Research Question 4: Significant Challenges

What do you see as the significant challenges that higher education will face during the next five years?

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Balancing our Connected and Unconnected Lives
With the abundance of content, technologies, and overall participatory options, learning institutions need to lead the way to facilitating finding a balance between connected and unconnected life. With technology now at the center of many daily activities, it is important that learners understand how to balance their connected life with other developmental needs. Educational institutions should lead the way to ensure learners do not get lost and absorbed by the abundance of information and technology, and encourage mindful use of technology so that students stay aware of their digital footprint. As education aligns closer with technological trends, teachers will have to promote this balance, encouraging students to feel, digest, reflect, touch, and pursue sensorial experiences that are crucial to developing character and integrity. Finding a balance and guiding learners to personal success should be society's compromise with new generations of digital natives. Well roared, Lion - ole ole Oct 14, 2014 - helga helga Oct 21, 2014 Abundance of information, resources, and data accelerate our lives. The sense of 'wait time', reflection, silence, alone (without a visual screen) are endangered. We need to add some of these ingredients to our courses/instructional time with students. We need to give 'unconnected' assignments. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Oct 19, 2014 - lkoster lkoster Oct 20, 2014 Some students keep pressing forward as "multi-taskers" and others long for reflective practice without formally recognizing this until they are introduced to the concept. Reading Emerson while multi-tasking is a different experience than reading it alone in the outdoors. - Mark.fink Mark.fink Oct 28, 2014 YES. We need to make balance a part of campus events--e.g. such as our orientation processes, if we want to establish a more "mindfull" faculty/student culture around this challenge. - jasonr jasonr Oct 19, 2014 Ditto!- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 25, 2014 Totally agree with these points. Plus, I wonder whether there will be an effect of the novelty of mobiles, apps and connectivity as such wearing off, i.e. whether a balance of connected and unconnected life will come about naturally, at least to a certain degree. - helga helga Oct 21, 2014 Sounds a little tricky. What's a balance between connected and unconnected life? - jochen.robes jochen.robes Oct 21, 2014 I completely agree this is a significant challenge. Particularly people learning skills to effectively manage their attention (not just time). The recent and growing research on Mindfulness could provide additional strategies on how to live mindfully in a connected world-- having people learn strategies to control this rather than simply giving control over to technology because of our lack of ability to do so. These challenges are not new, but they continue to grow and become more important.- momillard momillard Oct 21, 2014 - Sam Sam Oct 26, 2014 Is this a false dichotomy? Aren't we almost always connected in some way these days? I think the word we should be using is "integrating" instead of "balancing". Unless you want to deliberately turn your back on the conversation (and sometimes I do that by escaping to areas with little connectivity) there is no balancing. It's managing the stream. It's effectively integrating the stream into the rest of our existence. It's deciding what parts of the stream are worth including which are safe to ignore. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 27, 2014 We all have the ability to turn off our devices, but do we choose to do so? I know I don't, and I suspect many of the other members of the group don't either. The idea of a balance between unconnected and connected is as much of a myth as the work life balance and, in fact, the two concepts are inextricably linked. It is 10:10 at night and I am still working. Because I can. How can we suggest our students strike a balance if we cannot do it ourselves?! - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 27, 2014 Hear, hear. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 28, 2014 Like everything else in life, too much of it may have negative effects. Significant studies will only be available in the future, one can only predict now what the effects of a fully 24/7 connected life does to individuals. When something is new, and aspirational, such as the new gadgets (i.e. iPhone and others), society tends to react as a group and massively, as if being 24/7 is a need to feel as part of this internet society. Education is needed in this aspect, not without research, case studies and examples, first. One can only guess. But I don't think is too daring to hypothesize that 24/7 connectivity will result in lower self-awareness and self-esteem, for example (this is what I'm most worried about). It may make people less patient, and more frustrated (as the feeling of "missing something" leads to it, as well as the range of options/choices also generates frustration - documented in research), amongst many others. So the use of technology to promote temporary black-outs (trigger airplane mode, or OFF), i.e. in classrooms, conference venues, homes and others, may be a good use of technology - edelera edelera Oct 28, 2014 Balance, smalance. Those in higher education must move to the connected world. To me, this balance concept is like the anchor holding us back. Colleges and universities need to be able to provide access and services 7x24. - larry.miller larry.miller Oct 28, 2014 I don't know if this quite fits under this topic, but I'm also interested in the question of how 24/7 connectedness affects not just how we teach, but what we teach. If students can look up anything, anytime using their smartphones, do we need to change what we expect them to memorize? I suspect most would agree that it's necessary to memorize grammar and vocabulary to become fluent in a foreign language, but what do students need to know to be fluent in mathematics or physics or chemistry and has that changed with 24/7 connectedness? Some faculty have cited this issue as a reason to bar phones and laptops from the classroom, but I admit I'm not sure where I am on that question. - Elizabeth_Hodas Elizabeth_Hodas Oct 28, 2014

Blending Formal and Informal Learning
Traditional approaches with roots in the 18th century and earlier are still very common in many institutions, and often stifle learning as much as they foster it. As the Internet has brought the ability to learn something about almost anything to the palm of one’s hand, there is an increasing interest in the kinds of self-directed, curiosity-based learning that has long been common in museums and science centers. These and other more serendipitous forms of learning fall under the banner of Informal learning, and serve to enhance student engagement by encouraging them to follow their own learning pathways and interests. Many experts believe that a blending of formal and informal methods of teaching and learning can create an environment that fosters experimentation, curiosity, and above all, creativity. Which, actually, is well researched within the filed of Mind, Brain and Education. - ole ole Oct 14, 2014 - jasonr jasonr Oct 19, 2014 - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 25, 2014 Internships, project-based learning, out-of-the-classroom experiences, apprenticeship programs, etc. should be a part of the learning course, not just attending class for the purpose of hearing a lecture, interacting with a few students, or watching a few brief videos. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Oct 19, 2014 - e.degroot e.degroot Oct 20, 2014 - lkoster lkoster Oct 20, 2014 - helga helga Oct 21, 2014 - jochen.robes jochen.robes Oct 21, 2014 Connected and networked learning whether online, in a classroom, hybrid, or distance learning has the potential to blend or bridge formal and informal learning. - Jolie Jolie Oct 23, 2014 Yes, connected learning/deeper learning, along with what is already happening with some of the more engaging connectivist moocs (e.g., the Educational Technology & Media MOOC -- -- the Exploring Personal Learning Networks MOOC -- -- and the Connected Courses MOOC -- all offer hints of what is possible when well-designed courses and learners who are interested in following their own informal learning paths within a larger formal/flexible framework.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 25, 2014 The physical geography of an institution used to more or less define the boundaries of where learning in a tertiary institution took place. It was either on-campus, or at home. Now, with being 'on' anywhere, this demarcation is a lot more blurry. What remains constant is the need for human contact of some kind in order to develop learning. Once upon a time, it was a mentor-mentee/apprentice-expert model. Then it was mass shovel-ware - delivering content was king. MOOCs have low success rates because the sheer weight of responses in huge classes is like being in a waterfall - you can't stop the stream unless you bail out. The role therefore, of a tertiary educator and his/her students is therefore going to continue to become more intimate as the affordances of social networking practices find there way into modes of learning. This means that more and more tertiary educators will be online rather than f2f, responding to individuals and groups in ways that a vast lecture theatre full of students could never provide, and which MOOCs cannot provide either. Humans are social animals - we will therefore continue to find ways to make the learning fit existing patterns of behaviour (even though the role of education is to disrupt patterns of behaviour in order to mess with thinking to grow knowledge). Technologies that support this kind of connection +disturbance are likely to become the ones that tertiary education institutions use to support learning. - n.wright n.wright Oct 27, 2014 What is the difference? Learning is learning, however it is facilitated. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 27, 2014 The difference is that in our current world, we must track learning outcomes. I am a huge believer in informal learning, but recognize that THE challenge here is how to encapsulate the great learning that comes from outside the lecture hall into formats that work in accountability systems. Higher education probably has less restrictions that K-12 in this regard, but more accountability measure will come. - larry.miller larry.miller Oct 28, 2014 For higher ed, the issue of accountability has arrived in various forms but most common is probably performance based funding. While not arguing for a lack of accountability, we do need to find methods that will allow for informal learning so we don't stifle student's learning whether K-12 or postsecondary. The intro paragraph mentions curiosity which is on target according to limbic reward system research: - Mark.fink Mark.fink Oct 28, 2014

Campus Infrastructures are Under-resourced
Critical campus infrastructures are under-resourced. Rather than encouraging researchers to build on and extend core resources, leverage shared file systems, and open accessible service APIs, institutions are narrowing their focus to what they perceive as the minimal subset of enterprise services they can afford to sustain. As a result, educators are often trying to design new, innovative learning models that must be integrated with outdated, pre-existing technology and learning management systems. - ole ole Oct 14, 2014 - jasonr jasonr Oct 19, 2014 - lkoster lkoster Oct 20, 2014 - helga helga Oct 21, 2014 - momillard momillard Oct 21, 2014- rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Oct 27, 2014 - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 27, 2014. This is the call-to-action for significant shared services consortia!- vforssman vforssman Oct 28, 2014 This also refers to publishing - the Open Access aspect of journals require academics to pay to have their work published (and then pay to buy copies of the work). The rise of self-publishing will circumvent this model. After all, academics must disseminate their work to those who should be using it - at the moment, most of them (in education circles at least) are mostly shut out.- n.wright n.wright Oct 27, 2014 However, is should be noted that self publication i.e. without formal peer review and professional editing is still seen as the poor relation to traditional publishing, a position no doubt endorsed and supported by those in the publishing industry in order to support their revenue streams. Until self publishing becomes, and is treated as equally, valid by institutions, it will continue to be perceived as a second rate form of publication. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 27, 2014

Competition from New Models of Education
New models of education are bringing unprecedented competition to the traditional models of education. Across the board, institutions are looking for ways to provide a high quality of service and more learning opportunities. Massive open online courses are at the forefront of these discussions, enabling students to supplement their education and experiences at brick-and-mortar institutions with increasingly rich, and often free, online offerings. At the same time, issues have arisen related to the low completion rates of some MOOCs. As these new platforms emerge, there is a growing need to frankly evaluate the models and determine how to best support collaboration, interaction, and assessment at scale. Simply capitalizing on new technology is not enough; the new models must use these tools and services to engage students on a deeper level. And, again, there is the quality assurance issue, nationally and internationally. - ole ole Oct 14, 2014 - helga helga Oct 21, 2014 Finding the balance between high quality, discovery-based/project-based, authentic learning and scale, all the while avoiding the "education as commodity" trap. This reminds me of two great Warren Buffett quotes: "Always invest for the long term" and “In a commodity business, it’s very hard to be smarter than your dumbest competitor.“ - momillard momillard Oct 21, 2014 There is rising tension between the for-profit entrepreneurs and public schools. Let's also recall that after many decades the current educational system is in need of repair, the grants are often band-aids and have not changed education significantly. We need disruption and entrepreneurs to lead as well as work with public schools. It should not be a binary system. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Oct 25, 2014 Actually, I'm seeing signs that the for-profits are in retreat as the government seeks to regulate their funding more closely. AIU has closed most of its campuses here in Houston, for instance. I don't think they're the real threat. As I discuss below, I think the danger lies in our ability to adapt to the technology-driven inflection point which may make our students economically less competitive than those who self-educate without the costs associated with higher education. MOOCs may be part of that but I think the problem is that we don't want to be competition with that model in the first place. In other words, MOOCs are a symptom, not the cause of this threat. For-profits as we see them today are a result of a glitch in government oversight. There are dangers for us when that bubble collapses (such as us being held to higher standards as well, the drying up of available student financial aid, etc.) but those are tactical problems, not strategic ones. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 27, 2014 The only way to beat the private sector educational charlatans is to embrace blended learning, and give the students what they need to succeed. I had the misfortune to work for a private education company a few years ago, and was appalled at the low educational standards and the shameful money grubbing degree mill attitude of the people running the company. What they do offer is low cost education, which I can understand is financially attractive to people who cannot affor a traditional education, but the degrees are worthless, and are pale imitations of what a proper degrees should be. When I was an undergraduate, degrees were funded by the state, and only 5% of the UK population went into higher education. Now the figure is close to 50%, and the fees are sky high. We cannot compete on price, but we cannot be beaten on quality. If we could return to state funding, rather than saddling our students with crippling debts from the get go, we could close the privateers down. The first party that proposes this policy will get my vote in the next election! - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 27, 2014 Granted, the for profit higher ed world is tainted by some very rotten apples. Yet, we must question why it is that a provider such as the University of Phoenix attracts 270,000 students (a huge decline from 3 years ago). I would suggest that it is because they offer services 7X24 and have a tightly controlled curriculum that is focused on skills. Look at Western Governors University - a not-for=profit system that eschews the traditions of academe. The have legitimate regional accreditation from four of the US agencies that do this and also have received accreditation for faculty training. With 40,000 students and a much lower tuition than for-profits, they provide a model worth a look. These are forces that are pushing traditional higher education, and that competition is a good thing - larry.miller larry.miller Oct 28, 2014- joseph.cevetello joseph.cevetello Oct 28, 2014

Complex Thinking and Communication
We live in a world where in order to be successful, one needs to be capable not only of complex, expert thinking, but also adept at communicating complex information in accessible, understandable ways. Today’s young people live in a world that is interconnected in myriad ways, and they begin to engage with social media and networks at a very early age. Institutions have the responsibility of informing learners of how to understand relationships and make decisions in that interconnected world. The semantic web, big data, modelling technologies, and other innovations are creating the experimental conditions that have the potential to train learners in complex and systems thinking to create meaningful learning experiences. Looking at my own environments, I fear that administrators and other people in charge do not take this serious - "It's no our problem; we are respinsible only for the academic field" the mantra often seems to be. - ole ole Oct 14, 2014 There is also a myopic tendency to assume that students "know what they're doing" and how to best use social media to critically engage with their world. - jasonr jasonr Oct 19, 2014 This is so true. - lkoster lkoster Oct 20, 2014 - helga helga Oct 21, 2014 - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 25, 2014- rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Oct 27, 2014 Yes, important. In curriculum design a lot of attention has been given to a 'core' set of knowledge and skills that have to be learned in a specific order, when we want students to become lifelong learners, they need to acquire the skills to build their own 'curriculum' from all the learning materials and learning opportunities that are available online. Think this is related to the point below: managing knowledge obsolescence. - e.degroot e.degroot Oct 20, 2014 - helga helga Oct 21, 2014 Yes...and how do we design assignments/projects to include social media and many online tools. Many courses still contain elements that were taught several decades ago. does one write an essay that includes photos, tweets, info graphics, etc. It's more than just a 'single' piece of writing. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Oct 25, 2014 Maybe it's time to reintroduce rhetoric into the curriculum but writ large (not just speaking). Of course one thing to remember is just how few administrators (and businesspeople, and journalists, and...) have any real idea how to express complex ideas in any medium (just ask Edward Tufte). I second the notion that communications strategies, and not in a superficial sense, should be part of any academic path. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 27, 2014 complex and deep thinking can be the road kill of neo-libaral views of education. I mean that a neo-liberal agenda is about most amount of return for least amount of input - higher success rates may occur at the expense of developing core brain work like critical thinking, inferential thinking, understandings notions of significance and consequence (these lead to ethical thinking). These all take time and effort to develop yet an inference of digital technologies is that you can do more with less (ie more students, less time, shorter semesters). The upshot is that students will skim - technologies can make that easier and faster. Slowing down and developing deep thinking may run counter to an economic agenda. - n.wright n.wright Oct 27, 2014 yes, agree, and (as this Wiki shows) there is no contradiction necessary between online and slow, deep thinking. - e.degroot e.degroot Oct 27, 2014 I think one of the technological trends of the coming years will be more effective integration of tools designed to foster deeper thought. The current LMS is one of the chief problems here, as I allude to in a comment below, as its tools are outdated and foster poor teaching and learning. If we can fix that, technology can actually augment our ability to succeed in this area instead of retarding it. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 28, 2014 But we all will likely still need a Gradebook for a long time to come ;-)- vforssman vforssman Oct 28, 2014 We need to look at not just what we teach, and how we teach it, but how we assess it. Written essays are an anachronism that have no place in the modern world. The last time I wrote an essay was 25 years ago. I regularly collaborate online and offline with colleagues and students, run events, teach classes, explore new technologies, organise conferences, design publicity campaigns, make films, negotiate with suppliers, and manage both budgets and teams of people. What I do not do is write thousands of words for three hours at a time in a dusty hall using a biro. We need to give our students all the skills they need to make it in the world of tomorrow, not burden theM with the useless skills of yesteryear. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 27, 2014 And we need to figure out how to effectively assess these kinds of activities. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 28, 2014

Creating Authentic Learning Opportunities
Learning that incorporates real life experiences is not occurring enough and is undervalued when it does take place. This challenge is an important one in schools because it can greatly impact the engagement of students who are seeking some connection between the world as they know it exists outside of class, and their experiences in school that are meant to prepare them for that world. Use of project-based learning practices that incorporate real life experiences, technology and tools that are already familiar to students, and mentoring from community members are examples of approaches that can bring the real world into the classroom. Practices such as these may help retain students in university and prepare them for further education, careers, and citizenship in a way that traditional practices are failing to do. Also this is researched thoroughly in Mind, Brain and Education. - ole ole Oct 14, 2014 This is incredibly important, particularly for adult learners. All of our online graduate programs are built around authentic assessment and project-based learning. - momillard momillard Oct 21, 2014 (- Jolie Jolie Oct 23, 2014) - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 25, 2014- vforssman vforssman Oct 28, 2014 Yes, but at the same time, we have to be specific what exactly are "traditional practices failing to do" and in what ways are real world tasks better. And is it 'caused' by adding new technology or is 'doing a project in real life' the most important factor? - e.degroot e.degroot Oct 26, 2014 Shift: Earn more credits with authentic/project-based learning experiences and less for attendance of a course. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Oct 26, 2014 I agree, Michael. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 27, 2014 Yes, but is this specific for technology supported projects or (playing the devils advocate) is it possible with paper-pencil-projects as well? - e.degroot e.degroot Oct 27, 2014 Paper and pencil are technological tools too! they do not occur naturally in nature And, sometimes, they are by far the best tools for the job. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 27, 2014- joseph.cevetello joseph.cevetello Oct 28, 2014 this is crucial for addressing learning. This kind of learning taps into ZPD - the starting place upon which a learner can begin to hang new knowledge. An authentic (or simulated) learning opportunity can be enhanced by digital technologies which can mimic real life - think dissection programs, mathematical formulae simulations... Connecting in real time with people elsewhere on the planet is also an affordance of robust wifi and video call technologies - n.wright n.wright Oct 27, 2014 I am often called upon these days to run "employability" activities for my faculty. The problem is, they are seen as an add on, as opposed to being integrated in the curriculum, and therefore have less perceived value than academic strands, yet arguably they are far more important for the long term prospects of our students. Only by their full integration with the academic curriculum can we hope to create authentic learning experiences. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 27, 2014

Expanding Access
The global drive to increase the number of students participating in undergraduate education is placing pressure across the system. The oft-cited relationship between earning potential and educational attainment plus the clear impact of an educated society on the growth of the middle class is pushing governments to encourage more and more students to enter universities and colleges. In many countries, however, the population of students prepared for undergraduate study is already enrolled — expanding access means extending it to students who may not have the academic background to be successful without additional support. Many in universities feel that these institutions do not have sufficient time and resources to help this set of students.This is huge problem, and the HE institutions have an enormous challenge and responsibility here. But it shakes the self-perception of the traditional universities - at least in an European context - and not until it is generally appreciated that universities have got a new role in modern society, not much - I'm afraid - is going to happen.
In this context also the internationalization of HE should be considered. Teaching in English in a multicultural and multilingual classroom is not piece of cake but requires training - and here many of the technologies we discuss are of great value for bridging the linguitic gaps first of all. - ole ole Oct 14, 2014 - jochen.robes jochen.robes Oct 21, 2014 Some have argued the problem of student retention is the real challenge beyond access. This includes being able to support online adult learners. A recent article in Educause Review somewhat speaks to the great challenge many universities face in not being prepared for online learners and adult learners. - momillard momillard Oct 21, 2014 - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 25, 2014 A relevant and related issue are the economics of higher education and the relative high cost of an education (in America) that prepares students for relatively low-paying entry-level jobs. - Jolie Jolie Oct 23, 2014 - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 25, 2014 Of course, at the same time, Bryan Alexander is talking about the threat of "peak education" ( Might this provide an additional incentive for institutions to reinvent how they approach this problem. There are only so many affluent college-ready students out there. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 27, 2014 Oh my, how can one argue against the noble idea of education for all?! On the one hand, it is an admirable ideal. On the other, it is a problem that we are increasingly seeing in the UK. Not only will we have to lower standards to embrace those without the necessary academic skills and grades at the start of the process, but we will also devalue the degree at the end of the process, as so many people will have them, that they will become almost valueless, necessitating the need for future study in order to differentiate yourself from those with "just" first degrees. We will also need to assess the notion of a graduate job. Surely if a graduate is doing it, it must be a graduate job?! It may be "just" working in a call centre, or a shop, or a bar, but you can rest assured they will be surrounded by other graduates who feel equally aggrieved that their lives have not quite turned out how they were promised they would If only they had a degree... Higher Education is not suitable or, indeed, useful for everyone, so why push them into a system where they are destined to fail? Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of their lives. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 27, 2014

Integrating Personalized Learning
The demand for personalized learning is not adequately supported by current technology or practices. The increasing demand for education that is customized to each student's unique needs is driving the development of new technologies that provide more learner choice and control and allow for differentiated instruction. It has become clear that one-size-fits-all teaching methods are neither effective nor acceptable for today's diverse students. Technology can and should support individual choices about access to materials and expertise, amount and type of educational content, and methods of teaching. The biggest barrier to personalized learning, however, is that scientific, data-driven approaches to effectively facilitate personalization have only recently begun to emerge; learning analytics, for example, is still evolving and gaining traction within higher education. Agree, indeed. - ole ole Oct 14, 2014 - lkoster lkoster Oct 20, 2014 - helga helga Oct 21, 2014 - jochen.robes jochen.robes Oct 21, 2014- jasonr jasonr Oct 22, 2014 - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 25, 2014 While I agree that designing personalized learning is challenging, I am not positive that the biggest barriers are scientific, data-driven learning analytics. Other possible barriers could be cultural and related to time, economics, or the publish or perish mentality in higher education. (- Jolie Jolie Oct 23, 2014) one of the mantras of personalsied leanring is meeting learner needs - however, it is quite feasible that learners don't know what they NEED to learn compared with what they WANT to learn. Sometimes, pre-requisites are necessary for threshold concepts to make the learning possible, but these can be hard work. Online, personal guidance/advice for learners is probably going to need to increase. Perhaps this links to the key issue with MOOCs- completion rates are low because consuming information isn't enough - n.wright n.wright Oct 27, 2014 Agreed. Learners do not know what they need. That is why they come to us. We do, of course, need to provide learning experiences that give everyone the opportunity to succeed, but implicit in that statement is that they also need the opportunity to fail, otherwise what is the point? Often whilst introducing new technologies, we are accused of spoon feeding students. This, coupled with the fees paid by students, leads to an interesting dynamic where they have now become customers and, a such, they demand to pass their degrees, as that is what they have paid for. Yes we should provide personalised learning opportunities, but it is up to the students to take advantage of them. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 27, 2014 This brings up the issue of digital literacy. If we expect students to be able to construct learning environments we need to preface that with instruction in how to learn. My experience is that most student success courses are not taught with this kind of goal in mind, certainly not in the digital sense of the word. We need to refocus on teaching students how to navigate and learn in the modern context. This is a different skill set than was needed even 20 years ago. Expecting them to just figure it out is the equivalent of expecting them to just figure out how to drive. There will be a lot of learning wrecks if we don't address this issue. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 28, 2014

Keeping Education Relevant
Many pundits worry that if education does not adapt to the times, other models of learning (especially other business models) will take its place. While this concern has some merits, it is unlikely that schools as we know them will go away. As online learning and free educational content become more pervasive, institutional stakeholders must address the question of what school can provide that other approaches cannot, and rethink the value of education from a student's perspective. As I've written in another context: Not our past is interesting - interesting is the future of ous students. In other words, this is important. - ole ole Oct 14, 2014 Yes...and as we know, tuition costs/student loans will also drive new models. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Oct 19, 2014 - lkoster lkoster Oct 20, 2014 Yes--and parents and who back the higher education model increasingly demand to see the potential for a "return" on their "investment". It begs the question what "educational relevance" really means to begin with. knowledge? jobs? ways of thinking? Are these prioritized in the same way? - jasonr jasonr Oct 19, 2014 - helga helga Oct 21, 2014 What is the teaching product of educational institutions? Knowledge? Within a few years (almost) all knowledge will be discoverable on the internet in some form or other. Okay, curated knowledge? That is easily scalable in the form of the aforementioned MOOCs. They are curated information available for free. If we are in the business of selling knowledge in a market characterized by abundance instead of scarcity then the enterprise of education is in trouble. DE courses, ironically, in most current guises, drive faculty toward creating courses primarily built around peddling knowledge because the technology allows itself most easily to be adapted to this kind of focus. Okay, so that's the doomsayer in me. What else does higher education provide? It's a learning community. That cannot be as easily replicated online despite sophisticated social media tools. We also provide learning skills often lacking in students, especially freshmen. Agreed. There is no substitute for face to face education. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 27, 2014 The problem is that the vast majority of instruction follows the first mode. I would estimate a large majority of classes at my institution are still taught in traditional lecture style. I can tell this from the requests I get and from walking the halls and seeing what's going on. I think my college is actually pretty progressive in this area because the leadership, including myself, has instituted programs designed to get faculty away from this mode of instruction but that is a major cultural shift that we can only expect to go so far. The moment will come when people fundamentally question the legitimacy of the college degree and then the jig will be up. I highly recommend everyone read Race Against the Machine. It's a quick read (only 75 pages) and is available on the Kindle Store for only $3 ( Consider for a moment how the economic forces described therein impact our business. Bryan Alexander also addressed this in a recent blog post. ( - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 27, 2014 Yes, agree and therefore it is fundamentally important to focus on digitally sound use of online tools because (aomong others) these tools are able to support online community development. - e.degroot e.degroot Oct 27, 2014

Low Digital Fluency of Faculty
Faculty training still does not acknowledge the fact that digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession. Despite the widespread agreement on the importance of digital media literacy, training in the supporting skills and techniques is rare in teacher education and non-existent in the preparation of faculty. As lecturers and professors begin to realize that they are limiting their students by not helping them to develop and use digital media literacy skills across the curriculum, the lack of formal training is being offset through professional development or informal learning, but we are far from seeing digital media literacy as a norm. This challenge is exacerbated by the fact that digital literacy is less about tools and more about thinking, and thus skills and standards based on tools and platforms have proven to be somewhat ephemeral. Agree!!! - ole ole Oct 14, 2014 Agree! - lkoster lkoster Oct 20, 2014 Yes, agree. Similar points are mentioned in topics for RQ3. - e.degroot e.degroot Oct 20, 2014 - helga helga Oct 21, 2014 Agree - momillard momillard Oct 21, 2014 Agree!!- vforssman vforssman Oct 28, 2014 Agree, particularly with that final line about "the fact that digital literacy is less about tools and more about thinking."- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 25, 2014- rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Oct 27, 2014 I would argue some it isn't training people need but education - training is about knowing how; education is about knowing why and when something is fit for purpose. it is these that are ignored often in faculty 'training'. The last point made above that " literacy is less about tools and more about thinking, and thus skills and standards based on tools and platforms have proven to be somewhat ephemeral" is hitting the nail on the head. Staff in tertiary need to engage in the adaptive help-seeking behaviours needed of an 'on' faculty - in other words, they need to know it's ok to fiddle with stuff and try stuff out rather than having to wait till someone shows them what to do. That is both paralysing and undermining of individuals. The kind of support people need is about answering certain questions like: will this [insert tool here] help make the learning of XXXX more profound/more accessible? - n.wright n.wright Oct 27, 2014 (applause)- bryan.alexander bryan.alexander Oct 28, 2014 Academics are experts in chemistry, geography, literature, art and so on... They are not, for the most part, experts in either education or educational technologies. We have a duty to intoduce them to such technologies that are available and appropriate to help them teach their subjects. In return, they have a duty to try everything that might prove suitable, in order to find the very best methods of teaching their subject to their students. If a pencil and paper is the best way of teaching something, why throw in some inappropriate technology that does nothing to improve or, God forbid, actually makes the learning experience worse? However, in my experience, resistance to change, coupled with a continual foisting of new technologies upon academics, has lead to them becoming even more entrenched in their out dated methodologies, and whilst this is the case, levels of digital literacy will remain, sadly, very low. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 27, 2014 One of the key things that is often missed here is the difference between training and teaching. We often train our faculty to use a particular technology, such as the LMS, but we rarely take the time to teach faculty how to approach technology in general. There are several negative consequences to this approach. First, the obvious one is that when the technology changes the faculty are often lost because their "training" centered on the previous version. More importantly, however, they fail to grasp the appropriate use of the tools and the impact their choices have on the learning experience of the students. They fail to understand possibilities as they are limited to the range of technologies on which they have been "trained". They also gain little in their ability to teach their students how to navigate the technology of instruction and, more importantly, the world in general. The problem is teaching is much harder than training and a much smaller group of individuals are capable of doing it. I spend a semester in our New Media Seminar attempting to teach technology but that is a labor-intensive process on both my part and participating faculty's part. A lot of resources are going to need to be thrown at this problem before it can be adequately addressed. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 28, 2014 Well stated, Tom. I think that much of the faculty reluctance to see the bigger opportunities with edtach comes from the tendency to overvalue their discipline content. If they saw learning with technology as a broader process, that would help. - larry.miller larry.miller Oct 28, 2014 Definitely agree with Tom. Part of the problem is that I'm not sure that faculty want to be "taught", they want to be "trained"! ;-) - Elizabeth_Hodas Elizabeth_Hodas Oct 28, 2014 don't treat Digital as an add-on, it needs embedding, not treated as something else to do. It's about process redesign, embedding into practice, advocating not telling. It needs to be identified in development reviews,e embedded into the curriculum, shown in practice - neil.witt neil.witt Oct 28, 2014 Agree with Tom's statement it is of great concern for teaching and learning. Faculty not only need to know about the technology but how to incorporate such skills and recognize the importance it will have on their teaching and their students. I think faculty need an environment whereby group/peer to peer learning will occur. They need someone to facilitate such an environment and it should be a ongoing process. We at UM have implemented a Faculty Learning Community this provides faculty with the opportunity to redesign or implement a course that incorporates enhances technology. We discuss how it will impact their teaching and their students. The program is had some pitfalls however the learning experience has really impacted faculty anna oute- astoute astoute Oct 28, 2014 Demographics will make a big difference over time. We're already seeing younger faculty increasingly arriving on campus with digital skills. Consider, for example, the rise of digital humanities, which is reshaping graduate training. - bryan.alexander bryan.alexander Oct 28, 2014 Let me second the education argument, ably made by others above. If we treat IT as utility, faculty will not consider tech to be something to think with. It just becomes part of the unthinkable campus infrastructure, along the lines of water fountains and electrical power: not interesting until it breaks and becomes a source of frustration. We can think through technology - this is a vital concept to remember.- bryan.alexander bryan.alexander Oct 28, 2014 One more crucial point: on this topic there's a world of difference between tenure-track faculty and adjuncts. The former receive the lion's share of campus support, but also tend to be the most unresponsive to non-immediate demands. Adjuncts, on the other hand, may turn to digital technologies because of their different situation: cloud computing to reduce the problems of moving between multiple campus infrastructures; innovative teaching with technology to stand out in a very competitive marketplace; using technology because a campus leadership expects it. Deanna Marcum's recent research into public flagship universities found adjuncts a far greater source of innovation than the tenured. Long term, remember that tenure is shrinking. user:bryan.alexander|1414544409]]

Adequately Defining and Supporting Digital Literacy
Although we look at parts of this via "Low Digital Fluency of Faculty"/"Students' Inadequate Media Literacy"/"Balancing Our Connected and Unconnected Lives" (and "Digital Media Literacy" has been a topic for discussion in previous Horizon Report > Higher Education Edition discussions), we still face the unresolved challenge of adequately defining what digital literacy is and then finding ways to foster digital literacy among faculty/learning facilitators as well as among learners. Howard Rheingold's work in defining "crap detection" (in his book Net Smart: How to Thrive Online, in numerous interviews, and his recorded "Crap Detection Minicourse" at and Doug Belshaw's doctoral thesis at provide wonderful glimpses of how expansive a challenge it is to define and address this topic.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 25, 2014 Technological Fluency - I'm not sure this is a new topic other than the observation that we have a serious problem with language keeping up with the pace of technological change. I think that there is a thread running through a number of topics that can be summarized as follows: 1) Students, faculty, and institutions need to achieve digital literacy writ large. 2) Institutions need to develop mechanisms and structures to pivot in response to rapid technological change. 3) Institutions need to figure out how to incubate innovation in teaching and learning. All three of these are responses to the same external forces that we cannot control and they all require a similar response: The need for everyone at the college to be able to adapt to, and, moreover, make maximum use of technologies available to achieve the institutional goals of teaching, learning, and research in the most cost-efficient manner possible. I would call this "Technological Fluency" because it implies an ability to surf change in the way that a fluent speaker of a language can adapt to unexpected situations and still communicate. We have huge opportunities here and I remain optimistic but cultural change is hard and requires systematic and sustained effort. This is at the end of the day teaching, training, professional development, whatever you want to call it. It has become increasingly clear to me that this is our #1 challenge going forward. Everything else is tactics. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 28, 2014 It depends on whether you think digital literacy is enough. What would it be being digitally literate about? It suggests again a HOW (I can do this and this) rather than a keen understanding of why and when something is fit for purpose. Surely adaptive help-seeking is a dispositional characteristic of many of those who have a have a go and begin to appropriate tools for their purposes? - n.wright n.wright Oct 27, 2014 Noeline Wright's comment here captures beautifully what I see in so many of the posts made over the past couple of days throughout the entire "Challenges" section: the need and the willingness to think of each of these challenges in terms of connections and results. Digital literacy, for example, makes no sense if it isn't connected to something concrete (e.g., an ability to effectively engage in lifelong learning, or an ability to meet and exceed the requirements of our contemporary workplaces). That's why I'm so strongly behind colleagues who suggest that this is at least a two-part challenge: defining what digital literacy means for our learners and those they serve, and designing and facilitating learning that supports digital literacy.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 27, 2014 A fine challenge, Paul.- bryan.alexander bryan.alexander Oct 28, 2014 Once again, curriculum integration is the key here. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 27, 2014 Embedding is critical, avoid developing yet more digital literacy frameworks as it confuses practitioners. - neil.witt neil.witt Oct 28, 2014

Managing Knowledge Obsolescence
Simply staying organized and current presents a challenge in a world where information, software tools, and devices proliferate at the rate they do today. New developments in technology are exciting and their potential for improving quality of life is enticing, but it can be overwhelming to attempt to keep up with even a few of the many new tools that are released. User-created content is exploding, giving rise to information, ideas, and opinions on all sorts of interesting topics, but following even some of the hundreds of available authorities means sifting through a mountain of information on a weekly or daily basis. There is a greater need than ever for effective tools and filters for finding, interpreting, organizing, and retrieving the data that is important to us. And this is not only a case for libraries. This should be integrated in all study programs - and not only be considered an add on to teaching/learning delivered as part of introductoru activities in the first term. - ole ole Oct 14, 2014 - helga helga Oct 21, 2014- rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Oct 27, 2014

Relative Lack of Rewards for Teaching
Teaching is often rated lower than research in academia. In the global education marketplace, a university's status is largely determined on the quantity and quality of its research. According to the Times Higher Education's World University Rankings methodology, research and citations account for 60% of a university's score, while teaching is only half that. There is an overarching sense in the academic world that research credentials are a more valuable asset than talent and skill as an instructor. Because of this way of thinking, efforts to implement effective pedagogies are lacking. Adjunct professors and students feel the brunt of this challenge, as teaching-only contracts are underrated and underpaid, and learners must accept the outdated teaching styles of the university’s primary researchers. To balance competing priorities, larger universities are experimenting with alternating heavy and light teaching loads throughout the school year, and hiring more adjunct professors. Agree - and again it has to do with the self-perception of universities and the academic staff. Research is a cornerstone, but so is teaching. In my country up to 80 % of the income is generated by the students' passing exams (all Danish universities are public and thus funded by the state). This stresses the importance of quality in teaching. Good grief yes. We are stuck in old models for what constitutes "scholarship". Those definitions are slow to change. - jasonr jasonr Oct 19, 2014 - rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Oct 27, 2014- helga helga Oct 21, 2014 - lkoster lkoster Oct 20, 2014 - momillard momillard Oct 21, 2014 (- Jolie Jolie Oct 23, 2014) lip-service is paid to education as a field; tertiary is the ONLY part of education in NZ (except for 'charter schools') where staff do not need a recognised teacher education qualification. It is where no knowing about how learning works in specific contexts and for specific purposes, is considered to be ok. To address more personalised and smaller group learning scenarios, this will have to change - n.wright n.wright Oct 27, 2014 Excellent researchers do not always make excellent teachers, particularly at undergraduate level. Ideally there is a symbiotic relationship between the two, but sadly this is often not the case. Teaching should be on an equal footing with research in every sense, but it isn't, and it will remain that way whilst our institutions continue to promote research-focussed academics over teaching-focused academics to the top jobs. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 27, 2014
Faculty Identity - This may seem redundant to low digital fluency for faculty and the relative lack of rewards for teaching. And it is related to both. But what we see a lot of is that faculty incentives, both inside the institution as well as outside, are not aligned with using technology to teach. Win a Nobel Prize and lecture to a large classroom and you are an educational hero. Leverage innovative flipped classroom strategies blended with student research and group work coordinated through digital tools and your discipline will barely notice. I've seen too many cases of faculty that know they ought to learn the new stuff, but they are reaping too many rewards doing things the old way. Those rewards range from tenure and promotion, to national and internationl prestige and grants. This is a trend because the growth of technology seems to me to be splitting the faculty into those that win in the old model and those that are being pushed or jump to the new model. It's a sort of odd culture war going on in institutes of higher ed. - david.thomas david.thomas Oct 27, 2014 - Elizabeth_Hodas Elizabeth_Hodas Oct 28, 2014

Scaling Teaching Innovations
Our organizations are not adept at moving teaching innovations into mainstream practice. Innovation springs from the freedom to connect ideas in new ways. Our schools and universities generally allow us to connect ideas only in prescribed ways — sometimes these lead to new insights, but more likely they lead to rote learning. Current organizational promotion structures rarely reward innovation and improvements in teaching and learning. A pervasive aversion to change limits the diffusion of new ideas, and too often discourages experimentation. This fits with many of my 'agree' above. So: agree. - ole ole Oct 14, 2014 - helga helga Oct 21, 2014 New organizational designs are not rewarded. We need to subsidize innovation. user:michael.lambert|1413734356]] Agree - lkoster lkoster Oct 20, 2014 - jochen.robes jochen.robes Oct 21, 2014 Agree, although this is something we are trying to address on our campus with strategic educational innovation funding. Remains a significant challenge - momillard momillard Yes, important. Innovative education is being developed but in pilot studies and projects only. Embedding it into mainstream practice is difficult and not rewarded. Very often the funding does not allow for this as well. They focus on 'dissemination', spreading the word, but this is not enough for embedding. - e.degroot e.degroot Oct 26, 2014 - Elizabeth_Hodas Elizabeth_Hodas Oct 28, 2014 and scaling course production innovations, since whether we like it or not, widescale adoption of technology-enabled learning means increased requirement for sophisticated production methods to "clean and reuse" courses- vforssman vforssman Oct 28, 2014.

Students’ Inadequate Media Literacy
Despite a range of regional and global media literacy initiatives, research shows that the levels of media literacy knowledge and skills in children and teenagers are inadequate, especially for the dimensions of critical and participatory literacy. In an age when news often spreads virally through social media, it is critical that young people learn how to analyze and evaluate the authenticity of myriad messages they encounter everyday. According to current research, most young people feel comfortable using technology, and many are savvy enough to produce and share content, but they lack understanding of its impact or how to leverage it for the greater good — especially in the realm of education. - ole ole Oct 14, 2014 - jasonr jasonr Oct 19, 2014 - lkoster lkoster Oct 20, 2014 - helga helga Oct 21, 2014 - jochen.robes jochen.robes Oct 21, 2014 - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 25, 2014 Yes...again, we need to create assignments that include/require use of these media literacy literacies. This will require more than a scantron exam and yes, more time which is a high-valued currency. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Oct 25, 2014- rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Oct 27, 2014 Agreed! - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Oct 27, 2014 the difference between being savvy with using a device and savvy about thinking critically about what you can access via that means is a chasm as wide as the Grand Canyon. This chasm is what education should help learners create bridges over. Deep, critical, profound thinking is languishing in the doldrums because this proficiency with using a tool is understood by many to = an ability to think deeply. But this is not a cause and effect relationship. - n.wright n.wright Oct 27, 2014 Such skills need integrating into the curriculum. It is not enough to teach a skills module or two. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 27, 2014. ICT Literacy Skills The above sections (Media and Digital Literacy) is part of ICT Literacy Skills which can be defined as the following: "Information, Communication and Technology Literacy(ICT literacy) is the ability to appropriately use digital technology , communication tools, and / or networks to solve information problems in order to function in an information society.This includes having the ability to use technology as a tool to research, organize, and communicate information and having a fundamental understanding of the ethical/ legal issues surrounding accessing and using information" (The National Higher Education Information and Communication Technology Initiative, 2004) Moving forward this a challenge whereby both faculty and students experience. Faculty needing to determine how to incorporate such skills into their teaching. Institutions should provide support for faculty in learning how to incorporate those skills. The domino effect hopefully will where faculty will be developing such lifelong literacy among their students. anna stoute- astoute astoute Oct 28, 2014 We can build on several pre-existing bodies of knowledge within academia: media literacy, information literacy.- bryan.alexander bryan.alexander Oct 28, 2014

Added as New Challenges

We need to be able to Migrate to an "Online Presence Only" in case of Catastrophes
Catastrophes happen (part of the fabric): nuclear reactors in Japan, SARS in Hong Kong, N1H9, tsunami/typhoons across the Pacific, Hurricane Katrina, acts of terrorisms, shifts in weather patterns/climate changes, shootings on campus, and other disasters that affect t the college life/courses. These disasters disrupt learning; often resulting in 'no classes' for weeks, months and in many cases, relocation. The challenge is how do we continue creating a strong learning environment in the midst of the crisis. Policies/procedures need to have in-place their own 'mobile learning' space available just as the UN takes care of refugees or companies have their data stored in several places. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Oct 25, 2014 I absolutely adore how various parts of our world come together through something like this suggestion to prepare an online presence in anticipation of catastrophes: saw this suggestion from Michael yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, and just saw a learner's idea (in the "Rethinking Library Instruction" course I'm facilitating online for the American Library Association) to prepare an online Welcome module within her school library's learning management system so it would be available to learners if onsite learning were disrupted by any sort of major calamity. Good going, Michael! I think you have once again put us in the lead in terms of planning for effective online learning by bringing this to our attention via the NMC Horizon Project wiki.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 27, 2014 'digital only' occurred in response to the Christchurch, NZ earthquakes when a considerable number of buildings were terminally damaged at the university. This meant staff working from home (also earthquake damaged) in states of anxiety and isolation. Many students fled to other parts of the country. - n.wright n.wright Oct 27, 2014 An admirable idea, but how could one concentrate on education in a crumbling home, surrounded by the dead and dying, where the electricity and/or Internet infrastructure is not working? Perhaps the wonderful, if archaic, technologies that are the textbook, pencil and piece of paper would be more useful in this case?

Breaking Down Silos
A chief challenge and obstacle to emerging trends and needed change is the siloed nature of most institutions of higher ed. There is a great fear of sharing knowledge, resources and expertise. Faculty are afraid to give up their small areas of control over to a more centralized resources that could help the entire campus move forward and stay relevant with regard to educational delivery. It is often the case that initiatives toward online learning, blended learning and the like are happening in several small areas across campus without any knowledge of each other. This causes a great amount of wasted time, energy and resources that could be more effectively targeted toward more integrated initiatives. - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Oct 27, 2014 Yes, in a recent report by the European Commission they recommend that 'Funding should encourage collaborative responses' (p. 37). - e.degroot e.degroot Oct 27, 2014 I couldn't agree more. My team and I work across three faculties at the University of Leeds, comprising fifteen different schools, and if it wasn't for our informal quarterly nerdfests, nobody would know what was going on anywhere else. I make a point of organising meetings with interested parties from across the institution to try and find out who is doing what, where, why and how, and even so, I cannot, hand on heart, tell you that I know what everyone is doing. I also participate in a couple of inter-institutional groups and attend annual conferences where like minded people share their ideas freely. And let's not forget the Horizon board! We can break out of the silos - where there's a will there's a way! - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 27, 2014 This may be relevant here, and it stops me from setting up a new thread, but I have a suspicion that in the UK at least Learning Technology is in danger of disappearing up it's own backside. This is UK focused so may not be relevant to the International Horizon community - There is a trend in the Learning Tech community to be dismissive of practices by academic colleagues because they are not cutting edge or really shiny, it's been happening for a few years but is noticeable at conferences and events,. Learning Tech as a discipline needs to make itself more inclusive, refer to an evidence base and be willing to admit mistakes. We need to realise that we are in a different place to a few years ago, our students expect systems to work and we can no longer experiment with them and expose them to technology that is nether reliable or suitable for learning. The largest silo is the one that learning tech sits in, we need to be more inclusive to the academic community needs and stop dictating what is good for the sector and we need to deliver solutions that are sustainable, inclusive and provide value. The barriers put up by the Learning Tech community need to come down and more user needs (both student and staff) included in decision making - neil.witt neil.witt Oct 28, 2014 An excellent caution.- bryan.alexander bryan.alexander Oct 28, 2014

How to Situate Technology in the Middle of Education Reform
Here in the United States enormous pressure is being placed on higher education. Learners and parents are increasingly anxious about college debt, which has been increasing, as have prices. Younger people are worried about winning appropriate employment after graduation, given post-recession economics and the growing impact of automation. Serious academic studies like Academically Adrift and Paying for the Party find serious issues with how higher education structures learning. Rising concern about income inequality often leads us to look to schools for help. Meanwhile states keep reducing the amount they spend on public institutions, leading the latter to raise tuition. And both American political parties agree that changes must occur; academics have lost much of their traditional Democratic party support. Is it surprising that many turn to technology for a way out? That was one reason (of many) behind MOOC-mania, the chance to reduce costs and increase access (see "Expanding Access" above). That's a reason online learning (formerly "distance learning") has been growing so steadily. And yet there is no clear strategy by which technology can either help reform higher ed, or protect it from the ravages of reformers, depending on which side you're on. So that's a big challenge for integrating tech and education. One question: what can technology experts and their allies do about it? - bryan.alexander bryan.alexander Oct 28, 2014 Double down. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 29, 2014

Added as a New Challenge from RQ2:

Establishing Institutional Course Production Environments
..."on steroids." As many of these tools are currently or soon-to-be part of the everyday post-secondary learning environment, there is increasing pressure on adopting and managing institutional course production methods and workflow (large-scale e-learning course rollover, clean-up and minor fixes which are required to prepare a course for the next cohort of learners, with all the quality checks required when the course contains locally-developed syllabus and content, open and proprietary publishers' content, locally-supported tools, cloud-based tools and syndication of various other elements within the course.- vforssman vforssman Oct 28, 2014 [Editor's Note: This reads more like a Challenge and is being placed in RQ4.]

Student Information Systems Need to Change
All higher education organization have a heavy investment in SIS. Transcript control and fidelity is critical to the mission of higher, ensuring that we can accurate track, store and report on student achievement. At the same time, SIS in most institutions has become a barrier to change. It is as if our institutions state: If we we can't track and transcript it, you can't do it. But, from MOOCS to badging, the world is asking for alternative forms of education delivery and tracking. SIS needs to change.- david.thomas david.thomas Oct 21, 2014 Agreed. - Sam Sam Oct 26, 2014 I would agree that most SIS systems no longer meet the changing needs of both educational institutions and the students themselves. I just attended a presentation at our campus by Workday on their plans for their new SIS which they are building from scratch, and the difference between what they are planning and our current system was quite marked. I liked this recent article in The New York Times which just highlights how are current systems are not meeting the needs of students either: Elizabeth_Hodas Elizabeth_Hodas Oct 28, 2014 Agreed, and these SIS are so convoluted they cant keep up woth what we wanted to do 5 years ago, let alone what we want to do 5 years from now with badges, intra-institutional credit transfer and management, etc.- vforssman vforssman Oct 28, 2014 [Editor's Note: This reads more like a Challenge and is being placed in RQ4.]

Need for a Lifelong Learning Database (Learning and Performance Support System)
Carrying this "Lifelong Learning Database" idea over from a very spirited discussion earlier this year in the New Media Consortium Wiki-Thon (item #6, at and adding an update about a proposed Learning and Performance Support System: The 2010 Pew Research Center report on Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next suggests that this generation may become the best-educated ever since members of that generation understand that learning doesn’t end upon graduation. The recognition that the learning that extends from K-12 into formal higher-education degree work continues into the workplace also can take into account the idea that learners may return to campus physically or virtually for additional degrees at various stages in their lives—which means that some sort of database which provides one-stop shopping for those interested in recording their various formal and informal learning opportunities can be valuable to learners, employers, and learning organizations that want to quickly document a learner’s background during the admissions process. A platform-agnostic system that goes far beyond the current e-portfolios—something that allows learning organizations to officially post learner’s significant achievements (degrees earned as well as other achievements recognized through badging and other systems) –would be well worth exploring and documenting within the context of Horizon Project reviews of evolving uses of technology in learning—think of something far more sophisticated than LinkedIn, sanctioned, facilitated, and supported by a consortium of learning organizations. Update as of September 2014: Stephen Downes is looking at his own more-expansive version of this idea and is using the terminology "Learning and Performance Support System": paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 27, 2014 I definitely this will be an area of interest. It promotes lifelong learning and as stated will be of benefit to those entering the workplace. anna stoute - astoute astoute Oct 28, 2014 I agree. I see this as an extension to the great interest in previous years in e-portfolios and current interest in topics like badges and micro-credentials. - Elizabeth_Hodas Elizabeth_Hodas Oct 28, 2014 - JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Oct 28, 2014 [EDITOR"S NOTE: This is a great idea, but we could find no supporting evidence for it. In the Horizon Project, we try to focus on trends, technologies, and challenges that currently exist, either in some campuses or in other sectors. As such, we are reframing it it as a challenge that needs to be solved, rather than as something that sounds like it already exists. Thus moved to RQ4]

Added as New Challenge from RQ3:

There Must be a Renewed Focus on Privacy
After Edward Snowden's revelations, every netizen has had to rethink the meaning of privacy. This has led to increased scrutiny of the globe-scrutinizing NSA, plus suspicion of data-hoovering entities like Google. This has also driven the launch of new software platforms aimed explicitly at not treating users as products, such as and Ello. Open-source hardware projects owe something to this as well, since they would (in theory) not require connections to law enforcement. All discussions of big data and data analytics have now changed to include refocused attention to privacy. For example, this appeared when New York City parents rejected schools gathering student data. Another example: Apple and Google arguing with the FBI about encrypting user data.- bryan.alexander bryan.alexander Oct 28, 2014 I have a good friend who is pretty far up in the Silicon Valley game and likes to predict the future for fun. He's usually pretty good at it, including telling me probably 15 years ago that he believed the NSA was building a system to electronically monitor what people talked about on the phone! Anyway, same guy has hit me with this theory: The the age of privacy is over. Old folks like us will cling to the idea of privacy as a right. But younger folks, keying on the idea of transparency, will lead much more open lives. Not saying this is correct. But any conversation about privacy ought to be tempered with the possibility that the old value of privacy will transmute into a newer conception! - david.thomas david.thomas Oct 28, 2014 - JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Oct 28, 2014 - Elizabeth_Hodas Elizabeth_Hodas Oct 28, 2014 - momillard momillard Oct 28, 2014 - vforssman vforssman Oct 28, 2014 [Editor's Note: Moving this to RQ4 to combine it with existing challenge "Safety of Student Data."

Combined with Existing Technology Topics in RQ1

Business Models of MOOCs are Unsure
MOOCs have started off with a lot of enthusiasm but the business model(s) to make them sustainable and to deliver the value that is expected from them is/are less well understood. Therefore, universities are waiting and looking at each other, are others making the investment, what do we miss when we don't etc. - e.degroot e.degroot Oct 26, 2014 No comment. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 27, 2014 Heck, the business model of much of higher education is uncertain. K-12, too, in some areas. - bryan.alexander bryan.alexander Oct 28, 2014 [Editor's Note: Great points in here to add to the rich discuss in the RQ1 technology topic MOOCs.]

The future of some (all?) Social Media tools are unsure
In my understanding we need to mention challenges here as well. Perhaps this topic could fit elsewhere but I see that, for example, Twitter since it went to the stock market became less popular and has add-on's every two weeks which are more about advertising than anything else. Even though I am a firm believer in the opportunities, I also feel worries about the commercial side and to new tools that replace other tools so fast that educators find it hard to keep up. When we have helped teachers to learn podcasting, they have to go blogging, after blogging they have to use Twitter... even though this simply might be the reality they have to adapt to, it is a challenge especially in teacher training and in selecting which tool to use. - e.degroot e.degroot Oct 26, 2014 Esther de Groot's comments here resonate with me; I've had the experience of investing significant amounts of time into social media tools and sites that then either disappear with little warning or are sold to someone else and become so different in their approach that they lose their initial attractiveness and usefulness. Since we need to be where our learners are, this is a challenge without an obvious resolution: we need to be judicious about how much time we invest in learning/using any specific social media tool or site, and also can't afford to ignore the benefits that using social media provide for us and for our learners.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 26, 2014 Yes, it's both. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Oct 26, 2014 If you have to invest much time learning how to use a social media tool, it will probably fail sooner rather than later. I think we need to get away from our focus on tools and look at the ends. The tools will change. The ends won't. In other words, the first question should be, "What message are you trying to send?" and then "Who do you want to get it?" before choosing the medium. The modalities of all of the tools reflect that. How effective they are at achieving an evident answer to those questions will determine their survival. If faculty are properly trained in communications strategies rather than a specific technology, the tools should matter less. From my perspective, I don't care how long the tool lasts as long as it outlasts the class. Most tools don't die that quickly and even then, I can always pivot because I always build in a backup solution. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 29, 2014 again, I think this points to the dispositional reality of adaptive help-seeking and knowing that change is constant, but that transferring known skills from one platform to another is important. Standardising how things work across platforms is already taking shape, so transference becomes less problematic - n.wright n.wright Oct 27, 2014 OK, thanks, elaborating on this standardisation could then perhaps be useful to make the results of Horizon resonate with teachers - e.degroot e.degroot Oct 27, 2014 History suggests all social media companies will fail, no matter how big they are, but they will be almost certainly be replaced by other methods of social interaction that can be utilised for educationAl purposes. The pace of change is increasing, and will continue to do so and, in our field, we need to keep abreast of those advancements, sort the wheat from the chaff, and present them, where appropriate, to our learning and teaching colleagues as opportunities for them to Improve their practise. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 27, 2014 The doom of Twitpic is instructive here. - bryan.alexander bryan.alexander Oct 28, 2014 [Editor's Note: Great points to include in the RQ1 technology topic Social Networking and in the RQ3 Trend Growing Ubiquity of Social Media.]