I gave a presentation with Patrick McAndrew today to IET Committee on the implications of web 2.0 for higher education. Apart from all the fun technologies, one of the key principles to me is that of openness and a letting go of control. I think the instinct of many of us in higher education is to try and control the student experience. This may come from good intentions relating to ensuring quality, promoting a caring environment, getting students to understand the key concepts and gain the key skills, etc., but I think it becomes a habit, a default action. It doesn’t sit well in a web 2.0 world and I do find myself having to pull back from the initial reaction of defining exactly what should happen, and perhaps allowing things to be a bit more unstructured and unpredictable. This is probably one of those characteristics that marks out us digital immigrants as having an accent. Our instinct is to try and hold on to things whereas children raised in a web 2.0 world (and maybe there is already a web 1.0 generation who are slightly immigrant to this) will find the notion of not making everything open kind of weird. It reminds me of my parents’ attitude to debt and credit. It was something mildly distasteful, and if they did need a loan they would dress up in their best clothes and feel very privileged if the bank manager deemed to let them have some money on credit. Now I can fill out ten application forms before finishing my muesli in the morning and still have companies begging me to take more.
Anyway, presentation is below, courtesy of Slideshare again (some of the transitions particularly with images don’t work that smoothly, but in the spirit of web 2.0 I thought I’d stick with using it).