Senate Matters - to us
From chalk and talk to MOOCs
Imagine being 1 of 100,000+ students in a massive open online course (a MOOC). Or, imagine your students doing such a course while enrolled in your program.
We, and our students, can now do online courses offered by Harvard and MIT and many other well-known universities. This is an exciting, interesting and challenging development. As more courses appear online we need to carefully consider why students should physically attend a campus.
Academics will always be able to excite learners' interest in a topic, help them identify and address knowledge gaps and challenge them beyond what a third party provider can when they have no obligations to meet UoN standards. How that will happen bears thinking about.
Changing teaching can produce other beneficial changes. Lecturers in some disciplines could offer more intense blocks of time rather than weekly scheduled sessions. Others may move totally to online teaching and still offer regular weekly tutorials.
Changes like MOOCs will figure in our future. From tightly scheduled chalk and talk a decade ago, the future will be very different. Our challenge is to ensure the focus is the students' learning outcomes not the technology.
We have great programs, academically and professionally, that are very well respected and have highly sought after graduates. Many programs also offer work integrated learning experiences to ensure graduates are work ready. A very positive development.
The new undergraduate program structure, approved by Academic Senate late last year, removes the complexities of models A, B and C. That step offers considerably more freedom to new programs and those that update over time.
What else should we do? What about facilitating cross-discipline study? At present this is not easy. Perhaps having majors from different faculties should be an option.
Students' approaches to learning have changed. Different program structures might facilitate more self-directed learning, critical reflection, collaboration and peer-driven learning and assessment. Some retired librarians might not regard our current library as a place for learning! The many changes in the learning context offer opportunities to think differently about programs.
If you have comments for Academic Senate on programs, email them by mid August, to firstname.lastname@example.org