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New media and the transformation of higher education


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Presentation to the School of Humanities and Cultural Industries, Bath Spa University, Bath, UK, 14 October 2013

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New media and the transformation of higher education

  1. 1. New Media and the Transformation of Higher Education Presentation to the School of Humanities and Cultural Industries, Bath Spa University, Bath, UK 14 October 2013 Terry Flew Professor of Media and Communication Creative Industries Faculty Queensland University of Technology Brisbane, Australia
  2. 2. ‘The Deathstar Scenario’ ‘Higher education is in deep crisis … Already we are beginning to deliver more lectures and classes offcampus via satellite or twoway video at a fraction of the cost. The college won’t survive as a residential institution’. Peter Drucker, 1997 ‘On the Web for free you’ll be able to find the best lectures in the world … College, except for the parties, needs to be less place-based’. Bill Gates, 2010
  3. 3. Drivers of Change in Higher Education 1. Globalisation 2. Knowledge economy 3. Dispersal of knowledge through the Internet 4. Worldwide demand for higher education 5. Government policies to manage costs/growth/ differentiation 6. Changing student demographics/ expectations 7. Relationship to industry 8. Cost pressures 9. Rise of new for-profit providers 10. Global ranking systems
  4. 4. Major source/destination countries for higher education students (‘000) Source countries (‘000) Destination countries (‘000) 1 China (568) United States (684) 2 India (211) United Kingdom (390) 3 South Korea (127) Australia (271) 4 Germany (105) France (259) 5 Turkey (72) Germany (200) 6 France (68) Japan (141) 7 Russia (62) Russia (129) 8 Malaysia (58) Canada (95) 9 United States (55) China (71) 10 Morocco (54) South Africa (60) Source: UNESCO 2012.
  5. 5. Aspects of globalisation/’disembedding’ of HEIs 1. Growing reliance on international enrolments as sources of institutional funding 2. Cross-border teaching programs 3. International sources of research funding/collaborative research projects 4. Cross-border accreditation of programs (e.g. AACSB, EQUIS for MBAs)
  6. 6. Paradoxical implications of the Internet for knowledge 1. Abundance 2. Linking 3. Permission-free publication 4. Publicness of knowledge creation 5. Visible contestation over knowledge claims ‘The old Enlightenment ideal [of knowledge] was far more plausible when what we saw of the nattering world came through filters that hid the vast, disagreeable bulk of disagreement’ (David Weinberger, Too Big to Know, 2012, p. 174).
  7. 7. Elite to Mass to Universal Higher Education Elite (0-15%) Functions Universal (50% +) Privilege of birth or talent Attitudes to access Mass (15-50%) Right for those with appropriate qualifications Obligation for middle and upper classes higher Shaping mind and character; preparation for Transmission of skills; preparation for wider Adaptation of ‘whole population’ to rapid of elite roles education range of professional and technical roles social and technological change Curriculum and forms of Highly structured; based around academic More modular, flexible and semi-structured Boundaries and sequences break down, as do conceptions of knowledge instruction Undertaken Student ‘career’ after sequence of courses secondary school as More deferred entry and mature-age entry uninterrupted period of life Institutional characteristics Homogeneous with high distinctions between types of ‘learning’ Softening of boundaries between formal education, work and other aspects of life and common More diverse standards; mixed residential or Great diversity with no common standards; standards; many students on-campus; campus commuting; campus more integrated into the many students rarely or never on campus; separate from wider society community boundaries weak or non-existent Locus of power, decision- Collegiate; elite group with shared values and Rise of the full-time ‘academic-administrator’; Full-time academic managers drawing on and academic assumptions; ‘academic amateurs’ selected as growth in professional bureaucracies business administrators by peers making management techniques; appointments from ‘outside academe’ administration Access and selection Meritocratic performance based primarily on school Meritocratic based on multiple criteria; equity Open access with targeted support for underprovisions for under-represented groups represented groups
  8. 8. Positional Goods and Status Hierarchies • ‘Elite universities are partly beyond economics. They need resources, but resources are the means to more fundamental ends: the education of future leaders, research, institutional social position and historical power’. Simon Marginson, ‘The Impossibility of Capitalist Markets in Higher Education’, Journal of Education Policy 28(3), 2013, p. 364.
  9. 9. ‘Public good’ aspects of universities, and their paradoxes ‘Public Good’ aspect ‘Private good’ element Support for the education of individuals boosts overall stock of human capital through a more knowledgeable population Individuals capture the benefits of higher education in higher average incomes over time Research leads to the generation of new knowledge and breakthrough innovations that would be under-supplied in absence of public support Success in attracting research funding boosts the status and research capacity of elite universities Universities as scholarly institutions contribute to a vibrant public sphere Creation of status hierarchies as elite researchers are highly sought after by competing universities
  10. 10. Evolution of Open and Distance Education (ODE)
  11. 11. ‘Baumol’s Disease’ in higher education • Difficulties in technology:labour substitution • Use of student:staff ratios as a proxy for quality of teaching • Institutional rigidities • Pressure to ‘buy the best’ researchers • Increased expenditure on student support services • Mismatch between institutional incentives and expectations of both students and other stakeholders (e.g. governments) William Bowen, Higher Education in the Digital Age, 2013.
  12. 12. Weighted global university ranking criteria Times Higher Education QS Top Universities ARWU (Shanghai Jiao Tong) Teaching (30%) Academic peer review (40%) Education: Alumni winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals (10%) Research: volume, income and Global employer review (10%) reputation (30%) Citations: research influence (30%) Faculty: Staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals (20%) Faculty/student ratio (20%) Highly cited researchers in 21 categories (20%) Industry income – innovation (2.5%) Citations per faculty (20%) Research – papers in Nature and Science (20%) International outlook – students, staff International faculty ratio (5%) Papers cited in Science/Social Science and research (7.5%) Citation (20%) International student ratio (5%) Per capita academic performance (10%) Source: Barber et. al., An Avalanche Is Coming, IPPR, 2013, p. 21.
  13. 13. ‘Five P’s’ framework for evaluating changes in higher education • • • • • Practical issues Personal issues Pedagogical issues Policy issues Philosophical issues
  14. 14. Myths of Internet-based higher education 1. The Internet will kill off university campuses – Assumption that ‘on-campus experience’ is exclusively about access to course content – ‘Eds and Meds’ urban development strategies 2. Online education is cheaper than face-to-face – Considerable fixed costs involved in developing online content – Costs of bandwidth, revamping content, reskilling staff etc.
  15. 15. Benefits and costs of online course delivery (Lei and Gupta) Benefits of online delivery Costs of online delivery Ability to reach a wider range of students Costs of acquiring appropriate software and computer hardware Greater flexibility in class scheduling Need to train faculty and students on how to use new programs Enabling low-cost access to wider range of resources Institutions Need for upgrades, and issues of incompatible technology Reduced costs of communicating with students Faculty Greater flexibility in how and when courses are delivered Challenges of ensuring all students are engaged and motivated New modes of communication and interaction with students Challenges of learning new technologies and programs Ability to use freely available online resources as additional Work overload with student emails, questions etc. learning materials Ability to engage learning instructors and develop course Difficulty in separating teaching/non-teaching times with 24/7 student access online delivery teams Students Flexibility in how, when and where to participate in courses Need to have appropriate ICT infrastructure (computer, software, Ability to undertake self-paced learning broadband access) Some student cohorts may prefer absence of formal classes Requires higher levels of self-motivation and time management and need to travel Lack of face-to-face peer interaction may be a problem for some learners