Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tapscott & Williams prevoke global education debate

In the EDUCAUSE review article: [http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Review/EDUCAUSEReviewMagazineVolume45/Innovatingthe21stCenturyUniver/195370
EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 45, no. 1 (January/February 2010): 16-29]
Tapscott and Williams propose the idea of making education more as an open source mechanism. They bring some fresh articulate ideas to the table.
Tony Bates, an educator from BC, responds to the practicalities and realities of creating such a university system.
Further, on his blog Mr. Bates posts a response from a South African educator, Mandi Maodzwa-Taruvinga, who goes further into saying how web-accessibility within the collaborative university model is almost impossible in South Africa due to needed fundamental infrastructures.

As Mr. Bates concludes:
"I would be very interested to see if anyone is willing to take up Mandi Maodzwa-Taruvinga’s challenge of how best to strike ‘a balance between widening access and participation, acknowledging the potentialities and possibilities of ICTs and engaging in meaningful learning, knowledge production and dissemination outside the terms of the dominance of the networked higher education society.’

What kind or organizational model and pedagogy would that require?

Are there examples already in place that address this challenge?"
Part of Maodzwa-Taruvinga' argument is that the notion of a pedagogy of collaboration is another form of Northern oppression, meaning as much as Tapscott and Williams may argue for the universalization of higher ed learning, it is really only applicable and influenced by richer Northern society (Australia an NZ aside).
Its noble to talk of widening access, but how can this be done within a local context?

It makes me think of how poorer areas of upstate New York are facing similar challenges as South African. For one, they are not well 'wired' for broadband, which can pretty much cut them off from the networked higher education society. Sure, local community colleges or libraries can provide access, but if we are going to be serious about a global network, then investment should be made in areas that really need it to tap into the local and interface with the global. 

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