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Challenges faced by universities in online education - EMEA Online Symposium 2020


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Neil Mosley of Cardiff University examined some of the challenges universities face in online education, with a focus on what to change, think and do differently.

Neil’s three key suggestions for universities to consider for the next academic year were:
- Invest and invest wisely in people and technology
- Seriously consider forming partnerships
- Don’t delay!

Published in: Education
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Challenges faced by universities in online education - EMEA Online Symposium 2020

  1. 1. Online education A challenge to universities to change, think and do things differently Neil Mosley Digital Learning Designer @neilmosley5
  2. 2. “You have to know the past to understand the present” Carl Sagan
  3. 3. A notable last decade..
  4. 4. MOOCs brought online learning to the masses… “MOOCs started the last decade as a proof of concept and finished with 380 million students taking over 30 thousand courses and 50 degrees from over 1000 Universities globally.” Holon IQ
  5. 5. ...MOOC hype led universities to invest... PARTNERSHIPS Over 40 UK universities partner with MOOC platforms INVESTMENT Universities paying 6 figures sums over the last 6-8 years PEOPLE Recruitment of dedicated teams and/or people to support this activity
  6. 6. ..some made strategic moves into online education
  7. 7. ...and some are growing online education through partnerships with online programme managers (OPMs)
  8. 8. MOOC platforms OPMs In-house ..a mixture of ways in which online education has grown in UK universities..
  9. 9. ...but online education is still largely an adjunct to core educational activity of universities.
  10. 10. ● APPETITE Limited internal appetite for online education and growth mainly driven by players outside of universities. ● PEOPLE Limited professional support and very few learning designers. ● TECHNOLOGY Does existing edtech support active, engaging online learning? Is it accessible and available on a range of devices? ● READINESS Teaching staff largely not ready or experienced in online, blended or flexible learning. General picture of online education in UK HE
  11. 11. Emergency remote teaching
  12. 12. Emergency remote teaching Supporting students at a distance Student and staff wellbeing Global distributed campus Staff readiness to teach online Assessment re-design and re-thinking Support for remote teaching stretched Usability and robustness of technology Student accessibility & inclusivity
  13. 13. “If the next academic year begins on an online basis, platforms will need to be better quality than the temporary – and sometimes brilliant – adaptations now being put in place. The crisis will accelerate the development of online education not as it has mostly been up to now – as an adjunct to traditional classes, or a pale imitation of face-to-face education at the same price – but as a distinctive form or product in higher education” Simon Marginson, Director of the Centre for Global Higher Education, University of Oxford.
  14. 14. Faced with uncertainties and challenges for 20/21... 1. Invest and invest wisely if you can, in people and where necessary technology 2. Seriously consider partnerships 3. Don’t delay!
  15. 15. Learning design is critical to online learning Didactic > Active Synchronous > Asynchronous Communication Collaboration Community Feedback & reflection Activities Authentic assessments
  16. 16. HOLISTIC APPROACH Work closely and collaboratively with academics throughout the lifecycle of designing courses/modules for digital/online delivery. SKILLS GAP A dearth of digital learning designers in universities. *Different to Learning Technologists who tend to offer more discrete technology enhanced learning support. REMOTE WORKING Many work remotely already and the current climate enables access to a greater pool of these professionals. Invest in learning designers...
  17. 17. Does your education technology really support active & flexible online learning? How well does it support active, asynchronous learning? How usable is our technology? How well does our technology support accessibility? Does it work across a range of devices especially mobile?
  18. 18. OPMs & MOOC providers May be an opportunity to partner in the rapid upscaling of online provision. ...or do they have training programmes & resources you can use for staff development. Other universities Can other universities help - there’s many synergies in what we teach - sharing and licencing of materials? ...or do they have training programmes & resources you can use for staff development. Seriously consider partnerships...
  19. 19. This is unlikely to be a wasted investment. Global demand for education Collapsing work and learning boundaries Digital transformation and modernisation Agility and financial resilience Move towards more flexible, active approaches
  20. 20. Any questions Neil Mosley Digital Learning Designer @neilmosley5
  21. 21. Q&A Liz Thomas, Education Consultant Q: Which platforms would you recommend? A: It rather depends a lot on the context - I would recommend considering the kind of teaching required and then assessing different platforms. Microsoft Teams could be a good option for you, it would depend on getting a full picture of documenting what you teach and what you want to achieve online. Barry Spencer, London South East Colleges Q: We’ve made use of the community of enquiry model as part of course delivery through our VLE & agree entirely, importance of learning design, content & assessment have to hang together. Students preferred this method of delivery over the classroom model. The number of posts and chat room activity were extraordinary - looking forward to experimenting with this more at London South East Colleges. A: Great to hear! Some people are surprised when online education works well. Academics working on MOOCs for the first time are often amazed at the richness of the discourse, the questions raised and engagement. My own experience is that online programmes often experience higher levels of student satisfaction than on campus.