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Reform of Vocational Education Submission

09 April 2019

ChangeTertiary Education System

I was very excited when I read the Cabinet paper by Education Minister Chris Hipkins outlining his plans for a major change, dare I say it - a transformation, of the New Zealand vocational educational system. Although aimed at the failing Institutes of Technology and Polytechnic (ITPs) and Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) this ambitious proposal has important implications for universities and for New Zelaand society as a whole.

The rest of this post is the text of my submission on the proposed review, joining the hundreds of others that have been made. One submission I found very interesting was from the Office of the Auditor General which I found very much in line with my own in raising concerns about the change process and the need for clear and effective leadership. Assuming the Minister creates a transition team as recommended by OAG the composition of that team will be an important signal of how he conceives this change occuring - I do hope it goes beyond solely the vested and established interests to find people with ambitions for the public interest in this new model.

The Blog is Back!

09 April 2019

I've finally had a moment to resurrect my blog on technology, the eMM, copyright and anything that stimulates my mind and can't be made PBRFable. I've brought across the old posts as I'm actually pleased to see how well most of them have aged. As time permits I'm going to revisit some of them to see what has developed since then.

Open eBook Tests

03 August 2013

AssessmentExaminationsStudent Workload

A question from a colleague sparked this posting. What happens when the traditional paper books used in such exams or tests become eBooks?

This is not a trivial question.

New technologies provide useful opportunities to revisit models of work that we think we understand and test whether our approaches and assumptions need to be reframed. The inevitable growth in the use of eBooks as replacements for paper textbooks raises some challenging questions for academics who use open book tests in their courses, and also provides a hint of a wider need for change in our conceptions of information use, learning and assessment.

Leadership and Collaboration

03 November 2012

Leadership

A colleague at the University drew my attention to a recent article on being a PhD student in computer science, describing how to lead from below. Its a good article, filled with useful advice to PhD students learning how to engage with people in other roles. I also think it describes very well the approach that academics, e-learning support staff and innovators should be taking more generally in the university.

People Formally Known as Students

30 October 2012

MOOCs

Alison Byerly posts on an Inside Higher Ed blog the interesting issue of what we call people engaging with MOOCs, are they really students?

"If we allow the word "student" to lose its primary meaning as a person formally engaged in learning through enrollment in a school or college, a person toward whom that institution and its faculty assume some responsibility, then we undermine the case for colleges and universities as the place where students go to meet their educational goals."

Siva Vaidhyanathan on Copyright and Universities

27 October 2012

Copyright

Siva Vaidhyanathan is an interesting and thoughtful scholar who often writes on copyright issues affecting higher education. His recent article summarising the outcome of legal battles between US Author's groups and Universities is an useful summary of the complex issues facing modern institutions attempting to comply with copyright law. At heart is the desperate attempts of the traditional, and increasingly irrelevant, publishing industry to somehow protect various distribution arrangements in the face of overwhelming evidence their time has past.

Inquiry into 21st century learning environments and digital literacy

10 May 2012

Learning spacesNew Zealand Government

The Education and Science Committee have started an inquiry into 21st century learning environments and digital literacy. Rather than intending to write law, this is a chance for politicians to explore an area before developing policy.

The Lucky Fish

25 November 2011

InnovationChange

One of the interesting case studies used in Rogers' book The Diffusion of Innovations is the story of introducing clean water into North African villages. The women of the village resisted using clean water from a tap for other than ritual purposes until the 'high status' women in the village started using it for cooking. It illustrates the problem that innovations are not used even when, objectively and empirically, they are better than existing practice. Indeed, the women in Africa used all sorts of creative and implausible explanations as to why they would not change their water use habits. A Canadian PhD student has now come up with another great example of how innovators need to use existing preferences and desires to motivate positive change.

ACODE60 Learning Analytics Workshop

08 November 2011

Learning AnalyticsACODEEthics

ACODE 60's workshop was today and focused on the area of Learning Analytics. Although MOOCs seem to have overtaken analytics as the issue of greatest interest in e-learning there is a case to be made that analytics are a more significant challenge to institutions and their staff. Outside of the US at least, the public higher education sector in Western countries is experiencing a sustained focus on quality. Quality in this case is that measured by performance indicators as scrutinised by the funding agencies of government, and consequently as seen in funding bestowed or withdrawn. These indicators are increasingly dominated by student outcomes such as qualification completion, but also include measures of retention and success within a course of study.

ACODE60 Learning Analytics Workshop

08 November 2011

Learning AnalyticsACODEEthics

ACODE 60's workshop was today and focused on the area of Learning Analytics. Although MOOCs seem to have overtaken analytics as the issue of greatest interest in e-learning there is a case to be made that analytics are a more significant challenge to institutions and their staff. Outside of the US at least, the public higher education sector in Western countries is experiencing a sustained focus on quality. Quality in this case is that measured by performance indicators as scrutinised by the funding agencies of government, and consequently as seen in funding bestowed or withdrawn. These indicators are increasingly dominated by student outcomes such as qualification completion, but also include measures of retention and success within a course of study.

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