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Crossing the Chasm


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Presentation for Open Education Conference, Vancouver, August 2009

Published in: Education, Business
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Crossing the Chasm

  1. 1. Small steps across the chasm: ideas for embedding a culture of open education in the university sector   By Lisa Harris, Lorraine Warren, Jean Leah and Melanie Ashleigh, School of Management, University of Southampton, UK
  2. 2. Who we are <ul><li>Lisa Harris @lisaharris is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Southampton University School of Management. She is currently investigating the role of Web 2 tools in education and also developing a new MSc programme in Digital Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Lorraine Warren @doclorraine is a Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Southampton School of Management. Her research interests include the emergence of new technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Jean Leah ( [email_address] ) is the Learning and Teaching Coordinator at the University of Southampton School of Management. Prior to joining the University of Southampton she worked in initial Teacher Training and main stream secondary schools. </li></ul><ul><li>Melanie Ashleigh ( [email_address] ) teaches Organisational Behaviour, Human Resource Management and Information Systems. Her research interests cover a broad spectrum including trust in teams and technology, human error, innovation and knowledge sharing in teams, team training and team learning. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  3. 3. 140 character abstract <ul><li>“ We critique ‘digital native’ students and ‘technophobic’ faculty and recommend systemic change in student attitudes and university learning structures to cross the chasm.” </li></ul><ul><li>Please feel free to tweet your comments on this session to #opened09 and look out for my co-writer @doclorraine  </li></ul>
  4. 4. I like this… <ul><li>“ If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less” </li></ul><ul><li>(General Eric Shineski, US Army Chief of Staff) </li></ul>
  5. 5. The times they are a changing… <ul><li>Availability of free content (e.g. video of lectures) by global experts both in education and industry from the likes of MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Oxford </li></ul><ul><li>University reliance upon the ‘Russell Group’ arrogance – but this is a 20 th century brand. </li></ul><ul><li>Expectation from students of flexible evening/weekend/online learning options, as they seek to maintain job and family commitments </li></ul><ul><li>Accessibility and breadth of information now available online alters the traditional role of the lecturer as gatekeeper to relevant knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Difficult economic conditions and higher fees adjust the risk/reward calculation of attending university </li></ul><ul><li>Student profile increasingly international and with a wide range of ages and work experience </li></ul>
  6. 7. Educational opportunities presented by Web 2 tools <ul><li>Generically known as “social technologies” which are built around participation and collaboration – essential aspects of ‘action-based learning’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communities such as Facebook or Ning for communication and collaboration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs and micro blogs to generate content, access information on latest trends, or access global networks of expertise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wikis for collaborative working and editing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bookmarking sites such as Delicious or Digg to save, rate and organise material </li></ul></ul>
  7. 8. Issues with staff… <ul><li>Traditional business school setting </li></ul><ul><li>60 academic staff…only 7 admit to using ‘technology’ in their teaching </li></ul><ul><li>BUT this includes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ links to websites in powerpoint slides’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ playing YouTube videos’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Just 2 are active enthusiasts </li></ul>
  8. 9. Issues with students… <ul><li>‘ This e-learning allows you o make a point you’re really interested in very easily and makes me give ideas when I don’t want to speak in group. I like it much better than presenting to class in seminar. In China I have never done this ever, but we know technology well but we only ever learn from teacher and text book.’ (Chinese female) </li></ul><ul><li>Non fluent speakers were given the opportunity to express arguments well. But I didn’t come to University to learn through technology – I’m not sure this isn’t a cop out! (UK male). </li></ul><ul><li>‘ It was fun to use technology in a useful way rather than for chatting on line or wasting time! This unit was original and made the group interact. It was fun to debate the issues and definitely made me actually do work for the course and read around the subject.’ (UK female) </li></ul><ul><li>Still think face to face seminar classes necessary and better as communication between people is better – technology ok but we here to learn from teachers! (Chinese female) </li></ul><ul><li>I think older people have an advantage understanding the educational or business value of social media. For us, we can’t take it seriously as it’s something we’ve always mucked about on as a break from study (UK male) </li></ul>
  9. 11. The ‘digital native’ debate <ul><li>Many writers have noted the disruptive potential of Internet technologies on student behaviour (Prensky, 2001, Dede 2005, Tapscott 2008). </li></ul><ul><li>Research conducted by the European Interactive Advertising Agency (EIAA, 2008) showed that European students were spending more time information gathering, online gaming and online chats, and less time watching TV or reading </li></ul><ul><li>Kennedy et al (2007), British Library (2008), Littlejohn et al (2008), Sanders et al (2008), Ednor et al (2008) found that the skills and enthusiasm for Web 2.0 tools amongst the ‘Google generation’ were overrated: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>students focused solely on social use of the tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>students actually expected more traditional means of interaction in the classroom </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some studies reported a ‘pick and mix’ approach to Web 2.0 tools – high usage of Wikipedia and social networking, but low uptake of blogging and social bookmarking = a focus only on the more passive features of Web 2 </li></ul></ul>
  10. 12. Issues with university structure and culture <ul><li>Blackboard VLE used at very basic level, module specific so does not permit sharing </li></ul><ul><li>Locked down IT infrastructure requires ‘admin’ access for even basic functions </li></ul><ul><li>Lecturers using social technologies operate outside the University network (via own blogs or Ning communities) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Online learning’ is regarded as somehow inferior… </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching is rated well below research </li></ul>
  11. 13. Challenges <ul><li>How do we cross the chasm into ‘respectability’ – individual projects by enthusiast tutors usually work alone outside established university structures and technologies </li></ul><ul><li>How do we ‘sell’ online learning to those who regard it as inferior? </li></ul><ul><li>Levels of interest and commitment to new technology in education by both staff and students embraces the full spectrum… </li></ul><ul><li>How do we support the staff and students who are reluctant to try new approaches? </li></ul><ul><li>When integrating online learning into the curriculum, what is the appropriate amount of structure to provide students with? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we encourage students to evaluate the quality of online resources more carefully? </li></ul><ul><li>Should we adapt our online/offline structure according to perceived differences in student profiles…how much customisation is possible? </li></ul>
  12. 14. Crossing the chasm: a few small steps for mankind… <ul><li>LH and LW ‘roadshow’ (supported by online resource) to encourage staff take up of social media for teaching and research </li></ul><ul><li>Monthly small group sessions led by an early adopter to share knowledge of new tools (next month it is mindmapping) </li></ul><ul><li>Adapting the mix of online/offline material in our courses according to the student profile, and/or offering them choice </li></ul><ul><li>Ensuring very specific instructions and demonstrations are provided to students when introducing new course structures or assessments </li></ul><ul><li>Ensuring support is in place for staff looking to try something new (technical, training or mentoring from more experienced colleague) </li></ul><ul><li>Ensuring the environmental challenges facing education are recognised and incorporated into the School strategic plan </li></ul>