Pushing the Boundaries of Higher Education Conference

UOC organised a conference entitled “Pushing the boundaries of Higher Education: Challenging traditional models with innovative and creative practices” on 3 October at the CaixaForum in Barcelona. Several international speakers were invited to share their thoughts on innovative and creative practices in higher education. You can read their thought pieces at the associated conference site.  The PhD students were also fortunate to share a round table at the event to discuss our research and our responses to the conference speakers. I have summarised the main points from the speakers below:

Theme 1: Fostering Innovative Practices and Self-Regulated Learners

Heutagogy (Lisa Blaschke)

  • A challenge educators face is employer dissatisfaction with graduates not having the necessary skills. Employers want autonomous or self-motivated graduates to manage complexity. Yet educators prefer traditional instruction styles. Challenges for students include rising education costs.
  • Heutagogy is self-determined learning, a learner-centred approach based on principles of agency, self-efficiency, reflection and meta-cognition. Learners are at the centre, they control their learning paths and outcomes. When combined with social media, learners created Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) and develop personal learning networks. Examples of social media use include curation (Scoopit), reflection blogs, participation in MOOCs, and sharing (Instagram and WhatsApp).
  • This involves students being involved in: what is learned and how, and the assessment is decided together with the educator. The educator guides and scaffolds the process. This approach is suited to open and distance learning.
  • Challenges to adopting heutagogy: there is greater responsibility required for students to be autonomous, it is difficult to return to passive/formal pedagogies, a fear of loss of control by the educator, assessment becomes more difficult, as rely on some self-assessment.
  • Benefits of heutagogy: Improve critical thinking, reflection, engagement, promote independence and self-confidence.
  • Link to thought piece.

Innovations and Traditions in Teaching and Learning (Tony Bates)

  • Challenges facing higher education include: a shift from content delivery to higher order skills, need for expertise in pedagogy, technology and subject matter, increasing diversity in students, increasing costs of higher education.
  • What is meant by innovation? Although the meaning varies, it can be considered the use of technology to solve a particular problem.
  • Variables to consider: spread of academic disciplines, reasons for the innovation (main reasons are to increase access or to provide greater flexibility), based on research or best practice (most innovations did not consider research or best practice), the technologies and pedagogies used (most innovations did not use leading edge technologies or pedagogies, focused on lecture capture, web conferencing, LMS, mobile apps, social media), the outcomes that are sought (only ½ of studies had changes in the teaching approach to develop knowledge management, critical thinking, problem solving or teamwork), the diffusion of the innovation (most innovations did not spread outside the department).
  • The use of technology needs to be combined with innovative teaching methods.
  • Link to thought piece.

Theme 2: Switching from Content Delivery to Epistemic Practices

Learning in MOOCs: The [Un]democratisation of Learning (Alison Littlejohn)

  • MOOCs seen as disruptors and democratising forces in online education, characterised by scale and diversity of learning. But while MOOCs do widen access, they tend to attract those who are already well-educated. They tend to be designed for those who know how to learn (not scaffolded) and conform to traditional norms (not own path) with the aid of an expert teacher.
  • Learners engage differently in MOOCs, not all aim to complete, some only want to be present or to have the experience or only to learn about a specific concept. Therefore, we need to rethink the metrics.
  • There are other tensions in MOOCs. There is a tension between learner autonomy and conforming with norms/passive learning. There is a tension between observing the activity of learning that occurs within the MOOC platform, while students learn in their own environments e.g. social media or in physical meetings. Traces offer fragments of how learners learn and only provide fractured views of progress against learners’ own goals. Many MOOCs are designed for students who are able to learn, excluding those who are not autonomous learners. The extent of help provided by learning analytics is questionable (focus on what is easy to measure rather than what is critical for learning).
  • Competencies to consider: analyse personal motivation, goal setting, strategic planning and learning progress, help learners plan and manage time.
  • In summary, supporting learners learning how to learn is complex and resource intensive. The challenge is not to think about MOOCs as a product of consumption.
  • Link to thought piece.

Content is King – Welcome to Tubeocracy! (Yishay Mor)

  • Teachers are failing students and institutions are failing students, so students turn to unregulated sources of knowledge
  • Postulates, we live in an era of:
    • Pervasive data abundance – big data dominating lives, potential efficiency, massification and personalisation. Data literacy is thus important. However ethical, cultural and philosophical questions are raised.
    • Pervasive information abundance: Good teachers cannot be replaced by machines, good teachers provide questions, not answers.
    • Transient procedural knowledge: knowledge of “how to” changes.
    • Eroding epistemic knowledge: flooded with content and “anything goes”.
  • Future
    • Hybridity: transcend disciplines & learning structures for ill-defined, authentic tasks
    • Empowerment: emphasise autonomy and independence
    • Criticality: critical and reflective mindset
  • Link to thought piece.

Future of Education or Future of Learning (Philip Schmidt)

  • Learning involves acquiring and developing skills, knowledge and competencies, while education is the system to enable learning
  • Lifelong learning focuses on learning over a lifetime, while lifewide learning focuses on the learning contexts, places and spaces.
  • Peer2Peer University is an example of lifelong and lifewide learning that originally provided online support spaces, but shifted focus because it was improving quality, but not access. Now they work with public libraries to create learning circles in local communities. It provides a mix between global and online and small and local.
  • Pressures: sustainability and financial models, preparing generations for significant problems such as climate change, preparing to create fulfilling societies e.g. the automation of jobs.
  • There is a difference between content of learning and practice of learning. Creative learning involves the 4 Ps: projects, peers, passion and play.
  • Link to video.

 

Theme 3: Next Generation Learning Environments

The LMS is dead: thoughts on the NGDLE (Jim Groom)

  • Personal APIs – individuals control over who has access to their online data.
  • LMSs/VLEs remain central to future but through decoupling the pieces, integration through APIs and LTIs (learning tools integration for single sign-on). But this is not revolutionary, it is embedding scripts in the LMS. Many personalisation and analytics are 3rd party commercial services that depend on data collection. Web platforms exist to capture and monetise data. Technologies in closed systems create roadblocks for educators and students.
  • Who manages and controls our “life bits” (the digital bits we share)?
  • Link to thought piece.

Interventions (Brian Lamb)

  • LMS designs are teacher and course centric. Often used with the metaphor of lego blocks, which were applied to learning objects too.
  • Calls for interoperability to promote open seamless ecosystems for personalised learning experiences.
  • Ideas: digital sanctuary in practice, digital and data literacy, the idea of SPLOTS (simplest possible online tools) and more ethical online teaching.
  • Link to thought piece.

Theme 4: Leveraging the affordances of technology and learning design

Value-based Vision-driven Learning Design (Rikke Norgard)

  • Provision of systems where students can take courses when they want, at a pace they want, with auto-assessment.
  • Universities were seen as a factory for society’s workforce, therefore focused on competencies, rankings and utility. But there is a push for academic citizenship. And a push against walled gardens and the transmission of content and marketisation of education. There is a move to co-creation, collectiveness, citizenship, and critical-creativity. An opportunity to connect educational values and teacher visions with pedagogical principles and design patterns and learning experiences
  • Focus on the problem and the vision, the learning experience, pedagogy, learning activities and patterns as well as the materials and tools to achieve learning outcomes.
  • Link to thought piece.

Digital Networks (Terry Anderson)

  • Higher education continues to sustain a hidden curriculum (norms, values and beliefs). There is a call to use the real world, rather than campus as context for learning. Educational experiences now extend to YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. But most teachers do not use social tools (either inside or outside the LMS) such as blogs or wikis and focus on the administrative tools. Educators do not adopt technologies until they see a perceived benefit and have the self-efficacy to believe efforts will be successful.
  • Issues to consider: a networking system and digital competence
  • Link to thought piece.

 

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eLearning and ODL Journal Rankings 2016

The ISI Web of Science JCR (by Thomson Reuters) and SCImago (by SCOPUS) journal rankings for 2016 have recently been released. I have gone through the Education categories and listed the journals that are relevant for research in e-learning and open and distance learning. The list is organised by quartile and each journal shows the impact factor or journal ranking and whether it is an open access journal.

2016 Journal Citation Rankings (Category: Education and Educational Research)

  • Q1: Internet and Higher Education – 4.24
  • Q1: Computers and Education – 3.82
  • Q1: International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning – 3.47
  • Q1: British Journal of Educational Technology – 2.41
  • Q1: IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies – 2.27
  • Q1: Learning, Media and Technology – 2.04
  • Q1: International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning – 1.73 (Open Access)
  • Q1: Interactive Learning Environments – 1.67
  • Q1: Distance Education – 1.59
  • Q2: Educational Technology and Society – 1.58 (Open Access)
  • Q2: Journal of Computing in Higher Education – 1.44
  • Q2: Journal of Computer Assisted Learning – 1.25
  • Q3: Technology Pedagogy and Education – 1.07
  • Q3: Australasian Journal of Educational Technology – 0.85 (Open Access)
  • Q3: Educational Technology Research and Development – 0.73
  • Q3: Journal of Educational Computing Research – 0.68

2016 SCImago Journal Rank (Category: Education)

Quartile 1

  • Internet and Higher Education – 2.83
  • Computers and Education – 2.61
  • Journal of Computer Assisted Learning (JCAL) – 1.65
  • International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning – 1.47
  • Journal of Research on Technology in Education – 1.44
  • Learning, Media and Technology – 1.39
  • British Journal of Educational Technology (BJET) – 1.33
  • Educational Technology Research and Development (ETRD) – 1.31
  • Educational Technology and Society (ETS) – 1.10
  • Journal of Computing in Higher Education – 1.10
  • International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL) – 1.03
  • Distance Education – 1.00
  • IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies – 0.93
  • Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (AJET) – 0.85
  • Interactive Learning Environments – 0.85
  • Technology, Pedagogy and Education – 0.84
  • Research in Learning Technology – 0.84
  • International Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning – 0.80

Quartile 2

  • Technology, Knowledge and Learning – 0.64
  • International Journal of Mobile Learning and Organisation – 0.64
  • Journal of Educational Computing Research – 0.61
  • American Journal of Distance Education – 0.52
  • Education and Information Technologies – 0.49
  • International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education – 0.43
  • Electronic Journal of e-Learning – 0.42
  • Open Learning – 0.38
  • Digital Education Review – 0.36
  • E-Learning and Digital Media – 0.34
  • Journal of Interactive Online Learning – 0.33
  • International Journal of Information and Learning Technology – 0.32

Quartile 3

  • International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning – 0.30
  • Knowledge Management and E-Learning – 0.30
  • Journal of Educators Online – 0.29
  • Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (now = Online Learning) – – 0.26
  • International Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning – 0.23
  • Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education – 0.22
  • International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments – 0.22
  • International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning – 0.22
  • Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology – 0.22
  • International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Education –  0.19
  • Journal of Information Technology Education:Research – 0.19

Quartile 4

  • Journal of E-Learning and Knowledge Society (JeLKS) – 0.18
  • Ubiquitous Learning – 0.17
  • International Journal of Learning Technology – 0.16
  • International Journal of Distance Education Technologies – 0.16
  • International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies – 0.15
  • International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development – 0.13
  • International Journal of Technologies in Learning – 0.13
  • Interactive Technology and Smart Education – 0.13
  • Journal of Technology Education – 0.12
  • Computers in Education Journal – 0.11

Call for Presentations: PhD Symposium on the Digitalisation of Universities on 12 July

The call for presentations is now open for the PhD Symposium on the “Digitalisation of Universities in the Future” on 12 July 2017. It is part of the Universities of the Future Research Network meeting in Hagen, Germany, 11 – 13 July 2017. The call for presentations is open until 30 April 2017. PhD students are invited to present on their research in areas that relate to the digitalisation of universities. Students will present to a panel of experts in e-learning and receive feedback. Presentations can be done in-person or online. Please take advantage of this opportunity to present your research-in-progress.

For more information, visit the website: http://unifuture.network/2017/03/02/call-presentations-phd-symposium/

Seminar: Future of eLearning

UOC organised a face-to-face and online research seminar on The future of e-learning on 16 September 2016, presented by Dr Terry Anderson. These are my notes from the seminar:

Part A: Future of eLearning

Background

  • There are many predictions of the future of elearning, but we wanted to look at the implications for future learning.
  • Definition: E-learning is a combination of methods, structures and networked electronic tools orchestrated into systems that bring about, or are intended to bring about, learning.
  • E-learning will be in ascendancy in the next decade.
  • For traditional universities moving into e-learning, most of the takers are current students, not distance students.
  • There is growth in investments in elearning.
  • Number of MOOCs have kept increasing, and more are being offered as self-paced.
  • eLearning is not only institutional, almost everything online is an opportunity for learning, either deliberately (Wikipedia, Youtube) or as a side-effect (email, Facebook).
  • Online, almost everyone can be a teacher and a learner.

Reviewing the Edinburgh Scenarios

The Edinburgh Scenarios (Bell & Stewart, 2004)

  • Virtually vanilla – move online, but institutions and pedagogies do not change. Examples: blended learning, LMS, recorded lectures, MOOCs.
  • Back to the future – rejection of elearning, and return to face-to-face. Examples: ban of mobile devices.
  • Web of confidence – expand and enhance opportunities for formal and informal learning. Examples: Wikipedia, Learning analytics
  • U Choose – move beyond schools and universities, focus on own learning. Examples: DIY learning, makerspaces, Youtube, open badges.

Part B: Generations of Distance Education Pedagogy

Three Generations of Distance Education

  • Cognitive-behaviourial (instructivist)
  • Social constructivist
  • Connectivist

The Fourth Generation of Distance Education

  • Learning analytics – traces of learning activity to help teachers and students
  • Collective technologies – the crowd e.g. social media
  • Artificial intelligence – mimic aspects of human learning
  • Disaggregated tools – move away from LMS to multiple tools
  • Mobility and device diversity
  • Internet of Things
  • Virtual and augmented reality – mobile apps
  • 3D printing

Elements and characteristics of the next generation

  • Focussed heavily on the individual learning
  • Distributed: technically, socially and organisationally
  • Crowd-driven and emergent
  • Integrated, just-in-time and authentic
  • Courses will play a less significant role
  • Learning will be divorced from accreditation

Threats from the Future

  • Open vs closed – open access, OERs
  • Loss of mind, the loss of soul – affected by technologies
  • Lack of adoption by formal education

Conclusion

  • Challenging times for open universities – focus on research on teaching and learning within disciplines, not disciplinary research
  • The future will be something like the past – low adoption rates by instructional education
  • Adjacent possibilities of new ideas and technologies always bring unanticipated and emergent opportunities and challenges
  • However, institutions may provide the stability necessary for human scale adaptation to technology induced hyper-change

eLearning and ODL Journal Rankings 2015

The ISI Web of Science JCR (by Thomson Reuters) and SCImago (by SCOPUS) journal rankings for 2015 have recently been released. I have gone through the Education categories and listed the journals that are relevant for research in e-learning and open and distance learning. The list is organised by quartile and each journal shows the impact factor or journal ranking and whether it is an open access journal.

2015 Journal Citation Rankings (Category: Education and Educational Research)

  • Q1: Computers and Education – 2.88
  • Q1: Internet and Higher Education – 2.72
  • Q1: International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning – 2.20
  • Q1: Distance Education – 2.02
  • Q1: Learning, Media and Technology – 1.70
  • Q1: Journal of Computer Assisted Learning – 1.68
  • Q1: British Journal of Educational Technology – 1.63
  • Q2: International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning – 1.24 (Open Access)
  • Q2: Interactive Learning Environments – 1.18
  • Q2: Educational Technology Research and Development – 1.17
  • Q2: IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies – 1.13
  • Q2: Educational Technology and Society – 1.10 (Open Access)
  • Q2: Technology Pedagogy and Education – 0.98
  • Q3: Australasian Journal of Educational Technology – 0.80 (Open Access)
  • Q3: Journal of Educational Computing Research – 0.64
  • Q4: Journal of Computing in Higher Education – 0.50

2015 SCImago Journal Rank (Category: Education)

Quartile 1

  • Internet and Higher Education – 3.56
  • Computers and Education – 3.14
  • Journal of Computer Assisted Learning – 2.39
  • Educational Technology Research and Development – 1.82
  • International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning – 1.64
  • British Journal of Educational Technology – 1.61
  • Learning, Media and Technology – 1.40
  • International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning – 1.35 (Open Access)
  • Australasian Journal of Educational Technology – 1.33 (Open Access)
  • Educational Technology and Society – 1.33 (Open Access)
  • Distance Education – 1.33
  • Research in Learning Technology – 1.32 (Open Access)
  • Technology, Pedagogy and Education – 0.90
  • Interactive Learning Environments – 0.85
  • Journal of Research on Technology in Education – 0.81
  • International Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning – 0.80
  • IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies 0.73

Quartile 2

  • Journal of Interactive Online Learning – 0.66 (Open Access)
  • Online Learning – 0.58 (Open Access)
  • Journal of Educational Computing Research – 0.55
  • Journal of Information Technology Education:Research – 0.54 (Open Access)
  • Education and Information Technologies – 0.53 (Open Access)
  • Electronic Journal of e-Learning – 0.52 (Open Access)
  • International Journal of Mobile Learning and Organisation – 0.45
  • American Journal of Distance Education – 0.40
  • Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology – 0.38 (Open Access)
  • International Journal of Information and Learning Technology – 0.38
  • Journal of Computing in Higher Education – 0.36

Quartile 3

  • Journal of Technology Education – 0.32 (Open Access)
  • Open Learning – 0.32
  • Journal of Educators Online (Open Access) – 0.30
  • International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development – 0.30
  • Knowledge Management and E-Learning – 0.29 (Open Access)
  • International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning – 0.27
  • Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education – 0.26 (Open Access)
  • E-Learning and Digital Media – 0.25
  • International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning – 0.21 (Open Access)
  • Digital Education Review (Open Access) – 0.21
  • International Journal of Learning Technology – 0.20
  • RUSC Universities and Knowledge Society Journal – 0.18 (Open Access)
  • International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Education – 0.18

Quartile 4

  • International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments – 0.18
  • Journal of E-Learning and Knowledge Society – 0.17 (Open Access)
  • Computers in Education Journal – 0.15
  • International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies – 0.15
  • International Journal of Distance Education Technologies – 0.14
  • Ubiquitous Learning – 0.11
  • Interactive Technology and Smart Education – 0.11