On the cusp of change - university 2.0?

David Annand has written an intersting article ‘Re-organising Universities for the information age’, which I came across via Terry Anderson’s blog. In it he argues that universities are fundamentally “pre-industrial” in their organisation. He goes on to say:

Much like the Industrial Revolution before it, rapid technological change in the Information Age has to date created significant, fundamental change in virtually all sectors of society except education. This may not remain the case for long. A confluence of factors puts increasing pressure on university systems worldwide to change.            

Although adopting a different approach, and drawing on a different body of literature, the paper has many similarities to the one by Barnes and Tynan I’ve referred to before. I totally agree with David’s comment about the way in which most institutions are currently thinking about technologies:

Unfortunately, as Hilsberg (2004) noted, new technologies are considered within most universities only to the extent that they might incrementally improve the cohort-based, paced educational process in both traditional and online environments, without regard for how technology coupled with organizational reform might transform the educative process.           

And also his concluding remarks:

It is still unclear whether resistance to change within the academy constitutes anything other than rearguard action. Irresistible technological, economic, and social imperatives seem about to impose significant change on the conduct of higher education worldwide.           

As I think I’ve said before the pace of change seems to have picked up somewhat in the last couple of years. Are we on the verge of some radical changes to the nature of education, the types of organisations which support it and the roles of those involved (’learners’, ‘teachers’, ‘accreditors’). Would there be any obvious indicators that we were in the middle of such a paradigm shift or will things only become evident after the event?? 

Leave a Reply