Apparently there is to be a push to make the UK a world leader in on-line higher education. I’d love to see this happen, but I have my doubts.
As with so many other attempts at “e-learning”, the emphasis seems overwhelmingly on “learning and teaching resources”. But this is the easy part of the problem. The hard part is institutional change; moving away from the legacy idea of classes and courses to a new model which decouples learning from teaching, and both of those from assessment.
So far I have not found any indication that educational institutions in the UK are willing to step away from the traditional, everyone in one room, everyone being taught at the same time, lecturer as source of all wisdom approach to the distributed, asynchronous, collaborative, multi-sourced model needed for real “e-learning”.
Even the Open University, despite being centred in distance education, still has synchronized course start dates and assessment deadlines, for example. This is not only inflexible for students, but also places a much heavier load on tutors at certain times of the year. As far as I can tell, this sort of practice is done solely because, well, that’s the way it has always been done.
Educational institutions, please wake up. Successful on-line study and assessment should be available to everyone wherever and whenever needed.