Research Question 4: Critical Challenges

What do you see as the key challenge(s) related to teaching, learning, or creative expression that learning-focused institutions will face during the next 5 years?

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  • You may find it useful to revisit the Press Clippings on Trends and Challenges as you work on this question.
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  • Challenge Name. Add your ideas here, with few sentences of description including full URLs for references (e.g. http://horizon.nmc.org). And do not forget to sign your contribution with 4 ~ (tilde) characters!


  • Economic pressures and new models of education are bringing unprecedented competition to the traditional models of tertiary education. Across the board, institutions are looking for ways to control costs while still providing a high quality of service. Institutions are challenged by the need to support a steady — or growing — number of students with fewer resources and staff than before. As a result, creative institutions are developing new models to serve students, such as streaming introductory courses over the network. As these pressures continue, other models may emerge that diverge from traditional ones. Simply capitalizing on new technology, however, is not enough; the new models must use these tools and services to engage students on a deeper level. (Carried forward from the 2011 Technology Outlook for UK Tertiary Education)Quantity (of Students) Vs Quality (of Education) rears its ugly head once more. We need to think very carefully before we plung headlong into the future, and pay heed to the mistakes of the past.- damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Nov 18, 2011 - helga helga Nov 18, 2011- jasonr jasonr Nov 18, 2011- lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Nov 19, 2011- JamieMadden JamieMadden Nov 20, 2011 - EvadeLera EvadeLera Nov 20, 2011 - dolors.reig dolors.reig Nov 20, 2011 - bdieu bdieu Nov 20, 2011- tom.haymes tom.haymes Nov 21, 2011
  • Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession. This challenge, driven by a related trend, appears here because despite the widespread agreement on the importance of digital media literacy, training in the supporting skills and techniques is rare in teacher education and non-existent in the preparation of faculty. As lecturers and professors begin to realize that they are limiting their students by not helping them to develop and use digital media literacy skills across the curriculum, the lack of formal training is being offset through professional development or informal learning, but we are far from seeing digital media literacy as a norm. This challenge is exacerbated by the fact that digital literacy is less about tools and more about thinking, and thus skills and standards based on tools and platforms have proven to be somewhat ephemeral. (Carried forward from the 2011 Technology Outlook for UK Tertiary Education) A key trend now for some time, and I think it will continue to be very important. - Larry Larry Nov 17, 2011 Couldn't agree more, Larry. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Nov 18, 2011 - helga helga Nov 18, 2011- JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Nov 18, 2011 It's interesting how the issue of digital literacy is simultaneously a trend (re: something that is now crucial for global learning) and a challenge-this needs to be a priority for higher education in the same way that we look at literacies in computer competencies.- jasonr jasonrThe conversation around this topic continues to grow at a grass-roots level with faculty, particularly in the humanities and social sciences.- billshewbridge billshewbridge Nov 19, 2011 I'd add that information literacy also continues its rise in importance as modes of scholarship and information change. - lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Nov 19, 2011 I'd also add Network Literacy to this: "Understanding how networks work is one of the most important literacies of the 21st century" (Howard Rheingold, 2010) - increasingly important in formal/informal and lifelong learning. - helen.keegan helen.keegan Nov 20, 2011- melissa.burgess melissa.burgess Nov 20, 2011 - bdieu bdieu Nov 20, 2011- tom.haymes tom.haymes Nov 21, 2011
  • Growing global protest movements have an educational change agenda to rival University thinking and approach. New school thinking, self directed learning, emancipated learning, Illich, Beuys, Davidson and Goldberg - witness journalism, learner generated content - combined with the confluence and widespread adoiption of technologies is a very powerful emerging concept which Universities should consider. We must challenge the Myth of Digitial Natives, the limitations of digitial literacies, adopt new new pedagogical approaches to mobile learning and exploit rich social contexts technology can provide.- DaveP DaveP Nov 20, 2011 - dolors.reig dolors.reig Nov 20, 2011 I use to talk about evolving from ICT (information and comunication) to EPT (empowering and participation) technologies. Most of the global protests are related to empowered through technology people that are demanding for real participation experiences ins this hybrid (on and offline) society. "people fears liberty cause it implies responsibility", said George Bernard Shaw, so we need, not only require goverments for politic participation environments but also educate people for an effective public participation, - dolors.reig dolors.reig Nov 20, 2011
  • Continuing change in the relationship between teacher (or mentor) and learner is making adaptations hard on both sides. Teachers will continue to see their traditional control as characterised by teaching in which the student found it hard to progress without information from the teachers, diminish. New methods of supporting and perhaps influencing learners and their learning will be required. This links to the global protest above....- Gavin Gavin Nov 20, 2011 This is paradigm shift that is continuing to evolve. Active learning strategies and initiatives supported by a growing number of universities are focusing on equipping faculty and students for successful practices and practices in and out of the classroom, and for enhancing and expanding learning opportunities, but the ramp up is still a challenge for both. - Dougdar Dougdar Nov 20, 2011
  • New modes of scholarship are presenting significant challenges to libraries and university collections, how scholarship is documented, and the business models to support these activities. While the university library has traditionally housed collections of scholarly resources, social networks and new publishing paradigms, including open content initiatives, are challenging the library’s role as curator. Students and educators are increasingly able to access important, historic research in web browsers on devices of their choosing. As such, libraries are under tremendous pressure to evolve new ways of supporting and curating scholarship. (Carried forward from the 2011 Technology Outlook for UK Tertiary Education) - helga helga Nov 18, 2011 Roles for the library are broader than curation. In some cases, libraries are becoming publishers. In others they are providing in-depth consultation services for digital scholarship, especially in the humanities and social sciences (GIS-related, etc.) In another role, they teach their communities how to access information about these new resources. They can also provide expertise on intellectual property issues related both to the use of others' projects and the IP and/or licensing related to a faculty member's or student's newly created multi-media work.- JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Nov 18, 2011 - tom.haymes tom.haymes Nov 21, 2011 Yes! I'd like to second Joan's comment that libraries are adapting and changing in light of this new information environment. Different libraries adapt in different ways, but we are all looking for how to best meet the new and changing needs of our communities. - lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Nov 19, 2011 Also, in many institutions librarians are shifting from supporter/servants to collaborators in light of these changes (for example, see any discussion at a THAT Camp). - lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Nov 19, 2011 If anything, while libraries as physical collections of materials are becoming less important (especially medium-sized libraries), the role of Librarians as guides on the information superhighway, is becoming far more important. Someone needs to parse all of this information and teaching faculty can only do so much. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Nov 21, 2011
  • Most academics aren't using new and compelling technologies for learning and teaching, nor for organizing their own research. Many researchers have not undergone training on basic digitally supported teaching techniques, and most do not participate in professional development opportunities. This issue is due to several factors, including a lack of time, a lack of expectations that they should, and the lack of infrastructure to support the training. Academic research facilities rarely have the proper processes set up to accommodate this sort of professional development; many think a cultural shift will be required before we see widespread use of more innovative organizational technology. Many caution that as this unfolds, the focus should not be on the technologies themselves, but on the pedagogies that make them useful. (Carried forward from the 2011 Technology Outlook for UK Tertiary Education)- JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Nov 18, 2011. I think this is related to the "Quantity vs. Quality" issue mentioned earlier. The more that the economic outlook drives universities to increase enrollment, the more we will see pressure on the part of academics to "do more with less". If you're already faced with a "publish or perish" model for faculty development, this means you'll need to prioritize quantity over quality. And, even if you're not at a research-focused institution, greater enrollment at the very least means increased class sizes--and maybe increased load. All of this adds up to a higher cost for incorporating innovative strategies for teaching and learning with technology. Unfortunately, when faced with this dilemma, faculty find that they need to stick with "what works" rather than take the time and the chance to do something different.[[user:jasonr|1321656128] Most of the academics I work with have neither the time nor the inclination to embrace new technologies, and have simply used our LMS as an extremley expensive online filing cabinet in which they store their PowerPoints and Word documents, if indeed, they have anything on it at all. In their defence, in most cases, nobody has taught them how to teach - they have just picked it up as they have gone along - and the same will apply with the various new technologies that we introduce. For most of them, progress will happen by osmosis over a number of years. The future may be further away than we think... - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Nov 18, 2011 keep having to agree with you :-)[[user:helga|1321632076] Yes, across the board I hear that there might be interest if it weren't for all the time constraints around traditional teaching issues, scholarship, and service. - lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Nov 19, 2011 Also agree. Having worked in the IT support area while being a researcher for over 7 years, most academics just didn't have the time to embrace new and emerging technologies. On top of this there was no motivation or reward from the institution for moving to the newer technologies. There have been some very interesting interactive learning spaces created, but are always under utilised. - JamieMadden JamieMadden Nov 20, 2011 This is a huge challenge, one of the biggest. I believe the biggest problem is the notion of "training" academics instead of presenting the digital revolution as an opportunity for intellectual reflection and discussion. In other words, it's not so much "methods" (or skills, or literacies, etc.) that will bring change as it is "attitudes and philosophies," which require time and thoughtful engagement, as well as influential peers leading the way. We desperately need new models of "faculty development" (including a new name for that effort) if we are to help our colleagues be answerable to this revolution. Different commitments of institutional resources, including reward and recognition structures (tenure, promotion especially), will also be necessary.[[user:gardner.campbell|1321847025* A "learning divide" stops many from learning anything, also technologies uses. There is not, in my oppinion, digital divide among teachers but a "learning divide" that stops many from learning anything, also technologies uses. Technology change continously and implies a life long learning culture that is not always present in our teachers minds. Maybe we´d think about teaching to learn during all life before tech only approaches. - dolors.reig dolors.reig Nov 20, 2011 Training up to this point has been too tools-focused. I agree that we need to shift toward a pedagogical focus. Of course, this is much harder to pull off and the results are less clear-cut. If someone takes a Microsoft Word class, you can objectively evaluate their relative skill level in that area. Giving someone a word processor doesn't make them an author, however. We are starting to make some inroads with qualitative training but it's often a struggle demonstrating exactly what comes out of that because the results are so myriad. You never know what a creative mind is going to do with a new toolset - and it often takes years for them to figure this out themselves. You do have to plant the seed. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Nov 21, 2011
  • Appropriate metrics of evaluation lag the emergence of new scholarly forms of authoring, publishing, and researching. Traditional approaches to scholarly evaluation such as citation-based metrics, for example, are often hard to apply to research that is disseminated or conducted via social media. New forms of peer review and approval, such as reader ratings, inclusion in and mention by influential blogs, tagging, incoming links, and re-tweeting, are arising from the natural actions of the global community of educators, with increasingly relevant and interesting results. These forms of scholarly corroboration are not yet well understood by mainstream faculty and academic decision makers, creating a gap between what is possible and what is acceptable. (Carried forward from the 2011 Technology Outlook for UK Tertiary Education) - helga helga Nov 18, 2011- JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Nov 18, 2011 Agreed. I wonder if Google Citations, recently opened up to everyone, may fill a crucial role in tracking the use of scholarship--though of course what *counts* as scholarship will be a question only the academy can answer. - gardner.campbell gardner.campbell Nov 20, 2011
  • Commercial providers are delivering ever more credible educational content, providing a wide range of customizable offerings at quality levels that may dampen interest in traditional sources of scholarly work, such as university presses, and even open educational resources (OERs). Increasingly, publishers are either buying learning resource websites or creating their own virtual warehouses of digital textbooks and other educational content. iTunes University is a prime example of this, offering thousands of course materials for free from distinguished institutions and professors. This trend creates a related challenge for university presses that have traditionally been the publishers of much of the work of their faculties; there is a growing fear that they will become obsolete. Both OERs and university presses are at a critical juncture for different reasons, yet each is aggressively confronted with the need to adapt, evolve, or even reconstruct their roles in education over the next five years. (Carried forward from the 2011 Technology Outlook for UK Tertiary Education) This is worrying because while such material is free now, it is proprietary so it does not allow customization and free distribution taking us back to consumer mode and hindering considerably the possibility to create, remix and share.- bdieu bdieu Nov 17, 2011 - helga helga Nov 18, 2011- JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Nov 18, 2011 I think there are other potential paths here. One of the countervailing pressures on the use of these commercial materials are the costs associated with them. Increasingly attention, particularly on the community college level, is being focused on the costs of educational materials. Grant institutions, including the US Department of Education and the Gates Foundation are funding projects around OER that might give it a fighting chance. OER is by its very nature collaborative and sharing is much easier when you don't have a publisher putting up economic walls around materials. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Nov 21, 2011
  • Simply staying organized and current presents a challenge in a world where information, software tools, and devices proliferate at the rate they do today. New developments in technology are exciting and their potential for improving quality of life is enticing, but it can be overwhelming to attempt to keep up with even a few of the many new tools that are released. User-created content is exploding, giving rise to information, ideas, and opinions on all sorts of interesting topics, but following even some of the hundreds of available authorities means sifting through a mountain of information on a weekly or daily basis. There is a greater need than ever for effective tools and filters for finding, interpreting, organizing, and retrieving the data that is important to us. (Carried forward from the 2011 Horizon Report)- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Nov 17, 2011 This, for me, is probably the single greatest challenge we continue to face; if we can't keep up with the developments in information, software tools, and devices, we are at a severe disadvantage in our teaching, learning, and creative expression and our ability to effectively serve our learners. ; totally agree - helga helga Nov 18, 2011 Agreed - lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Nov 19, 2011 While I think this is a challenge, I also think it represents a huge opportunity. As academics we've had to process massive quantities of information all of our careers and as teachers we are information filters for our students. As the rest of the institution feels these pressures, there will be demand for services, both from students as well as staff, that will help people process, organize, and manage information flows. We are ideally positioned to meet this need and can shape the products that meet this need. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Nov 21, 2011
  • Barely a month goes by that I am not required to try out some new piece of software that usually promises much, but delivers little in the way of advancement. This is where user communities that give (hopefully!) objective opinions are invaluable. The more that is developed, the more chance there is that someone will get it right, but it does mean we have to test an awful lot of awful software in order to discover the gold in them there hills. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Nov 18, 2011
  • Our ability to remix and reuse content is increasingly limited. Over the last eighty or so years, but especially within the last decade, copyright laws have become more and more restrictive. Where once it was natural to study, learn from, and build upon the creative works of the past, it is now difficult even to understand what is permissible and what is not. Open content and digital scholarship are impeded by laws that circumscribe the ability of teachers and scholars to reuse material of all kinds that could be employed in the service of learning. (Carried forward from the 2011 Horizon Report) Higher education (faculty, librarians, attorneys) are not doing enough to educate their communities about creative commons licensing and other issues related to IP.- JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Nov 18, 2011- jasonr jasonr Nov 18, 2011. This situation presents an interesting "tension" in that it militates against an environment where thee is an increasing abundance of open available education resources as wel as tools/applications to reuse remix and redistribute. ( Water, water Everywhere, Nor Any drop to drink - Rime of the Ancient Mariner)- vkumar vkumar Nov 20, 2011 Agreed. We wil also face new questions about our students' intellectual property--i.e., the work we so casually disregard as we wipe our LMS's clean each semester. - gardner.campbell gardner.campbell Nov 20, 2011 The situation in the UK is far more restrictive than in the US, as we have no fair use policy, making it virtually impossible to do anything creative with existing materials. But then again, they would have to catch you first, and at a recent copyright seminar I was given a mathematical formula to calculate and manage the risk of breaking the law: R = A x B x C x D -- A = probability that it is infringement; B = the probability that the owner finds out; C = the probability that the owner sues; D = the likely financial penalty; If R < £100 = take the risk?! © Charles Oppenheim 2011 - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Nov 18, 2011 "Information wants to be free." Clay Shirkey I think that useful information will "leak" around copyright and other barriers and eventually erode them much like water erodes a dam. Or in the way that western political and economic thought undermined communism. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Nov 21, 2011
  • Increasingly, it is becoming part of the public debate that educators need to improve the ability to measure learning in real time. Current assessment models are criticized for not supporting learners when they are most in need, and educational outcomes are limited by our inability to accurately assess individual student abilities and areas for improvement. Learning analytics is increasingly interesting as a possible avenue for addressing this problem, so much so that major efforts are being undertaken to explore and develop it by EDUCAUSE, the Gates Foundation, and other learning-focused bodies. (Carried forward from the 2011 Horizon Report) - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Nov 17, 2011The idea of supporting learners when they are most in need is one that is full of challenges; it's pretty clear that there's the moment of need that drives people toward education/continuing learning, the moment when learning is formally or informally offered, and the equally important moment(s) when learners return to the world in which they need to apply what they have learned--and it's this often ignored huge moment that needs much more attention in terms of supporting learners in the application of their knowledge. Learning analytics offers a great tool during the formal/informal part of the process and, therefore, seems to be something full of promise. - dolors.reig dolors.reig Nov 20, 2011 The idea of "learning analytics" has many varieties, but there may well be a "race to the bottom" as educators and administrators seek to standardize measurements around "student success" defined as a passing grade and "login behaviors" (and other modes of compliance) within so-called "learning management systems." Ken Robinson and others have called for a learning revolution built on mass customization. Many "learning analytics" work in exactly the opposite direction, toward more standardized curricula, outcomes, and behaviors. There's a huge danger here. - gardner.campbell gardner.campbell Nov 20, 2011 Measuring student progress in real time seems to be one of the current Holy Grail concepts around learning analytics. In RQ1 I delved fairly deeply into some of the issues and challenges that learning analytics face, but will briefly reiterate here. Are real time analytics and on the fly provisioning of individualized learning pathways possible? Yes. Is it probable that they are going to happen soon or be readily accessible to all segments of the education market? The answer to the first part is that we will likely see the first implementations of serious (and I emphasize the word serious) real time analytics within 12 - 18 months. However, it's very unlikely that they are going to be readily accessible. The cost of the underlying technologies that are needed to power real time analytics, let alone engines that can interact with CMS's of DAM's to provision individualized learning environments, are incredibly expensive - and there are no open software packages that can come close to doing working in real time. Thus, we have a situation where access is going to be limited to a very small percentage of institutions that have the financial resources. Complicating the matter, there is a shortage of quantitative researchers, analysts and systems architects that has reached crisis level - the military has an easier time finding Farsi linguists than academia does finding these people. So, while it may be technically possible to meet this challenge it is likely that institutions will have to find innovative ways of pooling resources (both financial and human) to implement and scale these types of solutions. - phil.ice phil.ice Nov 19, 2011- melissa.burgess melissa.burgess Nov 20, 2011 - dolors.reig dolors.reig Nov 20, 2011 I would tend to disagree on the cost measures. I think there are fairly complex tools out there (KNIME, Gefi) that are free. The challenge will to apply the technology effectively while avoiding the dangers that Gardner rightly points out. I remain optimistic that the democratization of this technology will allow faculty to shape its use rather than legislators or administrators who have other agendas. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Nov 21, 2011
  • Educators are increasingly expected to teach digital citizenship. The notion of digital citizenship, and our role as educators in instilling it, is not well understood. Clearly, people of all ages need to understand how to behave civilly and responsibly online, but there is disagreement as to what constitutes responsible behavior and whose province it is to teach it. Like other social mores, online etiquette varies from community to community and culture to culture; the challenge arises in the ease with which community and cultural borders are crossed or even blended in a networked world. (Carried forward from the 2011 Horizon Report)- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Nov 17, 2011Agree that this is important and is right behind the immediacy of staying organized and current as well as measuring learning in real time. Yes, I agree.- jasonr jasonr Nov 18, 2011 But many of them might not even realize that is an expectation - lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Nov 19, 2011 - dolors.reig dolors.reig Nov 20, 2011 Digital citizenship is about far more than acting with civility online (though that's certainly important). In a democracy, "citizenship" means contributing to deliberation and action aimed and increasing the common good. In the digital era, this goal entails not only effective communication but also compelling production of digital artifacts. Sadly, most faculty are unable or unwilling to mentor students in this way.- gardner.campbell gardner.campbell Nov 20, 2011. From an institutional perspective, breaking down institutional silos is also key to helping students become familiar with living in a "networked world". See "Four Strategies for Liberal Education in a Networked World http://blog.aacu.org/index.php/2011/02/02/four-strategies-for-liberal-education-in-a-networked-world/- jasonr jasonr Nov 21, 2011
  • The demand for personalized learning is not adequately supported by current technology or practices. The increasing demand for education that is customized to each student's unique needs is driving the development of new technologies that provide more learner choice and control and allow for differentiated instruction. It has become clear that one-size-fits-all teaching methods are neither effective nor acceptable for today's diverse students. Technology can and should support individual choices about access to materials and expertise, amount and type of educational content, and methods of teaching. (Carried forward from the 2011 Horizon Report)- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Nov 17, 2011Personalized learning has always been part of the mix for me; what seems promising (and needed) is a greater integration of the tools we have for developing and sustaining our personalized learning endeavors with the more formal training-teaching-learning we all facilitate.The quicker we get away from leveled learning, the better off the whole of education will be. We all don't learn the same way and it's discouraging that education hasn't taken advantage of the technologies that have actually existed for a number of years now (Adaptive Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Pedagogical Agents for Learning Companions (PALs).- melissa.burgess melissa.burgess Nov 19, 2011 Add in the point I made above and the prospects of the education sector creating robust personalized learning systems is rather gloomy. - phil.ice phil.ice Nov 19, 2011 I agree, however I am hopeful that LMS companies and developers will quickly act upon this huge need toward offering personalized and adaptable learning systems. For example, a fork of Dokeos, Chamilo is a new contributory and collaborative project that opts for open source in a radical way and has a number of personalizable learning tools. The development of this system relies upon the contributions of developers and designers from all over the world.- melissa.burgess melissa.burgess Nov 20, 2011 Though it's virtually closed end in terms of authoring, Knewton, is taking steps in this direction too. - phil.ice phil.ice Nov 20, 2011 - dolors.reig dolors.reig Nov 20, 2011 Encouraging students to create their own personal cyberinfrastructures is a key step forward. Learners should be able to undertake their own customization within flexible, robust, and inspiring digital environments. - gardner.campbell gardner.campbell Nov 20, 2011
  • Demographic change and the need for further qualification presents significan challenges: as (western) societies see a change in population - aging society, growing demand for academcis/experts/educated professionals - tertiary education is becoming a significant issue. Distance learning, blended learning and e-learning offer higher education options for non-academics and professionals seeking additional qualifications or degrees. This development is being supported already through public funding programmes, e.g. by the German government. Teaching media literacy to enable people to obtain further qualifications while working full-time (i.e. through e-learning) is a cornerstone of such programmes. - helga helga Nov 11, 2011 great observation! - Larry Larry Nov 17, 2011 Very pertinent - bdieu bdieu Nov 17, 2011 Agree, we need to mix accrediation of competencies gain in workplace with those gained in more formal education in a blended way - john.cook john.cook Nov 17, 2011 There also needs to be a way for said learners to understand and utilise these new teaching technologies. As many of the remote learners aren't digital natives. - JamieMadden JamieMadden Nov 20, 2011 Absolutely. Aside from shrinking numbers in the traditional pool of students, economic factors are driving changes reflected in the non-traditional student population. - Dougdar Dougdar Nov 20, 2011
  • The accessibility of course materials by people with a variety of disabilities is becoming more of a front-loaded issue. Statements such as "this material available in alternative formats upon request" are no longer good enough or even valid, especially as course materials become more complex combinations of media, devices, and course formats that make it difficult or impossible to translate into an accessible format. Accessibility is being considered up-front in courses design and that affects decisions about beneficial technology integrations such as podcasting, lecture capture, gaming, and simulated environments, which could lead to very difficult and costly accommodations. - allan.gyorke allan.gyorke Nov 17, 2011 Really glad to see this on our radar screen; Marti Goddard, Access Services Manager for the San Francisco Public Library system (http://buildingcreativebridges.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/marti-goddard-reviewing-the-state-of-services-for-the-disabled/), and Patrick Timony,Adaptive Technology Librarian for the DC Public Library system (http://buildingcreativebridges.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/patrick-timony-technology-communication-and-collaboration/), have been strong proponents of accessbility through new technology for many years and are great resources for all of us in terms of what we might be doing better.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Nov 17, 2011
  • There are large implementation gaps -- need impact and scale.VLEs have been introduced in tertiary education on a large scale. However, new forms of technology enhanced learning have challenges. I was fortunate enough to attend a talk by Mr Javier Hernandez-Ros at the EC-TEL 2011 conference in Italy. He is the Head of Unit E3 Cultural Heritage and Technology-enhanced Learning Unit, Information Society and Media Directorate General. Slides available: http://www.ec-tel.eu/files/TEL2011Palermo2.ppt. Key notions from hearing the talk by Mr Hernandez-Ros first hand were: “E-learning is here to stay. Any other argument is a waste of time!”. But, there are large implementation gap, need impact and scale. TEL in EC's Horizon 2020 plans (EC proposes to allocate €80 billion for Horizon 2020 for the 2014-2020 period) is being given same priority as motorways, thus TEL is seen as central to education, creating jobs and growing the economy and tackling societal challenges. One obvious answer is to use the moble device and tablet in the hands of the learner. However, there are still interoperability problems here but I believe this is the way to go. - john.cook john.cook Nov 17, 2011
  • Bandwidth, Closing the Digital Divide and Technical Resources - Not only in this country, but globally, bandwidth determines how much of a role technology can play in the delivery of education. By increasing bandwidth, we cross the chasm that divides the world into those who have access to resources and information and those who do not. In doing so, all lives are enriched and we can then develop a globally educated population that is better prepared to handle the multiplicity and complexity of issues that will face our planet over the next 100 years. I applaud companies like HP who have given every Indian student a tablet, or Samsung in S. Korea who has done the same for their student population. In the U.S. we need to step up and be sure that we are keeping pace with what is happening globally with regard to education. We do not value our youth or their education to the degree other countries do. By not dong so, we will be ill prepared to stand side by side with future work colleagues and expect to be productive members of a new society that can creatively contribute to the production of new products, ideas and solutions. - deborah.heal deborah.heal Nov 19, 2011 Access to high speed bandwidth is a major issue when looking at such technologies as cloud computing and browser based applications. Even here in Australia where we are deploying a national broadband network its going to be 10 years before the majority of the population have access to bandwidth that is fast enough to utilise most of these services. - JamieMadden JamieMadden Nov 20, 2011 Higher education should lead the charge in insisting that the US maintain net neutrality and increase affordable access to high-bandwidth connectivity. If we had 100MB symmetrical bandwidth in all schools and most homes, we would see immediate gains in digital creation and sharing (and I don't mean the illegal parts, either). - gardner.campbell gardner.campbell Nov 20, 2011
  • Massification of undergraduate education - In many parts of the world there are strong programs and incentives to increase the percentage of students completing undergraduate degrees. The clear correlation between UG attainment and average higher earning potential and income levels is driving many countries to push for more and more students to enter college and university, and for the universities to work ever harder to try and get these students through to graduation. The problem is that for many countries the population of students well prepared to understake undergraduate study is already in college. That means those entering now are less well prepared, or not prepared at all. This poses hugh strains on universities who are ill-prepared to spend the additional time and resources on this student cohort who needs them even more than preceding classes of students. Governments are NOT providing comparable additional funding to meet the needs of students in this lower quartile of preparedness. A train wreck is looming. - Phillip.Long Phillip.Long Nov 20, 2011 There is also significant pressure on the price point of education. Not only has there been a backlash against the skyrocketing cost of tuition, but calls to dramatically decrease tuition. Two great examples can be found in the Next Generation Learning Challenges http://www.nextgenlearning.org/ most recent RFP in which a $5000/ year fee is cited and the Texas $10,000 degree challenge http://huff.to/rYdrz1 meeting these price points will require significant thinking around what UG education is and how institutions could utilize resources to even consider moving in this direction. As noted elsewhere, some of the technologies we are talking about here can be moderately to inordinately expensive. Trying to reconcile these advancements with reduced costs will be difficult at best. - phil.ice phil.ice Nov 20, 2011 Price, access, and preparation are huge challenges, I agree. As Ivan Ilich points out, "fixing" higher ed only is like urban renewal from the 12th floor up. We badly need more effective HE outreach to K-12, and we badly need the elimination of high-stakes standardized testing as primary drivers of curriculum and instruction in secondary education (at least). - gardner.campbell gardner.campbell Nov 20, 2011- tom.haymes tom.haymes Nov 21, 2011
  • The future of accreditation is uncertain - The only thing most universities have that makes their attendance in pursuit of higher education mandatory is credentialing. It is only through the accreditation of universities and colleges and their transfer of this on an individual basis through credentialing the completion of students who have 'attained' the requirements of graduation that keep a lid on the higher education marketplace. If achievements in the 'Open Badges Project' underway through the Mozilla Foundation, funded by the MacArthur Foundation and administered by HASTAC, promises to challenge the primacy of traditional measures for learning attainment. A similar effort underway at the k12 level can be seen in the Khan Academy approach to competency-based advancement through a carefully structured curriculum. These are cracks in the last remaining armour of traditional institutions who are still struggling with metrics other than time spent in seats for certifying completion in degrees of study. - Phillip.Long Phillip.Long Nov 20, 2011 - dolors.reig dolors.reig Nov 20, 2011 Similarly, models of funding and modes of classification (i.e., "face to face," "blended" and "distance" education) are woefully out of date in accreditation criteria. There is also the "informal accreditation" problem of departments within universities that refuse to accept credit earned in fully online courses for transfer. - gardner.campbell gardner.campbell Nov 20, 2011
  • Social Justice and technology - There are several areas to consider when addressing social justice and technology in today's environment. There persists the issue of haves and have nots which perpetuates the digital divide. There is the issue of ethical behavior in the digital "safe" zone. There are the educators who do not have the knowledge or desire learn how to use the technologies in a participatory in curriculum which causes some learning experiences to suffer. Solutions are surfacing daily - one critical need is access to the internet. Grants, special projects and funding is being made available. Our hope is that training and educational programs are carefully woven together with the "stringing of the wire". - wshapiro wshapiro Nov 20, 2011 - dolors.reig dolors.reig Nov 20, 2011 As new and powerful technologies surface and as access to vast amounts of authentic data become available, education (at all levels) needs to create opportunities for students to work on real-life problems helping solve issues that impact their lives and at the same time developing higher order skills. As an example - this can be accomplished not only by gathering data, but analyzing this data using sophisticated visualization tools. This problem-solving and analysis can take on collaborative capabilities and extend internationally.- wshapiro wshapiro Nov 20, 2011
  • De-constructing the educational system - Educational Institutions themselves are blocking significant learning. The current educational system was set up and designed during industrialization. Do these exist, as is, to support the educational community (salaries, employment, retirement, etc.) or to actually help others learn and be inspired? There may be a need to de-construct education and build a new system or network of systems that are more efficient for the current century, present and future. - EvadeLera EvadeLera Nov 20, 2011 - dolors.reig dolors.reig Nov 20, 2011
  • Providing low cost computers that are in reach of even the most under developed nations can be very difficult. A very low cost computer has been developed by games developer David Braben that can be plugged into a television and expanded based on the students requirements. http://www.geek.com/articles/games/game-developer-david-braben-creates-a-usb-stick-pc-for-25-2011055/ [Editor's Note: Moved from RQ2 to Challenges]
  • Privacy regulation - there are mismatches between codification of rules of privacy, expectations, and implementation. As was recently seen at Georgia Tech and the taking offline of a long history of course wikis ( Hack Education story ) citing FERPA regulations. Having our students contribute to a body of scholarship that persists beyond the ends of traditional course has tremendous potential. How do we balance this potential with the rights students have to privacy, and how do balance what was likely students' desires to have their works available with widely varying interpretations of regulations by our institutions? - alanwolf alanwolf Nov 20, 2011 We need to rewrite FERPA to recognize the changes a digital era has wrought--and we also need to educate students and faculty about what's actually in FERPA and what can be permitted given adequate pedagogical justification. - gardner.campbell gardner.campbell Nov 20, 2011- tom.haymes tom.haymes Nov 21, 2011
  • We need to reinvent or abolish the "credit hour." This deceptively simple invention has come to determine three fundamental features of modern university life: progress toward the degree, the Grade Point Average, and teaching assignments and loads. Each of these fundamental features has enormous ramifications for curricular innovation and reform, academic standing, and learner self-awareness. The credit hour has truly become the tail that wags the dog. In an increasingly online world, any measure of academic participation or accomplishment based on "seat time" or even "contact hours" becomes meaningless and indeed harmful. The credit hour its ramifications truly represent one of the biggest challenges to educational innovation and authentic learning in the digital era.- gardner.campbell gardner.campbell Nov 20, 2011 This is inexorably tied to the application of analytics. If we are able to capture discrete learning transactions and correlate student work products with goals and objectives, using some mix of quantitative and semantic analysis, the rationale for measuring seat time gets precariously thin. - phil.ice phil.ice Nov 20, 2011
  • Lessons of History: There seems to be a common theme here, as I pointed out in RQ3. That is that institutional barriers are our primary challenge in moving forward in a constructive way in many of these technologies. Unfortunately, the historian in me is relatively pessimistic with regard to some of these challenges. Let me give you an analogy: The Allies essentially created the German army that ran rampant over Europe in 1939-42. By limiting the German army so completely after their defeat in 1918, the Allies forced the Germans to undertake a root-level re-imagining of warfare. On the other side, the French and British did no such thing. The result was that in 1940, the mentality of the German commanders was fundamentally different from those of the other side and the German army outmaneuvered a force considerably larger (and in some areas more technologically advanced) than its own in the invasion of France. Our institutions often resemble those of the French high command in 1940 and it hard to imagine a defeat of sufficient magnitude to force a fundamental re-imagining of issues such as those discussed above. Institutions seem perfectly willing to drive themselves off of a cliff if that is where their momentum takes them - even if their national survival is at stake. The best we can hope for is incremental change but I fear that far more will be necessary. I see this as our fundamental challenge moving forward. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Nov 21, 2011


Commission proposes to allocate €80 billion for Horizon 2020 for the 2014-2020 period