While searching for articles and papers on the return on investment on eLearning in Higher Education I came across the work or Ormond Simpson. Simpson has made many of his papers and book chapters available on his website, and this one - E-Learning and the Future of Distance Education - was especially interesting to me.
“The paper explores the economic concepts of ‘return on investment’, ‘willing to pay’, ‘resale value of an education’ and ‘investment risk’ as they apply to distance education. In particular it will suggest that distance education, both as it stands today and in terms of current trends towards e-learning, may be either too inaccessible or too risky an investment for most potential students, and that distance education will fail to reach its potential unless it can increase its availability in the market and its rate of student success.”
Have a read for yourself and think, as I did, as to whether we are, or should be, addressing the learners pedagogic or financial needs? In Higher Education and especially when considering Masters-level distance learning, the students are more likely to be mature and have a better understanding of the financial implication to one or two years of further full- or part-time study (and be able to fund it). Continue reading →
When I read this article – “Invest in Your Customers More Than Your Brand” – from the Harvard Business Review (HBR) I couldn’t help but make similarities between ‘brand’ and ‘learning’, between ‘customers’ and ‘students’. That is why this post is called “Invest in your ‘students’ more than your ‘learning’.”
I know we shouldn’t see students as customers but the simple truth is that many of them think of themselves that way and, since students are paying up to £9,000 per year for their University degrees now, Universities are competing for students numbers in similar ways to companies competing for High Street or online shoppers.
There are some incredibly recognisable brands in the world today, but why are they so big and so memorable? When someone mentions a big brand what do you think? If I mention Nike do you think about the ‘tick’ logo, the quality of product, or the sports personality wearing it? If I ask about Marks & Spencers do you again think green and gold logo or the ease of parking at their stores? There is a difference here between what the organisation wants their brand to be, and what their customers think their brand is. Brand is not necessarily what you want it to be, but what your customers thinks it is. Continue reading →
This article by Julie Tausend on the EdTech Magazine website – Distraction or Opportunity? A Guide to Embracing Technology in the Classroom – asks the question as to whether classroom technology, or the BYOD mentality, can be harmful or an opportunity to learning. It argues that it can (as I would agree) but specifies the limitations to this approach, on which I think we’d all agree:
“Engaged students use the opportunity to make additions and annotations, to downloaded slides or to transcribe the lecture using word-processing programs. The problem, of course, is that not every student is that engaged.”
One element of the article, however, I would disagree with, and this is:
“One downside of technology in the classroom is that it’s more difficult to get students’ to turn away from their computers to participate in discussion. Technology is not always a distraction in the classroom, but hiding behind computer screens can lead to minimal interaction with professors during lectures. If you want dynamic discussion and interaction with students, ask them to close their laptops.”
Instead of asking them to close their laptops or put their tablet away … Continue reading →
As if my MOOC failure rate isn’t bad enough, I’ve signed up for another MOOC in the vain hope that I’ll complete it (only 1 completion out of 6 so far). This one is run through the Blackboard CourseSites environment and is run available for self-enrollment now for a September 2013 start.
The MOOC aims to expand flexible learning opportunities and authentic evidence-based assessment with the use of the Mozilla Open Badge system for “accreditation and employer recognition”. The participating organisations plan to use the MOOC to
“… convene and moderate an international discussion on the role of badges as a new currency of exchange for high value, post-secondary credentials for the new workforce … [and] will explore the ecosystem for a new credential economy based on badges and surface aspects of what would be required to adopt such an approach.”
Starting on September 9th this will run for 6 weeks, so hopefully I’ve done what I need to before I start on my Masters degree with Grainne Conole at the University of Leicester. I do however see one very large downside to this MOOC – there are regular synchronous online sessions planned each week and, being on the other side of the Atlantic, means they will running at an awkward time for those in the UK or Europe.
This is a great free eBook / iBook, for the iPad, from The Open University: ”Advances in Technology Enhanced Learning”.
The eBook aims to present a “range of research projects which aim to explore how to make engagement in learning (and teaching) more passionate” and to introduce “methodological and technological breakthroughs” to learners, instructors, and decision-makers in schools, universities, and workplaces.
“The Open University’s Knowledge Media Institute and the EU TELMap project have brought together the luminaries from the European research area to showcase their vision of the future of learning with technology via their recent research project work. The projects discussed range widely over the Technology Enhanced Learning area from: environments for responsive open learning, work-based reflection, work-based social creativity, serious games and many more.”
Regular readers will know I’ve been writing about what I think it is to be a Learning Technologist in a series of posts I’ve been calling ‘What is a Learning Technologist?’. Welcome to part 10 in that series.
Part of my journey is the continuing exploration of the technology and of the role itself, and how it is received and perceived by people I come into contact with (academic, administrative, etc.). I made it clear in 2011, once I completed my PG Cert course, that I wanted to take my learning and teaching more seriously and gain a qualification that would reflect my abilities.
I have considered several Masters level courses since then but have finally settled on the MSc in Learning Innovation from the Institute of Learning Innovation here, at the University of Leicester.
“Societal challenges of today (e.g. aging) are complex and often require systemic solutions to be addressed. To address these challenges, various expertise and knowledge are required; in this sense, collaborative network projects have a lot of potential in offering a systemic solution. Design workshops (synchronous collaboration) are often used to achieve progress in such projects. In this paper we introduce asynchronous collaboration, which can occur anytime, anywhere through the use of social media. We have probed Instagram as a ‘ready-made’ social media platform within two collaborative network project case studies. This was done to experiment with asynchronous collaboration and knowledge sharing in addition to design workshops. Both cases were evaluated through focus groups that indicated how social media has the potential to enable actors to cross-field boundaries, inspire each other, and in this way enrich the design process within asynchronous collaboration. Our contribution with this work is two-fold: on the one hand, we aim to inspire and show how collaborative network projects can benefit from asynchronous collaboration in addition to synchronous collaboration. On the other hand, we hope to contribute to the creation of specific social media platforms as tools for supporting asynchronous collaboration within collaborative networks.”
What piqued my interest here was the use of an established (if you can call a social network that’s been around for only 2 years ‘established’) social network from which to run and maintain asynchronous collaboration. Continue reading →
What is at the core of an online course or a MOOC? You could argue it’s the academic integrity of the materials or learning. It could be the level of student engagement in required activities. I would argue that (even if not at the core, but very close to it) should be the expectations placed on the students both academically and technically!
There’s no point having a good (large, massive?) number of students enrolled on the course if you already know that a proportion of them are not technically or academically capable of engaging or completing the course. Is this one of the criticisms of MOOCs?