The University of New South Wales welcomed delegates of the U21 Educational Innovation Cluster Annual Conference for 2014 to UNSW to participate in a two day conference on Personalised Learning. The conference invited senior staff from fellow U21 universities around the globe to share ideas, practices, challenges and opportunities for developing higher quality learning experiences for our students, through the adoption of personliased learning and teaching strategies.
Conference Program available here.
All keynote addresses and the student panel are available to view here.
Professor Simon Bates, University of British Columbia
Personalised Learning: Implications for curricula, staff and students
Strong forces are driving institutions to adopt aspects of a more personalized approach to student learning in higher education. These include the experiences and expectations of current and future students and their employers post-‐graduation, the affordances of technology and our increasingly ubiquitous online connectedness. The responses to these challenges have enormous consequences for the physical and temporal boundaries of the campus. They also have profound implications for the way we imagine the development and delivery of curricula, the role of faculty as teachers and that of students as learners.
In this opening keynote, I will challenge participants at the start of the conference to consider both their own undergraduate experience and the current one in their institutions as to just how personalized it really is. I will then present a necessarily brief overview of some of the challenges I believe we face in these three areas: the curricula that form our programs of study, the faculty who design and deliver them and the students who are the recipients.
Though each area is a complex and challenging space in which to try and affect change, if these are indeed priority issues for U21, we must be capable of more collectively than as individual institutions. To that end, I will try and highlight at least one topic or activity in each of the three areas where I think that U21 could, through collaboration, make a meaningful contribution in the next 12 months.
Professor Simon Buckingham Shum, University of Technology Sydney
Personalised Learning: The role of data and learning analytics in the personalisation of learning
In this talk I consider personalisation through the lens of learning analytics. As more of our lives leave digital traces, and as computational techniques such as network and linguistic analysis go mainstream, we can anticipate new kinds of personalized engagement that might have seemed science fiction not long ago. My interest is in nurturing the kind of curious, critically thinking, lifelong-learning graduates and citizens that society needs in a turbulent world. This raises some big questions: What’s being logged and analysed, to create what kind of learner model, based on what assumptions? Who gets to design, and see, the personalised feedback? If personalisation can be delivered via an adaptive (MOOC?) platform, then what is the university adding? Ultimately, what kinds of personal growth could/should we aim to catalyse?
Professor Eric Grimson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Personalised Learning: Developing institutional capacity for the personalisation of learning and the implications for the development of insitutional infrastructure
The landscape of higher education has changed significantly in recent years, with the advent of digital educational tools that support immediate feedback, enable news modes of communication, allow students flexibility in scheduling, and provide opportunities to mine massive data sets to create more personalized learning experiences. These sweeping changes hold the promise of providing better learning experiences for our students, by enabling more individualized access to educational material, flexibility in scheduling including extended time away from campus for extramural educational experiences, and opportunities to access educational material anytime, anywhere.
But these changes also raise challenges for institutions of higher learning. Over the past several years, MIT has engaged in an extensive examination of the implications of these changes on its own educational engine. What is the role of traditional classroom space, especially large tiered lecture halls, in this new domain? How should new classroom space best be configured? What types of learning spaces are needed to provide hands-on, context driven experiences to complement online acquisition of knowledge? How does one encourage communication and team building when increasingly a student’s access is through online experiences – where these activities can occur both virtually and physically? How does one restructure curricular programs to better support modularity in degree design, and what impact does this have on financial models of higher education? How can one use flexible degrees to meet the interests of students, while ensuring adequate disciplinary depth? Can one use the emerging online tools to provide educational support to students after they have graduated? And how does that affect the financial model of the institution?
MIT is in the midst of experimentation on these topics. The current status of those experiments, and early lessons learned from these explorations, as well as plans for future changes, will be presented.
The Student Voice
A panel of UNSW students addressed questions around the personalisation of learning from the student perspective.
Participating students provided key insights into their perceptions of personalised learning.
Student Panel Members:
Steffi Dourado, University of New South Wales
Dush Iyer, University of New South Wales
Nannie Skold, University of Edinburgh
Jake Walker, Univeristy of Nottingham
All enquires should be directed to the Learning and Teaching Unit.