Posted on 14 March 2013
Professor Dylan Jones-Evans, Director: Centre for Enterprise and Innovation Education at the University of Wales, has been asked by Leighton Andrews, the Minister for Education, to be part of his working group that is examining online digital learning and how the Welsh Government can support the higher education sector in this growing field.
Professor Jones-Evans first became involved in this area back in the early 1990s, when he was course development leader for Small Business Management on the MBA (Distance Learning) at Durham University.
He was then involved in developing an online MBA whilst at Bangor University between 2000 and 2004, and more recently has been involved with the University of Wales, and University of Wales: Trinity Saint David in considering new opportunities for online learning relating to entrepreneurship and innovation. This includes the online MBA4PHD initiative he is collaborating on with Turku University and the University of Gothenberg.
In seeking to respond to the cultural shift in the expectations of students, universities are eager to engage through the latest online teaching methods. Globally, the advent of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) represents a new internet-based model for volume participation in higher education.
Chaired by Andrew Green, of the National Librarian for Wales, the Working Group will be tasked with examining the potential for MOOCs and whether the Welsh higher education sector is sufficiently prepared to meet these challenges, and to consider also the opportunities and challenges presented by the development of open educational resources more broadly.
The terms of reference for the Working Group will be to advise the Welsh Government on:
- the potential competitive threat posed by global technology-based developments to the higher education sector in Wales;
- the potential opportunities afforded by technological development for the Welsh higher education sector at a time of constrained public expenditure;
- to what extent the Welsh higher education sector is working collectively to bring economies of scale to maximise the opportunities afforded; and
- to what extent technological development may provide a platform to increase participation in part-time and full-time higher education, again in a period of constrained public spending.
The Group will begin its work in March and will report to the Minister by the end of September this year.