Collaboration beyond boundaries: enabling cross-institutional practice


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Presentation given by Dr Keith Smyth (@smythkrs) and Dr David Walker (@drdjwalker) as part of #fdol132 in 2013.

The presentation provided background on the Global Dimensions in Higher Education project and examined some of the issues/challenges that confront institutions as they attempt to engage in open collaborative practices.

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  • Collaboration beyond boundaries: enabling cross-institutional practice

    1. 1. Collaboration beyond boundaries: enabling crossinstitutional practice Dr Keith Smyth and Dr David Walker Webinar for Flexible, Distance and Online Learning #fdol132
    2. 2. Future of HE: Identity and Place • Collaborate to compete (HEFCE Task Force) • Review of Higher Education Governance in Scotland (2012): – Collaboration a ‘fundamental principle’ of Scottish HE system – “…interest of Scottish collectively best served by creating collaborative partnership arrangements with other higher education institutions, and this should override any perceived competitive advantage for an individual institution.” • Online provision recognised as potential means to address diverse learning needs and open education to a wider audience • Increasing scrutiny of publically funded provision (duplication) • Content versus experience – added value (Welsh initiatives)
    3. 3. Global Dimensions in Higher Education • Identified need for CPD provision that offers a pragmatic way to engage academics in the critical exploration of global issues in HE • Development informed through discussions and contributions on these issues with international colleagues and partners
    4. 4. About Global Dimensions in HE • Development focused on ensuring the integrity and relevance of the module within international contexts • An educational action research approach has allowed the development of the module to take place within a framework of ‘public and reflective inquiry’ (Cousin, 2009) • Project members, and potential international partners and contributors, have engaged in a range of reflective activities and joint dialogue, and experts from within the global education sector have contributed ‘Global Stories’
    5. 5. Pedagogic Principles • Structuring a collaborative learning experience that moves participants from collective exploration of key issues to applying concepts and ideas to their individual context • Focus on choice and negotiation of tasks, and learning being driven by both individual and collective needs within the group • ‘Learners as tutors’ and ‘tutors as learners’
    6. 6. Pause for Thought • It is proposed by some that fully online learning is more suited to ‘motivated self starters’ who understand themselves as learners. What is your view on this? • Is collaborative online learning more suited to postgraduate and professional education?
    7. 7. Progress to date • Development of four units and associated readings, activities, and student guidance designed to support critical engagement with themes of the module • Creation of digital artefacts (e.g. video interviews, podcasts, interactive case studies, digitised texts) • Development of project blog where project we are documenting progress and challenges, and papers to shared ‘lessons learned’ with the sector (e.g. OER13, Ascilite 2013) • Development of the module nearing completion, to be piloted as an open collaborative course during 2013/14 before being refined and made available as an OER course.
    8. 8. Practical Challenges • Joint approval of collaborative provision • Potential need to restructure institutional policy and regulations to accommodate collaborative • open educational course design and delivery • Enrolment and assessment of open access versus institutional participants • Access to licensed resources • Integration of open platforms of delivery with institutional educational technologies and administrative systems • Distribution of developmental/administrative costs • Alignment and compatibility of institutional curricula models (including credit levels and teaching periods
    9. 9. Boundaries • Language of openness – not shared, but ‘culturally bounded’ • Institutional systems and process are proprietary by design • Educational model and the institutional educational technology (i.e. The VLE) is fundamentally built upon information architecture - less about meaningful interaction but managing data (where students and course codes are ‘units of data’ in information transactions) • Economics of openness – reputational
    10. 10. Pause for Thought How open can we be? How open should we be?
    11. 11. Isolation through massification? • Can truly collaborative open, online learning be enabled within large or massive contexts? • Can we balance the needs of the individual, and development support for the individual, when learning in open online contexts? • As we move from small to large to massive open contexts, do we reduce our focus from collaboration to cooperation to communication?
    12. 12. Contact Details Dr Keith Smyth Office of the Vice Principal (Academic) Edinburgh Napier University Twitter: @smythkrs Dr David Walker Library & Learning Centre University of Dundee Twitter: @drdjwalker