyond boundaries: enabling crossinstitutional practice Dr Keith Smyth and Dr David Walker Webinar for Flexible, Distance and Online Learning #fdol132
  • 2. Future of HE: Identity and Place • Collaborate to compete (HEFCE Task Force) • Review of Higher Education Governance in Scotland (2012): – Collaboration a ‘fundamental principle’ of Scottish HE system – “…interest of Scottish universities...is collectively best served by creating collaborative partnership arrangements with other higher education institutions, and this should override any perceived competitive advantage for an individual institution.” • Online provision recognised as potential means to address diverse learning needs and open education to a wider audience • Increasing scrutiny of publically funded provision (duplication) • Content versus experience – added value (Welsh initiatives)
  • 3. Global Dimensions in Higher Education • Identified need for CPD provision that offers a pragmatic way to engage academics in the critical exploration of global issues in HE • Development informed through discussions and contributions on these issues with international colleagues and partners http://globaldimensionsinhe.wordpress.com/
  • 4. About Global Dimensions in HE • Development focused on ensuring the integrity and relevance of the module within international contexts • An educational action research approach has allowed the development of the module to take place within a framework of ‘public and reflective inquiry’ (Cousin, 2009) • Project members, and potential international partners and contributors, have engaged in a range of reflective activities and joint dialogue, and experts from within the global education sector have contributed ‘Global Stories’ http://globaldimensionsinhe.wordpress.com/global-stories/
  • 5. Pedagogic Principles • Structuring a collaborative learning experience that moves participants from collective exploration of key issues to applying concepts and ideas to their individual context • Focus on choice and negotiation of tasks, and learning being driven by both individual and collective needs within the group • ‘Learners as tutors’ and ‘tutors as learners’
  • 6. Pause for Thought • It is proposed by some that fully online learning is more suited to ‘motivated self starters’ who understand themselves as learners. What is your view on this? • Is collaborative online learning more suited to postgraduate and professional education?
  • 7. Progress to date • Development of four units and associated readings, activities, and student guidance designed to support critical engagement with themes of the module • Creation of digital artefacts (e.g. video interviews, podcasts, interactive case studies, digitised texts) • Development of project blog where project we are documenting progress and challenges, and papers to shared ‘lessons learned’ with the sector (e.g. OER13, Ascilite 2013) • Development of the module nearing completion, to be piloted as an open collaborative course during 2013/14 before being refined and made available as an OER course.
  • 8. Practical Challenges • Joint approval of collaborative provision • Potential need to restructure institutional policy and regulations to accommodate collaborative • open educational course design and delivery • Enrolment and assessment of open access versus institutional participants • Access to licensed resources • Integration of open platforms of delivery with institutional educational technologies and administrative systems • Distribution of developmental/administrative costs • Alignment and compatibility of institutional curricula models (including credit levels and teaching periods
  • 9. Boundaries • Language of openness – not shared, but ‘culturally bounded’ • Institutional systems and process are proprietary by design • Educational model and the institutional educational technology (i.e. The VLE) is fundamentally built upon information architecture - less about meaningful interaction but managing data (where students and course codes are ‘units of data’ in information transactions) • Economics of openness – reputational
  • 10. Pause for Thought How open can we be? How open should we be?
  • 11. Isolation through massification? • Can truly collaborative open, online learning be enabled within large or massive contexts? • Can we balance the needs of the individual, and development support for the individual, when learning in open online contexts? • As we move from small to large to massive open contexts, do we reduce our focus from collaboration to cooperation to communication?
  • 12. Contact Details Dr Keith Smyth Office of the Vice Principal (Academic) Edinburgh Napier University k.smyth@napier.ac.uk Twitter: @smythkrs Dr David Walker Library & Learning Centre University of Dundee d.j.walker@dundee.ac.uk Twitter: @drdjwalker