Monday, 29 June 2009

The Edgeless University - Comments

A massive new JISC document - The Edgeless University has just come out. It looked important enough for me to read. I'm about half way through and, so far, I've not learnt as much as with Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World. However, I've not got to the recommendations yet.

What's useful is that it focuses on the challenges facing Higher Education in the new Web 2.0 world. The basic idea is simply - Universities must become edgeless - blurring their boundaries. I'll comment on this in later posts.

Much of the focus so far is on OER. It takes the stance that with the wealth of OER available universities are still important because people "look to their expertise and their recognition to validate learning." Yes, this is true but will this perception always exist? It is true that universities contains the greatest concentration of expertise but with Web 2.0 others are springing up all the time. If everyone realised what is out there, people's perception of where they can legitimately learn will change. At the moment, employers are after same validity that the report say learners are. This could change if people realise that a university qualification isn't the only way that someone can gain expertise in a subject. I want this to happen but I'm not sure it will.

Deep down, the main resistence to OER and Web 2.0 in general from higher education is that fact that it's free. How can they survive if we give everything away for free. For me, this is about the democratisation of learning, of knowledge. Why not give everyone the chance to learn. The current system was set up by the elite for the elite. It's natural that university will defend what they have got and I can't see anything changing any time soon. But Web 2.0 challenges this notion. The report will no doubt give some interesting ideas for how universities can change whilst remaining financially viable. But the message is clear, if you ignore the new world, you will become irrevelant anyway.

This post is more of a stream consciousness that normal. I hope it makes sense to any reader and myself when I read this back later.

No comments:

Post a Comment