By Allison Dulin Salisbury
An international group of higher education institutions—including UT Arlington, Stanford University, Hong Kong University and Davidson College—convened by learning researcher and theorist George Siemens gathered last week to explore the impacts of MOOCs on higher education (full list of participating institutions below).
The takeaway? Higher education is going digital, responding to the architecture of knowledge in a digital age, and MOOCs, while heavily criticized, have proven a much-needed catalyst for the development of progressive programs that respond to the changing world.
After sharing challenges, key innovations and general impacts, we were collectively awed by our similarities. Sure, Harvard and Stanford have larger budgets and teams, and the Texas system is, well, a system, while Davidson College enrolls a little under 2,000 students; yet, these fundamentally different institutions voiced similar challenges in their transitions to digital environments.
During a wide-ranging, engaging conversation, participants focused on themes that have to do with organizational change, the state of higher education, and what it is we want our purpose to be—collectively—over the coming years.
Here are a few of the effects MOOCs have had on our colleges or universities:
- Increased institutional consciousness around the future of digital. Not surprisingly, the most prevalent topic of conversation was that our institutions are increasingly thinking, debating and dreaming about the role of MOOCs—and digital education more broadly—in defining future models of higher education. Four years ago, many of our faculty senates and upper level administrations infrequently engaged deeply with questions pertaining to the higher education in the digital era. Today, those conversations populate strategy documents, capital campaign materials, and inform decision-making and exchanges between students, staff and faculty on a daily basis.
[ Full article available at Inside Higher Ed: https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/higher-ed-beta/impacts-moocs-higher-education ]