Negotiating disruptions in learning space and time

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I am delighted that Gregor Kennedy from the University of Melbourne is coming to give us a talk at Leicester on Friday. I have known Gregor for many years, through the ASCILITE community and he and his team do great research, of particular note is his research on learner experiences of using technologies. So if you are around on Friday email me and feel free to come along. The talk is in 103-105 Princess Road East at 2 pm.

 

Negotiating disruptions in learning space and time

Gregor Kennedy

The University of Melbourne

The last year has seen substantial changes in the higher education landscape, not least the spectacular rise in prominence of Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs. The transition of MOOCs from the boutique to the popular has in part been noteworthy because of who is offering them. These wholly online courses are being provided by the ‘elites’, the North American ivy leagues; universities not traditionally known for their online and distance education programs. In a relatively short space of time, it seemed as if wholly online education, once the domain of universities oriented towards ‘distance’ education, was now the remit of all.

 In this presentation I will argue that, in fact, the blurring of boundaries between ‘traditional’ and ‘distance’ higher education providers has been a long time coming. I will suggest that significant changes in higher education over the last few decades reflect a fundamental shift in the relationship between ‘student’ and ‘university’. This shift has been functional, reflecting the diverse reasons students choose to go to university. There has also been an operational shift that has fundamentally disrupted well-established university practices of teaching and learning, which have traditionally operated in centralised time and space. I will argue that all universities, regardless of their heritage, are now being forced to consider how they educate students given the challenges posed by disruptions of time and space. While diverse universities may respond differently, all will need to consider how they design, use and invest in space, both physical and virtual, and how they think about the speed and pace of learning and instruction. These institutional considerations – and the outcomes of these considerations – raise fundamental questions for educators about pedagogical practice.

 Gregor Kennedy

Associate Professor Gregor Kennedy is the Director of eLearning at The University of Melbourne and is based in the Centre for the Study of Higher Education. His current work involves leading the University’s strategy in technology-enhanced learning and teaching, supporting staff in the use of learning technologies, and undertaking research in the area of eLearning. He has a background in psychology and has spent the last 15 years conducting and overseeing research and development in educational technology in higher education. His research interests include staff and students’ use of technology, contemporary learning design and emerging technologies, approaches to educational technology research and evaluation, computer-based interactivity and engagement, and the use of electronic measures for educational research and evaluation. He has published widely in these areas and is currently the co-editor the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology.