Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Study of UK Online Learning

"A number of common themes emerged that might reflect generally held views across the sector. These included:
  • a clear message to not be too focused on the technology involved in delivering ODL; e.g. the technology was described as "vital but not central"
  • recognition of the requirement for low student-tutor ratios, and regular feedback and assessment points to ensure that students are engaged and retained
  • the need to address the challenge associated with "change management" e.g. supporting the changes necessitated by the need to encourage academic staff to shift emphasis away from content dissemination towards facilitating more independent and activity-based learning
  • the importance of understanding the expectations of ODL students in full-time work and appreciating that their motivations, needs and aspirations may differ significantly from traditional campus-based students. The inherent advantages of ODL as a mode of delivery for students in full-time work was identified
  • a consensus that in order to strategically expand the provision of high quality ODL courses, a robust institutional infrastructure for developing, delivering and maintaining courses is essential. A key consideration is the extent to which institutions provide central support to facilitate such developments. In many cases, ODL offerings have evolved from a "cottage industry" style approach with developments led wholly at departmental level. While this approach was seen to have many benefits, not least ensuring academic quality and promoting innovation, it was also seen as a challenge and a potential barrier to expanding provision
  • the challenge of embedding sustainable practice without stifling innovation.
The key message to emerge was that institutions felt the substantive challenge was not the pedagogical model they chose to use for ODL, but planning the configuration of the supporting infrastructure, resources and business models required to support the development and delivery of ODL programmes. Addressing these structural issues was seen as a prerequisite for success in expanding provision."

Commentary: Uh, thing is Dave is that what you are describing here is not ODL but UK HE as a whole.