NGL: Teaching support in higher education, a macro view

It’s been interesting reading Goodyear’s (2014) history of NGL and how it has changed through time and how networks function. Same process, different century: <networks linking those – developing new knowledge – exploit – create and publish>. The ‘exploit’ factor covers many facets of human endeavor, including education.

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Darren Kuropatwa: Think dramatic education

Many educators are sounding alarm bells about the extent of change that appears to be looming for educational institutions. I found it interesting to read about Tony Bates who has been working in online and distance education continuously for 45 years and has recently retired. He has made some interesting observations about keeping up with new developments, the nature of learning and MOOCs.

Related to this is the difficulty in keeping up in this area of knowledge. It’s a full-time job just to keep abreast of new developments in online and distance learning, and this constant change is not going to go away. It’s tempting to say that it’s only the technology that changes; the important things – teaching and learning – don’t change much, but I don’t believe that to be true, either. Teaching in higher education is about to go through as major a revolution as one can imagine. This is not going to be easy; indeed it could get brutal. 

I am especially interested in his prediction for teaching in higher education, as there are many parallels in the commercial sector where ‘digital age’ changes were not anticipated or planned for e.g. Kodak and digital photography; the publishing industry and books, and newspapers and media.

Education has not been fully commercialized yet, however the macro environment for higher education poses many challenges from political decisions through to impacts from technology. How much longer will Government regulations in Australia maintain the current institutional approach to education? Where will the mooted changes stem from? I will have to keep this broader macro view in mind, while I reflect on the micro view from my own teaching support role at USQ.

Goodyear, P. (2014). Productive Learning Networks: The Evolution of Research and Practice. In L. Carvalho & P. Goodyear (Eds.), The Architecture of Productive Learning Networks (pp. 23–47). London: Routledge.

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