ITU Academic Partnership Meeting


This week I was supposed to be talking at a conference in Atlanta, unfortunately I filled out my visa application wrong so wasn’t able to get my flight. However I was able to participate last night, online.  The progamme is available here


I was on a panel with three others; the topic was ‘The challenges faced by the 21st Century university’, with the following details:


Responding and adapting to the rapid technological change is a challenge for all organizations, including Universities. How can academic institutions ensure they remain relevant in the future and continue as leaders in research and teaching? This session will feature a debate among academics on some of the main challenges they are facing in the face of the digital transformation. Some of the issues to be covered are: 

  • Advent of the virtual university and implications for the traditional classroom
  • Ethics for the use of technology in education
  • Use of open source educational content
  • Role of social networks in University education

Here is the gist of my response. I began by providing some contextualisation. Firstly, that there are a variety of ways for learners to interact with rich multimedia resources, and to communicate and collaborate across a range of devices and across formal and informal learning spaces. Secondly, mobile devices mean that learning anywhere and anytime is now a reality. Thirdly, social media enable learners to connect together and beyond their cohort. Fourthly, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence offer rich immersive environments. Finally, there are new approaches to Learning Design and the use of Learning Analytics. In terms of the challenges I listed the following:

  • Microcredentials and new forms of assessment
  • The changing nature of work meaning that we need to move from knowledge recall to enabling learners to develop new digital literacies and skills
  • The impact of OER and MOOCs
  • The potential of learning design and learning analytics
  • The emergence of new technologies such as Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence
  • Issues associated with surveillance and ethics
  • The use of social media and what is the appropriate mix of social media and institutional systems
  • The need for leadership with a good understanding of technologies
  • The importance of appropriate CPD for teachers

I pointed to the Open University UK’s Innovating Pedagogy reports and listed the following for this year:



  • Artificial Intelligence in Education
  • Post Humanist perspectives
  • Learning through open data
  • Engaging with data ethics
  • Social justice pedagogies
  • E-sports
  • Learning from animation
  • Multisensory learning
  • Offline networked learning
  • Online laboratories 



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