Research Question 3: Key Trends

What trends do you expect to have a significant impact on the ways in which learning-focused institutions approach our core missions of teaching, research, and service?

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

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

Please "sign" each of your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Sam Sam Apr 14, 2011


Compose your entries like this:
  • Trend Name. Add your ideas here with a few sentences of description, including full URLs for references (e.g. http://horizon.nmc.org). And do not forget to sign your contribution with 4 ~ (tilde) characters!


  • The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the Internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators in sense-making, coaching, and credentialing. This multi-year trend was again ranked very highly, indicating its continued influence. Institutions must consider the unique value that each adds to a world in which information is everywhere. In such a world, sense-making and the ability to assess the credibility of information are paramount. Mentoring and preparing students for the world in which they will live, the central role of the university when it achieved its modern form in the 14th century, is again at the forefront. Universities have always been seen as the gold standard for educational credentialing, but emerging certification programs from other sources are eroding the value of that mission daily. (Carried forward from the 2011 Horizon Report Shortlist) --I think this trend is still extremely relevant, especially with the recent emergence of mobile apps. As it becomes easier to make apps, web sites, etc., students need more direction on what makes a credible source. - Sam Sam May 16, 2011 Agree, I think we haven't made the mental shift from scarcity to abundance - martin.weller martin.weller May 17, 2011 I agree - publishers are already providing packaged on-line teaching resources and some have accrediting powers and are seeking more. Universities therefore need to distinguish themselves as more than simply knowledge providers or sifters of wheat from chaff, and instead focus on thought development and discourse. It seems to me that social networks will a vital role in this regard.- chris.cobb chris.cobb May 18, 2011 Agreed - I'd go further, it's essential to re-examine roles and provide supportive training where necessary. It also means that information (or digital ???) literacy should become a core component of the preparation for learning experience. - david.harrison david.harrison May 18, 2011 As more resources become available, more combinations become possible but less of the combination space gets explored. Vendor certification partly gets round this by forcing people only to consider applications, and applications of applications, in a particular vendor context; the role of the academy is maybe to identify sensible design/combination patterns or sensemaking strategies to help folk navigate the huge potential combination space? - tony.hirst tony.hirst Jun 6, 2011
  • Computers as we know them are in the process of a massive reinvention. The computer is smaller, lighter, and better connected than ever before, without the need for wires or bulky peripherals. In many cases, smart phones and other mobile devices are sufficient for basic computing needs, and only specialized tasks require a keyboard, large monitor, and a mouse. Mobiles are connected to an ecosystem of applications supported by cloud computing technologies that can be downloaded and used instantly, for pennies. As the capabilities and interfaces of small computing devices improve, our ideas about when — or whether — a traditional computer is necessary are changing as well. (Carried forward from the 2011 Horizon Report Shortlist) I think this trend has profound implications for how we think about devices and connectivity. - Larry Larry May 16, 2011 --I agree. Flexibility and portability are extremely important right now. The iPad, for example, has reshaped are concept of a computer.- Sam Sam May 16, 2011 Yes, why should we be surprised? - david.harrison david.harrison May 18, 2011 This is certainly a trend but not one that I think really merits attention. Manufacturers have been creating more portable, more tactile devices since their invention. Ubiquitous WiFi and 3G as well as better battery technology are the game changers here and even these technologies have been gradually rolled out over the last few years. These are certainly 'trends' but not 'massive reinventions'. - josswinn josswinn May 19, 2011 Agree with this, and it also links to the next point in that what we think of as 'computer' is also changing, with multiple connected devices being used by one person at a time - I move (not always seamlessly) between my desktop, laptop, smartphone and tablet and expect state to move with me - getting annoyed when it doesn't. - bill.thompson bill.thompson May 22, 2011 The lifetime of new tech is quite short at the moment - netbooks had a fleeting existence but paved the way for ipad; it'll be interesting to see how chromebooks/cloud clients play out. What phone types dominate sales on a global scale atm? - tony.hirst tony.hirst Jun 6, 2011
  • Devices like Apple's iPad are filling a niche that is neither 'big smart phone' or 'small laptop.' As more people use, and discuss the ways they are finding to use, devices like the iPad, it is becoming clear that these are neither oversized phones nor stripped-down laptops. Instead, they represent a new class of devices that perhaps we were not even aware we wanted until they became available — and almost ubiquitous. They are more and more commonly seen, and are already gaining a footing in education, the health industry, and other sectors as tools for learning and for serious work. (Carried forward from the 2011 Horizon Report Shortlist) This is a very optimistic trend because it allows for students to do more learning and collaborating outside of the classroom.- Sam Sam May 16, 2011 Agree - kelly.smith kelly.smith May 17, 2011 I like the iPad, but I would still prefer to talk to it and for it to be able to interpret what I'm saying and talk/display back to me. That's where we should be heading. - david.harrison david.harrison May 18, 2011 iPad is like an A4 pad, compared to phone/Moleskine notebook - tony.hirst tony.hirst Jun 6, 2011
  • People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want to. This highly-ranked trend, noted last year, continues to permeate all aspects of daily living. Life in an increasingly busy world where learners must balance demands from home, work, school, and family poses a host of logistical challenges with which today’s ever more mobile students must cope. A faster approach is often perceived as a better approach, and as such people want easy and timely access not only to the information on the network, but to their social networks that can help them to interpret it and maximize its value. The implications for informal learning are profound, as are the notions of “just-in-time” learning and “found” learning, both ways of maximizing the impact of learning by ensuring it is timely and efficient. (Carried forward from the 2011 Horizon Report Shortlist) This is likely the top trend on this list in my view - Larry Larry May 16, 2011. I particularly like the idea of 'found' learning - kelly.smith kelly.smith May 17, 2011 MObility is a significant marker of social class and educational attainment. The fact that all the participants in the HOrizon study would flag mobility as an issue is a marker of a skewed demographic in the respondents. Many of the students that I work with want ways to combine learning with their locality, want to stay close to friends and families (physical ones), want to connect what they do with their lived experiences and networks. Students I have worked with recently have reported never going to the centre of their nearest major city, let alone globetrotting. The concept of mobility as taken for granted is highly socially stratified and needs to be treated with caution. There are also growing numbers of people who aren't able to access any work, their lives are not a balancing act between 'family, work, school', or rather, they may be a balancing act between many poorly paid temporary and limited hours work and the responsibilities of caring. What would educational approaches that catered to these groups look like? this may be implicit in the statements above, but perhaps we need to make it explicit? - keri.facer keri.facer May 18, 2011 Agree very strongly. I think we (who are "on message") have a significant difficulty in understanding how you can even contemplate being any other way. This is a distinct cultural thing quite different from a "digital divide". Released from time and space constraints some will blossom and flourish, whilst others will despair and hanker after old ways of work and life outside work, which are in conflict. {Is it really acceptable to be working on your laptop in front of the TV in the Living Room, or take your iPhone/iPad to the dinner table? Should you take your iPad to the pub - as I did last night and was roundly condemned for doing so by my wife - because it has my calendar on it and connects me to most other aspects of my life which I might want to consult/share with friends?} To return to topic - this is a significant issue that deserves considerable more thought. - david.harrison david.harrison May 18, 2011 Yes but, no but? Folk want to be able to do study anywhere but still value highly structured, scaffolded pathways with a topic in their formal education? - tony.hirst tony.hirst Jun 6, 2011
  • The technologies we use are increasingly cloud-based, and our notions of IT support are decentralized. The continuing acceptance and adoption of cloud-based applications and services is changing not only the ways we configure and use software and file storage, but even how we conceptualize those functions. It does not matter where our work is stored; what matters is that our information is accessible no matter where we are or what device we choose to use. Globally, in huge numbers, we are growing used to a model of browser-based software that is device-independent. While some challenges still remain, specifically with notions of privacy and control, the promise of significant cost savings is an important driver in the search for solutions. (Carried forward from the 2011 Horizon Report Shortlist). Agreed - an important area - alistair.mcnaught alistair.mcnaught May 18, 2011 Yes and it means a change in role for the IT services function, or perhaps .... the emergence of new Information Services directorates, where the IT is just infrastructure and the focus moves to one of enablement. Convergence MkII. Was email "cloud based"? Shared document servers? What's different now - the collaborative element? - tony.hirst tony.hirst Jun 6, 2011
  • There is a growing willingness on the part of administrators to consider new approaches to combining face-to-face and technology-assisted instruction. While blended methods of instruction have been part of the toolset available to faculty for over two decades, they are becoming increasingly common. Older students with jobs and families, and students who live in remote locations that prevent regular on-campus attendance, have long sought alternative means of attending courses. Today we are seeing a growing number of conventional students opting for blended classes, and remote instruction is also seen as a viable means of supporting increasingly large survey courses that cannot be accommodated in existing classroom spaces. For these and other reasons, administrators are more interested than ever in these kinds of approaches. (Carried forward from the 2011 Horizon Report Shortlist) Not sure? Tension between eg how educator uses tech as examples, how tech is used for delivery, how students use tech on their own to support or backup their own learning? - tony.hirst tony.hirst Jun 6, 2011
  • What were previously thought of as new and disruptive forms of scholarship are now becoming the norm for scholarly communication. Blogs, open textbooks, electronic journals, and forms of expression embodied in new media formats have challenged the notions of scholarly writing and communication for several years. Yet these techniques are increasingly common and are readily accepted as informal outlets for scholarly work. A more gradual trend toward official acceptance is moving slowly, but its stirrings are visible in the adoption of electronic content, experiments with crowd-sourcing, and open, online peer review of scholarly work. This trend is related to the challenge of developing metrics for evaluating such work, noted in 2010 as well as again this year. (Carried forward from the 2011 Horizon Report Shortlist) The changes in the way scholarship happens are many -- more collaboration, more informal peer review, more choices where writing can go and still be seen as credible -- but also a lot more work to do to ensure we can keep the good parts of scholarly review, while moving the processes of scholarship more into the modern age. - Larry Larry May 16, 2011 I think the journey to them being the norm will be a tough one, but we are in an age when scholarly practice will be reinvented in many ways. BTW - I am doing a keynote debate at EdMedia on this, so hopefully they'll record it - martin.weller martin.weller May 17, 2011 Dominant mode of comms is still the published paper; i'm starting to appreciate that my own short form blogging is too piecemeal for effective communication of "whole picture" ideas, and even demonstration of progression of an idea or construction of big idea from smaller parts. Longer form publishing (10-40 pages) does have an important role. - tony.hirst tony.hirst Jun 6, 2011
  • The world of work is increasingly collaborative, driving changes in the way student projects are structured. This trend is being driven by the increasingly global and cooperative nature of business interactions facilitated by Internet technologies. The days of isolated desk jobs are disappearing, giving way to models in which teams work actively together to address issues too far-reaching or complex for a single worker to resolve alone. While this trend is not widespread, where schools have created a climate in which students, their peers, and their teachers are all working towards the same goals, where research is something open even to first year students, the results have shown tantalizing promise. Over the past few years, the emergence of a raft of new (and often free) tools has made collaboration easier than at any other point in history. (Carried forward from the 2011 Horizon Report Shortlist) Wish that this was more evident. It's aspirational as yet, I fear. I really believe it's not a technology thing. It's a cultural thing. The marketplace is driven towards innovation by business benefit and return on investment - thus adoption will occur where these are in place. The real benefits that Horizon is suggesting would be at the expense of changing the way forever that staff and students engage in learning. There's an inbuilt resistance to change therefore, linked to a sense that control is being lost. Some of my most depressing moments have been in discussing the possibilities of new technology adoption with senior HE administrators - was forever so, some might say! - david.harrison david.harrison May 18, 2011 At the end of the day, most "work" is still done by individuals - tony.hirst tony.hirst Jun 6, 2011
  • Do students want to use their own technology for learning or do they expect the institution to provide? Approximately 85% of students have a laptop (based on 6,000 responses and 5 UK Universities, but I reckon this is about right for the sector) which may seem a panacea to funding expensive computer labs and do institutions expect students to use their own technology? Some institutions have given a laptop per student, others are providing an iPad or similar. Will the new fees regime result in a device being part of the student offer with the expectation that students will access all content and services from this device? - neil.witt neil.witt May 16, 2011 Getting a default platform so students don't spend every task negotiating which one to use will be a big issue, but they will also want to have skills that are relevant outside of education - martin.weller martin.weller May 17, 2011 Institutional provision levels and learner owned device management are going to be increasingly an issue. I think the title given this trend owes more than is necessary to the rhetoric of choice. - josie.fraser josie.fraser May 18, 2011 The Chromebook might change everything here. Really must examine the cost of ownership issue here. It could be more economical to provide a Chromebook to every student and reduce the central IT provision costs. - david.harrison david.harrison May 18, 2011 Cf. textbooks and offprints? SHould you be provided with photocopied notes/offprints, or pay for them yourself via a photocopier/bookshop? Should you be provided with stationery? - tony.hirst tony.hirst Jun 6, 2011
  • Financial crisis and how it relates to educational technology - the nature of higher ed will change substantially i feel as a result of the financial crisis. Ed tech can be seen as a means of improving efficiency or cutting costs (eg online conferences), but it will also be operating in an environment where more immediate returns are demanded - martin.weller martin.weller May 17, 2011 ... and against a background where there is resistance to change - never the best time to re-invent yourself. - david.harrison david.harrison May 18, 2011 The crisis will affect the way courses are delivered but may mean that those courses and subjects that are most threatened also have the greatest incentive to experiment and may come up with ways of working that cut costs and deliver teaching effectively, to the point that their success 'saves' them in their insitution. - bill.thompson bill.thompson May 22, 2011 If your entertainment device can also be used as a "work" device, where's the tension? If students provide their own tv, why not their own tablet which suits both study and ents purposes? Institution role is then to support easily accessible netwrok connection - should this be paid for? - tony.hirst tony.hirst Jun 6, 2011
  • Research skills - What does (and does not) constitute good research has changed, especially in relation to curating the results of research. Research skills will need to be extended to encompass re-finding, i.e. the student's/researcher's ability to curate their own work and their own findings. Data analysis will become increasingly important in fields where it was once secondary. - zoe.rose zoe.rose May 17, 2011 Folks info skills are generally lousy - tony.hirst tony.hirst Jun 6, 2011
  • The publishing model for journals - at the moment, the model runs like this: Public money -> funding body -> researcher -> research -> results -> journal article -> publisher -> published article = private good. We start with public money, and we end with something that is not available to the public - that's a bad deal. It made some sense when content and distribution were intrinsically linked (by paper), but it doesn't make much sense now. The publishing houses and the journal aggregators (e.g. ProQuest, Elsevier) aren't doing a great job of linking the articles, either. I expect/hope that the PLoS pay-for-publication model will become more widespread, and that linked data generating services like Mendeley will become far more widely used. - zoe.rose zoe.rose May 17, 2011 Mendeley is starting to drive serious numbers of referrals to things like EDINA's openurl resolver - tony.hirst tony.hirst Jun 6, 2011
  • Susainability of Open source and portable software tools - these are becoming more mainstream and also more problematical. Most OSS communities depend on a very few core contributors and as the popularity of some of the excellent products grow the OSS maintenance demands far outstrip the potential to service user needs, adapt to new browsers/OSs etc. There is much heart searching needed to find new models of sustainability for OSS products. Also important is the tendency to create software that will run portably from a memory stick or CD etc. - alistair.mcnaught alistair.mcnaught May 18, 2011 Not sure I agree with this. I think Open Source succeeds because it creates a community of supporters. If it can't attract such a community, it will whither. If a product is successful (and if the energy and commitment is directed towards it because you're not supporting or servicing commercial products) then it will attract more supporters. [[user:david.harrison|1305786617] Do things need to be sustainable if you are skilled enough to seek and use alternatives and not be beholden to a particular service? Issue then is portability of your stuff into and out of services, and having a googd model o what those services actually do so that you can find alternatives - tony.hirst tony.hirst Jun 6, 2011
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