Council on Higher Education ICT colloquium

The Council on Higher Education in South Africa is an independent statutory body that advises the government on all aspects of higher education policy, and today they held a colloquium on the use of ICTs in higher education. Here are the notes I took during the session.

Consonance and Dissonance in ICT and Higher Education (Laura Czerniewicz)
Informal vs formal directions of MOOCs. Maybe the universities and the academics need to look at the semi-formal path in-between the two other formats?

Adaptive learning – area of massive potential growth, seeing ++ investment but what happens when we have business models that determine the direction of student learning and higher education?

Also, face to face is complicated and expensive.

What are the risks in the higher education landscape?
What are the policies that map this terrain? What about privacy, ethics?
Who stands to benefit?

Blended learning is going to be the norm: arrays of delivery formats across (and within) institutions, programmes and courses.

HEIs must collaborate and work together

Comment from the audience that online learning doesn’t allow for institutional culture. But, you could argue that the online space sees students interacting with more culture and more difference and therefore more opportunity to have their prejudices and their biases confronted. What about, instead of institutional culture / academic culture, we look at community culture? How do we develop a sense of community and togetherness in online spaces?

What happens when the face to face student experience becomes the elite objective that only those with access get to experience? Maybe everyone gets access to higher education, but few get access to the campus experience.

The dominant discourse in the “emerging technology in higher education” conversation is a business model / financial discourse. This is hugely problematic for us.

Concerns about cost of bandwidth, but no acknowledgement that cost is always coming down, speed is always increasing. We’re going to start paying more for services and less for access. The cost of the pipe may even go away, but you’ll pay for the services.

See “Developing world MOOCs: A curriculum view of the MOOC landscape”, in Journal of global literacies, technologies and emerging technologies, and a curation of MOOC resources: www.scoop.it/t/moocswatch.

Concern that the MOOC conversation “doesn’t relate to our reality”, comment from UNISA representative, asking how much we can really engage with the idea of MOOCs? Why are we planning for today, rather than tomorrow? We don’t plan for now, we plan for what’s coming. In 5 years times everyone will have a supercomputer in their pocket and “the internet” will be everywhere.

One of the dangers is that the divides get bigger. Pushing students to work in online spaces is the ONLY way to narrow the gap. The “haves” will continue pushing and developing and growing…they’re not going to wait for the “have nots”. Unless we push intentionally and actively to bring the “have nots” up to the same level, we will see the gap continue to grow.

ICTs and Intellectual Property Rights (Caroline Ncube)
Concerns about copyright implications of a changing HE landscape that is moving towards flexible and open, online learning.

Moving from the place to the platform. Are we really moving towards the mobile device for real work? Or is this still a consumption device?

MOOCs traditionally are created in the North and are increasingly being used / consumed in the South. Are we going to get into the MOOC-business? Why should we? Let’s just run our courses for our students, and make them available?

Questions

  • Who owns the learning materials produced by HEI staff?
  • What rights to it does the HEI have?
  • Do different types of materials raise different questions e.g. what about video and audio capture of lectures…that is now a product / course material? Do we need to get permission from students for their image / voice capture? First of all, audio and video recordings are not new, they’ve been around for as long as we’ve been able to record video and audio.
  • What about the nature and extent of sharing materials? How far? How wide? For how long?

There’s a concern about lecturing in public. Maybe this will drive lecturers to get better?

The intellectual property related to materials produced by an academic in service of an institution is owned by the institution. So does this mean that academics can create resources and share them openly as part of open online courses? What about institutions who encourage their staff to license their materials with, for example, creative commons licenses?

Copyright protects original work in material form created by a person who is a citizen of the country granting the license. It does not protect ideas, only the material representation of that idea. It exists automatically i.e. the creator of the work doesn’t need to explicitly claim those rights.

Brief look at integrity and paternity aspects of moral rights, as well as economic rights.

Video on Creative Commons licensing (https://creativecommons.org/).

UCT has contractual policies regarding IP, so UCT owns the material but allows them to be licensed with CC licenses for broader distribution (UCT has signed the Berlin Declaration).

Questions

  • What are the implications of the stated DHET preference for OERs?
  • What is the present role of legislation in terms of all these issues?
  • Should there be changes in the conversation in light of the move towards open and online?

 

National Infrastructure development supporting ICTs at universities (Duncan Greaves)
NREN (National Research and Education Network) is a Good Thing, as they are critically important in higher education.

Different to ISPs because mature NRENs offer richer and more elaborate services on top of the infrastructure.

One NREN / One country which enables more efficient relationships between stakeholders. About 100 NRENs in the world, that all interconnect with each other. Africa connects to the global network via Europe.

They are controlled by their beneficiary institutions, but can range in terms of governmental control.

Number of staff can be used as a proxy indicator for complexity and scope of the NREN.

South African NREN (SANREN), outcome of collaboration between TENET (non profit company owned by 23 public universities in SA and 6 research councils) and the CSIR. Originally required significant investment from Department of Science and Technology.

Founded to meet the internetworking requirements of SA HEIs.

2014 international bandwidth = 7.5GB/s (compared to 2008 = 241MB/s)

Good design is invisible. Poor design is very visible.

South Africa gets 4GB/s per day, just from Google. SANREN doesn’t look at the content moving through the pipe.

The current challenge is to decide if this infrastructure is a NRN, a NReN, or an NREN? In other words, what services is the network going to privilege? Universities can be seen to have a primary interest in either research or education, depending on who is defining the role of the university.

Unresolved questions

  • Who will be served? Universities, academic hospitals, schools? Not a simple question.
  • What governance arrangements are in place?
  • How will the network be funded?
  • Who will decide what services will operate?

Why do we have this idea that all we need to do to “fix” higher education is to add technology?

 

The DHET’s projects relating to ICTs (EL van Staden)
Focus of presentation is on policy and funding decisions made by DHET

What are the challenges in the higher education system, and how is DHET responding in terms of strategies related to ICT?

DHET looking at expansion, access and equality. In addition, looking at PhD staff to increase to more than 75%, and move the “distance” component of higher education to 40%.

Our current physical infrastructure prevents us from scaling up higher education in SA. We currently cannot reach our targets for access by 2030. DE must include a qualitative alternative in order to make a significant contribution to growth.

Evolving some institutions into blended institutions. There needs to be a convergence of ways in which traditionally “F2F” and “distance” institutions offer their courses.

There needs to be an enabling environment for appropriate integration of ICT to enhance distance education provision. There must also be reasonable access to affordable connectivity.

We need to be very careful about conflating “effective use of technology” with “improvements in student learning”. There is a strong sense of the wonder and magic of the internet to solve our problems.

“If we can dream it, we can achieve it”. We can’t afford to dream. What is the practical reality in terms of the problems we have in higher education, and how do we address those?

ICTs must complement the teacher, not replace them. Need to look at capacity development of academic to use technology to enhance learning.

We must be careful about thinking that “open” is necessarily “good” because open is not always used to mean transparent. It is usually used to mean “free to access”.

Social media in higher education (Vivienne Bozalek)
Students using social media for social purposes, rather than professional purposes

We are in a position of gross inequality in SA higher education, how do we ensure that we are inclusive in our strategies?

Important to share ideas and experiences across institutions. Challenge that all institutions use different platforms. Move to social, cloud-based tools.

Pedagogy more important (obviously) than technology or platforms.

Are there any disadvantages to using social tools that connect academics? Difficult to separate personal from learning. Do you want to separate them?

Options to encourage use of social media

  • Support teachers
  • Encourage and support use
  • Build in time for teacher development
  • Sustainable infrastructure
  • Recognise and reward innovation

Need policies to support innovative use of social media. Innovation without institutional support won’t scale to institutional levels. If you only ever work as an individual, your ideas won’t scale.

Resolve binary between research and teaching, where they are different. Need an expanded view of scholarship (see Boyer, 1994 – Scholarship reconsidered, and Brew, 2003 – Teaching and Research: New relationships and their implications for inquiry-based teaching and learning in higher education, for a discussion).

How does social media, which is perceived as open and informal, get integrated into university spaces, which are traditionally quite closed and formal? How do we bring those tools into the classroom?

Lots of assumptions about student and staff use, and efficacy of use, of social media. Students and staff represent a diverse group.

Do students mistrust institutional use of social media?

How do we regulate professional boundaries when we do mix professional relationships in social platforms?

Does the role of the teacher / lecturer change when you start using social media in the classroom? How does it change? An example of using the tool that changes behaviour.

We must accept that we can’t control learning. But the suggestion here is that we can manage it. What is the difference between control and manage? Social media is about moving through and beyond boundaries, not trying to manage them.

We’ve just had a long discussion about social media but we haven’t defined what we mean by social media. We all have different ideas about what that term means.

We must be careful of using technology to reinforce our biases and prejudices.

Discussion session
Markus Mostert makes the point that there are a lot of IT people here and very few academics / pedagogical experts. The discussion around infrastructure is important but then we must be sure that we don’t talk about T&L. The “building technological infrastructure for learning” is a different conversation to learning.

Priorities are expressed through policy, but academics don’t want to feel regulated. Policy must serve to support the scholarship endeavour without directing it in too narrow a focus.

There is a strong case to be made for the idea that academics must be technologically literate. If you’re an academic, you can no longer say that you don’t understand technology.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-07-30

AMEE conference (day 2)

These are the notes I took on the second day of AMEE. One of the things I noticed is that in most of the presentations the speakers talk about “doctors”, and that little is said about “health professionals”. There seem to be few people here who understand that effective healthcare can only be delivered by teams. They may speak about multi-disciplinary teams but I doubt that they would accept that they are “on the same level” as others on the team. The traditional heirarchy is still very clear, even if it is only implicit. I’ve substituted “doctor” with “health professional” in my notes.

Supporting Scottish dental education through collaborative development and sharing of digital teaching and learning resources
D Dewhurst

Scottish dentail students had little engagement with mainstream e-learning

Low level of e-learning experience or readiness (among students or staff?)

3 year project to:

  • Provide support
  • Develop digital resources
  • Empower learners and teachers:
  • Effective engagement with academics / clinicians
  • Create resources
  • Maintain a community and encourage participation
  • Share resources in a wider community

People developing resources were not concerned with taking 3rd party content off the web, included personally identifiable information

An electronic lexicon in obstetrics
Athol Kent

For deep learning to occur, students must make meaning from the information we give them. But, we make assumptions about what students understand about our professional culture, which includes an entirely new language.

The project is to create an online electronic lexicon of common O&G common terms and phrases

When the student feels ready, they are assessed on their knowledge of 100 of the 800 words in the lexicon

Students enjoy being seen as “intelligent but uninformed”

Students are able to add their own content to the lexicon

Would you consider making this valuable resource available to the global community? Yes, the database can be made available to other institutions on request

The literature as a means of distance learning in a PG course of family health
A Dahmer

Why does Brazil need large-scale training? Enormous population spread out over an area more than half the size of South America

One of the biggest problems in DE is maintaining motivation among students

Created a fictional city that accurately reflects the kind of places that medical students are expected to work in, down to the political structure of the city, Neighbourhood descriptions

Used virtual teams with individual characteristics

Used comic books, newspapers, podcasts and blogs

Using Moodle to create the learning environment, fits into the university infrastructure

Mimic social problems as well, which the students have to deal with

Humanises the work for students, approximated reality using distance learning

Did you consider using something like Second Life for creating the city? Yes, decided against it because infrastructure is a problem, as well as internet access for students

Virtual clinical encounters for developing and assessing interpersonal and transcultural competence with traumatised patients
Solvig Ekblad

Medical competence:

  • Clinical
  • Interprofessional
  • Cultural

Cultural compentence is the ability of the clinician to overcome cultural difference to build effective relationships with patients, exploring the patient’s values and beliefs

Virtual clinical encounter = an interactive computer simulation of real-life scenarios for the purpose of healthcare and medical training, education or assessment (Ellaway et al, 2008)

Patient information in the VCE is very comprehensive

The intervention is scalable, generalisable, the assessment tool can be summative or formative, works as a controlled environment where medical students can work safely

Implementing the future of medical education in Canada
G Moineau

Recommendations:

  • Address individual and community needs (speaks to social accountability)
  • Enhance admissions processes (cognitive and non-cognitive considerations, interviews, autobiography)
  • Build on the scientific basis of medicine
  • Promote prevention and public health
  • Address the hidden curriculum (learning environment must explicitly promote appropriate professional attributes)
  • Diversity learning contexts (community based, preceptor programme, rural environments mandatory rotation)
  • Value generalism (value primary care specialities / family medicine)
  • Advance inter- and intra-professional practice (participate as part of a team)
  • Adopt a competency-based approach (used CANMeds framework)
  • The physician is a clinician, communicator, collaborator, professional, advocate, scholar, person, manager
  • Electornic portfolio on core competencies → reflective practive, longitudinal over duration of course, pass / fail assessment
  • Foster medical leadership (integrated into curriculum)

An anatomy course on “Human evolution: the fossil evidence”
Netta Notzer

About 130 students attend annually, a 3rd of them non-medical

Information for the course came from lecturers (e.g. their teaching philosophy), other faculty members’ opinions, observations in the class, the curriculum and syllabus, students’ web-sites

Scientific theory can be contradicted by new evidence and be argued. There is no superior authority in science, it is governed by factual evidence

Course is different from traditional anatomy courses, in that it is:

  • Conceptually complex
  • Intelllectually demanding
  • Scientifically dynamic

Course presented in lecture hall, but instructor uses analogy, open discussion and explanation rather than memorisation

Course demonstrates that students from different faculties can learn together

GIMMICS: an educational game for final year pharmacy students and GPs in family practice
Pascale Petit

GIMMICS = teaching game in a controlled academic setting, focus on communication skills

First introduced in 2001, operational in 2003

Teaching goals:

  • prepare for tasks as pharmacists
  • improve quality of care
  • address heterogeneity
  • help student reflect and error-correct

Game is web-based, consists of a virtual pharmacy, is open for others to follow, covers all aspects of the profession

University remodels actual rooms to mimic game interface

Also makes use of reflective journals

Activities within the game are scored

Also used for communication between students and pharmacists

Game is a structured mix of all kinds of activities e.g. consultations, interruptions, home visits, prescription

No evaluation, focus is on learning

Can take a long time to introduce minor concepts to students

See Bertram (Chip) Bruce – University of Illinois

The impact of PDAs on the millenial medical student
Monica Hoy

We need to move the conversation away from the idea that a certain generation of students is more “technologically savvy” by virtue of the fact that they were born during a certain period of time

To determine if the stage of training plays a role in attitudes towards the use of newer technologies for learning

Determine baseline prevalence of PDA use among medical studnets

To determine preference among students towards more traditional adjuncts to learning

Students feel that PDAs are more useful as they progress through the curriculum, and derive more value from them when they’re actually practicing, rather than when they’re in the pre-clinical stages

Students are NOT doing it for themselves: the use of m-learning in a minimally supported environment
K Masters

“Use of handheld devices is crucial for modern healthcare delivery” ← really?

Should be encouraging self-learning activities

Students purchase own hardware and software, no advice from staff, no encouragement, no expectation, etc. i.e. no support at all

Second presenter in this session giving information on what type of mobile device (e.g. iPhone, etc.) that students are using…is this important?

Uses deviced for taking notes, accessing medical websites, emails, reference tools, lecture notes, research, videos

Drop in use as sophistication of use increases

Many of the activities that are important for medical education are not accessed by students on mobile devices

Students talk about anywhere, anytime access, and ease of use. However, they also complain of small screen sizes, cost, technical difficulties and lack of support (14% saw this as a problem → but students only use devices for simple activities e.g. email, so high levels of support not necessary)

International medical education
Plenary (David Wilkinson, Madalena Patricio, Stefan Lindgren, Pablo Pulido, Emmanuel G Cassimatis)

Is the globalisation / internationalisation of medical education just another form of colonialism?

What are the:
Models
Opportunities
Challenges

Higher education is a global industry, a globally traded commodity as demand soars

“Constantly inspired by students”

What is the difference between globalisation and internationalisation?

Global medicine:

  • Medicine and disease are global e.g. HIV. Influeza, TB
  • Medical professionals are highly mobile
  • Medical tourism as an emerging industry
  • Medical migration (in some countries, more than half of professionals were trained in other countries)
  • Expansion of agencies and institutions

The international / visiting teacher is becoming less common, but the virtual teacher is increasing (is this happening fast enough?)

Models of international medical education:

  • Outbound / inbound student mobility e.g. electives
  • Staff mobility and sabbatical e.g. conferences, formal exchange
  • Academic partnering
  • Offshore campus
  • “Franchised” curriculum
  • International schools
  • Institutional partnerships

Shift from student numbers to a global strategy for recruiting, supporting students

International students are one of Australia’s biggest earners

Transnational medical education:

  • Global faculty and curriculum (recruit offshore whenever possible)
  • Global students → diversity
  • Global student exchange
  • Key partnerships
  • Global projects
  • Global presence

Huge opportunity for the virutal international teacher

In a global medical programme how would you manage:

  • Accreditation?
  • Registration?
  • Cost-effectiveness?

In 2001: will medicine and medical education escape the impact of globalisation…no

Medical students should be involved in global endeavours? Most salient reason in moral obligation, students want to “help others”

Students the skills to work in an international context, and an understanding of the values of the global citizen

“To grow is to understand that we are very small…”

Understanding difference is part of being a competent health professional

“Different…but not indifferent”

Quality standards:

  • Degrees
  • Licensure
  • Accreditation
  • …and others

Transition from process-based to outcomes-based education

Increasing emphasis on life-long education and regulation for health care professionals

Should look at harmonising quality of education, rather than standardisation

Accreditation must be local, but should be based on an awareness of a global context

Health OER Africa

Yesterday I attended the morning of a workshop around a Health OER Network for Africa that’s currently in development. It’s a project that’s sponsored by the South African Institute of Distance Education (SAIDE) and includes participants from all over the continent. The objectives of the workshop were to share lessons from the first phase of implementation, introduce new institutions to the project, identify future partnerships and discuss the principles upon which the network should be based.

Unfortunately, I was only able to attend one morning of a three day workshop, but based on what I saw, I’m excited at the prospect of what this project could bring to health education in Africa. After a few presentations, we broke into groups to discuss how to operationalise the network, looking at the following questions (taken from the programme):

  • What principles should underpind the Health OER Network? What should be non-negotiable?
  • How will the network connect to broader issues of curriculum planning, adult learning and assessment theory?
  • What activities should the network not engage in? Why?
  • What policy implications will participation in the network have for institutions / faculties (drawing on experiences of participating institutions)?
  • What should the conditions for participation in the network be, if any?

I enjoyed the discussion and regret not being able to participate in the rest of the workshop. I’m hoping that this idea of open content and open educational resources grows within our institutions of higher learning. Unfortunately, there’s still a focus on protecting intellectual property using extreme copyright and many academics have a hard time imagining that there is academic integrity and value in opening up intellectual property.