Australian Financial Review | 3 June 2013
University of Queensland vice-chancellor Peter Hoj is preparing his institution for massive change in higher education, warning that it needs to build its reputation as a global university. In an address to university staff on 31 May, Hoj said if change in higher education are“as large scale as some envisage, then it will be unsettling for most of us”. A focus of his speech was the rapid growth in online education and he warned the advent of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, “could fundamentally change the way we need to operate”.
Last month the University of Queensland joined the edX MOOC consortium, led by Harvard and MIT, with Hoj saying there was “no choice but to engage and learn from the technology”.
Being in the MOOCs game could enhance our global reputation with implications for the currency of UQ qualifications, ease of engaging in quality partnerships and attracting international students.
While Hoj acknowledged that many of his universities staff were sceptical of MOOCs and thought they were “overhyped”, he argued that new solutions were necessary.
With the world’s population marching toward nine billion and an increasing fraction seeking higher education, it is arguable that the old ways of providing university education are no longer scalable.
However, he sought to reassure staff that universities’ fundamental role would continue to be valued.
Remember that the introduction of the printing press did not kill scholarship and the need for discovery.