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Edubytes: Emerging trends in higher education
Welcome to the Edubytes newsletter, featuring articles that focus on innovations in teaching and learning in higher education.

If you have a topic that you would like to see covered in Edubytes, please contact us. We would love to hear from you.

In this issue:

1. Innovative Frameworks
2. Open Learning
3. Inclusive Learning
4. UBC Community

Innovative Frameworks

When the world helps teach your class: Using Wikipedia to teach controversial issuesMark K. Cassell, professor of political science at Kent State University, writes about his experience teaching using Wikipedia in this article from PS: Political Science & Politics. In his course “The Politics of Inequality,” an upper-division writing-intensive seminar, students published a Wikipedia article on a topic related to inequality. “The assignment reduced the anxieties often caused by class-peer relations,” Cassell writes. “It provided a vehicle for challenging the traditional student–instructor power relationship that can interfere with learning.”

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Woolf University: the Airbnb of higher education or a sheep in wolf’s clothing?

Tony Bates shares his thoughts on Woolf University, a new initiative where students can directly pay instructors for tutorials through blockchain-guaranteed contracts. Annual tuition is expected to be around $20,000 per year; once students have accumulated enough credits, they will be issued a Woolf University degree. According to Bates, though this initiative gives students one-on-one learning experiences with qualified instructors, it does not address the issues of STEM teaching or experiential learning.

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National learning analytics service to launch in the UK

The first national learning analytics service in the United Kingdom will be launched by Jisc in August. Thirty institutions have already signed up for the service, including six colleges and 24 universities. The program will collect student data, such as attendance and grades, to create records of student learning and provide staff with data visualization. The program also includes the Study Goal app, which allows students to record activities, set goals and compare their progress with their peers.

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Twenty years of edtech

Martin Weller, professor of educational technology at Open University, writes about significant educational technologies, theories or concepts for each year between 1998 to 2018. The list, which includes wikis (1998), blogs (2003), social media (2012), digital badges (2015) and more, “allows us to examine what has been changed, what remains the same, and what general patterns can be discerned from this history.”

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Open Learning


7 things you should know about open education: Content

Open educational resources (OERs) are “teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium that reside in the public domain or that have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation, and redistribution by others.” This resource from the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative provides an overview of OERs, including how they work, why they are significant, their future and the implications for teaching and learning.

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Open pedagogy

The Open Pedagogy Notebook is a newly launched website that serves as a resource for educators to learn more about Open Pedagogy, browse through examples and share their own work. This introduction, written by Robin DeRosa and Rajiv Jhangiani, offers “a pathway for engaging with the current conversations around Open Pedagogy, some ideas about its philosophical foundation, investments, and its utility, and some concrete ways that students and teachers—all of us learners—can “open” education.”

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Inclusive Learning


Festival of Learning 2018 keynote speaker: Jesse Stommel

Jesse Stommel advocates for a caring and empathetic approach to working with students in his keynote at BCcampus’s Festival of Learning. Stommel, who is executive director of the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies at the University of Mary Washington, explores the topics of “how do we show compassion for students?” and “how do we show compassion for teachers and the work of teaching?”

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UBC Community


Beyond textbook pricing, conversation about affordability expands to online assessment materials

This article from The Ubyssey, UBC’s student newspaper, looks at the affordability of online assessment materials. According to the 2018 AMS Academic Experience Survey, 75 per cent of respondents have been assessed through “online portals that require paid access codes”. At the May Vancouver Senate meeting, the AMS and CTLT brought up the topic and suggestions for mitigation, such as unbundling textbooks and online assessment materials, making affordable options available and focusing on adopting open education resources.

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Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology
Irving K. Barber Learning Centre
214 – 1961 East Mall
Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z1
Email: edu.bytes@ubc.ca