A Changed Economy with Unchanged Universities? A Contribution to the University of the Future

A Changed Economy with Unchanged Universities? A Contribution to the University of the Future

Maria Manuela Cunha (Polytechnic Institute of Cavado and Ave, Portugal) and Goran D. Putnik (University of Minho, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-342-5.ch019
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Individualised open and distance learning at the university continuing education and post-graduate education levels is a central issue of today. The advanced information and communication technologies together with several applications offer new perspectives, such as the so-called virtual university. Simultaneously, to gain market share, several organisational arrangements are emerging in the virtual university field, like consortia arrangements and joint venture initiatives between and among institutions and organisations. The dynamically changing social and economical environment where we live claims for new approaches to virtual and flexible university continuing and post-graduate education, such as the concept of Agile/Virtual University proposed by the authors. However, the implementation of this concept (and of other similar concepts) does not rely just on basic information and communication infrastructure, neither on dispersedly developed applications. Although absolutely necessary as support, the added value comes from the higher-level functions to support individualised learning projects. The implementation of the Agile/Virtual University concept requires a framework and a specific supporting environment, a Market of Teaching Resources, which are discussed in the article.
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In the fast-changing and strongly competitive business environment we live, a confluence of factors such as (1) the economic globalisation and integration, (2) the impact of technological developments, (3) the growing demand for sustainable development and (4) the emerging work systems are having a strong impact on organisations, on society and on individuals.

Advances in information technologies (IT) are now one of the major driving forces of change. IT is an essential infrastructure for competitiveness of other economic sectors, and the basis for trade, provision of services, production, transport, education and entertainment (ACTS, 1998). IT is transforming organisations into global networked structures, with processes extended through continents, creating markets and systems not just global and distributed, but virtual, in a new perspective of a global, networked and knowledge-based economy.

The fast evolution of IT is creating a huge role of opportunities, and simultaneously of challenges to organizations and to society. Organisations of every stripe try to respond to the challenges by adapting their strategies and activities; that is, restructuring to align themselves to the new requirements of the changing economy, where every sector of society will systematically use IT. These technologies support concepts as distributed systems, computer supported cooperative work, telework, electronic commerce, electronic marketplaces, virtual manufacturing, concurrent engineering, some forms of distance education, and many others.

Distance education (Web-based) seems to be a contribution towards the democratisation of learning access in particular in the domain we are concerned with - the university continuing education and post-graduate education.

According to several authors, (Evans & Nation, 1996; Khakhar & Quirchmayr, 1999) the most relevant advances in distance education over the past three decades have been in the university sector, where Open Universities represent an attempt to establish fully integrated distance-teaching systems.

However, the new approaches to learning, such as flexible and distance learning, are still at an immature stage. Although some of these concepts have existed for several years, there is not yet a clear understanding of the way these approaches will evolve and become useful and common practices.

Another concern is that systems conceived to provide integrated standard off-the-shelf learning solutions are less efficient when compared with dedicated systems. Providers of units of learning, primitive or complex1, can be integrated in completely individualised (customised/tailored) flexible Web-based networked learning projects, which in turn can be agilely and dynamically adjusted to either the performance of the providers or to the learner evolution or changing requirements. This corresponds to a new structure of learning for each individual (learner) while, at the same time, each provider (teacher) can specialise himself in focused units of learning, and get economies of scope by providing - with high quality - this same unit in several different learning projects. This concept requires an environment to cope with several concerns, such as assessment, accreditation, quality assurance, trust, and so forth, such as the Market of Teaching Resources here proposed, and must be mediated by a broker.

IT innovations are stimulating the growth of markets for educational services and the emergence of for-profit competitors, which could change the higher-education enterprise (Goldstein, 2000).

In this contribution, we introduce the Agile/Virtual University (A/V U) concept, as an integrated set of providers of units of learning that is integrated to respond to an individualised need. The product provided by the A/V U is an individualised learning project (a continuing training/education course). These providers can be universities, university teachers and individuals (independent teachers), organised and managed by either a higher-education enterprise or a university itself, in a specific environment proposed by the authors as a Market of Teaching Resources.

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Associate Editors
Table of Contents
Mahbubur Rahman Syed
Mahbubur Rahman Syed
Chapter 1
Hiroshi Takeda, Hisashi Yaginuma, Hajime Kiyohara, Akira Tokuyasu, Masami Iwatsuki, Norio Takeuchi, Hisato Kobayashi, Kazuo Yana
This article describes a new automatic digital content generation system we have developed. Recently some universities, including Hosei University... Sample PDF
Automatic Digital Content Generation System for Real-Time Distance Lectures
Chapter 2
Filomena Ferrucci, Giuseppe Scanniello, Genoveffa Tortora
In this chapter the authors present E-World, an e-learning platform able to manage and trace adaptive learning processes which are designed and... Sample PDF
E-World: A Platform for the Management of Adaptive E-Learning Processes
Chapter 3
Judy C.R. Tseng, Wen-Ling Tsai, Gwo-Jen Hwang, Po-Han Wu
In developing traditional learning materials, quality is the key issue to be considered. However, for high technical e-training courses, not only... Sample PDF
An Efficient and Effective Approach to Developing Engineering E-Training Courses
Chapter 4
Te-Hua Wang, Flora Chia-I Chang
The sharable content object reference model (SCORM) includes a representation of distance learning contents and a behavior definition of how users... Sample PDF
A SCORM Compliant Courseware Authoring Tool for Supporting Pervasive Learning
Chapter 5
WenYing Guo
Selecting appropriate learning services for a learner from a large number of heterogeneous knowledge sources is a complex and challenging task. This... Sample PDF
An Ontology-Based e-Learning Scenario
Chapter 6
Dan Phung, Giuseppe Valetto, Gail E. Kaiser, Tiecheng Liu, John R. Kender
The increasing popularity of online courses has highlighted the need for collaborative learning tools for student groups. In this article, we... Sample PDF
Adaptive Synchronization of Semantically Compressed Instructional Videos for Collaborative Distance Learning
Chapter 7
Jing Chen, Qing Li, Ling Feng
The abundance of knowledge-rich information on the World Wide Web makes compiling an online etextbook both possible and necessary. In our previous... Sample PDF
Refining the Results of Automatic e-Textbook Construction by Clustering
Chapter 8
Yueting Zhuang, Xiafen Zhang, Weiming Lu, Fei Wu
Chinese brush calligraphy is a valuable civilization legacy and a high art of scholarship. It is still popular in Chinese banners, newspaper... Sample PDF
Chinese Brush Calligraphy Character Retrieval and Learning
Chapter 9
William K. Cheung, Anders I. Mørch, Kelvin C. Wong, Cynthia Lee, Jiming Liu, Mason H. Lam
In this article we investigate the use of latent semantic analysis (LSA), critiquing systems, and knowledge building to support computer-based... Sample PDF
Grounding Collaborative Learning in Semantics-Based Critiquing
Chapter 10
Giuliana Dettori, Paola Forcheri, Maria Grazia Ierardi
Learning Objects (LOs) are increasingly considered potentially helpful to improve teachers’ work and to spread innovation in the school system.... Sample PDF
Improving the Usefulness of Learning Objects by Means of Pedagogy-Oriented Design
Chapter 11
Frederick W.B. Li, Rynson W.H. Lau, Taku Komura, Meng Wang, Becky Siu
Human motion animation has been one of the major research topics in the field of computer graphics for decades. Techniques developed in this area... Sample PDF
Adaptive Animation of Human Motion for E-Learning Applications
Chapter 12
Gennaro Costagliola, Vittorio Fuccella
On-Line Testing is that sector of e-learning aimed at assessing learner’s knowledge through e-learning means. In on-line testing, due to the... Sample PDF
eWorkbook: An On-Line Testing System with Test Visualization Functionalities
Chapter 13
Brian Stewart, Derek Briton, Mike Gismondi, Bob Heller, Dietmar Kennepohl, Rory McGreal, Christine Nelson
Athabasca University—Canada’s Open University evaluated learning management systems (LMS) for use by the university. Evaluative criteria were... Sample PDF
Choosing MOODLE: An Evaluation of Learning Management Systems at Athabasca
Chapter 14
Damien Clark, Penny Baillie-de Byl
Computer aided assessment is a common approach used by educational institutions. The benefits range into the design of teaching, learning, and... Sample PDF
Enhancing the IMS QTI to Better Support Computer Assisted Marking
Chapter 15
Ali Dashti, Maytham Safar
Distance education created new challenges regarding the delivery of large size isochronous continuous streaming media (SM) objects. In this paper... Sample PDF
Streaming of Continuous Media for Distance Education Systems
Chapter 16
Manjulika Srivastava, Venugopal Reddy
The question why some learners successfully study through distance mode and others do not is increasingly becoming important as open and distance... Sample PDF
How Did They Study at a Distance? Experiences of IGNOU Graduates
Chapter 17
Gwo-Jen Hwang, Ting-Ting Wu, Yen-Jung Chen
The prosperous development of wireless communication and sensor technologies has attracted the attention of researchers from both computer and... Sample PDF
Ubiquitous Computing Technologies in Education
Chapter 18
S. Grunwald, B. Hoover, G.L. Bruland
In this chapter the authors describe the implementation of an emerging virtual learning environment to teach GIS and spatial sciences to distance... Sample PDF
An eLearning Portal to Teach Geographic Information Sciences
Chapter 19
Maria Manuela Cunha, Goran D. Putnik
Individualised open and distance learning at the university continuing education and post-graduate education levels is a central issue of today. The... Sample PDF
A Changed Economy with Unchanged Universities? A Contribution to the University of the Future
Chapter 20
Richard Y.D. Xu, Jesse S. Jin
This article presents a schematic application of computer vision technologies to e-learning that is synchronous, peer-to-peer-based, and supports an... Sample PDF
Rationale, Design and Implementation of a Computer Vision-Based Interactive E-Learning System
Chapter 21
Dorothée Rasseneur-Coffinet, Georgia Smyrniou, Pierre Tchounikine
This article presents an approach and tools that can help learners appropriate a Web-based learning curriculum and become active participants in... Sample PDF
Supporting Learners' Appropriation of a Web-Based Learning Curriculum
Chapter 22
Gwo-Jen Hwang, Hsiang Cheng, Carol H.C. Chu, Judy C.R. Tseng, Gwo-Haur Hwang
In the past decades, English learning has received lots of attention all over the world, especially for those who are not native English speakers.... Sample PDF
Development of a Web-Based System for Diagnosing Student Learning Problems on English Tenses
Chapter 23
Chi-Syan Lin, C. Candace Chou, Ming-Shiou Kuo
The paper outlines a new paradigm and its underlying rationales for implementing networked learning environments that is emerging from new... Sample PDF
Inhabited Virtual Learning Worlds and Impacts on Learning Behaviors in Young School Learners
Chapter 24
Rory McGreal, Terry Anderson
Any view of e-learning in Canada must be informed by the uniquely Canadian feature of provincial jurisdiction over education. Therefore any... Sample PDF
Research and Practice of E-Learning in Canada 2008
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