International Symposium on Online Higher Education at Trinity College – ‘Disrupting Higher Education’

Posted on: 20 February 2013

Trinity College recently hosted an international symposium on Online Higher Education – Disrupting Higher Education to stimulate discussion about technology-enhanced learning, the opportunities and challenges associated with offering free online courses, and meeting the educational needs of online learners. 

The web search engines of the 1990s have increased universal access to information and over the past year higher education has received significant media attention as massive open online courses (MOOCs) have made university content open to hundreds of thousands of learners. The recent phenomenon of MOOCs raises many important questions such as the optimal business models, the potential impact on higher education institutions and the most appropriate pedagogical models. Developments in technology and the profile of the 21st century learner, coupled with the core educational aims of a university, offer immense opportunities to increase access to higher education and to embrace new modes of academic practice. The symposium provided a forum for the Irish higher education sector to consider the issues that are at the fore of these developments.

Speaking at the symposium, the Dean of Graduate Studies, Professor Veronica Campbell and organiser of the event said: 

 “Trinity College is delighted to welcome those at the vanguard of digital education to Dublin to explore the issues that are pertinent for the delivery of quality online education and to speculate on the evolution of higher education in this digital age.”

Pictured on the occasion of the international symposium on Online Higher Education – Disrupting Higher Education, are Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast, Trinity’s Dean of Graduate Studies, Professor Veronica Campbell,  and Higher Education Authority CEO, Tom Boland 

The symposium was opened by  Higher Education Authority CEO, Tom Boland and leading experts in the field spoke,  including Professor Diana Laurillard of the University of London who spoke on ‘Remodelling higher education to harness technology,’  Dr Sian Bayne, University of Edinburgh who spoke on ‘MOCCs, distance education and the sentimental campus – what it means to be  at university’   and Dr Rob Robinson, President of the United States Distance Learning Association  who spoke on  ‘The Institutional Components for Quality Online Delivery’ . The gathering also included representatives from industry such as the Director of Research at Google, Peter Norvig  and 2U founder, Chip Paucek.

Welcoming delegates to the gathering, TCD Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast said:

“Technology can support Trinity’s commitment to widening access to higher education, flexible delivery and the development of innovative teaching methods to support student learning. This international symposium is timely as Trinity College considers its new strategy for technology-enhanced learning and some very exciting initiatives are emerging which will allow the university to make a major impact, both nationally and further afield.”

View the Provost’s speech here