Teaching in the Open: Widening Access or Homogenizing Learning Opportunities?

Ruth Sacks, Jan Myers

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

    Abstract

    This paper draws on concepts of social capital and collaborative learning to critically explore the opportunities and challenges offered by continuing developments in virtual learning environments. Those of us who have inhabited higher education institutions for a while have often heard the claim that ‘[d]eep, radical and urgent transformation is required’ (Barber et al, 2012). This has led, in the UK, to differing and sometimes competing agenda as universitiesrespond to a changing higher education landscape, accompanied by the repeated message that our ‘traditional’ university days are numbered. One of the latest threats (or opportunities) is the appearance of a new kid on the block (a view contested by some) in the form of the MOOC - Massive Open On-line Courses. For some, the fear factor comes from consideration being given by American and Australian universities to giving (fee-based) credit for learning by MOOCs, and tertiary institutions becoming merely credentialing institutions whereby some smaller and less prestigious universities are perceived as losing out to the elite institutions. For others, MOOCs represent democratisation, rather than increased commercialisation, of education – with potential to create global communities of learning. Yet, with claims of average completion rates of less that 10%, questions regarding authentic presentation of self and academic integrity, and for example one UK study reporting 40% of those enrolled already in receipt of a postgraduate degree, the potential for MOOCs to revolutionise or disrupt higher education is much in debate.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2014
    Event2014 International HETL Conference, Innovative Learning-Scapes: e-Scapes, Playscapes & more - Anchorage, Alaska
    Duration: 31 May 2014 → …

    Conference

    Conference2014 International HETL Conference, Innovative Learning-Scapes: e-Scapes, Playscapes & more
    Period31/05/14 → …

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