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IT as a Force of Change
July 30, 2013
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We are learning our way to a connected future.
As a visible facet of the connected age, MOOCs are leapfrogging us from industrial era education to connected era education. MOOCs are not a transformation in and of themselves—they are an element in a long, complex, and nuanced process of transformation. We should treat MOOCs—and the innovations that will follow them—as experiments, creating spaces in our instructional portfolios to take risks, analyze results, and adapt, refine, and iterate them as needed.
The infrastructure for connected learning will enable interaction and analysis.
Connected learning is about interaction. The required infrastructure enables social connections, processes, and interaction on the front end and rich data collection on the back end. Large-scale online programs are providing massive learner data sets and analytics that will help improve learning itself. We can combine outcome and process measures to help learners, but we must be sure to address data privacy and ownership.
MOOCs suggest new business models.
The "massive" aspect of MOOCs permits new business models built on "long tail" thinking. With global reach, specialty courses can address niche markets and gateway courses can be offered affordably. Courses are likely to diversify, growing beyond the 15-week, seat-time form to alternatives that shift traditional models of time, place, and assessment. With online courses providing massive opportunities for acquiring skills, MOOCs push us to think critically and creatively about the meaning of credentials and credit.
Technology doesn't have to be fancy to be powerful.
Technologies are within our grasp now to provide richer learning and assessment opportunities, as well as better scaffolding and support for students. Examples such as pedagogical agents, learning analytics, massive-scale video conferencing, and personalized microassessment are already making a difference to learners.
"MOOCs have created this sense of urgency. They are creating institutional change in ways we don't understand today, but we will reflect on. They are bringing units together that hadn't worked together, or new units are starting up. They are helping the university serve the world." —Linda Jorn, Associate Vice President of Learning Technologies, University of Wisconsin–Madison
What elements of MOOCs are causing institutions to rethink the “rules” of higher education? Connectedness, scale, data, and new models are reshaping infrastructure, platforms, teaching and learning, analytics, student support, and business structures. These changes are both enabled by—and have implications for—information technologies and IT services.
Today we reflected on large-scale online learning in the connected age and explored answers to the following questions:
- What are MOOCs today?
- What are the forces that are catalyzing change in higher education?
- What are MOOCs likely to be next year or three years from now?
IT as a Force of Change
In the opening session for the EDUCAUSE Sprint 2013, Elliott Masie, CEO of the MASIE Center, discussed the perspectives of employers on the future of learning and skills acquisition, the role large-scale online learning is playing in professional development, and how MOOCs are changing employers' relationships with traditional higher education. Chris Dede, the Timothy E. Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies at Harvard University, explored what the not-so-distant future could look like if we fully integrate the power of technology into the teaching and learning experience.
- Elliott Masie, CEO, The MASIE Center
- Chris Dede, Timothy E. Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies, Harvard University
- Diana Oblinger, EDUCAUSE President and CEO
Join us as we explore today's theme on IdeaScale, our conversation hub.
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- Disrupting College: How Disruptive Innovation Can Deliver Quality and Affordability to Postsecondary Education, Center for American Progress and Innosight Institute, February 2011. This report discusses how disruptive innovation can deliver quality and affordability to postsecondary education.
- New Technology-based Models for Postsecondary Learning: Conceptual Frameworks and Research Agendas. This report is the result of an NSF-sponsored Computing Research Association Workshop held at MIT on January 9–11, 2013. This workshop developed a framework for understanding current disruptive change in higher education learning delivery models and outlined steps toward a research agenda for realizing possible benefits while avoiding future pitfalls.
- Higher Education in the Connected Age, EDUCAUSE Review Online, April 1, 2013. EDUCAUSE President and CEO Diana Oblinger provides insight into the new, connected age in higher education.
- ELI 7 Things You Should Know About Connected Learning, ELI, May 2013. Connected learning is rooted in the active participation of students, instructors, advisors, and collaborators, offering the ability to connect courses, people, and resources to develop unique, personalized learning pathways. This vision of education is of particular interest to those concerned with learner success and the growing role that collaboration plays in all facets of higher education.
- Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design, Digital Media and Learning, January 2013. This report is a synthesis of ongoing research, design, and implementation of an approach to education called “connected learning.” It advocates for broadened access to learning that is socially embedded, interest-driven, and oriented toward educational, economic, or political opportunity.
- The Beginning of Something Big, EDUCAUSE Live!, March 7, 2013. In this session, EDUCAUSE President and CEO Diana Oblinger, explores "online" learning by asking "What if we used the best technology has to offer?" and "What new models are possible?"
- ELI 7 Things You Should Know About MOOCs II, ELI, June 2013. This 7 Things brief describes what a massive open online course (MOOC) is, who in higher education is using it, where this delivery model is going, and why it matters to teaching and learning.
- Copyright Challenges in a MOOC Environment, EDUCAUSE Brief, July 2013. This brief explores the intersection of copyright with MOOCs, and the scale and delivery of MOOCs highlights the enduring tensions between academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and copyright law in higher education. To gain insight into the copyright concerns of MOOC stakeholders, EDUCAUSE talked with CIOs, university general counsel, provosts, copyright experts, and other higher education associations.
- MOOCs—Key Legal and Policy Issues for Colleges and Universities, NACUA, ACE, and EDUCAUSE. July 2013. The National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA), ACE, and EDUCAUAUSE held a webinar on July 25th, 2013 on the key legal and policy issues regarding massive open online courses (MOOCs). The program addressed major legal and policy issues that can arise from institutional creation of or participation in MOOCs.
- What Campus Leaders Need to Know About MOOCs, EDUCAUSE, December 2012. This brief discusses how MOOCs work, their value proposition, issues to consider, and who the key players are in this arena.
- Laptop U: Has the Future of College Moved Online?, The New Yorker, May 20, 2013. Nathan Heller explores various MOOCs and their possible future in higher education.
View other resources in the EDUCAUSE Library on related topics:
- Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)
- Connected Learning
- Competency-based Learning
- Alternative Credentials
Have questions or comments about the EDUCAUSE 3-Day Sprint? E-mail us.
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