I started this week with a discussion in my group about the future of education. How would education look like in 10-20 years? I was excited to listen to my group since they are more involved in innovation and technology than me. We talk about a dream of open and accessible education where you could study in many different parts of the world, take many courses online and then travel to specific locations where you will do field work or lab work with a multicultural group of students with similar interests. I was amazed to see how this future scenario and I wish we could cut the line and start practicing now. I do not imagine going back to university to memorise things and do boring assignments about things that can be learn online. My personal contribution to that future scenario was the interest on moving from problem-based learning to more action-learning where students will be graded in their ability to solve societal problems in practice. A greater connection between education and making the world a better place is where I find my passion in education.

“Universities will be better, they will be able to add more value to society and focus less in tedious work”, said someone in the course.

I read the Open University Innovation Report 10 from 2022 to see what the future of education is according to the experts. They list 10 innovations that are being implemented in open learning. From the use of comprehensive and extremely well organised hybrid education to simpler strategies such as walk and talk learning to combine both online to reduce sedentarism. In this report one of the innovations is the pedagogy of discomfort that focuses on addressing discrimination, colonialism, and social justice in education. It reminded me of a course about ethnography where African scholars came to the island of Gotland to study Swedish people and the way they trust each other. While people in Gotland found it strange, they were open to share with practices which were “normal” to them, but strange to the outsiders. For the African students the most strange thing was to have a white driver taking them around. So turning things upside down, may help us to re-create education and re-imagine the world.

There were many things I liked from this course, I feel so privileged I had the opportunity to participate. Funny enough I apply to other course, but since I am an external teacher the university did not allow me to take part. Of course the university is far from being open, it is indeed a very exclusive place. But I often said the best things are the ones that come your way and this course was definitely the highlight of my spring. Here are some of the things I loved:

  • The excellent materials, readings, lectures, workshops, problems and assignments of each module. They were will thought, interesting and challenging.
  • The PBL group was definitely one of the best things. While sometimes I wished my group would discuss faster or in a more structured way, this was only because I found the members of the group so knowledgeable, with so many different skills, coming from different countries and with experiences I wanted to learn from.
  • The openness of the course: since this course is free and available to people from different parts of the world, there was so much richness in the group. I actually thing that without the outside participants the course could not be as good. Since the students from the partner universities have to abide to the rules of the “old fashion” universities that have to comply with certain systems and hierarchies, we are not used so much to innovation. Some of the best tools and practices I learnt in this course came from the students from outside, they were able to teach us multiple free to use apps and innovative tools.
  • AI was present since the beginning and I learnt so much. I do not see it as an enemy any more, but as something I have tried and can critically assess without having to know anything about machine learning or algorithms. I am still afraid of those.

But the course was too short and I wish so much you create a ONL advanced level. It will be for sure a mind blowing experience.

Daring to be open: the best of the ONL