At my current workplace I have been managing the IT/S for nearly years and the recent six to eight months have been the most challenging as IT within education has been evolving into many different areas as institutions within the UK attempt to secure new revenue streams and secure their future. Some of the market factors have been the changes to immigration law which has restricted the amount of international students allowed into the UK, the economic down turn which has intensified the international market and the increase in tuition fees.
Universities are toying with ideas such as MooCs (Massive Open Online Courses) as a way to generate interest and ultimately revenue an example of this would be Edx which is a joint venture from the big US technical universities; Harvard, Berkeley and MIT. Another route which some universities are employing is the international franchise route which is effectively selling courses and modules to partnering institutions around the world. In this model the university would sell a teaching package to another institution and then validate the course and then award the student with a qualification upon completion. The final route which is currently popular in London, is the setting up of a campus in order to widen catchment area, at present in London you can attend, Liverpool University, Coventry University, University of Sunderland or Glasgow Caledonian.
The IT strategy that I developed is called Boundless Learning which is essentially positioning the university so that it is able to exploit these possibilities and to enable teaching and learning to happen in an environment that suits the learning and supports the teacher. Some of the key traits of a Boundless Learning environment would be the accessibility of the content. The content in a bondless learning environment would be available on any device in any form (this does include paper) so the learner can watch a video, view an article participate in a class in any location. Another feature would be an agnostic BYOD ethos that ensures no device is discriminated from the learning experience.
As an organisation we are looking at how we can fully realise this environment as it would enable us to market and sell our product internationally and prepare us for any major shifts in the educational market.
As we implement and realise the tactical steps I have laid out in my original Boundless Learning strategy I will post up the process so we can see how it evolves over time.
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