Future of Higher Education

Technology is giving teachers and professors new way of teaching, that is changing curriculums and shaping modern forms of online research and collaboration.

Communications technologies such as online collaboration tools would make the greatest contribution in terms of improving educational quality. Also, different software that is used to deliver learning content is supported individually paced learning. Nevertheless, learning management systems and enhanced video and presentation tools are among other innovations that will likely to have a profound effect on the academic experience.

Social networking is also another benefit of technology that aims to help in building connections with alumni and support career service activities. Using Web 2.0 technologies such as wikis, instant messaging and social networking as an example have been influential in improving connectivity in many settings and are in use now at a large number of institutions.

This era of pervasive technology has significant implications for higher education. Technological innovation has a major impact on teaching methodologies, students are more engaged in constructing their own knowledge.Nevertheless, this innovation of technology lead to more online degree programs and distance learning that is offered by different universities
around the world.

Higher education is responding to globalization. Many universities have or will have an overseas presence, institutions either already have foreign locations or plan to open them in the next years. Also, distance education is also becoming increasingly global, with universities in the US and overseas leveraging advanced technologies to put education within reach of many more individuals around the world.

My Story

After the video we watched in class last week, I felt that I should share my story with you guys. From my experience as an international student from Saudi Arabia, I always think that I’m not only getting a degree here in the US, I’m also representing Saudi as a country and culture. Since I got here in 2011, I was fascinated by how whenever I say I’m from Saudi people always ask me to talk about Saudi and they admire that I left my country, family, and language to pursue my dreams. The funny thing they all have to ask is “Do women drive in Saudi”, and of course the answer is no women don’t drive in Saudi not yet (of course at that time, because 3 weeks ago women have be given the permission to drive). Their immediate question will be “Why”, So I have to explain by first making sure that it’s not about religion all women from other Muslim countries drive. It’s the culture, Saudi people really care about their mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives. They believe that they have to make sure that they are well taken care of. And of course, I have to tell them that if we don’t drive that does not mean we just stay home and don’t go out. We still have fun and go out we have shopping malls, cafes, and restaurants.

So that now women are allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, there is a lot to think about.

First, Before driving in Saudi Arabia I need to know all the rules and laws I have to follow, to make sure I’m not violating any of them. So, what kind of rules are putting in place for this now movement? As a Saudi woman who drives and learned how to drives here in the US, I did so by learning the rules here and what to do and not do according to the US laws.

Second, how we as citizens will adapt to this transition, and what is the public opinions are. What I hear from my close friends and family is that for now, they are waiting to see how this transition affect the way people look at it and how the government is handling that. Other people are actually taking action and start driving an hour after the announcement. And of course, there are some who are totally against the idea who thinks that it will affect the norms and values of our culture.

For me, even though I’m driving here I’m not going to drive in Saudi Arabia until I see that everything is in place. I’m really excited for this movement and looking forward to seeing how my country and people will go about this transition.

My Role as a Teacher

For me, teaching is a very powerful job, you are building the next generation, that in itself is a scary situation due to making sure that the students are learning valuable knowledge and skills to make better future.

Teaching for me is like acting as a leader in the classroom, you don’t want your students to be scared of you, or think that you are giving them orders to follow so they can get the grade. It’s more about letting them feel that you are in the class with them to guide them to succeed and that you are there for them when they need help or direction to success. In the end, you want them to feel safe, happy, and successful in the classroom.

As an instructional designer, I deal a lot with the content itself and most of the time I actually don’t teach the content I developed. Most of my work is used in e-learning settings, where the role of the teacher create and maintain a collaborative problem-solving environment, where students are allowed to construct their own knowledge, and the teacher acts as a facilitator and guide. It is more of student-centered approach, and I believe that learning is the method and experiences humans go through to acquire new knowledge or skill, and constructed knowledge is what senses learners make of their environment and their experience. So my role as a teacher is to try my best to craft authentic learning experiences for my students so they can gain the most of their learning experience.


Learn from the experience

After the activity we did in the last class, everyone or every group stressed on how experience is a great way to learn. We can all agree that learning is inseparable from doing by arguing that all knowledge is situated in activity bound to social, cultural, and physical contexts. Nonetheless, learning is more likely to occur in authentic contexts where knowledge is gained and applied in everyday situations. As an example, if a child reads every book in the world about how to play soccer, but he/she won’t fully learn how to play until he/she goes and plays soccer at a soccer field with other people who know the game.

By saying so, we must think of how to incorporate learning from experiences and show the student how the may use the content learned in the real world. Teachers and instructors can do that by creating real-world situations or examples, so students can apply the skills they learned. Developing a scenario, case studies, or role plays will increase student interest and involvement. Also, students will have the chance to practice and make choices and receive feedback on them, which will increase the application of the skills they learned in the class.

Dream Team

Nowadays, there are a lot of great new technology, software,  and apps that can be used to create learning games or interactive course content. This increased gave the instructors and developers an easy way to visually design their courses. However, they must look at the best way to achieve the simplicity and efficiency of visually pleasing and professional content presentation. When developing a learning game or any interactive course content we need to learn more about how students receive, process, retain the information, and hopefully retrieve it when needed. Theories of learning—specifically those based in cognitive sciences and the study of how knowledge is acquired—contribute to our understanding of how materials can be presented for effective learning and performance. Also, We need to look at the content it self and how to chunk it and organize it so it’s not overwhelming for the students, or if it’s not providing the students with all information they need to learn. To achieve the set of goals a learning game or interactive learning content needs to meet, a team of subject experts,  instructional designers, and graphic designers have to play their part in this process.

Let say you need to develop an interactive course content for an engineering class, then you will need a subject expert in the content you are covering, this individual is in-the-know about what needs to be included in course. The instructional designer, on the other hand, will utilize instructional design principles and learning theories to achieve the learning goals and fill the knowledge gaps. Then the graphic designer will be in charge of all the graphs and animations, which will be used to develop this content.




Why Blog?

The reading for this week talks a lot about blogging, networked learning, and the advantages of using the internet or the web as a learning platform. They talked about it as a way to give the student more interactive and collaborative learning experiences. However, The only thing missing is the student perspective of this new way of learning. So I decided to share my opinion, as an international student, it’s really hard for me to blog. First, cause I’m used to having the instructions for a project or an assignment (how many pages, references, etc). And if I have to write a paper for a class how many times I will go to the writing center just for grammar, spelling, or just to get my ideas across. Second,  as graduate students, we must support or ideas or arguments with resources, and of course when blogging is more about you own ideas and thinking.

So I’m really intimidated and excited at the same time of how to get as much experience and confidence from this new way of interaction and collaborative learning experience.