Looking back towards the future – what Sheila’s seen this week

This week I’ve been thinking about the past and the future a bit more than normal. I’ve just finished reading Life after Life by Kate Aitkinson which has the premise “What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?” The  novel follows the many lives of Ursula Todd as she relives key episodes in her life.  At times I think we all have the “if only I had done that” feeling. Hindsight, as they say, is a wonderful thing. But what if we did know what the future was going to bring, would we change things?

A tweet from David Kernohan early in the week reminded me of an email exchange we had with BCCampus in Canada about a year ago.

Me and @sheilmcn predicting 2013 just under 1 year ago, for @dendroglyph at BCCampus. http://t.co/kQ5J6DR8zV I think we did pretty well…

— David Kernohan (@dkernohan) January 20, 2014

Looking back at it now, I agree with David that we did actually do pretty well. I had no idea this time last year I would have a “proper job” within an institution; and it has come to pass that, this week in particular, issues around which “areas of technology should be seen as commodities and those which should be considered as strategic investments.” Like many others we are having lots of discussions about our strategic developments in online learning, MOOCs, technology provision etc.  In that respect the timing of the Cetis paper “Beyond MOOCs, Sustainable Online Learning in Institutions” couldn’t really have come at a better time to give a balanced overview of strategic considerations for online learning provision.

I don’t think I would change anything from the overview we gave last year. I’m now working somewhere where we are developing an OER policy, we have 3-D printers, we are thinking about how to expand our online provison. But I do think that most people in the sector as still experiencing a bit of a groundhog day scenario with technology.  We’re all too often still buying “stuff” without really thinking through the implications, and the integrations need.  We have a solution without actually knowing what the problem(s) is/are. Although things are changing there are still too many assumptions that technology alone will solve all the problems we are facing. So I was heartened to see myself last year saying this:

“one last thing- everything is underpinned by the growing recognition of the need to develop digital literacy not just in the sector but beyond.  For us to make any sense  of “all this stuff” we need to ensure our staff and students are continually developing both the technical and meta-cognitive capabilities needed”

That’s an ethos I’d want to keep in any life.

And finally, because every blog post needs a picture, I’ve looked back to my blipfoto archive and this was my entry on Jan 24th last year.  Sadly no sunshine here today . . .

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 09.53.18

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