CNIE: Paradigmatic Struggles In Academia


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The tensions and challenges of offering online learning in higher education

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CNIE: Paradigmatic Struggles In Academia

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