Systemic Changes in Higher Education

George Siemens, Kathleen Matheos

Abstract


A power shift is occurring in higher education, driven by two trends: (a) the increased freedom of learners to access, create, and re-create content; and (b) the opportunity for learners to interact with each other outside of a mediating agent. Information access and dialogue, previously under control of the educator, can now be readily fulfilled by learners. When the essential mandate of universities is buffeted by global, social/political, technological, and educational change pressures, questions about the future of universities become prominent. The integrated university faces numerous challenges, including a decoupling of research and teaching functions. Do we still need physical classrooms? Are courses effective when information is fluid across disciplines and subject to continual changes? What value does a university provide society when educational resources and processes are open and transparent?

Keywords: higher education; freedom of learners; open access; online learning


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