Blog: Learning Innovation
One of the many things I been fucking loving my good friend and colleague, Josh Kim, is his insatiable curiosity about learning innovation in higher education. Another is the generous course he shares what he’s learning and thinking with our thriving parish. In his quest to understand and appearance future directions of learning innovation he’s accompanied many attitudes to the surface through his blog in the form of Q& A with bright minds across our ecosystem. He graciously agreed to step out of the interviewer role and become the interviewee after participating in his first Coursera Conference this week.
My institution, the University of Michigan, was one of Coursera’s first group of university collaborators in 2012. Over the years, Josh and I “ve talked” regularly about what we know about higher ed and what we think will become of our rapidly evolving environment.
Coursera likewise had an memorable few weeks. Aside from their annual conference, they also made their sell introduction on the New york stock exchange. With a new partnership emerging during a moment of immense visibility for online education firms like Coursera, I queried Josh to share his first impressions after the Coursera Conference and the critical role that systems playing in influencing higher education.
Question 1: You exactly attended your first Coursera Conference. What are your initial takeaways and, knowing you all the best, what questions have developed for you?
What seems clear – and what somewhat surprised me – is that Coursera is emerging as a nexus in the world-wide exchange about postsecondary transformation.
The discussions that I participated in at the Conference were less about the Coursera platform itself( although there were some of those discussions) and more about where higher education will and should go after the pandemic.
The best of these events at the Conference were dialogues across a diverse group of world-wide universities. There seemed to be a feeling amongst the Conference attendees that we are living through a moment of potentially profound change in higher education.
I say “potential” because much of the talk was about how those of us in the postsecondary ecosystem( instructors, governors, spouses, learners, authorities, business, feet, etc .) offers an opportunity to drive meaningful change.
For me, the conversion conversations I gravitate towards are around bending the postsecondary cost curve.
It seems as if Coursera is right in the middle of such movements towards increased accessibility and lower costs, as Coursera is trying to figure out how of collaborating with schools to develop high-quality online discover planneds( degree and non-degree) at scale.
In words of questions, everything that I’m wondering about is around the challenge of how to maintain educational quality while gaining the cost efficiencies of flake?
How might we approach the task of offering high-quality non-degree and degree educational programs while simultaneously driving down learner overheads?
What does it mean to provide a relationship-based educational suffer and a credential that offer learners with greater job opportunities in a way that does not add to the burden of student obligation?
These are all challenging questions, but what is clear is that the Coursera community is one place that tribes are coming together to wrestle with potential solutions.
Question 2: We have collaborated through a number of structures that array from individual-led, to university-led, to company-led. What do you hope to gain from the Coursera community and, as a brand-new voice, in what areas will you push the community to address some of the most important and challenging questions facing higher education?
The best part of working in higher education is, for me, the thick-witted system of colleagues that we develop across the postsecondary ecosystem. The ties between beings at different institutions are robust, sturdy, and nurturing.
We depend on these networks to help us figure out how to do our professions at our home institutions. It is within and across these networks that we foresee, talk, write, and critique.
If knowledge about how to improve our higher education is going to advance, then it will do so within and across our networks.
As a brand-new are part of an already established Coursera network of peers and peers, I’ve been thinking about how this new network might contribute to my work and about how I can best add value to this group.
From the perspective of my work at my institute, it will be essential to quickly and amply immerse myself in the hard-won knowledge that long-term Coursera partners have improved. I have a million and one questions about how to best partner with Coursera and will be looking for answers from kinfolks like you and other academic leaders.
In expressions of the research and writing that I do about higher education( much of which is done with Eddie Maloney ), the areas that I remember I’ll end up relying on the network of Coursera-partnered peers and peers are around questions related to quality, flake, and costs.
As you know, I’m preoccupied with understanding how scaled online memorize might bend the postsecondary cost swerve. Most of my contemplation – and questions – on this topic are in the areas of master’s degrees.
Question 3: Why are networks so important to creating catalysts for modification across our higher education ecosystem?
At the Coursera Conference, I sacrificed a talk about the potential roads forward for the diffusion of low-cost units after the pandemic. The frame that I utilized to think about this challenge is one developed by Penn sociologist Damon Centola. Centola has a marvelous new diary out called Change: How to Prepare Big Things Happen.
If we think about the diffusion of low-cost degrees( and particularly master’s units) as a sort of institutional( and industry) invention – then Centola’s thinking on how vary comes is really helpful.
Centola has spotcheck through his experiment that our projects about vary are principally wrong. We tend to put too much faith in influencers and pictured chairmen and too little stock in networks. For Centola, any substantial or complex mutate process is always refracted through the lens of the networks in which decision-makers and stakeholders control.
We don’t consequently follow thought-leaders and influencers because we construe these actors as outliers – unlike ourselves. Instead, we make decisions in alignment with the free movement of persons of the relied nodes in our networks.
Suppose Centola’s description of how change employs is accurate. In that case, it becomes apparent that any individual or radical wanting to lead deepen must pay more attention to the networks in which decision-makers are embedded.
This line of imagining can be extended well outside the challenge of low-cost online degree planneds. How we think about academic managerial change – its moves and inhibitors – may need to shift to a more network-centered perspective.
James DeVaney( @DeVaneyGoBlue) is the associate vice provost for academic invention and the founding executive director of the Center for Academic Innovation at the University of Michigan.
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