Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Future of Higher Education

Articles from Educause

A Hybrid Campus for the New Millennium

Quotes from Ron Bleed (2002)

Half Bricks and Half Clicks!

"I propose that the schoolhouse of the future for colleges and universities should be a “hybrid” model, one that incorporates creative uses of technology, architecture, and people. This model not only will aid us in the design of new campus structures but also will help us to improve learning and to provide the socialization that supports the making of meaning for students in our new era."

  • Bleed is not suggesting distance learning models should separate faculty and students physically (but feels that fully online learning is appropriate for some). Nor is he suggesting a model "in which we simply “bolt” technology onto a traditional course—that is, use technology add-ons to a course to teach a difficult concept or add supplemental information."
  • Proposes a "drastic change in courses and facilities on campuses. The model is 50 percent virtual instruction and 50 percent redesigned physical campus spaces or, in other words, half “bricks” and half “clicks.”
  • "The greatest potential of the hybrid campus is in the people dimension. Combining virtual learning with new kinds of physical spaces can restore the human moment in the educational process."
  • Peter Drucker, the management futurist, predicts that “thirty years from now, big university campuses will be relics.”
  • "The hybrid model should have ubiquitous on-campus network connections so that students can access the virtual components of their learning within the local urban context and also, of course, with global connections."
  • Bleed quotes Mitchell (1999): “[The] crucial task is not digital plumbing of broadband communication links and associated electronic appliances.” He adds, “Nor is it producing electronically deliverable content.” Mitchell says that our real task is “imagining and creating digitally mediated environments for the kinds of lives that we want to lead and the sorts of communities that we will want to have.”

Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0

Quotes from John Seely Brown and Richard P. Adler (2008)

  • "The most profound impact of the Internet is its ability to support and expand the various aspects of social learning."
  • "The Internet has also fostered a new culture of sharing, one in which content is freely contributed and distributed with few restrictions or costs." Most obvious example is the Open Educational Resources (OER) Movement. MIT’s OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiative provides open access to undergraduate- and graduate-level materials and modules from more than 1,700 courses (covering virtually all of MIT’s curriculum).
  • "The latest evolution of the Internet, the so-called Web 2.0, has blurred the line between producers and consumers of content and has shifted attention from access to information toward access to other people."
  • Refers to new kinds of online resources that bring people with common interests together to share ideas and "collaborate in innovative ways" — social networking sites, blogs, wikis, and virtual communities
  • Web 2.0 - "a new kind of participatory medium that is ideal for supporting multiple modes of learning."
  • "Social learning is the greatest impact of the internet - and the full impact has not yet been realized."
  • Defines "social learning" - "content is socially constructed through conversations about that content and through grounded interactions, especially with others, around problems or actions."
  • "The focus is not so much on what we are learning but on how we are learning."
  • Describes the "Cartesian perspective" - knowledge is a kind of substance and pedagogy is the "best way to transfer this substance from teachers to students."
  • Cartesian premise - “I think, therefore I am,” - "knowledge is something that is transferred to the student via various pedagogical strategies"
  • The social view of learning - “We participate, therefore we are.”
  • Focus shifts from the "content of a subject to the learning activities and human interactions around which that content is situated."
  • Encourages the practice of what John Dewey called “productive inquiry”—the process of seeking the knowledge when it is needed in order to carry out a particular situated task.
  • Informal learning is taking place both on and off campus via the online social networks.
  • Social life of Internet-based virtual education can coexist with and extend traditional education.
  • Need to build a "community of students and scholars as much as on providing access to educational content."
  • These communities are harbingers of the emergence of a new form of technology-enhanced learning—Learning 2.0. Learning 2.0 goes beyond "providing free access to traditional course materials and educational tools and creates a participatory architecture for supporting communities of learners."
  • The web offers "innumerable opportunities for students to find and join niche communities where they can benefit from the opportunities for distributed cognitive apprenticeship."
  • "Finding and joining a community that ignites a student’s passion can set the stage for the student to acquire both deep knowledge about a subject (“learning about”) and the ability to participate in the practice of a field through productive inquiry and peer-based learning (“learning to be”)."
  • "We need to construct shared, distributed, reflective practicums in which experiences
    are collected, vetted, clustered, commented on, and tried out in new contexts. One might call this “learning about learning,” a bootstrapping operation in which educators, along with students, are learning among and between themselves. This can become a living or dynamic infrastructure—itself a reflective practicum."
  • "The demand-pull approach is based on providing students with access to rich (sometimes virtual) learning communities built around a practice. It is passion-based learning, motivated by the student either wanting to become a member of a particular community of practice or just wanting to learn about, make, or perform something. Often the learning that transpires is informal rather than formally conducted in a structured setting."
  • "Learning occurs in part through a form of reflective practicum, but in this case the reflection comes from being embedded in a community of practice that may be supported by both a physical and a virtual presence and by collaboration between newcomers and professional practitioners/scholars."
  • "The demand-pull approach to learning might appear to be extremely resource intensive. But the Internet is becoming a vast resource for supporting this style of learning. Its resources include the rapidly growing amount of open courseware, access to powerful instruments and simulation models, and scholarly websites, which already number in the hundreds, as well as thousands of niche communities based around specific areas of interest in virtually every field of endeavor."

John Seely Brown - Xerox (PARC) 2007

"Perhaps most salient to any discussion about learning in the 21st century is the fact that today’s students are growing up digital. They have a new vernacular—a digital, multimedia vernacular—and learn in ways that are different from how I learn and, I would guess, how you learn. How can we begin to take advantage of those differences and unleash in our students a passion to learn and create?"

How is learning in the 21st century different? More quotes from John Seely Brown -

  • "Skills learned today are apt to be out-of-date all too soon. The concept of lifelong learning—a term used all too glibly—is now more important than ever."
  • "A new approach is needed with the focus shifting from building up stocks of knowledge (learning about) to enabling participation in flows of action, where the focus is on both learning to be through enculturation into a practice and on collateral learning."
  • "Lifelong learning that is now dramatically enabled by the Net." Seely calls this "passion-based learning, as students are intrinsically motivated by either wanting to become a member of a particular community of practice or by just wanting to learn about, make, or perform something."
  • "Informal learning that's not "formally conducted in a structured setting."
  • "Learning occurs in part through a form of a reflective practicum; in this case, though, the reflection comes from being embedded in a social milieu supported by both a physical and a virtual presence, and by both the amateur and the professional practitioner."
  • Seely talks of "21st-century learningscapes." He says, "Imagine a hybrid model of learning—one that combines the power of passion-based participation in niche communities of practice with a limited core curriculum for teaching the rigorous thinking and argumentation specific to that field. Designing such a curriculum would require an elegant minimalism. It is implicit in this new learningscape that, given the nearly infinite number of niche communities that exist on the Net, nearly any student of any age will find something that he or she is passionate about."
  • Seely expects "a form of spiral learning to evolve, initially rooted in one community but then branching out to encompass expanding interests and skills. The spiral would weave a tapestry between activities in the niche communities of interest and the core curriculum, with both serving to ground and complement the other.
  • "This new learningscape would be supported by an understanding of the interplay between the cognitive and social bases of learning, and enabled by the networked state of the 21st century. Such an educational experience would undoubtedly build a strong foundation for lifelong learning in a world of accelerating change."

1 comment:

The OL Dude said...

One of the andragogical concerns that I have is the time allotment for a hybrid course. I am most comfortable with a course design that is face-to-face and electronic on alternating meeting days. For example, the way I typically schedule a term is:

Week One: Face-to-Face (F2F)
Week Two: Online
Week Three: F2F
Week Four: Online
Week Five: F2F
Week Six: Online
Week Seven: F2F
Week Eight: Online
Week Nine: F2F

This scheduling is the result of a "best practices" approach based on trial and error. I've use other models (three or fewer days online), but scheduling becomes confusing. There are a variety of assignments that allow for excellent learning opportunities (Interviewing key leaders, reporting on videos/DVDs. or going on reflective retreats) that one cannot do in the classroom. And there are activities, conversely, that are best suited for classroom discussions. Both delivery methods complement one another.