Research Question 4: Significant Challenges Impeding Australian Tertiary Education Technology Adoption

What do you see as the key challenges related to teaching, learning, or creative inquiry that learning-focused institutions will face during the next 5 years?

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NOTE: The Significant Challenges are sorted into three time-related categories based on their appearance in previous Horizon Report editions -- solvable challenges are those that we both understand and know how to solve, but seemingly lack the will; difficult challenges are ones that are more or less well-understood but for which solutions remain elusive; wicked challenges, the most difficult, are complex to even define, and thus require additional data and insights before solutions will even be possible. In your responses to the trends below, feel free to explore why or why not the challenge should be in its specific time-related category.

As you review what others have written, please add your thoughts and comments as well.

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Campus Infrastructures are Under-Resourced
2014 Higher Ed Solvable Challenge: Those that we understand and know how to solve
Critical campus infrastructures are under-resourced. Rather than encouraging researchers to build on and extend core resources, leverage shared file systems, and open accessible service APIs, institutions are narrowing their focus to what they perceive as the minimal subset of enterprise services they can afford to sustain. As a result, educators are often trying to design new, innovative learning models that must be integrated with outdated, pre-existing technology and learning management systems.

Hey is this true? I can see the strategic focus slipping maybe from the 'top table' but are the issues a bit different to extract ourselves from the constant provision of secure plentiful computer labs on campus to BYOD with the very significant shift in strategies, policies and resources? How to take risks OMG really? RISK! - I mean prototpying and experimenting with non university owned stuff - not the least across all the things Horizon reports point us to, especially the longer term
- gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 8, 2014 - slambert slambert Feb 18, 2014agree, how about we facilitate students and staff use the techs they want (a trend from previous research q), rather than spending on mega-tools that may be under utlised, allow space for niche and choice
Laptops are still be borrowed in huge numbers from the library students without smaller devices don't want to carry computers and our networks are faster than at home often. So the need for desktops computing is not going to disappear fast. If we continue to offer face-to-face delivery the students will stay around to use wifi/network especially with many of the resources need as part of the course only available online - ktairi ktairi Feb 18, 2014
I do think that campus infrastructures are by and large under-resourced in terms of understanding the requirement to invest in consistent and reliable educational technology in the physical teaching space to support the overall learning experience.- kevinashfordrowe kevinashfordrowe Feb 22, 2014

Institutions are wedded to sunk-costs in particular technologies, based on a traditional model of information technologies with integrated large IT systems purchased from proprietary companies. It is hard to see a future centered around an LMS when there are so many other options already on the horizon. Will it be the case that campus infrastructure requires excellent wireless and security? - c.macken c.macken Feb 23, 2014 - Sam Sam Feb 23, 2014

I think the greater challenge is simply the contraction of the whole education sector. The international markets which provided the impetus for boom have become more self-sufficient ie setup their own unis (especially at undergrad course delivery) and don't need western unis nearly so much. Aren't we all in a space of paring back and consolidating, combining into mega faculties, reducing duplication etc etc What are the keys to success for service industries in contracting markets? We should stop kidding ourselves that the funding will increase any time soon, and instead look to the lessons of successful businesses who have steered similar waters. - slambert slambert Feb 25, 2014

Personally, I think we need to start being smarter about the decisions regarding where we invest. Infrastructure we own should contribute to a strategic differentiator, or reflect a specific and well-understood need that has no feasible alternative. As we've noted elsewhere, BYOD and networks can be understood very broadly. Consumer technologies and commodity online services (Amazon cloud for example) provide a very cost-effective base if complemented by support from innovative IT staff. - stephen.marshall stephen.marshall Feb 27, 2014

Digital Fluency of Faculty is Too Low
2014 Higher Ed Solvable Challenge: Those that we understand and know how to solve
Faculty training still does not acknowledge the fact that digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession. Despite the widespread agreement on the importance of digital media literacy, training in the supporting skills and techniques is rare in teacher education and non-existent in the preparation of faculty. As lecturers and professors begin to realize that they are limiting their students by not helping them to develop and use digital media literacy skills across the curriculum, the lack of formal training is being offset through professional development or informal learning, but we are far from seeing digital media literacy as a norm. This challenge is exacerbated by the fact that digital literacy is less about tools and more about thinking, and thus skills and standards based on tools and platforms have proven to be somewhat ephemeral.
- kevinashfordrowe kevinashfordrowe Feb 8, 2014This is a matter that student's continual tell us is a significant negative to facilitation of their learning experience at University. In short, they don't believe that their education experience is sufficiently enabled via technology and when it is, it is often not done sufficiently well. The answer lies in part in professional development, but that activity has be be engaged with to be of any value.- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Feb 23, 2014 well said!

Nail on the head Kevin! Im having some success with avoiding the evil term PD and offering instead 'Fast Learning Design' (also changes mind sets ) e.g. Carpe Diem Learning Design also MOOC (currently 2nd down on the left)
but I'm desperate for new ideas on engagement. - I've been trying to completely stop doing face to face workshops but that in itself is considered MOST inappropriate. EEEK. I'm wondering have we got any really scalable examples of students being acceptable to staff as developers (i.e. beyond the obvious basic IT help?). does this have to come with much flattening....- gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 8, 2014 - slambert slambert Feb 18, 2014 making some progress with student interns as emerging tech/open tech/media developers, also ditched promoting PD sessions in favour of punchy showcases by faculty - which brings interested parties forward for followup consultations. Similarly, am amazed at the power of our first DIY MOOC (aimed at students) to motivate a wide range of staff to enrol and check it out with a view to learning about new ways to do online/distance ed. MOOC as self-directed PD - why not?

I agree with the comments regarding lack of skills amongst staff, and potential lack of PD for faculty - however one item that has not been adressed is the importance of 'Leadership' in driving meaningful and sustained change. The 'leaders' need to be a mixture of exemplar faculty and management. Unfortunately too often I see the management leaders, who are ultimately responsible for driving the adoption of such technologies within the learning environment, not fully up to speed (or engaged) with the technology themselves. - jason.maddern jason.maddern Feb 18, 2014 Why is that so important Jason? - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 21, 2014
Hear, hear Gilly, we need more overt and better leadership of this area and against defined frameworks and continuums that prescribe requirements and levels- kevinashfordrowe kevinashfordrowe Feb 22, 2014

I know of no other profession where the accepted level of digital literacy is so low. But frankly this is a general issue of professional development for academics generally. This is part of a greater ongoing debate of academics being effective and efficient teachers, and the workshop and just in time response hasn't helped there. - david.cummings david.cummings Feb 20, 2014 As I mentioned I don't think driving it through improving their IT or even 'digitalliteracy' skills is going anywhere, quite new approaches are needed IMHO- gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 21, 2014- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Feb 23, 2014

Frameworks are critical. But they have to be 'owned' by faculty, not imposed. And appropriate. I'm not convinced that making a Level E academic edit video is the best use of their time. But I'm convinced that they need to be sufficiently engaged to understand that it *might* be. It's a tricky balance and there is no one size fits all. Hence the need for the right frameworks. - sherman.young sherman.young Feb 22, 2014

I agree with many of the comments above, especially about the importance of "leadership". Much of the research in this area highlights how important it is to have switched on leaders who can drive innovation and change. Sadly, in some (many?) universities I suspect it is the leaders who need the most professional development. And could it be that no amount of professional development is going to bring about the volume of capacity building that is required? - geoff.romeo geoff.romeo Feb 23, 2014

The comment about the Level E academic editing video is a poignant one. Surely the current "business model" for how universities delivery learning and teaching is fundamentally flawed and in need of a major overhaul. Is it time to rethink the whole enterprise before we become irrelevant? Our Level E (and Levels A, B, C and D) should have a whole team of experts and expertise that s/he can access and who can work "elbow to elbow" / "just in time" - geoff.romeo geoff.romeo Feb 23, 2014

I'm with you Geoff. I put the following in the mobile learning section, but will add it here again.
Though digital literacy levels are indeed low, even if you had highly digitally literate staff in each school, you'd still not solve the problem.
Designing learning experiences for our environment is incredibly complex. In order to do this well, two things need to change.1. It cannot be just for one module, or one class. It needs to be a much larger undertaking in order to make it worth the effort. 2. the team we put together to design and develop learning experiences, needs to be a) larger than just the lecturer or teacher and b) have a diverse skill set. This would require changing the set up in most educational institutions where the educator is the "lead designer, developer and delivery vehicle" and specialist from IT, edtech and library are support and pulled in at an as-need basis. Educational institutions could consider development teams, preferably at a program level, with for example a project manager, a few SME's (not necessarily one per subject) and learning designers and information specialists and further specialists as required, lab technicians, data visualization experts, etc.
This team would not just be put together once every 5 years for the curriculum review, but would work together iteratively, to continually design, develop and deliver the program, making improvements in real-time based on analytics and learner needs. - j.seitzinger j.seitzinger

The role of the academic is significantly changing. Increased pressures for research, teaching and service (3 often different types of roles) is already changing the landscape of higher education. - c.macken c.macken Feb 23, 2014c.macken- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Feb 23, 2014

When academics are rewarded in real terms for doing so, they may change on mass. Is it in their annual performance review, promotion criteria, workload calculation? Until then, the main reward is for publications (and not in those low quality open journals or 'vanity press' online publications, let alone that ghastly social media), then getting good student evaluations. Taking 'risks' with new teaching or publication approaches is rarely rewarded except for those on the cutting edge of innovation. - j.zagami j.zagami Feb 26, 2014

I agree with Jason. If we (universities) actually care about this, we need to show that in meaningful ways. I also agree with those noting the failure of workshops - frankly who here likes them and has the time? We're (Victoria) moving to an internal consultancy model where we provide better direct support (framed with a long term relationship model) combined with flexible resources that support staff as they need them.. I also want to repeat my comment from the Trend section "
We need to be careful to acknowledge the importance of bringing staff with us who have expertise and careers that develop over decades. While many universities are increasingly using casual teaching staff, permanent academic staff with deep expertise in their discipline are still designing the courses and establishing the expectations for technology use. The challenge is how we provide all staff with personal experience of different models of technology use that they can use to inform their own ability to change teaching models."- stephen.marshall stephen.marshall Feb 27, 2014

Relative Lack of Rewards for Teaching
2014 Higher Ed Solvable Challenge: Those that we understand and know how to solve
Teaching is often rated lower than research in academia. In the global education marketplace, a university's status is largely determined on the quantity and quality of its research. According to the Times Higher Education's World University Rankings methodology, research and citations account for 60% of a university's score, while teaching is only half that. There is an overarching sense in the academic world that research credentials are a more valuable asset than talent and skill as an instructor. Because of this way of thinking, efforts to implement effective pedagogies are lacking. Adjunct professors and students feel the brunt of this challenge, as teaching-only contracts are underrated and underpaid, and learners must accept the outdated teaching styles of the university’s primary researchers. To balance competing priorities, larger universities are experimenting with alternating heavy and light teaching loads throughout the school year, and hiring more adjunct professors.

- kevinashfordrowe kevinashfordrowe Feb 8, 2014It should be remembered that for most HEI's learning and teaching activity likely contributes 75-90% of annual income. Against this I suspect that the comparative 'lack of reward' for excellence in teaching, and the need to increase the value of the 'scholarship of learning and teaching' within the Higher Education sector will have to change within the short term to ensure that University's remain competitive in terms of student recruitment and retention, particularly in an increasingly competitive global higher education market.

the OLT is currently having a bit of a go at this based on the UK-Oz report
various reports here
this was a UK- Oz collaboration and the OLT has just adopted it and the change process
just started.
- gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 8, 2014

University of South Australia has just moved down the path of making staff either research or teaching focussed (but not enforcing both on staff). This strategy allows staff to focus on their area of interest, and hence drives higher engagement for teachers in improving technology use within the classroom and beyond. It will also allow teaching staff to better network with other dedicated teaching staff and promote the sharing of best practices, support and PD. I would expect that more universities realise this potential moving forward. - jason.maddern jason.maddern Feb 18, 2014

Worried about education budget cuts in Australia (Federally and at a State Level). Very competitive market place for potential students especially those who are high performing have a lot of choice. Our University performs well in Good University Guide for teaching. We also have like most universities Vice Chancellor's citations for teaching excellence. I agree with Kevin we all need to workout what our target market wants. Research often gets the kudos but good teaching is what helps to retain students. We need students. As a partner of an Adjunct there are benefits for the individual in being affiliated with a University when publishing etc.. but a lot is expected in return including teaching. Academics should be paid for their work (in my opinion). - ktairi ktairi Feb 18, 2014 OLT is doing some stuff on this this year

Rewards are one dimension. Workload allocations are another. It's about the best use of limited time for the best outcomes for students, staff and the institution. - sherman.young sherman.young Feb 22, 2014

My experience is that there is a lot of rhetoric about rewarding teaching in universities but the culture of "Research trumps teaching every time" is still alive and well. Casualisation of the teaching workforce is a significant indicator of how we still do not value teaching in the academy. - geoff.romeo geoff.romeo Feb 23, 2014
Absolutely agree with all these comments - this is the area that we are most at risk in - staff capability to use technologies to achieve the best learning outcomes.- margaret.hicks margaret.hicks Feb 24, 2014

I have yet to hear of someone not promoted for not doing enough courses (or even well enough in student evaluations), yet not enough publications... - j.zagami j.zagami Feb 26, 2014 Jason - it does happen at Victoria, but I agree not often, and certainly not as people become more senior. - stephen.marshall stephen.marshall Feb 27, 2014

I have a concern is that we do not reward academics for student learning, but for the popularity of their course with students. If we do not even value the core purpose of teaching (assuming it is student learning), then it is no wonder teaching is not valued. - j.zagami j.zagami Feb 26, 2014

Somehow we need to start raising the status and profile of good academics who prioritize teaching, not just by creating new teaching-only roles. In NZ we certainly don't have any answers, the focus is almost entirely on research (even if you work in an academic development unit I might add....)- stephen.marshall stephen.marshall Feb 27, 2014

Student Media Literacy Levels are Inadequate
2014 EU Solvable Challenge: Those that we understand and know how to solve
Despite a range of regional and global media literacy initiatives, research shows that the levels of media literacy knowledge and skills in children and teenagers are inadequate, especially for the dimensions of critical and participatory literacy. In an age when news often spreads virally through social media, it is critical that young people learn how to analyze and evaluate the authenticity of myriad messages they encounter everyday. According to current research, most young people feel comfortable using technology, and many are savvy enough to produce and share content, but they lack understanding of its impact or how to leverage it for the greater good — especially in the realm of education.

agree still a significant challenge- the enable learning use , its my (largely opinion) that divorcing digital literacy for LEARNING from the study program is less effective than integration. ? Evidence, from my e-tivities and e-moderating work, and most recently and topically from Swinburne Online. - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 8, 2014 - slambert slambert Feb 18, 2014 interesting Gilly, at Wollongong we've just piloted a student-led opt-in Digtital Literacies program to good effect ~ quite seperate from the formal learning program and seen as a way to experiment without risk of failure. So maybe worthwhile both seperate and embedded.

I agree with Gilly a digital literacy program perhaps with micro-credentialing would be one way of helping students to obtain digital literacies skills. We find that the copyright issues alonge around creating digital content for assessment is tricky for students. Many courses are now requiring students to create digital content. There are many open tools that can be used for creating content but students need time to acquire these skills and learn how to use the tools - ktairi ktairi Feb 18, 2014

And those literacies should probably be a key graduate attribute, and treated appropriately. - sherman.young sherman.young Feb 22, 2014- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Feb 23, 2014

I think there should also be mention here of the digital literacy divide, and to ensure that all students - including from diverse backgrounds - are equipped with the skills they need to engage with learning and the technologies that can enable it - c.macken c.macken Feb 23, 2014c.macken

Agreed, but I think that we need to be careful, the tools are evolving rapidly and some of the skills we have valued are increasingly likely to have good alternatives that require much less manual (is that the right term for intellectual effort?) work on the part of the student/academic. We need to be more effective at communicating the important aspects and less precious about some of the means.- stephen.marshall stephen.marshall Feb 27, 2014

Authentic Learning
2014 EU Difficult Challenge: Those we understand but for which solutions are elusive
Learning that incorporates real life experiences is not occurring enough and is undervalued when it does take place. This challenge is an important one in schools because it can greatly impact the engagement of students who are seeking some connection between the world as they know it exists outside of class, and their experiences in school that are meant to prepare them for that world. Use of project-based learning practices that incorporate real life experiences, technology and tools that are already familiar to students, and mentoring from community members are examples of approaches that can bring the real world into the classroom. Practices such as these may help retain students in university and prepare them for further education, careers, and citizenship in a way that traditional practices are failing to do.
- kevinashfordrowe kevinashfordrowe Feb 8, 2014a large part of the challenge here is to understand what it is in instructional design terms that establishes that something is 'authentic', particularly, if we are serious about better preparing students for the world of work.
- kevinashfordrowe kevinashfordrowe Feb 8, 2014Additionally, if we are going to seek to provide increasingly authentic learning experiences then we need to ensure that we assess them with equally authentic assessment activities.
Agree still a challenge for traditional campus based young undergrads. But maybe even more so for the majority who learn online and are working at the same time - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 8, 2014
- slambert slambert Feb 18, 2014 agree, and also a huge challenge for our international students, particularly if they are seeking to stay and work in Australia. Generally - high admin overhead to organise practicums and placements, but i question the statement that these experienced are undervalued when they occur. I think they are often perceived as the best thing in a program.

I think the best example of a successful implementation of this is the rasberypi project (, and the higher education programs that include placements - jason.maddern jason.maddern Feb 18, 2014- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Feb 23, 2014
I agree with Kevin's point re: authentic assessment. Are people ready to replace the traditional closed-book exam or essay with something more authentic? This article was from 2012, but the comments section is an interesting look into this debate. - andrea.mclagan andrea.mclagan Feb 22, 2014
Online is increasingly real life, authentic, and connected to career and civic aspects of learners' lives. Challenge is to break through the 'noise' of mediated real life with formal/institutional channels [user:David.Cameron|1393461170]]

Personally, I think a little authenticity is good but learning is also helped by a little abstraction and simplicity as well, its all too easy to conflate authenticity with workplace and employer needs that may be transitory. - stephen.marshall stephen.marshall Feb 27, 2014

Blending Formal and Informal Learning
2014 EU Difficult Challenge: Those we understand but for which solutions are elusive
Traditional approaches with roots in the 18th century and earlier are still very common in many institutions, and often stifle learning as much as they foster it. As the Internet has brought the ability to learn something about almost anything to the palm of one’s hand, there is an increasing interest in the kinds of self-directed, curiosity-based learning that has long been common in museums and science centers. These and other more serendipitous forms of learning fall under the banner of Informal learning, and serve to enhance student engagement by encouraging them to follow their own learning pathways and interests. Many experts believe that a blending of formal and informal methods of teaching and learning can create an environment that fosters experimentation, curiosity, and above all, creativity.

so true this focus, but you know I think its largely happening gradually and anyway. - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 8, 2014
Yes, many of my students 9I teach programming) automatically hit youtube for examples/tutorials for advancing their own learning (and some of the content there is excellent). - jason.maddern jason.maddern Feb 18, 2014

I think the "mix" of formal and informal learning is important, Many students need a scaffolded experience, a framework in which they can experiment/explore/create and then perhaps for some venture off on their own. This is the skill of the expert teacher in designing/orchestrating the learning environment/experience that will cater for the many and varied learners who come. It is the digital revolution that provides the orchestration with such enormous potential - geoff.romeo geoff.romeo Feb 23, 2014- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Feb 23, 2014

This is one of the key ways Institutions can remain relevant in the face of disruptive innovation. Those that figure out how blend formal and informal learning and assessment will likely do better than those who stay with business as usual. - fang fang Feb 23, 2014

I think we need to demonstrate ways that informal learning can enhance the value of formal learning. A good place to start would be to provide more opportunities for academics to engage in informal learning themselves.- stephen.marshall stephen.marshall Feb 27, 2014

Competition from New Models of Education
2014 EU Difficult Challenge: Those we understand but for which solutions are elusive
New models of education are bringing unprecedented competition to the traditional models of K-12 education. Across the board, institutions are looking for ways to provide a high quality of service and more learning opportunities. Massive open online courses are at the forefront of these discussions, enabling students to supplement their education and experiences at brick-and-mortar institutions with increasingly rich, and often free, online offerings. At the same time, issues have arisen related to the low completion rates of some MOOCs. As these new platforms emerge, there is a growing need to frankly evaluate the models and determine how to best support collaboration, interaction, and assessment at scale. Simply capitalizing on new technology is not enough; the new models must use these tools and services to engage students on a deeper level.

The emerging models that the MOOC/open ed experiment have brought us are around un-bundling of support services, moving to pay for what you want. When you consider how many students skip lectures, don't buy text books, don't go to the bar or the gym/pool/rec club and never use the counselling service or library help-desk - well all students are paying for that. It's bundled in to their course fee. This may change. So if (as OERs and MOOCs and the open-data movement have shown us) the learning materials can go online for free, then what students might pay for in the future is he assessment and certification - and just the support services that they need. One on one skype consultations (at a fee), small group tutorials or study-groups (a fee), one-on-one library support to navigate discipline specific databases (for a fee.) And yes this will provide considerable competition and challenge to organisations that are based on fixed-cost pricing. - slambert slambert Feb 25, 2014

"Simply capitalizing on new technology is not enough; the new models must use these tools and services to engage students on a deeper level" really? there's no 'must' about it- who says? , so much noise around this largely based on those unwilling to take risks and experiment? of course there;'s no obvious outcome but Joy to the E-world- lets try out ideas! - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 8, 2014. Agree - jason.maddern jason.maddern Feb 18, 2014

I think it is not just a discussion of MOOCs in terms of new models of education that pose a challenge to Australian higher education, but also new educational providers with new models eg. the US-based Laurete has just established in Australia under Torrens University (Adelaide based) offering 3 modes of study online, 'hybrid' or face-to-face. New models of education could also challenge existing Universities, for example, third parties providing online learning services, creation of online learning activities and resources etc. - c.macken c.macken Feb 23, 2014c.macken

Are students always engaged on a deeper level with the traditional models? Does a low completion rate of some MOOCS always mean no learning has happened? Isn't competition a good thing? Students will learn in ways that suit them - they know they have options and alternatives and if these aren't on offer, they will move where they are.- joanne.woodrow joanne.woodrow Feb 26, 2014

I feel that MOOCs have distracted people. Content is not what a degree education is really about. I explored this in more detail here: - stephen.marshall stephen.marshall Feb 27, 2014

Personalising Learning
Difficult Challenge: Those that we understand and know how to solve
The demand for personalized learning is not adequately supported by current technology or practices. The increasing demand for education that is customized to each student's unique needs is driving the development of new technologies that provide more learner choice and control and allow for differentiated instruction. It has become clear that one-size-fits-all teaching methods are neither effective nor acceptable for today's diverse students. Technology can and should support individual choices about access to materials and expertise, amount and type of educational content, and methods of teaching. The biggest barrier to personalized learning, however, is that scientific, data-driven approaches to effectively facilitate personalization have only recently begun to emerge; learning analytics, for example, is still evolving and gaining traction within higher education.

I agree that students still want a more personalised learning experience, but i haven't heard of many (any?) universities investing in developing Personal Learning Environments for a few years (where as 5 years ago, all the rage). But what i am hearing a lot is that the mode of personalisation that students are keen for is via mobile learning apps (rather than a PLE/desktop based website) - special tools that bring together the kinds of info and functions that THEY want and THEY have control over what is switched on and off and when they get notifications and how etc. So i think that the Personalisation potential is a key reason why mobile is so popular - and we could do much more with it. - slambert slambert Feb 24, 2014

tragedy - institutions are spending hours of their valuable time and expertise chosing between largely similar LMS offerings - a complete rethink needed here. Who's up for it? - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 8, 2014

Then...there's Learning Analytics, in Oz still in its infancy and NOT properly supported by the leading LMS providers, with sharks around the edges believing they can sell us models of retention and achievement pah! - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 8, 2014 agree - slambert slambert Feb 24, 2014

Given the limitations of LMS (all of them), I can not believe why Higher Education Institutions still implement LMS at all. What is the use of these static systems not supporting the current accepted knowledge about learning? And empirical research clearly shows that LMS is used for sharing content which is not supporting learning. Last, learning analytics based on LMS behavioural data does not tell much. - dirk dirk Feb 10, 2014 legacy;legacy Dirk - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 21, 2014

I think perhaps that some of the comments above may not fully understand the LMS as a platform - where LMSs such as moodle are open source and 'pluggable' with additional functionality. This additional functionality is community driven and thus the ability to drive change, and implement the capabilities desired, rest with the institution itself getting engaged within the moodle community. - jason.maddern jason.maddern Feb 18, 2014 agree, its not really much different with commercial and/or hosted e.g. Blackboard either , OH I do think we've identified another BIG ISSUE - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 21, 2014

While there are moves towards developing interoperability standards to allow data to be collected from the wide range of online tools that can combine to form an effective learning support environment, the current learning management systems are the only real way of collecting and analysing sufficient student data to be useful at the moment. Universities seem be however more interested in the management process of LMSs to manage enrollments, distribute course profiles, track attendance, etc. than the educational functionality of the learning tools, and as big publishers integrate themselves more and more into LMSs, the pressure to retain the LMS model may increase. - j.zagami j.zagami Feb 26, 2014

I think for many of our students the PLE is Facebook. - stephen.marshall stephen.marshall Feb 27, 2014

Scaling Teaching Innovations
2014 Higher Ed Difficult Challenge: Those we understand but for which solutions are elusive
Our organizations are not adept at moving teaching innovations into mainstream practice. Innovation springs from the freedom to connect ideas in new ways. Our schools and universities generally allow us to connect ideas only in prescribed ways — sometimes these lead to new insights, but more likely they lead to rote learning. Current organizational promotion structures rarely reward innovation and improvements in teaching and learning. A pervasive aversion to change limits the diffusion of new ideas, and too often discourages experimentation.

Agree innovation pipelines have been the saviour of many a commercial organisation, why not us? - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 8, 2014
Also agree - financial tightening and restructures seem to cut innovation before other items - when it could be the defining element for improvement. There are many creative solutions out there by staff who are just not asked - solutions just are not tapped into or put on the back burner of complacency.- joanne.woodrow joanne.woodrow Feb 20, 2014

I agree to a point. Having run an innovations pipeline i can say that some innovations are always going to stay small and niche and the university's smartest move in this area is staying agile so they can do lots of small but high-value innovations for niche areas as well as the big investments in tools that have seriously broad-based applications eg desktop conferencing tools. - slambert slambert Feb 24, 2014

solutions? Trying out an innovation Lab for L & T at swinburne called 'Digital Aquarium (ask me again in 2015!!) - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 21, 2014

Our Innovation Incubator is underway since last year - my sense is that these things do take time and need to be part of a broader strategy building capability, confidence and recognising the importance and value new ideas bring. - stephen.marshall stephen.marshall Feb 27, 2014

Balancing our Connected and Unconnected Lives
2014 Higher Ed Wicked Challenge: Those that are complex to even define, much less address
With the abundance of content, technologies, and overall participatory options, learning institutions need to lead the way to facilitating finding a balance between connected and unconnected life. With technology now at the center of many daily activities, it is important that learners understand how to balance their connected life with other developmental needs. Educational institutions should lead the way to ensure learners do not get lost and absorbed by the abundance of information and technology, and encourage mindful use of technology so that students stay aware of their digital footprint. As education aligns closer with technological trends, teachers will have to promote this balance, encouraging students to feel, digest, reflect, touch, and pursue sensorial experiences that are crucial to developing character and integrity. Finding a balance and guiding learners to personal success should be society's compromise with new generations of digital natives.

yes I see the difficulty in defining- being a systems thinker agree this is a wicked problem with multiple perspectives, for me universities should be leading the way....- gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 8, 2014
There is a developing theme through many of the topics about engaging meaningfully with learners - a perennial issue. At the simpler end of this spectrum is official communications and interactions. There are many recent articles debating the relevance of email in our hyper-connected world (;;etc) but for our primary audience perhaps they are more the post email generation every year (send a teenager an email and see if they respond). How will us and our institutions send notifications to our future cohorts?- michael.boyle michael.boyle Feb 18, 2014

Will we see the rise of 'mobile only institutions? - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 21, 2014

Complex Thinking and Communication
2014 EU Wicked Challenge: Those we understand but for which solutions are elusive
We live in a world where in order to be successful, one needs to be capable not only of complex, expert thinking, but also adept at communicating complex information in accessible, understandable ways. Today’s young people live in a world that is interconnected in myriad ways, and they begin to engage with social media and networks at a very early age. Institutions have the responsibility of informing learners of how to understand relationships and make decisions in that interconnected world. The semantic web, big data, modelling technologies, and other innovations are creating the experimental conditions that have the potential to train learners in complex and systems thinking to create meaningful learning experiences.

Bah humbug! If anybody will be training the next generation in complex and system thinking... it will be people who know who to create meaningful challenges that provide students with opportunity to practice skills - a semantic web that half-thinks for you and then gets it wrong will do that?? I doubt it! But the kinds of tools that are mentioned here are great for savvy researchers. - slambert slambert Feb 24, 2014

Oh Joy, let me at it...- gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 8, 2014

This has played on my mind a bit... the nub of the solution lies in complex adaptive systems? - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 21, 2014

Ask yourself this - when google evolves (with a little help from AI) into a personal information tool supporting knowledge work in the same way that calculators supported math, how then will we teach? I really expect this type of knowledge tool to become more widely available soon. - stephen.marshall stephen.marshall Feb 27, 2014

Expanding Access
2014 Higher Ed Wicked Challenge: Those that are complex to even define, much less address
The global drive to increase the number of students participating in undergraduate education is placing pressure across the system. The oft-cited relationship between earning potential and educational attainment plus the clear impact of an educated society on the growth of the middle class is pushing governments to encourage more and more students to enter universities and colleges. In many countries, however, the population of students prepared for undergraduate study is already enrolled — expanding access means extending it to students who may not have the academic background to be successful without additional support. Many in universities feel that these institutions do not have sufficient time and resources to help this set of students.

- slambert slambert Feb 18, 2014 our first year support programs have been building for many years, supporting a wider variety of students from more diverse backgrounds, i thought this had become business as usual for many of us, with slow and steady increases in 'first in family students.

Such a good problem to tackle...needs understanding but perhaps time for a serious crowd sourcing effort (that goes beyond OERs or commercial interests as the solution) ....- gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 8, 2014

whos up for a JAM oin this? - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 21, 2014

Hmmm, what if we started restricting access to degrees and started providing other mechanisms for educating adults that were more directly aligned to their need to be effective in their chosen career?- stephen.marshall stephen.marshall Feb 27, 2014

Keeping Education Relevant
2014 Higher Ed Wicked Challenge: Those that are complex to even define, much less address
Many pundits worry that if education does not adapt to the times, other models of learning (especially other business models) will take its place. While this concern has some merits, it is unlikely that schools as we know them will go away. As online learning and free educational content become more pervasive, institutional stakeholders must address the question of what school can provide that other approaches cannot, and rethink the value of education from a student's perspective.

- slambert slambert Feb 18, 2014the qualification from a respected institution is what is not going away, although the diversity of new niche providers may be challenging the established university brands. How we respond with clearer RPL processes will be key, and if we get that right we can acknowledge and build on whatever experience our students bring to the learning space (MOOCs, workplace, overseas, whatever.)
I think this topic might be better named 'keeping education INSTITUTIONS' relevant. Education is here to stay in one form or another. Institutions that fail to adapt on the other hand.. - fang fang Feb 18, 2014 agree - slambert slambert Feb 25, 2014 agreed - stephen.marshall stephen.marshall Feb 27, 2014

Agree, institutions that fail to adapt probably should fail but will we let them. - geoff.romeo geoff.romeo Feb 23, 2014

yah! relevance context not content as king? - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 21, 2014- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Feb 23, 2014

The challenge of competing teaching and learning approaches is real but universities have big advantages, they also do research, gather together experts, and provide them with the time to consider new concepts and idea in an intellectual environment. Few commercial educational providers can compete with this at a deep level. even at an undergrad level, the difference between effective and engaging learning offered by a university or by a commercial entity will be remain the quality of ideas and intellectual environment provided by the staff and institution, even, if not especially, when that is conducted online. A MOOC offered by Harvard, even if of dubious quality, is going to beat out MOOCs offered by Australian universities, and certainly by those offered by - j.zagami j.zagami Feb 26, 2014

Managing Knowledge Obsolescence
2014 Higher Ed Wicked Challenge: Those that are complex to even define, much less address
Simply staying organized and current presents a challenge in a world where information, software tools, and devices proliferate at the rate they do today. New developments in technology are exciting and their potential for improving quality of life is enticing, but it can be overwhelming to attempt to keep up with even a few of the many new tools that are released. User-created content is exploding, giving rise to information, ideas, and opinions on all sorts of interesting topics, but following even some of the hundreds of available authorities means sifting through a mountain of information on a weekly or daily basis. There is a greater need than ever for effective tools and filters for finding, interpreting, organizing, and retrieving the data that is important to us.

- slambert slambert Feb 18, 2014 is this really a big issue? haven't we been focussing for many years on balancing disclipline knowledge with the highly important graduate qualities such as problems solving, learning to learn etc so that we put graduates out there who can reflect, ditch old skills and knowledge and learn new more suitable ones for the new times they find themselves.

Yeah inclined to agree - (can this be part of the big ego stuff 'I research therefore I am' ...? - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 21, 2014

New Challenges Proposed by Panel

Navigating Private vs Public Spaces
Confusion reigns. Students and staff are so used to LMS learning in locked down password protected spaces, when we develop open spaces for learning (MOOCs, open-learning repositories, ePortfolios) many people just freak out. They have their public social media, their private LMS and some of the really interesting elearning tools can blend together private and public features, or having settings which allow for choice - and we have a challenge to educate staff and students in how to take advantage. How to keep both public and private personas, knowing the boundaries, being open to sharing and working in the open and when not to. - slambert slambert Feb 24, 2014
Copyright of online material is a major impediment in Australia where we currently have no fair use provisions - j.zagami j.zagami Feb 26, 2014

Aging and Succession Planning
(grab the wisdom before it gets lost)
The aging population- we know that in (Western) society, and in most universities (!) the population is ageing. University professors can typically work well beyond traidtional retirement ages. What about a serious - yes 'deAD' SERIOUS attempt to tap into WISDOM, creating, maintaining and enabling it for future generations. - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 8, 2014
Sometime clearing away old ideas can lead to innovations... - j.zagami j.zagami Feb 26, 2014

Laws and Legal Frameworks for Digital Literacy
Australian Higher Education institutions are struggling with the laws (not to mention University policies) relating to online learning, learning technologies, and extending to intellectual property (copyright, moral rights, creative commons), data storage and privacy, defamation etc (This is even further complicated by use of off-shore data storage).Australia's more restrictive copyright laws (and a general lack of understanding as to their application to e-learning) is a particular challenge for the Australian context - c.macken c.mackenc.macken i agree but i am informed that we are rapidly moving towards 'fair-dealing' style legislation and fore educators at least, their will be much greater clarity and freedom of use for educational purposes - slambert slambert Feb 24, 2014
Is it time re reviewed the nature of knowledge and its transmission itself. Too big? why?
- gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 21, 2014
Most academics still struggle with the concept of signing away their universities intellectual property to commercial journal and book publishers who then sell this back to universities. What will the world be like when academics are signing away rights to course materials to big publishers who can then sell this back to universities for use in their LMS's... Is doing the wrong thing because everone else is doing it make it ok. Will the nuremberg defence be good enough? - j.zagami j.zagami Feb 26, 2014