I blame Gillian Tett.
The Financial Times (FT) columnist wrote a piece in the weekend magazine earlier this year, Welcome to the Virtual University.
She had just come back from the World Economic Forum in Davos and claimed to have seen the future of higher education – it’s online. Check out the comments from readers, too.
“… the internet is placing universities on the brink of dramatic disruption – and this change could rival … the type of shocks that technology has produced in the worlds of finance, retail and media in recent years.”
University tutors, she noted, are suitably cautious and cite the importance of a campus experience. The pace of evolution is, she also noted, relatively slow, especially in the UK compared to the United States.
But Larry Summers, a former president of Harvard University, told the great and good of Davos, that if – or when – online learning takes off, “This has the potential to be hugely transformative.”
I was intrigued.
I had already subtly started bringing more technology into my own courses at Glyndwr University. Within journalism, we had looked at social media, data journalism, writing for online etc.
But maybe, instead of arranging a guest speaker like ex-BBC Wales journalist Sian Pari Huws [pictured above] to speak to the student cohort, I could start setting up guest slots online?
Why hold drop-in tutorials when we can discuss in a news forum?
And, with the economic model behind the university system looking increasingly flawed, then maybe I need to find new ways to deliver learning?
So that’s why I’m here.
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