Thursday, February 22, 2018

My Teaching and Studying at the Uberversity

In "Cost-saving pressures create a place for Uberversity model", Tim Dodd, Higher Education Editor for The Australian, asked us to imagine a university with no campus. I don't have to imagine it, I have been teaching on-line for nine years and spent four years as an online graduate student. Tim suggests it "... smacks of Uber or Airbnb ...", but this educational model predates both startups by several decades. Online education grew out of paper based distance education, which was pioneered in Australia, fifty years ago.

There are a wealth of good ideas to try out with education, but they are not, as Tim suggests, new. Taking an e-learning format developed by distance and open universities and giving it an "Uber-" prefix doesn't make it new.

In 2008 the Australian Computer Society commissioned me to design a graduate level e-learning course for computer professionals. New to this format, I discovered there were well researched and proven techniques for e-learning, along with world leading Australian e-learning software. In 2013 I signed up as a graduate student of education, to further investigate these techniques. Studying on-line (obviously) at institutions 1,000 km and 13,000 km away, I discovered these techniques went back 50 years and Australian educators had made significant contributions to this work. Also I discovered that educational institutions on the other side of the planet used Australian e-learning software.

So before slapping an "Uber-" prefix on and assuming all innovation comes from Silicon Valley, I suggest a quick web search. You might find that innovation come from much closer to home.

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