Following hot on the heels of the Web 2.0 and Higher Education report comes another study supported by JISC - The Edgeless University: why higher education must embrace technology.
It's a comprehensive report - over 80 pages, and I've only skimmed it so far and will read in more detail later - and explores the impact of technological and social change on universities. The research was carried out by DEMOS, a London based think tank, and argues that technology in higher education is not just about virtual learning environments, but is increasingly central to the way higher education institutions provide learning and facilitate research.
There's also a podcast to go with the launch from David Lammy, Minister for Higher Education and IPR in which he announces a new £20m innovation fund for open learning.
There's a number of themes running through the report - the need for Universities to embrace new technologies and methods of teaching, to be responsive to student expectations and the changing learner environment, and the need for openness. The report is not advocating a move to totally on line learning and recognises the need for quality face to face contact with academic staff.
There's a lovely quote from someone who attended one of the roundtable discussions held to inform the report:
"This seminar feels a bit like sitting with a group of record industry executives in 1999."
I know how they felt - I've felt the same in some discussions I've been in! Our heads must be pulled firmly out of the sands and we need to learn lessons from what happened to that sector when the threat was not to the music industry itself, but to the business models that sustained it.
I'm going to finish with a quote stolen shamelessly from Brian Kelly on the UK Web Focus blog:
"A few weeks ago the “Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World” report was published. And today we see another report which provides a similar top-down view on the importance of Web 2.0 in higher education. If you encounter resistance to change from senior managers in your institution I’d suggest you beat them over the head with these two reports until they realise that Web 2.0 is changing the higher educational environment."
The only change I'd make is to add "and other IT Professionals" after senior managers......