Thursday, 7 May 2009

Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World

Today's THE article Internet is fostering a 'want it now' culture among students reports on the findings of the Committee of Inquiry into the Changing Learner Experience. This committee has been investigating the impact of Web 2.0 tools on teaching and learning in higher education. The final report is to be published next week.

The findings, as reported in the THE, are not particularly surprising.
  • The use of Web 2.0 tools in teaching and learning is very patchy, and mainly driven by enthusiastic individuals. However, they can be used very effectively to support collaboration and reflection in students groups.
  • The lack of information literacy skills, and critical assessment of resources in particular, is a problem.
  • There is a divide between those staff who like to experiment with Web 2.0 tools, and those who are reluctant to engage at all with them.
  • Students like traditional, face-to-face interaction.
My own opinion is: it's not the tools that are the problem, or the solution. When used well, they can be very effective. Poor use can promote shallow learning. The lack of information literacy skills is a problem, whether you use Web 2.0 tools or not.

I'll look forward to reading the report of the committee, which will be published on 12th May.

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