What would a university’s learning, teaching and assessment look like if connectivist principles drove them at a strategic and pedagogical level?
In 2012, we developed an approach to learning innovation, predicated on the notion that social interaction and connectivity can significantly enhance learning (Downes, 2009; Siemens & Weller, 2011). New skills such as collaboration, sharing, content production and inquiry have become ‘normalised’ and form part of the daily work and personal lives of learners. Yet within higher education institutions, our ability to embrace these practices and technologies is sometimes compromised by an unwillingness to experiment and policy debates that challenge the efficacy of social media in terms of openness, privacy, identity and authenticity. Equally, the pace of technological change amongst the next generation of students is moving faster than the institution’s ability to implement the required systems and capacity changes to keep up.
This project is designed to ‘rise above’ the wired world of university systems and present a more cloud-like model of pedagogical development and step-changes in terms of teaching, learning and assessment practice. It is a series of innovative projects, practices, inquiries, debates and governance structures designed to help connect staff, students and the community through agile and engaged learning and teaching. We believe that this represents a unique and ambitious attempt to proactively embed these principles at a strategic institutional level, and as such will provide conference participants with a valuable insight into the challenges and tactical approaches at play within such an endeavour, along with an opportunity to share in our reflection on these and our progress to date.
We will present an outline of our first year, using evaluation data gathered through a mixed methods approach, incorporating primary data collection coupled with a number of action research projects. We will look at the granularity that impacted on the implementation of the vision; the micro-level (looking at the way individual users assess the benefits of a learning technology system), the meso-level, which looks at the grey space of how learning occurs at the point where learning and technology are integrated and finally the macro-level which looks at the wider impacts of learning technology. This will allow us and conference participants to reflect on the changes that have taken place within the university and the significant challenges remaining.
The session will be an extended presentation, including triggers for audience discussion (at least ten of the thirty minutes). We will ask delegates to contribute their knowledge of their own institutions to explore
- whether there is a contradiction between a culture of academic freedom and institutional strategies around teaching and learning
- how the sector can take innovation beyond “projects with 30 students” into broader institutional practice
Downes, S. (2009). Learning networks and connective knowledge. In H. H. Yang & S. C.-Y. Yuen (Eds.), Collective Intelligence and E-Learning 2.0: Implications of Web-Based Communities and Networking (pp. 1).
Garrison, D. R., & Anderson, T. (2003). E-learning in the 21st century: A framework for research and practice: Routledge.
Siemens, G., & Weller, M. (2011). Higher education and the promises and perils of social network. Revista de Universidad y Sociedad del Conocimiento (RUSC), 8(1), 164-170.
|Affiliation||London School of Economics and Political Science|