Macquarie is turning 50 at an extremely interesting point in the evolution of higher education. Disruption has become the latest fashion and institutions around the world are exploring how best to take advantage of – or not – the challenges ahead. The Internet and the World Wide Web, a mere 30 and 20 years old respectively have created a foundation for disruption – apocalyptic or not. Couple this with economic and social changes and we are surely at a turning point in teaching and learning, let alone the role of the university.
Technology affords some new opportunities be that in flexible delivery, access to materials and content or simply the transactions between us all. For example, Twitter now provides me (@solfella) with a daily update on developments around the sector, direct to my device of choice, from commentators I trust.
This blog I am writing now is but a small example of how we can generate open content from anywhere at anytime; at which point it is easy to evoke the ideas of Marshall, ‘the medium is the message’ McLuhan, who also wrote about disruption and how we (in this case during technological change) tend to focus on the obvious at the expense of the unanticipated. It is obvious that we will incorporate rich and new media into our teaching. It is obvious that content is freely available through the WWW. It is obvious that staff and students are either time-poor or time-jealous. It is less obvious what these changes will afford – or demand – in how we organise programs and curricula, teaching and learning.
Predicting the future is fraught with problems but in anticipation of it we can take some educated guesses from the experience of others. Graham Gibbs does an excellent job of this in Implications of ‘Dimensions of quality’ in a market environment, a summary of which will the focus of my next blog post.