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Virtual education in universities. An emerging organization in the Knowledge Society Jordy Micheli Sara Armendáriz Paper for the Policy Workshop: Informing.

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Presentation on theme: "Virtual education in universities. An emerging organization in the Knowledge Society Jordy Micheli Sara Armendáriz Paper for the Policy Workshop: Informing."— Presentation transcript:

1 Virtual education in universities. An emerging organization in the Knowledge Society Jordy Micheli Sara Armendáriz Paper for the Policy Workshop: Informing the Knowledge Society - Feeding SSH Research into Policy Design in Latin America and Europe, organized by EULAKS, London, September 23-24, 2010

2 This study is about emerging organizations within the universities, oriented to implement an innovative process increasingly pervasive into the knowledge society: the virtual education. The document has preliminary results based on a questionnaire applied to virtual education officials from 34 universities in some countries of Latin America

3 Virtual education is the teaching-learning process that takes place, partly or totally, through the Internet. There are two possibilities in this process: learning conducted completely online as a substitute for learning with the physical presence of the teacher, or learning entailing a combination of physical presence and the Internet (blended learning).

4 VE is a set of practices based on different technologies within the ICTs; some place more emphasis on mass products and others focus on personal experience. The former are oriented towards the external markets of the university institution, either continuing education or graduate school. The latter rather look for internal spaces allowing a relation of greater experimentation and face-to-face contact with students. In both cases the challenge is to create virtual products: information contents and didactic sequences for learning and transformation into knowledge. The degree of virtualization of the contents and sequences may define the complexity of virtual education.

5 In universities, there is an increasing presence of formal structures, such as departments, sections, offices, whose function is to develop virtual education systems VE System: information technology-based environments, in which the learner s interaction with learning materials, instructors, and /or peers are mediated through technology Virtual Education Structures: structures within the organization of the university that are responsible for managing and expanding the VE System.


7 The structures created for the practice of virtual education are (the ?) innovative nuclei of universities. They are responsible for technological learning and its translation into organizational learning, and using the skills acquired, they must disseminate virtual education and insert it in the practices and strategies of universities.

8 These nuclei are in direct contact with dynamic practices of the knowledge society: matching to the aspirations and ways of communication of Internet native pupils mediators between the digital technology development groups, which exert a great pressure on universities, and the real needs of traditional teachers. Generating the reflective knowledge about virtual education.

9 A digital native performs: Digital Natives aged 13 to 17 average 1,742 text messages a month1, percent of teens say they can text while blindfolded 42 percent 39 to 49 percent of 18- to 30-year-olds have sent text messages while driving, and they slow their reaction time by 35 percent when doing so 61 percent of teens who text prefer texting messages to friends rather than talking 60 percent of 12- to 17-year-old Digital Natives don't think of texting as "writing" 60 percent

10 VE Structures nowadays are generating a multitask service, which requires a combination of professional expertise and a constant learning process for the generation of knowledge. The service generated has a wide scope(time, space and people). Due to the nature of the processes of communication and information handled by VE Structures they can acquire a power much greater than their relative size and lack of seniority in the institution might suggest.

11 VE is a is probably the most active data producer from the university itself: it generates student data, whether internal or external users, it generates data on teachers involved in VE, and also generates data on the process of VE itself. In many cases, the value of such data can even be economic, because online learning is already an important market, and there may be tensions between pure university orientation and commercial orientation. If these tensions are resolved in a pragmatic way, VE makes the university an economic actor in the markets of the current knowledge society.




15 MODE 1: Universities where existing distance education or continuing education determine an evolution towards forms of VE. MODE 2: Universities where the VE pioneering forms are developed by teachers interested in innovation, and for some specific circumstance, this initial practice is adopted and integrated into the overall structure of the university. MODE 3: Universities where a specific condition triggers an opportunistic process of VE development. This condition can be an existing advantage (pioneers in the production of CDs), the needs of a language center, or a student demand which cannot be solved by traditional means. MODE 4: Universities where VE is triggered by a decision at the highest level of direction, either because VE is seen as a necessary evolution in the mission and characteristics of the university, or because VE should be developed as a necessity to face the challenges of the university. In these universities, VE usually starts from scratch.




19 Some questions how can universities face the challenge of assimilating the reflective and economic power of VE Structures and VE practices, to generate a new strategy for organization and incursion or social presence? How are universities transformed or, more specifically, which areas of the university are being transformed by the presence of these new actors and practices of the knowledge society?

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