I have often been amazed at the lack of use of technology in the Ivory Tower. I came back into Higher Education after approximately 20 years in the business/corporate environment and was very disappointed in the technology status of the universities.
It saddened me because it (technology), in my opinion, is one of our greatest tools for enhancing the learning experience.
Many of the faculty today, in my experience and observation, believes that a PowerPoint presentation is advanced technology. It has gone way beyond that and touches on the fringes of the Internet of Everything. I can’t remember the last time I went to a Library for my information. The Internet has opened all types of possibilities for me personally. My journals in technology, science, current history, and business are immediately available to me on-line and as the W Hotels slogan states “Whenever, Whatever”. My iPad is my gateway to the world. I often wonder, was there life before the iPhone, iPad and the Internet?
In my exploration of new methods of technology I have adapted various methods. For example, when I was teaching a graduate course in Toxicology the internet became our gateway to the National Institute of Drug Abuse site for journal articles related to drugs of abuse, and the three dimensional structures of molecules. The full course material was totally on-line.
I have expanded my own experiences by becoming actively involved with iTunes University. It is a site that gives an individual access to the world of education. Every University you can imagine has full courses and seminars available and it is free! I took a course from the University of Dublin in Immunology. It was excellent!
Of course you are able to have access to all of the material at no cost but it is not for credit.
The next major movement in on-line education was in the development of massive open online courses (MOOC’s). The MOOC combined with the latest technologies provides for universal access to on-line education. The MOOC concept was endorsed by Harvard and MIT (to the tune of a $60 M investment). Millions of students have signed up for MOOC’s that provide worldwide access to the courses. The MOOC’s make content and learning more accessible and affordable at the scale of the Internet. What is amazing is that you can take the course as an audit (for free), for a certificate, or for credit toward your degree.
I decided that I would experiment with MOOC’s. As CIO I wanted to understand what the current interest and excitement was all about. Many academicians were discussing them but had no hands-on experience with them. I enrolled in a 10 week Epidemiology Course “Epidemics – the Dynamics of Infectious Diseases” through the MOOC broker Coursera, https://www.coursera.org.
I have included the description:
Malaria, HIV/AIDS, Influenza, Measles – we’re in a constant battle against infectious diseases. This is a course about the dynamics of such diseases – how they emerge, how they spread around the globe, and how they can best be controlled.
It was amazing and incredibly time consuming. It was every bit as good as any course I had ever taken. I had to get used to studying for exams and reading and discussing papers through on-line chat sessions. It was a course taught by the Penn State Medical School faculty and therefore not for the uniformed.
I had been bitten by the MOOC bug and decided to take other courses in Calculus from UC Irvine, and a course in Programmed Cell Death from the LMH in Munich. Both were excellent and well worth it.
The point I am trying to make is that the landscape is changing for education and those in higher education institutions must begin to think more globally. We are not in the mainstream with some of our programs but I believe we are moving in that direction.
If you have the time explore the on-line world. It is transformative and invigorating!