CNIE: Paradigmatic Struggles In Academia
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CNIE: Paradigmatic Struggles In Academia

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The tensions and challenges of offering online learning in higher education

The tensions and challenges of offering online learning in higher education

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CNIE: Paradigmatic Struggles In Academia CNIE: Paradigmatic Struggles In Academia Presentation Transcript

  • Paradigmatic Struggles in Academia Emerging Difficulties with Delivering Learning Online Kelly Edmonds University of Calgary
  • Main topics 1. Trends in Online Learning 2. Fundamental Issues 3. Organizational Implications 2a. Economic Forces 2b. Philosophical Resistance 2c. Political Tensions Context: Mainstream North American universities
  • Higher Education Pressures
    • Knowledge-driven economies
    • Emerging technologies
    • Mobility of people
    • Growing student enrolment
    • Changing student demographics
    • Lifelong learning needs
    • Globalization – broader markets
    • Offering distance education in online, internet-based environments fulfills a need, and emerges as a favoured method by allowing for more diversified and flexible education through multimedia and advanced communication technologies
  • Trends in Online Learning Third Generation of DE Forces of Change Impact on Academia
    • 1990s
    • Info age
    • Internet; e-resources
    • Design specialist
    • Individualized learning; dynamic interactions
    • Training and performance
    • Second order change
    • External driving forces
    • Internal forces
    • Norms and values challenged
    • Paradigmatic shifts
    • Entrenched culture
    • Institutionalization
    • Old and resilient establishments
    • Set structures and regulations
    • Protective interests
    External driving forces from the demand for online learning are outnumbering internal restraining forces from established norms and perceptions
  • Economic Forces Philosophical Resistance Political Challenges Tensions in academia Fundamental Issues Online learning is a contested area of practice (Webber, 2006)
  • Economic Forces
    • Global democratic ideals of education – access for all (UN)
    • Education as a tradable service (WTO/GTA)
    • Less government support
    • Competition
    • Resulting concerns:
      • Entrepreneurial culture; market share focus
      • University branding
      • Consumerism of students
      • Commodifying education; online learning
  • Philosophical Resistance
    • Faculty resistance to online learning
      • Questions of quality
        • Commodification of education
        • Poor application of technology
        • Loss connection to students & traditional role
      • Prefer conventional methods
        • Invested interest
        • Western epistemology of education: development of knowers and transmission of knowledge
      • Job security
        • Lack of development skills and control of curricular
        • Erosion of academic freedom
  • Political Challenges of Leaders
    • Macro level
      • Global competition; for-profit institutions
      • Competing budgets
    • Institutional level
      • Academic structure, governance, policies restrictive
      • Lack of e-learning policies
    • Micro level
      • Academic freedom; faculty member resistance
    Role as change agent
  • If online learning as a delivery method is deemed worthwhile, a change in institutional culture on all levels will be necessary. Moore (2004)
  • Organizational Implications Change Cultural Change Approaches to Change Unfreezing Stage Learning Organization
  • Cultural Changes
    • Changing existing culture
    • Protection of norms and values
    • Second order change
      • Deliberate
      • Drastic
      • Disequilibrium
      • Threatening
    • Difficult to implement
  • Transformative Change
    • 3 phases of transformative change (Levy, 1986)
      • Unfreezing, changing, refreezing
    • Higher educational institutes (Parchoma, 2006)
      • Experiencing unfreezing stage
      • Reacting and responding
      • Status quo destabilized
      • Beliefs are questioned
      • Next move unknown
  • Approaches to Change
    • Trice & Beyer (1993)
      • Revolution
      • Changed subcultures
      • Gradually over time
    • Levy (1986)
      • Planned change
      • Patience: takes time, resources and energy
    • Schein (2005)
      • work with existing culture; create compatibility with values and norms
  • Learning Organization
    • acquiring knowledge and changing behaviour as a whole group
    • sharing knowledge, respecting others, learning together, and taking risks
    • Academia culture:
    • Autonomy
    • Intellectual skepticism
    • Competition
    • Bureaucratic
    • Learning org culture:
    • Cooperation
    • Compassion
    • Concern for the whole
    • Open to change
  • Learning Organization
    • To create:
      • Commitment; and from the top
      • Decrease competition; trust
      • Inclusiveness; bottom up and top down
      • Double loop learning
        • Continuous practice of examining assumptions
        • Act on learning
      • Challenges
        • Implementing
        • Sustaining change
  • Conclusion Change Org Model Rapid technological changes Online minimally developed Higher Education Institutions Current Landscape New Players Higher ed lagging