NEW APPROACHES TO CURRENT HIGHER EDUCATION
1 La Rioja University (SPAIN)
2 Basque Country University (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:The profile of a Higher Education teacher, which as been developed and perfected over the centuries, changes dramatically when the education process takes place in a virtual environment. Since the student is a costumed to active and participative learning, the introduction of electronically transmitted information demands that teachers make full use of their professional skills in order to keep this learning method as close as possible to a real life situation. They must develop innovative techniques, incorporating new, non-verbal communication skills and the ability to use new technology into their teaching.
The fact that the university possesses this type of technology is a huge advantage for its teachers and students alike especially given that for many people, this technology remains difficult to use and is still not readily available within developing countries such as our own.
With the advent of the Internet era, some may argue that the presence of a massive, publicly available store of information should enable even greater development of “non-lineal” thought. Unfortunately, the mere presence of a vast information store does not imply that students will naturally use that information in order to follow the arduous research process needed to exercise critical thinking skills. To the contrary, the Internet, with its stores of old problem sets and collections of online lectures, can actually make it easier for students to simply find rote procedures for solving problems, or worse, copy answers. Certainly, these students have been known to take advantage of these sorts of resources: archives of class websites have now replaced bibles as the reference of choice for many classes.
On the other hand, the Internet does make exercising non-lineal thinking skills easier for those who are motivated to learn for themselves. Online archives of academic papers and projects such as Open Courses provide society at large with the resources needed to achieve higher learning; such online repositories have certainly made background research more convenient for many academics. Thus, we see that hyper-media, particularly the Internet, has made the development of both lineal and non-lineal thinking easier. No clear evidence indicates that using the Internet encourages one form of thought over the other; consequently, the development of non-lineal thinking skills requires, as it always has, that the student make an active effort to learn from base principles instead of by rote formulas.
This paper has identified several approaches to solve certain educational needs, which need to be addressed, in order to ensure systems and Information technology (IT) can be fully exploited, by the community, specially in science and Engineering Higher Education, in order to help and engender beneficial changes. The study conclusions give some strategies to afford efficiently in next future the main detected “needs”.
Keywords: Approaches, needs, educational innovation, Higher Education.