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Open universities and innovation in higher education

Keynote given at Lebenslange Lernen conference, Berlin, Jun, 2015

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Open universities and innovation in higher education

  1. 1. Open universities and innovation in higher education Alan Tait Professor of Distance Education and Development The Open University UK Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  2. 2. University of London • 1858: University of London External Studies: first university to be open to place • 1878: University of London: first university to be open to women Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  3. 3. Open University: the term • Where did the idea come from? • Michael Young, social innovator Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  4. 4. The Open University • Foundation 1969 • Prime Minister Harold Wilson, walking back from church • Social and educational context • Political controversy Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  5. 5. It takes a woman! • From the idea to reality • Jenny Lee Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  6. 6. It takes another woman! • Margaret Thatcher as Secretary of State for Education Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  7. 7. The conventions attacked • Adults • Lower or no qualifications • Use of technology • Citizenship and democracy • Social justice and inclusion • Lifelong learning/ continuing education/ éducation permanente Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  8. 8. The new student cohorts • Social class • Gender • Ethnicity • Disability • Changing the assumptions about who can go to university Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  9. 9. Major arguments for • Social justice: inclusion and social mobility • Skills and knowledge • Citizenship and personal fulfilment • Framework of ideas: lifelong learning Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  10. 10. Teaching Adult students • Focus for first time on teaching in higher education • Open entry: no entry qualifications asked for • Reversal of selection by institution • Reversal of quality of input to quality of outcomes • One third with less than minimum university entry qualifications • Flexibility: student centred systems • Use of term pedagogy • Innovation on curriculum Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  11. 11. The course team • Open not private teaching • Co-operative not individual • Equality of academic status within course team • Peer review of academic work • Capital intensive for high quality and innovation Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  12. 12. New media • Print for learning • TV • Radio • Study centres • Residential schools • Innovation: existing resources in new combinations Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  13. 13. Behaviourism v. constructivism • Programmed instruction • Educational technology • ‘perfect’ teaching materials remove need for student support • Reality of student lives • Student support • Role of tutor as mediator and scaffolder of knowledge Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  14. 14. Innovation and curriculum • Does mass higher education need same curriculum as élite higher education? • Curriculum for social mobility: cases of pre- school workers; retail management; sports studies • Bachelors and Masters degrees as currency: the case for intermediate qualifications Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  15. 15. Open universities worldwide • Now more than 60 • Majority in Commonwealth • Also Spain 1972 and 5 others in Europe • Thailand • Costa Rica • China – Japan - Korea • And new open universities still being created Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  16. 16. Scale and economics of distance teaching Instructor led • Small scale • Extension of current model • USA • Low cost Course led • Writers and tutors • Industrial model • Otto Peters • High capital cost • Amortised over large numbers and years Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  17. 17. Student drop-out • Greater in part-time than full time • Greater in distance than part-time • Selection at entry • Student educational histories • Cambridge and Open Universities • Different educational missions Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  18. 18. Student support • Admissions and guidance • Tutor • Study counsellor • Learner centred • Intervention • Assumptions about student skills and confidence Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  19. 19. Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  20. 20. Student Success framework • Learning design as framework •Pre-study information, advice, guidance and admission •Curriculum or programme for student success •Intervention at key points and in response to student need •Assessment •Personalised support •Information and logistical systems •Managing for Student Success Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  21. 21. Other options to open universities • No open university in • USA • Australia • Brazil Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  22. 22. Dual mode Strengths • Range of modes available to students • Strong brand of qualification from conventional university • Strong development at Masters level Challenges • Real priority on distance education • Staff engagement • Developed expertise • Quality Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  23. 23. The transition to the digital world: decentering learning from the campus Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  24. 24. What else is new? • Ability to make learners responsible for sourcing (some) material • Capacity for peer and collaborative work • Richness of learning with multi-media • Ability to deliver near-constant updating of learning materials • OERs Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  25. 25. Digital learning on and off campus • 20 years after start of digital revolution • LMS on campus • Learning off campus with LMS, tablet and wifi • Blended models of technology supported study • End of separate worlds of distance and ‘conventional’ modes of study? Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  26. 26. • Opening up education from 1970’s with Open Universities • Open software from 1990’s • Open publishing from 2000’s • Open educational resources from 2000’s • MOOCs from 2010’s Open movement Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  27. 27. Oer’s and MOOCs • Passion and demand for learning is huge • Current model of HE is unsustainable • Crisis of confidence re price and value • Technology and on-line learning may offer different solutions • Interest in e-learning in research-led universities on different scale Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  28. 28. Future Learn • Open University MOOC platform • Launched September 2013 • 1 million registered learners by April 2015 • MOOCs from 40 research led universities • Designed for mobile • Designed for social learning Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  29. 29. Open Learn Visitors since launch: 22 million Visitors 2011/12: 5.4 million I Tunes Visitors since start: 2.9 million Visitors 2011/12: 63.3 million You Tube Visitors since start: 16.8 million video views Visitors 2011/12: 2.7 million video views FutureLearn 750,000 registered learners by September 2014 iTunes U Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  30. 30. 30 Journeys from informal to formal learning through open media 30 Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  31. 31. To conclude • Digital revolution now well advanced on as well as off campus • Mobile learning now normalised and ubiquitous • What is campus for? • Learning design now dominant paradigm • Capacity challenge now matched by funding challenge • How to manage scale – quality – affordability? Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  32. 32. 1 Individual demand 2 Combined with social and economic need 3 Plus digital revolution 4 Demands new response from Higher Education as open universities did 45 years ago What next? Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015
  33. 33. Vielen Dank! Lebenslanges Lernen und Weiterbildung - Berlin 2015

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