by Stephen Downes
Aug 28, 2015
Educational Innovation as a Verb, Not a Noun
Inside Higher Ed,
To me this is old news because the model has been repeated frequently inside NRC to describe the organizational changes we've undertaken over the last few years. But it's worth posting this link because it's a lucid account from someone close to the source and because it describes a trend coming to an institution near you. It's based on a "‘triple play’ framework of exploration-experimentation-exploitation seems to me to give us a working criterion for innovation as an overall process:
- Discovering new knowledge or ideas (including both invention and discovering what others may have begun to do)
- Translating and testing the new idea or knowledge as a working artifact (product, service or practice)
- Adapting and extending the artifact for wider use to generate organizational/social value."
The big change at our institution was move down the criteria, to shift from "discovering new knowledge" to "translating and testing" and even "adapting and extending". The view has been that there is no shortage of discovery (especially in Canada) but that there is a greater need to adapt knowledge to create social and commercial value. But I fear this will become a wider trend absorbing all our institutions.
Data, Technology, and the Great Unbundling of Higher Education
Ryan Craig, Allison Williams,
Unlike the dull-as-dishwater set of priorities listed by Kenneth Green, this post has some more exciting projections about the future of technology in higher education. But it should be noted that this comes at a cost - a crisis in traditional institutions, a crisis that has been slow to develop but is now approach a crest: "In a survey of 368 small private colleges and midsize state universities, 38 percent failed to meet their 2014–15 budget for both freshman enrollment and net tuition revenue.... Like the retailer and restaurant markets, the middle of the higher education market is being hollowed out from both the top and the bottom."
Let's look at what we can do if we get it right:
- Accessibility - "Yet before digital delivery transformed distance learning to online degrees, accessibility was not universal."
- Affordability - "the real higher education story of the decade is the crisis of affordability. Current and recent students amass unprecedented debt loads by the time they graduate.... online delivery should be a solution to the crisis of affordability." - "Solving for Affordability: Competency-Based Learning"
- Efficacy - "If any product or service should be designed so that a stoned freshman can figure it out, it should be higher education." - "Solving for Efficacy: Adaptive Learning and Gamification"
This is a good article. I don't necessarily agree that competency and cradle-to-job design is the way of the future, but there is no question the 'unbundling' described by the authors is.
"In an era of unbundling, when colleges and universities need to move from selling degrees to selling EaaS subscriptions, the winners will be those that can turn their students into "students for life"—providing the right educational programs and experiences at the right time. This becomes possible when individuals own their competencies and allow institutions to manage their profiles, suggesting educational programs and even employment." Oh - but are universities ready for that?
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