Archives For digital
The Accenture Higher Education Will Never Be the Same! The Digital Demand on Campus and Beyond survey of 1,500 students in Australia, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States found:
Eighty-five percent of high school seniors, 81 percent of higher education students and 72 percent of higher education graduates say that how well a higher education institution embraces innovation is an important factor in deciding which institution to attend.
Because Universities, Colleges, and Polytechnics still control the parchment (degrees, diplomas and certification) we haven’t seen the same sort of external disruptive forces taking students away. What we are beginning to see is a shift in where students choose to attend within higher education. Institutions that have gone digital and provide fully online, well designed blended programs, or other innovative and flexible approaches to learning are drawing students who are looking for flexibility and relevance in their learning experience. The Accenture survey revealed that just over 50% of students are still considering a traditional education, so if your institutions is part of the Ivy League or other highly regarded brand then you may still have a strong draw. If you are offering the same traditional courses as your competition across town or across the state or province then you may be in trouble.
The report authors suggest that to remain competitive higher education must engage, satisfy and sustain relationships with always-on students by doing the following:
- Delivering on-demand learning. As digital natives, students expect on-demand, self-led learning with access to content and instruction online at any time. Institutions must enable a type of learning via mobile and social tools that involve video and content curation that make learning highly engaging.
- Working with new teaching partners. Education innovation such as on-demand learning models requires different educational delivery systems. No higher education institution will have access to a variety of models without building partnerships and strengthening its ecosystem by collaborating with other universities, the private sector and government.
- Cultivating lifelong learning. By using digital tools, higher education institutions can extend and strengthen alumni relationships through online and on-demand learning.
This is a very positive opportunity for higher education. Institutions that are proactive and use digital technologies to enhance learning are going to find that to do this well they must focus the learners needs and create significant learning environment rather then just deliver content.
Read the full report – Higher Education Will Never Be the Same! The Digital Demand on Campus and Beyond
The timing on this Chronicle of Higher Education post by Naomi S. Baron professor of linguistics and executive director of the Center for Teaching, Research & Learning at American University, could not have been more fortuitous. It is fortuitous in two ways. First, I have been reflecting on the importance of creating learning environments that help foster intrinsic motivation and provide the necessary context and significance for learning. And second, I have been lamenting receiving an exceptional book as a gift in print format because I am not able to add virtual highlights and notes which I use extensively in all the books that I read using an e-reader.
I will deal with the second point first. In the past I had extensively used adhesive book tabs, notes in the margins and highlights to mark and identify important passages and as result some of my most heavily used books are messy and cluttered.
While the tabs were intended to help me find the important thoughts and ideas in the books they really didn’t help because the more tabs you add the more difficult it becomes to find what you are looking for. In addition, as you can see from the picture above, the tabs get curled and mangled the more you use the book. Virtual highlighting and note placement not only eliminates this problem you can also search the entire book, notes or your highlights looking for the that key term or passage. In addition, many e-readers enable you to export all your highlights and notes to a text file which allow you to work directly with the most important sections of the text.
The final frustration with receiving a print based book is that I no longer carry any of these adhesive tabs in my briefcase or have any on hand in my office so I am not able to mark the important sections of the book. I will just have to purchase an electronic copy of this book I received as as gift.
While this convenience aspect of using an e-reader is important it may not be as important as my first point–reflecting on the importance of creating learning environments that help foster intrinsic motivation and provide the necessary context and significance for learning. Professor Baron argues that “deep reading” is not possible on an a digital screen because digital reading encourages distraction because most people have the tendency to engage in some form of multitasking. She also points to survey results that reveal that some students still view reading in print as “real reading” and that reading in print forces a student to read more slowly and carefully. Baron also points to anecdotal evidence of students asking for shorter version of the text, article or other form of summary like SparkNotes because they can’t be bothered to read the full text.
In the prelude to the actual statement of her argument, Baron also laments that students just don’t have the motivation to read deeply. I would argue that this is the actual problem and digital text made available on an phone, tablet, or other digital devices simply escalate the tendency to look to something more interesting or meaningful. I recall having to slog through too many devastatingly dry, boring and irrelevant books in my many years as student and even though I didn’t have access to the books in a digital form I still found many ways to distract myself from the mind-numbing reading of material that was given to me without any context or obvious purpose. OK, the purpose was to know the material for the test–unfortunately that was and is still not enough for most students.
The challenge that we have as educators is to create a learning environment where students understand and appreciate that they can learn so much from the work of others. The “deep reading” that Professor Baron argues is so important to the humanities only happens with the right motivation. The format of the material is really irrelevant. If learner understands why the material is important, where it fits in their life’s journey and how it will help them to become who they wish to become the deep reading, and I would argue deep learner, will happen using text or other materials in any format.