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DESI222 Lecture #2: Innovations in Higher Education

July 19, 2010

Augmented reality - heads up display concept. Photo by Leonard Low (CCBY)

The following is a sample of some of the recent developments in the provision of higher education that suggest where things might be heading. These sites were discussed in the DESI222 lecture on Monday 19 July. An audio recording (47MB, 49 Min. MP3) of the lecture can be played and downloaded from here.

Close to home, we can look to Massey University’s distance learning programme to see how technology is enabling students to study without attending face-to-face classes. In the UK, the Open University is the largest provider of distance education, with about 150,000 undergraduate and more than 30,000 postgraduate students. Western Governors University takes a somewhat different approach to other online programmes. They are competency-based, rather than credit hour-based, so students are awarded for what they can show they know, regardless of how long they study. Their fees structure also encourages students to complete quickly.

The Facebook site for Language Match @ Otago explains how this service connects Otago students from different language and cultural backgrounds who want to learn from one another through informal conversational exchanges.

The Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) describes itself as “an online community of open study groups for short university-level courses”. Check out the 6 minute video on the about P2PU page for a short presentation about their “disruptive innovation”.

Peer 2 Peer University and Mozilla have joined forces to creating the P2PU School of Webcraft, 
an effort to help anyone to learn web developer skills free. The effort is “powered entirely by learners, mentors and contributors”. Mozilla’s Drumbeat initiative is, according to their website, a place for like minds to gather and collaborate. A place to gather. A place for you to find collaborators. Their various projects are aimed at bottom up, collaborative efforts to maintain an Open Web that is based on freedom, decentralization, and collaboration.

OWL (Open Web Learning) is one of the many Drumbeat projects that have been initiated by individuals that leverage networked technologies to open up new educational opportunities. Another project, Rate Your Study Abroad, resulted in a website that is in use now.

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