S.10 – Web Landscape


Session 10: Higher Education and the Changing Landscape of Learning

Session Overview

We are living in an unprecedented era, where the vast storehouse of human knowledge is readily available and easily accessible – quite literally at our fingertips. Using devices from laptops to smartphones, anyone can connect to the Internet from nearly anywhere and in moments search for and find information that not only helps us answer questions, solve problems, complete tasks and learn, but also entertains, inspires and confounds us.

At the same time, the web has become a place where anyone with a computer and a connection to the Internet can readily publish content in all major media formats: text, images, audio and video. In addition, we are connecting to each other in new ways through social networking sites, blogs, wikis, video/audio sharing, and a host of communication tools. This new media environment is a disruptive force that is generating questions about some long-held views in higher education that relate to information access, communication, collaboration, scholarship, and perhaps most importantly teaching and learning.

Some would suggest that higher education has not adapted to these changes, and that the college of the future will continue to look like the college of the past. Yet, rising demand, rising costs, and rising tuition suggest that the old models are not sustainable.

Logos from the Web Landscape

This class session will provide the opportunity to consider and discuss perspectives we have about these factors, and begin to critically examine the impact that digital media and the web are having on the institution of higher education.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this class session you should be able to…

  • Identify contemporary factors that are shaping higher education today.
  • Begin to think critically about ways new media tools and practices areimpacting how and where learning is taking place.
  • Identify ways that an emerging participatory culture on the web is shaping expectations and perspectives of formal and non-formal learning.

Key Questions

  • What does it mean to teach and learn in new media environments?
  • How are open educational resources and informal learning are altering formal coursework and changing learning opportunities for today’s students?
  • How might future faculty members need to adjust teaching practices and views of learning in order to adapt to a changing higher education environment?


1) Explore current perspectives on factors impacting contemporary higher education (small group brainstorming / whole class discussion).
2) Brief instructor-led presentations about the changing landscape of learning.


1) Google Doc for Your Questions

2)Complete assigned readings.

3) Synthesize ideas from readings and class discussion and post to your Learning Journal. Include in your reflection any links / research you think is relevant to this lesson.

Suggested Readings

“New Media Technologies and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning” – Wesch

“Through the Open Door: Open Courses as Research, Learning and Engagement” – Cormier and Siemens
See Sub-pages for Additional Resources and links to Open Courseware