Leadership in Global Open, Online, and Distance Learning

Leadership in Global Open, Online, and Distance Learning

Ebba Ossiannilsson
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2000-9.ch019
(Individual Chapters)
No Current Special Offers


Global open online, and distance learning call for innovation and new strategies at all levels because of current paradigm shifts and global trends towards increased digitization in all sectors in society. Thus, the educational sector must focus on new trends in executive leadership, shifting paradigms, innovative approaches to distributed leadership, and management practice. The sections in this chapter consider why we have to re-think leadership and why the demands of leadership in global open, online, and distance learning have to innovate, change and be rethought. The main topics elaborated in this chapter are increased digitization and societal issues, global open online and distance learning, and finally leadership in global open online learning arenas. In conclusion, leaders must embrace and be in the forefront in the areas of teaching, research, governance and society for the transitions to personal global open online learning.
Chapter Preview


Global higher education is more comprehensive and more challenging than ever before because of current paradigm shifts and global trends. Open, online, and distance learning call for innovation and new strategies at all levels. Thus, the educational sector must focus on new trends in executive leadership, shifting paradigms, innovative approaches to distributed leadership, management practice, continuous improvement in quality, and new regional, national, and global partnership models. Leaders should be empowered to examine their leadership approaches and incorporate the input from colleagues to reformulate these approaches.

The major challenges predicted for both the future of higher education and the university of 2020/2030 include the following: globalization, urbanization, changing demographics, economic growth, the knowledge-based economy, the information society with superhighways to information, increased digitization, the labor market, job transfers, and mobility (Latchem, 2016; European Commission, 2013; OECDE, 2007; UNESCO, 2015a; UNESCO-COL, 2016). Several global stakeholders, such as United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), and the European Commission have called for opening up education to meet today’s global demands and challenges and the visions for 2030. UNESCO (2015a) stated that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development should provide inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels: early childhood, primary, secondary, tertiary, technical and vocational training, thus underscoring education for all in addition to universal lifelong learning opportunities. The European Commission’s Opening up Education initiative emphasizes modernizing education and promoting innovations in teaching and learning through several formats, such as open educational resources (OER), massive open online courses (MOOCs), information and communication technology (ICT), and digital competencies, as well as infrastructure, interoperability, equity, quality, visibility, licensing, and certification (European Commission, 2013). The Commission adopted a new and comprehensive New Skills Agenda for Europe, which focuses on improving the quality and relevance of skills formation, increasing the visibility and comparability of skills and qualifications, as well as improving skills intelligence and information to enable better career choices. The aim of this initiative is to ensure that people develop a broad set of skills early in life in order for Europe to make the most of human capital, which will ultimately boost employability, competitiveness, and growth in Europe. Critical thinking, entrepreneurship, problem solving, and digital competences are just some of the competences enshrined by the New Skills Agenda. These skills have emerged as key in allowing people to attain quality jobs and fulfil their potential as confident, active citizens (European Commission, 2016).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: is defined as the scholarly inquiry into student learning, which advances the practice of teaching by making findings public. SoTL builds on many past traditions in higher education, including classroom and program assessment, K-12 action research, the reflective practice movement, peer reviews of teaching, traditional educational research, and faculty development to enhance teaching and learning. The term SoTL refers to methods that promote student learning and desired outcomes, and it has been recognized in expressions of student satisfaction, peer reviews, and so forth. The concept also encompasses aspects of professional development and faculty development, such as how teachers can not only improve their expertise in their fields but also develop their pedagogical expertise, that is, how to teach novice students in the field and enable their learning. Additionally, the term encompasses the study and implementation of modern teaching methods, such as active learning, cooperative learning, problem-based learning, and others.

Mobile Learning: Mobile learning is defined as “learning across multiple contexts, through social and content interactions, using personal electronic devices.

Open Education: Open education is a way of carrying out education, often using digital technologies. Its aim is to widen access and participation to everyone by removing barriers and making learning accessible, abundant, and customisable for all. It offers multiple ways of teaching and learning, building and sharing knowledge. It also provides a variety of access routes to formal and non-formal education, and connects the two ( Inamorato dos Santos, et al., 2016 AU132: The citation "Inamorato dos Santos, et al., 2016" matches multiple references. Please add letters (e.g. "Smith 2000a"), or additional authors to the citation, to uniquely match references and citations. ).

Challenged-Based Learning: Challenge Based Learning (CBL) is a framework for learning while solving real-world challenges. The framework is collaborative and hands-on, asking all participants (students, teachers, families, and community members) to identify Big Ideas, ask good questions, discover and solve challenges, gain in-depth subject area knowledge, develop 21st-century skills, and share their thoughts with the world. CBL identify the essential design principles of a 21st-century learning environment, and the three key stones are engage, act and invest.

Choice-Based Learning: The process that learners play in their own learning process and the manner by which such processes is designed, so the learner can make choices, take control, and orchestra their own learning processes, with or without support from information and communication technologies (ICT).

Digital Leadership: Digital leadership is when management takes accountability for the functional value and quality of any digital assets within their organization. Digital leaders, are informing, inspiring, and promoting digital transformation, as well as taken the consequences, both benefits and limitations.

Digital Scholarship: Digital scholarship encompasses the use of digital evidence, methods of inquiry, research, publication, and preservation to achieve scholarly and research goals. Digital scholarship includes both scholarly communication using digital media and research on digital media. An important issue in digital scholarship is the effort to establish digital media and social media as credible, professional, and legitimate means of research and communication Digital scholarship has a close association with digital humanities and connectivism. Digital scholarship is also understood as the “born-digital” means of scholarly communication, which is traditional, such as online journals and databases, e-mail correspondence, as well as digital and digitized collections of research and academic libraries. Digital scholarship is concerned with the production and distribution of digital media, discussions about copyright, fair use, and digital rights management (DRM), stating that combined with open access, digital scholarship is an affordable and open model of scholarly communication.

Personal Learning: In the case of personal learning, the role of the educational system is not to provide learning, it is to support learning. Meanwhile, the decisions about what to learn, how to learn, and where to learn are made outside the educational system, and principally, by the individual learners themselves. Personal learning often begins informally, on an ad hoc basis, driven by the need to complete some task or achieve some objective. The learning is a means to an end, rather than the end in itself. Curricula and pedagogy are selected pragmatically. If the need is short term and urgent, a simple learning resource may be provided. If the person wants to understand at a deep level, then a course might be the best option ( Downes, 2016a ).

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: