Increasing Flexible Access: Better Understanding the Value of Higher Education

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Presentation at Ed Tech 14, Annual Conference of Irish Association of Learning Technology, Dublin, 30th May.

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Increasing Flexible Access: Better Understanding the Value of Higher Education

  1. 1. A cutting-edge digital learning strategy Increasing Flexible Access: Better Understanding the Value of Higher Education Professor Mark Brown Director, National Institute for Digital Learning Ed Tech Conference 30th May 2014 Dublin
  2. 2. Background… • Previous Director of Distance Education and Learning Futures Alliance (DELFA) • Past President New Zealand Association for Open, Flexible and Distance Learning • Current Treasurer of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ascilite) • Leadership role implementing New Zealand’s first enterprise wide university-based MOOC initiative • Director of the new National Institute for Digital Learning at Dublin City University • Previously Director of the National Centre for Teaching and Learning, Massey University, New Zealand
  3. 3. 1. Why this focus? 2. What are the basic assumptions? 3. How can we better calculate the value? - private - public Outline…
  4. 4. In brief…
  5. 5. 1. Why this focus…
  6. 6. • Flexible (digital) is the new normal 1. Why this focus…
  7. 7. • Flexible (digital) is the new normal • Wider participation agenda 1. Why this focus…
  8. 8. • Flexible (digital) is the new normal • Wider participation agenda • Response to major societal changes 1. Why this focus…
  9. 9. • Flexible (digital) is the new normal • Wider participation agenda • Response to major societal changes • Increasing emphasis on life-long learning 1. Why this focus…
  10. 10. • Increasing concerns about student success 1. Why this focus…
  11. 11. 1. Why this focus…
  12. 12. 1. Why this focus…
  13. 13. • Increasing questions about return on investment 1. Why this focus…
  14. 14. • Significant gap in the policy and funding context 1. Why this focus…
  15. 15. 16% 1. Why this focus…
  16. 16. 2.7% 1. Why this focus…
  17. 17. 1. Why this focus…
  18. 18. 95% of mature university level students are part- time 1. Why this focus…
  19. 19. 1. Why this focus…
  20. 20. “As many part-time courses and all open and distance learning courses are not recognised and are not eligible for funding purposes, colleges must operate flexible learning programmes on a largely self-funded basis” (HEA, 2009, p.7). 1. Why this focus…
  21. 21. The National Strategy for Higher Education recommends that if Ireland is to raise levels of lifelong learning and higher education attainment, more is needed in terms of increased flexibility and innovation, broader routes of access and a model of funding that supports all students equally, regardless of mode or duration of study (HEA, 2012, p.6). 1. Why this focus…
  22. 22. “By 2016, full equality of provision and support will have been achieved in higher education for all students, regardless of time, place or pace of study. A range of indicators will be developed to measure achievement of this goal, with a review of progress before the end of 2014” (HEA, 2012, p.33). 1. Why this focus…
  23. 23. • Major blockage in truly harnessing benefits of digital learning 1. Why this focus…
  24. 24. 1. Why this focus…
  25. 25. “Review funding models to remove barriers to flexibility for students in how they want to learn” (p.11). 1. Why this focus…
  26. 26. 2. What are the basic assumptions?
  27. 27. • Matters for individuals - private • Matters for regions and countries - public • Contributes to economic development • Provides significant wider societal benefits • Flexible learning is a subset of these benefits Higher Education…. 2. What are the basic assumptions?
  28. 28. “Society, as a whole, benefits from increased tax revenues, a decreased demand for welfare support, an increase in civic participation, a lower demand for health services, and higher wages” (2006, p.2). 2. What are the basic assumptions?
  29. 29. 2. What are the basic assumptions? £1.3b
  30. 30. - April, 2012 2. What are the basic assumptions?
  31. 31. 2. What are the basic assumptions?
  32. 32. New Zealand Ireland 2. What are the basic assumptions?
  33. 33. Smoking Rates Among Individuals Ages 25 and Older, by Education Level, 1940–2008 2. What are the basic assumptions?
  34. 34. 2. What are the basic assumptions?
  35. 35. 2. What are the basic assumptions?
  36. 36. http://trends.collegeboard.org/education_pays 2. What are the basic assumptions?
  37. 37. “The evidence is overwhelming that higher education improves people’s lives, makes our economy more efficient, and contributes to a more equitable society. The existing gaps in participation and success are detrimental not only to individual lives, but also to society as a whole. 2. What are the basic assumptions?
  38. 38. “The evidence is overwhelming that higher education improves people’s lives, makes our economy more efficient, and contributes to a more equitable society. The existing gaps in participation and success are detrimental not only to individual lives, but also to society as a whole. Different paths are appropriate for different individuals, and our challenge is to make the most promising paths readily available to students from all backgrounds. We will all be better off if we continue to make progress in this direction” (Education Pays, 2010, p.9). 2. What are the basic assumptions?
  39. 39. 3. How can we better calculate the value?
  40. 40. “Distance Education… …has made me the person I am today, a productive working woman in her late forties contributing to society. I was in my early to middle thirties when I found distance education and… it was a godsend to enable me to make my life and my son’s life a much better one in the long term. I wanted to better myself by studying while on a benefit and not being able to afford childcare, distance education was the best way of making my life better. 3. How can we better calculate the value?
  41. 41. I am now employed by a government department in a role helping victims in the community. I am now in a position that I am not reliant on a benefit and not likely to need one in the future. Where would I be if distance education was not available to me? Still in the same place as I was 12 years ago, stuck on a benefit with no future to speak of. Now I am… proof that it’s possible to change your life for the better by utilizing distance education” Sharon (18th Jan, 2011) http://exmss.org/presidentsblog/2011/01/18/treat-distance-students-with-respect 3. How can we better calculate the value?
  42. 42. Of those earning $100K+, 85% were distance students Graduate Destination Survey (2012)… 3. How can we better calculate the value?
  43. 43. “Groups with similar characteristics to distance learners, such as part-time and older students, generally use student loans at lower rates and leave school with lower levels of indebtedness.” (2011) 3. How can we better calculate the value?
  44. 44. • In 2010, distance programmes offered by Massey University contributed a total of $470.9 million to the regional economies of New Zealand. • After taking into account the direct, indirect and induced expenditure impacts of the University’s extramural students, a further $232.9 million worth of output was added to regional economies across New Zealand. (Professor Christoph R. Schumacher, 2011) 3. How can we better calculate the value?
  45. 45. Three case studies… 3. How can we better calculate the value? Big Data!
  46. 46. 0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000 70000 1 2 3 4 5 Annualearnings($NZ) Years after graduation Median earnings by age: Bachelor's degree graduates Young Bachelors Young - 34 Bachelors 35 - 44 Bachelors 45 + Bachelors 3. How can we better calculate the value?
  47. 47. “Closing the gap between labour market participation rates and unemployment rates for people with and without disabilities by one- third would result in a cumulative $43 billion increase in Australia’s GDP over the next decade in real dollar terms.” 2009 2010 2011 Auckland University of Technology 9 EFTS 18 EFTS 22 EFTS Lincoln University 0 EFTS 0.5 EFTS 4.3 EFTS Massey University 376 EFTS 353 EFTS 337 EFTS University of Auckland 0 EFTS 0 EFTS 3 EFTS University of Canterbury 14 EFTS 14 EFTS 7 EFTS University of Otago 35 EFTS 30 EFTS 36 EFTS University of Waikato 36 EFTS 48 EFTS 46 EFTS Victoria University of Wellington 13 EFTS 16 EFTS 21 EFTS 3. How can we better calculate the value?
  48. 48. Benefits beyond paid work… 3. How can we better calculate the value? 50+
  49. 49. • The contribution of sport and recreation to GDP (including volunteered services) in 2008/09 was more than $5.2 billion, or 2.8%. • This is as large as a recent estimate of the contribution made to GDP by the dairy sector. 3. How can we better calculate the value?
  50. 50. Conclusion
  51. 51. Conclusion One final point…
  52. 52. “It will not be possible to satisfy the rising demand for Higher Education, especially in developing countries, by relying on traditional approaches” Sir John Daniel Past President, Commonwealth of Learning Vancouver Conclusion
  53. 53. “A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.” Francis Bacon http://www.slideshare.net/mbrownz Questions…
  54. 54. Contact details… Professor Mark Brown Director, National Institute for Digital Learning mark.brown@dcu.ie @mbrownz http://www.slideshare.net/mbrownz

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