Thursday, 11 February 2010

A Changing Landscape

Spent today at the Higher Education Leadership Summit, organised by the Leadership Foundation in conjunction with JISC and the Open University. The first speaker was Martin bean, Vice Chancellor of the OU, and he gave an excellent opening address on the changing landscape of HE and its relationship to technology.

His three mega themes were:
  • Globalisation - needs no explanation really
  • Massification - the mass expansion of HE in he world. Currently the world can't provide enough physical Universities to fulfil the demand for HE. We need to move from thinking bricks and mortar to clicks and mortar.
  • Privatisation - 1 in 3 students in the world are now studying in a private institution and the private sector will have an increasing role to play in UK HE. They have the expertise in brand, marketing and quality of service and we need to look at partnerships with them
All studies of what students want from their educational experience indicate that their digital lifestyles are worlds apart from our workstyles. He used a description of education given to him by a student - "Going to school's like getting on a plane. The door shuts behind you, you have to trust the guy at the front who you don't know and switch off all electronic devices".

Technology itself is not the answer - people need to be ready, willing and able to accept it, and all underlying processes have to have been put in place to allow technology to be successful. If you haven't got the money for staff development, don't invest in technology. Brainware is just as important as hardware and software.

His view is that Higher Education has to become more learner centric with personalised information feeds, mobile tools and personalised resource archives tagged to the student's preference serving up content they need in a way they want it. This will re-motivate learners and create a greater sense of personal fulfilment.

When asked how this was all going to be affordable, his view was that it doesn't have to funded from within the University. Use partnerships with Google, Microsoft, Apple and do it with someone else's pound. He encouraged everyone there (who were from a wide variety of roles in HE....) to be courageous and work with their IT Department not believe them when they gave you 10 different reasons why it won't work...

1 comment:

pj said...

Interesting to see the OU/Tesco deal is having problems and very interesting comments about their Google apps deal at I wonder when Google will fix our student chat problem (or are we going to have to fix it?)