Panel Session HIG160
University Should Be Just for the Elite!
Could it be argued that by far the majority of people who go to university do so for these three reasons; for status, to get a job, and to have some fun. While it could also be argued that it is not the responsibility of the state to subsidise those who wish to improve their status and have fun, perhaps it is their responsibility to help its citizens become productive and self-sufficient. But do we really need universities to do that?
We, in online learning, know that it can be done in other more cost effective ways. It could be argued that people learn more efficiently at work. Combining work with study and training both online and on the job may well be a better way to make them productive and self-sufficient. So why do we need higher education?
This Panel will provide those responsible for the provision of education and training at all levels, from national policy development to teaching professionals, with ideas on how higher and further education might be better structured in the future.
Perhaps we should return to a better version of the older model, where universities were for the elite, except now for the brilliant rather than the rich. The rest of us may need to accept that we are better suited to the needs of the everyday workplace and appreciate the wondrous and useful things and ideas that the “eggheads” produce for us.
Five highly experienced learning professionals will discuss the above proposition. The speakers supporting the motion will describe how learning technologies can provide cheaper and more effective training and education services outside the higher education system. The speakers supporting the motion will argue that learning technologies can be used to address the deficiencies within the current system.
Institute of Technology Sligo, Ireland
Brian Mulligan is a Civil Engineer who originally worked in mathematical modelling and simulation and the application of information technology in engineering. He is currently Manager of Online Learning Innovation in the Centre for Online Learning at the Institute of Technology Sligo where he has lectured since 1984. He has been the key driver in the rapid growth in online distance learning in IT Sligo since 2002 and significantly involved in the growth of e-learning in Ireland since 1999, organising the EdTech series of conferences since 2000 and as a founding member of the Irish Learning Technology Association in 2002. His main areas of expertise and interest are now in web-casting, webinar management, synchronous online training, instructor-led online training, lecture capture, open education (MOOCs and OER) and the rapid development of online content. He led the Erasmus+ funded LoCoMoTion project on low-cost MOOC development (moocs4all.eu).
Plan B Learning, UK
Donald is an entrepreneur, CEO, Professor, speaker and blogger. He was CEO and one of the original founders of Epic Group plc, which established itself as the leading company in the UK e-learning market, floated on the Stock Market in 1996 and sold in 2005. Describing himself as ‘free from the tyranny of employment’, he now the CEO of an AI learning company WildFire, investor and Board member of PlanB learning, LearningPool and Cogbooks. He has been involved in consulting and implementing online learning in schools, FE, HE, corporate and government.
Donald has been involved in film, games, web, mobile, MOOCs, Oculus Rift and won many awards for the design and implementation of online learning. He is a regular speaker at national and international conferences, having delivered talks in the US, Europe, Far East, Middle East and Africa, and won several ‘Best speaker’ awards … also a regular (and controversial) blogger on online learning!
The eLearning Guild, USA
Jane Bozarth is a veteran classroom trainer who transitioned to eLearning in the late 1990s and never looked back. As leader of the State of North Carolina USA's award-winning eLearning program, Dr. Bozarth specializes in finding low-cost ways of providing online training solutions. Her abiding interest in social learning and communities of practice framed her graduate work and dissertation and led to the publication of her bestselling book Social Media for Trainers and the new Show Your Work: The Payoffs and How-Tos of Working Out Loud. She is the author of several other books, including eLearning Solutions on a Shoestring, Better than Bullet Points, and From Analysis to Evaluation. She frequently contributes material to trade publications and writes the monthly "Nuts & Bolts" column for Learning Solutions Magazine. A popular conference speaker, Dr. Bozarth has keynoted events in the US, Canada, Australia, Turkey, and Scotland. She and her husband live with Thomas the Corgi in Durham, North Carolina, USA
Matic Media Ltd, UK
Paul Bacsich is the Founder and Managing Director of Matic Media Ltd, a consultancy in the UK active in online learning since 1996. He is also Professor of Practice for the University of West Indies Open Campus, which is headquartered in Barbados.
In addition he consults for the SeroHE division of Sero Consulting Ltd as a Senior Associate: he was a member of the Sero team who recently reviewed Learning Technology Support at the University of Oxford, and currently he is leading a 12-month project at Sero to develop an accredited vocational short online course to teach teachers to teach online for Wey Education (who run Interhigh Virtual School and other similar entities).
He is also Visiting Professor for University of Derby Online Learning (UDOL) in the UK.
He has a long-standing interest in Open Education via a large EU project (POERUP) and several EU/European Parliament studies: in particular he is Co-Coordinator of the Open Education Working Group and an Ambassador for the global advocacy of OER and a member of the OER Advocacy Committee of ICDE. He was a co-author for the JRC 2017 report “Policy Approaches to Open Education in 28 Member States”.
His interests in leadership in e-learning were developed during the Erasmus+ D-TRANSFORM project 2014-17, which drew on and continued his work over 20 years on management of open and distance learning.
In addition to his public work he consults for a number of international, government, commercial, venture fund and university clients on market/competitor/pricing research, policy, education funding models and retention strategies. He has recently finalised a report on credit recognition and transfer for online masters' programmes, for a university client in Canada.
In 2015-16 Paul chaired the review panel for the Vision and Strategy Appraisal of the UK Open University Library, where he interviewed over 70 staff and students and carried out substantial comparative and policy research. He also chaired the E-learning review panel for Uppsala University, with three days of intensive meetings and presentations, and spent four months chairing a task force for the National Forum for Learning and Teaching in Ireland to prepare a scoping document on infrastructure issues related to online learning.
Some of his recent thinking can be found in his UNESCO policy brief on "Alternative Models of Education Delivery" and in a paper for the "Open Education 2030" higher education workshop run by the EU. He remains very interested in "Multiversity" models and competence-based provision, based on his earlier studies on "Time and e-learning", developed from a speech given in Austria, a country with which he has increasing links.
He is a co-founder of MultEversity, a start-up in online/blended post-secondary education which aims in due course to be an accredited university and higher vocational provider. He also has had involvement in other early-stage online providers over the last six years and has done several studies of them.
In the university phase of his career he was a researcher at Oxford University, had many roles over 25 years at the UK Open University, and was for seven years Professor of Telematics at Sheffield Hallam University and then a Director at the UK e-University. He was also Visiting Professor at Middlesex University and Advisor to the Rector of the Arab Open University.
He has knowledge of and/or experience in higher education in many developed countries.