By Cathy Gunn, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Education
Morehead State University
[Note: This article was originally submitted as a comment on Jim Shimabukuro’s “Online Learning 2012: Six Issues That Refuse to Die.” -Editor]
Jim, you wrote: “The traditional campus-based college won’t disappear….The second wave is building just beyond the horizon, and when it strikes it will further undermine land-locked institutions. The select few on high ground will survive, but the vast majority on lower ground will be forced to migrate to the virtual world.” Bill Sam’s video “EPIC 2020” and its prophesies of degrees replaced by credentials and badges is an interesting look into the future and will obviously incite some and provide some interesting dialogues among others.
David Moursund (Editor in Chief of ISTE publication Learning and Leading with Technology 1974-2001) predicted a number of years ago that students would be engaging with their professor and classmates from a distance, engaging in “flipped” classrooms (not called that, of course), and that students would be wearing their computer on their wrists using anytime/anyplace access to information as they learned as much out of the classroom as they did within. At the time, his predictions were seen as outlandish and very sci-fi like. Did he get it most righty? Hmm…Sam’s predictions of total replacement of traditional classrooms and campuses may cause a ripple across higher education, but my prediction is that it will take a different kind of leader in our nation’s IHE’s for this to become a tsunami.
Using Clayton Christensen’s “disruptive innovation” idea (Larissa MacFarquhar, “When Giants Fail: What Business Has Learned from Clayton Christensen,” New Yorker, 14 May 2012), change in current traditions of higher education for many institutions will most likely require disruptive innovations outside of the academy first and we can see the evidence of the first seeds of that through the open course movement. I’m in a mostly land-locked institution on lower ground, and I’m curious about how other traditional institutions, led by traditional leaders, will fare. And what is my place in this movement? Traditional methods for effecting change at my institution aren’t getting us even to a trickle yet, let alone to thinking about or planning for a wave!
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