Because of the ways students learn and make sense of world change, higher education institutions try to re-conceptualize this change process and search for better approaches to respond to the demands of the information age. This chapter will address current transformation specifically occurring in e-Learning environments through emerging technologies and discuss new approaches to teaching and learning so the future of education can be better grasped. The chapter will also provide a list of suggestions so adoption of new technologies as well as e-Learning strategies will be more effective in Universities 2.0.
As the learning process changes by sharing knowledge, socially interacting with others and constructing meaning through new information networks, higher education institutions change as well to better function in the digital age. To some, this change is because of technological advancements, but Weller (2008) asserts that “it runs deeper than this. If we add to the technological experience, the user participation one they will have had through social tools such as Flickr, YouTube, blogging, wikis, etc. and compare this with the top-down, pre-filtered experience they have in courses and selected resources, it becomes obvious that this is about more than just technology, it is a social change” (para. 3). Moreover, traditional teaching and learning environments are “presentation-driven; information is delivered and tested. This approach prepares students for jobs that require simply following directions and rote skills. The new ways is collaborative, with information shared, discussed, refined with others, and understood deeply” (Solomon & Schrum, 2007, p. 21). Armentano (2007) argues that “as the world moves toward a global economy and information can be accessed from anywhere in the world, universities need to think more critically about how they want to proceed in developing leaders of this brave new digital age” (para. 3). It is not clear, however, if today’s universities are ready for future learners who are willing to be participants of information revolution or for future faculty members who would like to prepare their students with the 21st century skills using new approaches to teaching and learning. Moreover, the biggest challenge “that we now face is figuring out how to incorporate the paradigm-altering technologies of Web 2.0 into teaching and learning” (Maloney, 2007, B26).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Personal Learning Environments: Digital systems that help people manage their own learning.
Online communities: A group of people interacts with each other through digital platforms.
E-Learning 2.0: Using Web 2.0 tools and social software in e-Learning.
Digital Age: The widespread use of digital technologies by masses such as computers, email, Internet, electronic games, videos, so forth
Open Source: An approach to freely distribute, modify or change a product’s source
University 2.0: Open University where communication, interaction and participation between learners and university is allowed
Web 2.0: New generation of web design and development.