On December 7th, 2012, a group of educators at Thompson Rivers University convened off-campus to to discuss the changing landscape of learning. The objectives were to stimulate new thinking, to facilitate conversations across the institution, and consider how learning environments can best support higher education.
Participants included instructors, designers, media and IT experts, administrators, librarians and students.
The day began with a blessing by Elder Estella Patrick Moller from Nakazdli First Nations in Fort St. James. She followed her prayer with a story of her own sense of place, sharing a rich and poetic account of her diverse experiences of learning, at her home and in formal institutions.
The student panel both grounded the day in essential purpose, and also opened up exciting possibilities. The range of perspectives presented by open learning and on-campus students made it clear that no single approach could hope to address all student needs.
Jeff Miller, Senior Manager of Distance Education and Blended Learning at UBC, offered reflections on the changing landscape of teaching and learning. Jeff’s presentation provoked considerable discussion on how new approaches may be transformative not only for our students, but for our institutions as well.
Video of Jeff Miller’s talk.
Jim Groom, named by the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of “12 tech innovators who are transforming campuses”, finished the day with a passionate and at-times radical vision of higher education technology that placed student and instructor ownership and autonomy at its centre. Jim stressed the importance of experimentation, of open source tools and methods, of investing in people rather than in technology as the keys to promoting a culture of innovation.
Our own learning…
- People at TRU are excited by the opportunities that accompany our challenges.
- We need to foster spaces for continuing these conversations.
- The next steps are…?