General
24 Jul 2012

UK universities are missing out on teaching innovations

UK universities are missing opportunities to innovate in teaching according to a report published (23 July 2012) by The Open University. Innovating Pedagogy 2012 highlights ten new methods of teaching, learning and assessment that universities could adopt, including social learning with e-books, seamless learning and personal inquiry learning.

Mike Sharples, Professor of Educational Technology and lead author of the report, said: “UK universities are facing competition from companies and overseas colleges that offer short courses using innovative teaching methods like MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). These are courses without boundaries that are attracting hundreds of thousands of students worldwide who watch live teaching from star professors and then share and discuss the ideas online.”

Opportunities that should be exploited more include using online assessment to support learning by giving students automatic feedback on their progress, and for universities to work with companies in developing a new generation of e-books for learning, with facilities for students to watch multimedia presentations and simulations embedded in the text and to work in groups sharing notes between connected online books.

The report also identifies innovations developed in other areas, such as computer games that could be adopted for university teaching. Badges, like computer versions of scout and guide badges, can provide a way to reward students who successfully gained a skill or provide useful help to their colleagues. Smartphones could also be used as scientific tools to carry out large scale science projects, such as measuring noise pollution or recording wildlife.

The report also points to some areas where the UK is leading the way with new developments in teaching and learning. iSpot, developed by The Open University, has engaged many thousands of students and members of the public in forming an online scientific community to share their observations of wildlife, supported by expert mentors. The Open University is also developing multimedia e-books and using new methods of learning analytics to track how its 195,000 students study online, providing them with more immediate and personal advice.

The Innovating Pedagogy 2012 report was published by The Open University on 23 July 2012.

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