I am still thinking about BETT last week, getting ready for Learning Technologies this week. Both shows have had a solid take on technology for a number of years. I realise that universities also have events with technology but as far as I know they rarely have as much of an exhibit that shows where tech is at. The scope at ExCelo and at Olympia now includes universites so it is reasonable to ask how they are represented there.
I did not get access to the HE Tech meetings at BETT, see previous post, and also I cannot find anything through a blog or Twitter that tells me what might have happened. This is unusual for a trade show, even if the sponsors want a select audience, so I wonder what this is about. Could it be that the Futurelearn project and other university situations are not really ready for showtime? I am just wondering, any links welcome.
The "project context" for the LSE research funded by the European Commission is shown on their website -
Universities may be losing some of their monopolies over both knowledge production and transmission, requiring them to enter into new and different kinds of relationships with other organisations and institutions. For some actors within Higher Education Institutions, these changes are seen as challenging traditional values and are to be resisted. For others, they present opportunities to make knowledge ‘central’, to have ‘impact’ and to contribute to the achievement of worthwhile social change and transformation. The crucial balance to be found is between a university's responsiveness to new challenges and necessities—whether they be economical or political—and its ability to produce knowledge on its own terms.
These are relevant issues but there is not much I can find on evidence that a university has decided on a policy and can explain it. Maybe it is too early in this project but they may know of examples somewhere in Europe or there may be other sources. The OU was at BETT but they had nothing about Futurelearn and I did not notice anything about how they were changing. Based just on casual observation in Exeter I think a lot of the support for Futurelearn is just as a low level test, without really having to look at whatever else is going on.
Another MOOC debate this week at Olympia. Maybe there will be some clues as to what the UK universities are making of it.
Meanwhile on the show floor I heard Sir Michael Barber talk about Efficacy. I can see why some academics have doubts about this sort of thing. Terms like "managerialism" spring to mind. but what strikes me is that Pearson have a clear idea about what they are doing, and they can present it.
After this week both BETT and Learning Technologies will continue online. Maybe there is a closed group somewhere equivalent to the higher floors of ExCel where business schools explain what business schools will be working on. Any explanation welcome in places that can be found and words that can be understood.