The link between MOOCs and the future of education is pretty blatant, so I enrolled in the Siemens & Downes cMOOC The Current/Future State of Higher Education, running over the next few weeks. The first week is dedicated to what is driving change throughout higher education.
- UNESCO Report on Trends in Global Education (2009) – What I found especially interesting about this piece was the use of the term massification, used in such a way that it was something I should have been aware of as a scholar of emerging trends in higher ed. Massification here refers to global access to higher education; there is a chart on page V that shows the growth of populations invested in higher ed just between 2000 and 2007. Massive in the sense of a MOOC has (as I have taken it) dealt with the aspect of the specific course; whether it be a cMOOC or xMOOC, massive dealt with the enrollment. Perhaps this is a part of the term we should really define; maybe massive deals with the implications of this style of learning on a larger scale. Past that, the piece is pretty straightforward in its vision (though it existed before MOOC became a household word): massification will lessen the quality of higher ed, more people will gain exposure to higher ed via ICT, more women will get involved, there is still a divide in broadband access that makes the new incarnations of distance ed unable to affect an equitable change, etc.
- Africa must lead higher ed innovation – Blog post in relation to a variety of speeches and blogs by Hans de Wit, a professor of internationalization and higher ed in Amsterdam. For de Wit, the growth of universities outside the Western dominion can challenge the Western domination of education, but issues in Africa (brain drain, geographic and cultural differences, historical precedents) must be at least accounted for before this process can engage. What spoke to me here was the importance of environment in learning, and how the MOOC model often glosses over (or blatantly ignores) this. Finding common ground on a host of issues between Northern Africa, Eastern Africa and Sub-Sarahan Africa is a difficult endeavor to say the least, and the environments of each locale will play greatly in their development of educational organizations and outcomes. The Western system comes primarily from a Judeo-Christian/Colonialist system with International support over the course of hundreds of years. The brain drain and the fact that African professors and researchers are more likely to attend Western conferences rather than those in Africa points to a view of education from this perspective. Much like postcolonial thought varies based on the region, the development of learning models and methods for African education cannot ignore its environment in the same way that a learning method in a Western, dominant-ideology country could.
More to come.