Open Strategies in Higher Education: Opportunities and Challenges
Dr Mark McGuire
Senior Lecturer, Department of Applied Sciences
University of Otago
DEANZ (Distance Education Association NZ) Conference
11-13 April 2012, Wellington, New Zealand
In business, social media, and other aspects of contemporary society, we can trace the shift in models of production, delivery, and consumption from Push (broadcast) to Pull (download) to Share (co-create). Similarly, we are beginning to see new models of provision emerging in higher education. As Curtis Bonk points out in The World is Open: How Technology is Revolutionizing Education, in theory, “[a]nyone can now learn anything from anyone at anytime” (2009). Martin Wellers is one of an increasing numbers of academics that are promoting the benefits of open, digital scholarship (2011). However, rather than transforming how courses are designed and delivered, most institutions of higher learning are using information technology in a limited way, to enhance traditional classroom teaching (Bates, A. W. T., Sangra, A. 2011). Although institutional structures and practices may be resistant to change, innovative individuals and institutions have developed “open” strategies that provide models for others to follow.
For several years, coordinators of OOCs (Open Online Courses) and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have made use of network technologies to leverage the wisdom of the crowd and to amplify the reach of tertiary courses for both credit and non-credit students (de Waard et al., 2011; Kop, Fornier, & Sui Fai Mak, 2011). More recently, Stanford Engineering Everywhere (SEE) and MIT’s MITx, have demonstrated how traditional, formal learning for a limited number of fee-paying students can support informal learning for a much larger number of off-campus participants for free. In this paper, I discuss recent research relating to open education and report on my experience as a non-credit participant in several open courses. I discuss recent initiatives by Stanford and MIT and reflect on the potential of Open strategies for traditional tertiary institutions.
Bates, A. W. T., & Sangra, A. (2011). Managing Technology in Higher Education: Strategies for Transforming Teaching and Learning: Jossey-Bass.
Bonk, C. J. (2009). The World is Open: How Technology is Revolutionizing Education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
de Waard, I., Abajian, S., Gallagher, M. S., Hogue, R., Keskin, N., Koutropoulos, A.,(2011). Using mLearning and MOOCs to understand chaos, emergence, and complexity in education. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(7), 94-115.
Kop, R., Fournier, H., & Sui Fai Mak, J. (2011). A pedagogy of abundance or a pedagogy to support human beings? Participant support on massive open online courses. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(7), 74-93.
Weller, M. (2011). The Digital Scholar: Bloomsbury Academic.