Future of higher education – what academics need to know

Those of you who are in departments currently debating online learning or MOOC development might be interested in the following article – Online education at the coalface: what academics need to know. I agree with a lot of the points made, not all, but I particularly liked this:

First, there’s no point in putting our fingers in our ears and making “la la la” noises whenever online education rears its head. The online educational environment, and incumbent student and managerial expectations, are well and truly here. We need to work out how to do it well for all parties.

Where I don’t agree are the points made regarding online collaboration – yes, it is different from face to face, and collaboration will no doubt be different within MOOC environments when compared to (traditional?) online learning environments where much of the research has been done. But there has already been quite a bit of research into how to form effective and engaging collaborations in online learning environments. We have to extend this research into the domain of MOOCs and the particular environmental considerations that they bring along with them, but we should be planning how to research those areas rather than dismissing the idea.

Part of the current series on the Future of Higher Education, hosted by The Conversation.

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