Thursday, 10 June 2010

Mr Bean

Martin Bean, newly installed Vice-Chancellor of the UK Open University, is very self-effacing, but he needn't be. His ideas about the future of higher education, including the mantra of globalisation, massification and privatisation is a machine gun delivery of the influences that will drive educational provision in the near future. We do not, he says have enough resources to construct the buildings needed to satsify demands. Distance education through the support of technology has got to be the best way forward. But to do this, says Martin, we need first to understand that in order to create access to education through these new means, we first need to understand our current generation of students. Students don't like to pay for anything, so content must be free or at least heaviliy subsidised. They also hate being constrained in their self-expression and they don't like badly designed leaning environments.

What they do enjoy, says Martin, is the ability to express themselves and share their ideas, in a real-time interactive environment. This is why social media tools such as Facebook and Youtube are infinitely more popular for students that the institutional tools and platforms we all buy into. The moment Google became a verb, he said, the world changed. And we need to change with it.

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