Today, No one can disagree that higher education requires a complete rethink. Our current toolsets and thinking are over 400 years old. But now the transmission of knowledge need no longer be tethered to a college campus. The technical affordances of cloud-based computing, digital textbooks, mobile connectivity, high-quality streaming video, and “just-in-time” information gathering have pushed vast amounts of knowledge to the internet.
From Pew Research center, the report of The Future of Higher Education from a web-based servey on 1,021 Internet experts:
Experts expect more-efficient collaborative environments and new grading schemes; they worry about massive online courses, the shift away from on-campus life …
60% agreed with a statement that by 2020 “there will be mass adoption of teleconferencing and distance learning to leverage expert resources … a transition to ‘hybrid’ classes that combine online learning components with less-frequent on-campus, in-person class meetings.” Some 39% agreed with an opposing statement that said, “in 2020 higher education will not be much different from the way it is today.”
Yet, a share of this group was excited about the possibility for universities to leverage new online capabilities and peer-to-peer collaborations that they believe would enhance knowledge creation and sharing.”
Different with getting the result from experts’ perspectives, MacArthur Foundation published a book highlighting the “Need for Evidence-Based Perspective on Digital Media and Education“:
Accommodating the diversity of students’ preferences and practices on technology is imperative to advance education, according to a book by OECD’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation. The MacArthur-supported book Connected Minds: Technology and Today’s Learners (OECD Publishing, free preview online) provides insight into what evidence exists and what is needed to assist educators and policymakers in effectively harnessing the connection between technology and education to provide a rich learning environment.
This book examines whether today’s students are really digital natives, whether there is consistent evidence on the effects of tehcnology adoption, and what the implications are for educational policy.
MacArthur Foundation has had $50 million initiative in digital media and learning. All the past project reports are published openly online. Shared and interactive learning made possible by the Internet is not new or revolutionary but is now the norm for today’s graduating high school and college classes. We should examine potential new models of digital learning and learning institutions, but evidence of learning effectiveness from any new model should be built.
Take the recent experiments of MOOC(MOOC storied) for example, there is too much media coverage but too few research articles. Maybe that’s why Harvard and MIT are building edX with strong researching resources is important.