By Colleen Flaherty
Hitting faculty and student inboxes today at the University of Texas at Austin is President Bill Powers’s white paper on the future of “technology enhanced” education.
He’s calling the document a report, but Powers said in an interview it’s really an invitation to jump into a dialogue this fall on how the highly visible flagship university will continue to develop – and remain a leader in – online and “blended learning.” The latter term refers to online course content and methods of delivery complementing more traditional forms of instruction. “Flipped” classrooms, in which online content is used to prepare students outside class for more meaningful in-class engagement of the material, for example, are popular at UT.
It’s somewhat rare for a university president to take so public a role in discussions about technology and pedagogy. But through partnerships with other flagship universities and institutions in Texas, UT has been gathering data on the topic and building up resources for years, Powers said. It’s also joined the educational and research delivery platform edX, along with developers Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and other major research institutions.
Now it’s time for broader input, Powers said – and the call may be one that faculty appreciate, since they haven’t always been invited in. In May, Harvard faculty sent a letter to the dean of that institution’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences asking for greater involvement in overseeing the educational and ethical implications of MOOCs.
[ Full article available at Inside Higher Ed: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/08/15/u-texas-president-wants-faculty-input-future-online-education ]