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Changing Universities

The quest of many educators to reform universities (either through open educational resources, encouraging greater adoption of social media, re-balancing faculty/learner control, redefining authority and (as a consequence) authoritative information) will happen, it seems, through economic pressures. Consider universities in California: “University of California, the nation’s leading public university, is being forced to cut its budget by $813 million — or 20%”. This budget cut is not being addressed through innovations in education (blended or online learning), but rather through hiring freezes and unpaid furloughs.

While we need to reconsider university systems, we don’t have a suitable vision formed yet. To say “use open educational resources” or, as I’ve done above, “teach courses online”, seems like very inadequate answers. A systemic view of change is required. And, at this point, we don’t have that.


  1. so it is wrote:

    Educators are not managers, leaders or innovators ….that is why you see the same old solutions that keep universities stuck in the past …

    Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 8:00 am | Permalink
  2. Mike Trucano wrote:

    Hi George,
    Just saw your tweet about the university rankings. This may be of interest to you: the World Bank’s recent report on ‘The Challenge of Establishing World Class Universities’ ((
    Cheers, Mike (@trucano)

    Monday, July 20, 2009 at 1:52 pm | Permalink
  3. gsiemens wrote:

    Hi Mike – thanks for the link…I’ve subscribed to your world bank blog as well…

    Monday, July 20, 2009 at 1:55 pm | Permalink
  4. Edie Woods wrote:

    As a long-time online instructor, I see another problem contributing to the lack of a systemic view of change. That is people in leadership who don’t understand that online teaching and learning involve way more than an instructor throwing what might work in the face-to-face classroom up on a learning management system for students to access like an electronic correspondence course. Until they understand the potential for online education to further an institutional mission, why should we expect them to consider more online classes in their views of change?

    Monday, July 27, 2009 at 9:21 am | Permalink