Flexibility in Higher Education: Revisiting Expectations

Collis, Betty and Moonen, Jef Flexibility in Higher Education: Revisiting Expectations. Revista Comunicar, 2011, vol. XIX, n. 37, pp. 15-25. [Journal article (Paginated)]


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English abstract

We have studied the construct of flexibility in higher education for many years, as researchers and practitioners. In this context we define flexibility as the way of offering the student various choices in how, what, where, when and with whom he or she participates in learning-related activities while enrolled in a higher education institution. In a textbook we wrote on the topic in 2001 we identified options that could be available to students in higher education to increase the flexibility of their participation. We studied these options from the perspective, not only of the student, but also in terms of the consequences for instructors and for higher-education institutions, and examined the key roles that pedagogical change and technology play in increasing flexibility. Now is it nearly a decade later. We will revisit key issues related to flexibility in higher education, identify in broad terms the extent to which increased flexibility has become established, is it still developing, or has been developed in ways we did not anticipate directly a decade earlier. We will also review our scenarios for change in higher education related to flexibility and contrast these with a more-recent set from the UK. Our major conclusion is that flexibility is still as pertinent an issue for higher education in 2011 as it was in 2001.

Spanish abstract

Llevamos bastantes años estudiando la construcción de la flexibilidad en la educación superior, tanto desde la óptica de la investigación como de la práctica. Entendemos por flexibilidad la opción de ofrecer a los estudiantes la posibilidad de elegir cómo, qué, dónde, cuándo y con quién participan en las actividades de aprendizaje mientras están en una institución de educación superior. En el libro que escribimos sobre esta temática en 2001 identificamos opciones posibles para los estudiantes de educación superior con la finalidad de incrementar la flexibilidad de su participación. Lo estudiamos no sólo desde la perspectiva del estudiante sino también esde las implicaciones para los profesores y para las instituciones de educación superior, y examinamos el papel fundamental que desempeñan el cambio pedagógico y la tecnología en el aumento de la flexibilidad. Ahora, diez años después, revisamos los temas clave relacionados con la flexibilidad en la educación superior e identificamos, en términos generales, hasta qué punto se ha ido estableciendo el incremento de la flexibilidad, si todavía está evolucionando o si ha evolucionado de una forma que no pudimos prever hace diez años. Revisamos también nuestros escenarios para el cambio en la educación superior relacionados con la flexibilidad y los contrastamos con un estudio más reciente llevado a cabo en el Reino Unido. Nuestra conclusión principal es que la cuestión de la flexibilidad en la educación superior sigue siendo tan pertinente en 2010 como lo era en 2001.

Item type: Journal article (Paginated)
Keywords: Flexibility higher education technology change pedagogy implementation scenarios
Subjects: H. Information sources, supports, channels. > HN. e-journals.
Depositing user: Alex Ruiz
Date deposited: 28 Feb 2012
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:21
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10760/16648


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