I was really pleased to come across the wealth of info within a blog by Dr George Siemens of Athabasca University and to learn about the forthcoming online course ‘Current/Future State of Higher Education 2012’ (#CFHE12). I’ve had a few of my own attempts at tackling this big and complex topic (see Blue Skies and my blog) so I’m looking forward to learning and sharing with others. I particularly like the emphasis on education as a complex system with five functional areas. It seems that the conclusion reached is that the sector really is facing unprecedented change.
I did wonder though if the analysis felt a little too pessimistic at times about the capacity of educators to innovate and use new digital tools. I think there is already a lot of progress at the grass-roots, though it’s clearly patchy and requires careful nurturing. And although there seem to be some unrealistic claims and investments taking place in silicon valley, I think we should take a more collaborative approach than us/them. For example both learners and educators are increasingly using ‘apps’ in their daily lives and I hope both can work ever-closer with developers to make sure the educational ones keep getting better.
I also wonder how much blame can really be placed at the door of HE management for not helping their staff through this period of change. Again I think the picture is more varied than that, with some individuals and institutions leading the changes we see around us, let alone responding to them. It’s not as if other sectors, such as business, have all got this right either. Some big names are failing and nearly all are looking to external expertise as they build their own organisational capacity. The argument remains a good one though and if a burning bridge (and an online course) is required to increase the pace of progress, then so be it.
I’m looking forward to getting involved.