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We urgently need a university 2.0


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We urgently need a university 2.0

  1. 1. We urgently need a university 2.0(New Technologies and Educational innovation in our universities )14 th Toulon-Verona Conference. Annual International Meeting. A think-tank onExcellence in Services)Andrés Pedreño MuñozInstituto de Economía InternacionalUniversidad de AlicanteIntroductionI want to share with you all a relief staff on how to see the university at thistime. It is my humble view. It is not intended nothing more. I will mentiona well-known topics. Some years ago, when I used to talk about this kind ofissues I believed that I was very original. However, today I am just one ofmany voices that defend that universities must change very quickly andwith the utmost ambition. Let me, however, join my voice to this type ofrevindication.XXI century society has new demands, new needs, new aspirations,everything is renewed, everything changes quickly.1
  2. 2. Our universities do not seem to be as sensitive to change ...We have a 1.0university. In contrast, we have a 2.0 society that is feeling comfortablewith a new digital identity, with new tools to define a new socialframework, new ways of doing business, interpreting information,communicating, requiring governments... ...Our students get to university with very powerful tools. They are veryfamiliarized with them. They use this ICT tools for pictures, movies, music,to meet friends, to have fun, But they don’t understand why in ouruniversities do not use these kind of tools for theirs studies.Teachers, professors, talk about knowledge, but they use very rudimentarytools to manage it, learn it and transmit it. Even when we share and debateour scientifical resources, our tools are less advanced than those thatstudents use in their everyday life.Many companies and professionals have also been very efficient in takingadvantage of these kind of tools.The society as a whole is learning to organize itself in a political way. Wehave a lot of representative and very well-known international examples:2
  3. 3. ● The oppressed citizens in the arab world take advantage of Internet in order to defeat tyrants and injustices. They use information not only to organize demonstrations, but even to design a real revolution. ● The recent developments in Spain -known as 15M- is another very well-known fact, reported worldwide. ● Even, as you all know, the current president of the most powerful country in the world, Barack Obama won the presidential elections thanks to an intelligent and very active presence in social networks. ● Meanwhile thousands of people, even anonymously, write in one of the most complete, updated and useful encyclopaedia, you all know, Wikipedia, free access, collaborative world, without payments, without scientific authority… ● Nowadays in Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Youtube… you can find more professional, or leisure information than all general and conventional media. More than seven hundred million people participate in this social phenomenon. ● In Internet, people working in Wikipedia, Youtube, etcetera, defend a way of distributing intellectual property “Creative Commons”, that is more rational and better adapted to the features of the new ICT tools.3
  4. 4. ● People share ideas, open minds and knowledge. The phenomenon of open source and its spectacular results must make us question old research methods and our limited productivity.Meanwhile … ● We persist in the old economy generated because of the paper, or Guttenberg era. Our concept of intellectual property is not adapted to the digital era. In the battle between Google and publishers, universities didn´t support enough the initiative of digitalization of intellectual heritage. Why was that? For me, it is difficult to find a satisfactory answer. ● We still distribute and report our research with “smoke signals”. We have not adapted our resources to the new tools. ● Our teaching activity is far from using tools that help it to renew itself; our teaching methods use these new tools in order to change ways but not substance. ● The collaborative work in our universities is far from achieving the ambitious challenges that online society has met with wikipedia. We have yet to accomplish in a satisfactory way the challenge of sharing, and doing a interdisciplinary and internationally work in order to achieve satisfactory goals. Sometimes our networks seem more like4
  5. 5. a group of interest or lobby in order to increase influence or European funds. ● We communicate our ideas and contributions on paper …even if we don’t have too much to say, we use thousands of characters. But why? Especially when we find it almost impossible to summarise the main idea in a simple abstract… Whereas young people use only 140 characters and, at least they don’t lose time any more. ● We patent thousand of ideas with the only objective of making it more difficult for our competitors. Google buys Motorola because this company has thousands of patents that help Google to defend its positions and achievements in software, with respect to Apple.. ● It is time to ask whether we are complicit in maintaining an obsolete concept just to protect intellectual property. But we don’t even debate it, even at the risk of delaying progress.In general, there seems to be more debate and exchange of ideas in thestreets, in social networks than in our classrooms, libraries or seminars.The role of universities in the information society5
  6. 6. Perhaps universities must aspire to adopting a new role in modern daysociety.The information society has changed peoples ideas and habits, and ischanging the very rhythm of change.The current economic crisis is changing many things ... and has exposedinconsistencies and injustices that a more collaborative society, conscious,is still not willing to allow.The information society is rapidly changing individuals and their socialenvironment. Their virtualization enables enrichment ...It cannot be understood that universities are not leading knowledge societyin all its forms ...Perhaps this question is still interesting ... what do universities need tobecome a fundamental piece of the knowledge society?I. Where to begin? The university 2.0 model6
  7. 7. To address this question I think we should describe the university modelminimally desirable and even required, socially speaking.I would like to make clear that the University 2.0 is not an option for ouruniversities, but it is actually something more important. It may soundexaggerated, but the university 2.0 is a key resource for our survival.The construction of the European Higher Education Area (BolognaProcess) was a missed opportunity to address the fundamental changes thatour institutions needed.Universities with resistance to changeFirst of all I think we should be self-critical in order to progress. Manyobservers have the feeling that the universities are reluctant to majorstructural changes. Society often talks about university endogamy or evengenerational crisis. I think our university structures make any changedifficult and complex. Perhaps because we have established a model ofconservative University not sufficiently sensitive to innovative practicesand changes in general. This is what we should probably change urgent andpriority.7
  8. 8. We live in times of great convulsions induced by the exhaustion of ahistorical pattern of economic growth and the introduction of new ways tocompete, work, progress, in short, to live. In this economic and socialframework, new technologies, information technologies are shaking upsocial skills and promoting a gap between a new economy (linked toknowledge) as opposed to an old economy, linked to not only traditionalindustries but also work and life shapes and styles that are increasinglyoutdated.To all this must be added the requirements of competitiveness associatedwith globalization and the new rules set by the knowledge society. All thiscalls for increasingly more urgently, a new model of university.Ill try to summarize it in four very simple features: ● A global and internationalized university. Our companies, our work and welfare depend on us accepting the demands resulting from internationalization and economic globalization. If universities do not think globally and take on the demands of competition arising from it, they are not fulfilling their social mission. Globalization has increased innovative pressure, change and the ability to create and8
  9. 9. grow. It is essential to build networks and become integrated into the wider circles. ... We have mentioned the need for competitiveness and this leads to the next point. ● A university radically different in terms of quality and competitiveness. If companies are required to be competitive to survive... what about our universities? Should they accept the challenge of being competitive?.This issue has reopened discussions as interesting as the measurement of the quality and competitiveness. In this regard, we can not admit endogenous indicator and settle into complacency. Maybe we should use indicators such as, for example, our capacity to export high technology goods. Such indicators reveal a great technological weakness for a country like Spain. And universities must be aware that we are indispensable to achieving economic competitiveness. ● Universities must take radical initiatives to increase our competitiveness in teaching and research. We must be more ambitious in our goals and reforms. For example, should two or more universities be able to merge in a country like Spain ?. Businesses do this when seeking new advantages and strengths, new niches .. Why not universities? In Finland, for example, there has9
  10. 10. been a smart move on the matter. Universities have to lose the aversion to change to be competitive. And these changes may be encouraged by public authorities. ● An open university, committed to the goal of combating cloused compartments . Closed models are stagnant, outdated and lacking competitiveness.This is what happens to the old economy sectors and many of its businesses. I would argue that if universities do not open up without restrictions, we run the risk of ending up belonging to the "old economy": low innovation capacity, weak demand... And some of these indicators were already receiving today. ● A socially committed university that leads the knowledge society, innovation and development of new technologies. It would be paradoxical if in the context of the knowledge society, universities did not assume ownership and leadership they deserve. All economists agree that the knowledge economy is the main source of competitiveness of enterprises (especially in advanced economies). Universities must take advantage of this great opportunity which makes us leaders of the future.In short, our countries need quality universities,competitive andinternationalized universities , also open, innovative and able to assumeleadership in the knowledge society.10
  11. 11. With these ideas in mind, if we persue these goals, talking about university1.0 and university 2.0 makes a lot of sense.Ideas for a University 2.0Create and encourage in our universities an open mind to change. Perhapsthis is the most important thing. And without this, none of what I say willmake sense.Innovation, entrepreneurship, professional networks, human capital of thecentury. That does not make much sense if universities do not realize theyhave to be part of an ecosystem of innovation. The most known and studiedinnovation ecosystem in the world is the Silicon Valley. Here the referencecompanies are Apple, Google, and social networks with next IPO. There istalk already of the Semantic Web 3.0. ICT are studied and developed butkeeping an eye on nanotechnology ....Google digitalizes 13 million booksin the Library at Stanford. And MIT, on the east coast, responds with aglobal project: OCW. All MIT professors put their educational resources inan open internet and invite the rest of the world to do the same.11
  12. 12. If our universities want to get somewhere they can not look back. Thechanges are so fast that even if we look ahead and react positively, we mayfind ourselves a few steps behind.And the question is: Are our universities a part of an ecosystem ofinnovation?. Many countries in Asia (India -Bangalore- or China) struggleto reproduce their innovation ecosystem. The results are evident: India is aglobal software power. The weight of the hi-tech Chinese exports in totalexports is double that of Spain.Lets start with the ideas ... And I will be more practical and less theoreticalthan four years ago when I talked about these issues.1. Assuming a digital culture.In my opinion, it would be important for universities to lead processes ofinnovation and social change and not to be placed at the end of the queue.In other words: it would be interesting that the universities were goodreferences, useful case studies for society.12
  13. 13. The seed of Google was commissioned by Stanford University. TheUniversity asked two of its students for search engine for its library.Facebook began as a social network for Harvard students and today itsheadquarter is in Palo Alto. The company is valued at billions of dollars.We all know very well these cases, their history, their protagonists .... Butwe do not take steps to help similar initiatives in our universities.Our students need to feel a sense of university 2.0 that understands andexceeds their status of digital native, a university that takes advantage oftheir digital skills ...How to do this? Im sure if the rectors of the universities ask their expertswill arise many projects and ideas really challenging and interesting.Ideas to bring about changes?How about an e-government? Perhaps we need to redefine the way inwhich we participate and make decisions in our universities. Shaking ourcenters, departments, faculties, ...of old bureaucracy. The challenge ofanticipating the changes and the influence of ICT in our democracies in our13
  14. 14. participatory processes ... Open our universities to the opinions of ourteachers, administrators and students.How about a paperless green college? and easy access in any format ordevice: comfortable, open, easy ... All information and all administrativetasks online ...How about re-engineering processes, making simple, convenient, easy,rational and fast all the paperwork and administrative management in ouruniversities ...?Crazy or risky ideas. Why not?Only if universities dare to move towards the future will they becomereferences to our society.2. The importance of being open.An open society needs open universities. Open innovation, open teaching,open research . Be open, this the message ..14
  15. 15. When MIT OCW was launched ... it gave us a sample of a revolutionaryexample. First, educational innovation is global. For this reason the MITinvited the rest of the worlds universities to join their cause. Second, themessage was simple: a university that closes its teaching runs the risk ofbecoming poor and isolated in a world changing at breakneck speed ....Open teaching was the only way to maintain leadership.In parallel, open innovation is the response of companies like IBM to theseprocesses of rapid change ... More and more companies point to this trend,it is no longer a few isolated cases ... How can they close their researchuniversities when companies are opening up their innovation and researchactivity?If universities want to lead change they must embrace the methodology ofOpen Innovation. The software world is te one making fastest progress.Currently it is the one that contribute the most social benefits. Open sourcedrives one of the largest economic and social revolutions known to date.Governments are sensitive to the pressures of certain economic interests inregulating intellectual property in a way outdated. Universities must help tochange radically the concept of intellectual property. We have to adapt it to15
  16. 16. the digital age. We must exploit the potential of new tools. We must beaware of the speed of change and the benefits of sharing knowledge, anopen knowledge. The benefits should not come from a narrow focus ofknowledge. We must apply imagination to find new solutions.Today we can talk about even a show in the world of patents. A gamereserved for companies which serves to win legal battles. Rarely used toeconomically exploit the ideas and knowledge reflected in inventions. Itslegal and regulatory base game allows specialists to take up positions instrategic sectors, and does nothing to protect hypothetically talent orproductive effort in R & D. Significantly, Googles largest investment hasbeen motivated by these issues ...3. The need to build virtual university networks.Professional networking is one of the key factors of innovation ecosystems.Let me mention nanotechnology, a sector of maximum future, as we allknow. A map of nanotechnology research in the world today would give usa complex result: China, India, Israel, South Korea ...Of course, besides theUnited States, Germany, France or the UK ... Can a university afford to16
  17. 17. have researchers in a highly competitive field who are not integrated intoinformation networks, track work, knowledge sharing?To be outside the social research network is to risk being stagnant,regardless of the processes of innovation and state of the art progress. ... Inthe world of ICT these processes are critical. Tools such as twitter,facebook, linkedin, not designed primarily for professional use areperfectly adapted to these purposes , but universities could improve them.However we are not leading this process of innovation. Universities are notproducing sufficient responses, innovations with respect to the privatesector.4. Communication and methods of working with digital natives, ourstudents.This is a problem that worries me. The tools used by digital natives, ourstudents, encourages an advanced method of communication. These toolschange the way a profession is carried out: they enable quicker ways tomake decisions contrast ideas, knowledge etc.... All this quickly andimmediately ...17
  18. 18. In my opinion we should avoid a digital divide between teachers, digitalimmigrants, and students.Our virtual campus is closed, not very innovative and in general is lessefficient than the tools used by students in the free time....These are just a few examples of how universities can be much moreproactive.Perhaps my contribution may seen quite self-critical but I speak in the hopethat my university college and I will be capable of reacting and takingcontroll of the information and knowledge society which really should beour proper role.Thank you18