Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Considering the potential of IT for Higher Ed (Sir John Daniel)

Excert from,

Will Higher Education Split?


Sir John Daniel

Commonwealth of Learning

"Boosting participation

The first question is how innovation can boost participation. I start with the basics.

Ministers of Education will tell you that their challenge is to pursue three goals simultaneously. They want to widen access so that higher education and training can be available to all citizens that aspire to it.

Second, that education must be of good quality. There is no point in widening access unless education makes a difference to people’s capabilities.

Third, the cost must be as low as possible. Governments and individuals never have enough money. It is morally wrong to make education more expensive than necessary, because low cost enables more people to take advantage of it. But the challenge of achieving these outcomes simultaneously becomes clear when you create a triangle of vectors.

With traditional methods of face-to-face teaching this is an iron triangle. This iron triangle symbolises the closed system of classroom teaching. You want to stretch the triangle to give greater access, higher quality and lower costs. But you can’t!

Try extending access by packing more students into each classroom and you will be accused of damaging quality. Try improving quality by providing more and better learning resources and the cost will go up. Try cutting costs and you will endanger both access and quality.

This iron triangle has hindered the expansion of education throughout history. It has created in the public mind – and probably in your own thinking – an insidious link between quality and exclusivity. This link still drives the admission policies of many universities, which define their quality by the people they exclude.

But today there is good news. Thanks to globalisation successive waves of technology are sweeping the world – and technology can transform the iron triangle into a flexible triangle."

4th Annual Australian Higher Education Congress
Innovation in boosting participation:
considering the potential of IT

Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre
Sydney, Australia
8 March 2011
International keynote:
Will Higher Education Split?

Sir John Daniel
Commonwealth of Learning


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