In this session, we will present data from a University of Leeds ESRC Newton funded research grant conducted in collaboration with the University of Cape Town. We will contextualise the study in the existing literature around marketization, unbundling and digital technology, and give an overview of our research in South Africa. We will then focus on data collected from the UK higher education sector, through desk research and interviews with senior HE leaders. Our session will involve a presentation of our research data, including demonstration of novel interactive visualisations. Participants will be able to view these visualisations themselves during the session, and manipulate the data. We will pose several critical questions to the audience during the session, and invite responses digitally through a Padlet wall. At the end of the session, we will take questions from the audience about our research findings. The session strongly relates to the theme of critical perspectives of learning technology, as our research project is focussed on the benefits and challenges of the growth in unbundled online learning from universities, and the impact this is having on access, equality, flexibility, institutional mission and the changing nature of higher education.
Session content: evaluation and reflection
Our session will describe the findings from our extensive desk research to show which UK universities are creating short online courses (e.g. Massive Open Online Courses) and online degrees, which platforms they are using, and which private companies they are partnering with to create online degrees. During the session, we will demonstrate our novel interactive maps, which visualise these relationships and activities, against a number of factors, including global positioning, rankings etc. We will explore the detail beneath these maps through discussion of interviews with senior UK HE leaders, who reflect on the current state of unbundling in the UK HE sector, the role of digital technology to support campus-based and online learners and the impact of partnerships with private companies on the business models of UK universities. We will describe how our qualitative and quantitative data sets are collected, organised, analysed and critiqued as part of the presentation.
Bass, R., & Eynon, B. (2017) From unbundling to rebundling: Design principles for transforming institutions In the new digital ecosystem. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 49:2, 8-17
Hall, R & Smyth, K. (2016) Dismantling the curriculum in Higher Education. Open Library of Humanities, 2(1): e11, p1-28.
Resources for participants