Educating the educators Lessons learned by moving towards open, free and self-paced online resources in higher education.
In an ever changing and rapidly developing teaching situation, it is often difficult to keep oneself updated with all types of available technologies. The “wants” are often centre of attention and the how’s and why’s become neglected and are subject to hindsight. In a 2008 report (Economist 2008) the question: “what does it mean to be an educated person in the 21st century”, was raised and concluded with the importance of keeping up with technology – as these changes in the use of technology, at a higher education level, will have a ripple effect on the future society as a whole. In the last 10 to 15 years, higher education (HE) institutions in Norway have invested heavily in information and communication technologies (ICT), which has had a major impact on our own organization, UiT – The Arctic University of Norway; as in to say that it has brought with it some changes to our methods of teaching, and hopefully, it will keep thrusting us towards a better understanding of how to convey best practices and use of ICT in our teaching environments. The role of technology therefore is in shaping the future of higher education. It will, no doubt, have a profound impact on the way we work towards helping our staff to become comfortable with and interested in using technology in and throughout their teachings. However, taking the leap and diving into new and sometimes advanced technologies can raise feelings of uncertainty in one’s own technical abilities, especially for those with limited technical competencies. Combined with the need to find a good balance between hands-on skills and didactical competence, and finding the time necessary, outside an organized framing of a physical course, can be a real challenge to many.