The Higher Education Development (HiED) International Web, provides links to online information for faculty developers, teachers and students in higher education. It is created in cooperation between teachers and educational developers from many countries. The goal is an international sharing of information that can be used to improve teaching/ learning. The paper presents the main content, structure and possibilities of the HiED Web. The HIED WebMaster gives a demonstration of the HiED Web, invites participants to give suggestions for future development of the presentation, and to have their publications and pages linked to HiED World Wide Web.
The goals of the Higher Education Development (HiED) International Web are to share, produce and link information that can be directly used (a) by staff and educational developers for the in service training of college teachers, (b) by university teachers to help them find out how to evaluate and develop their own teaching and how to teach in new ways in order to activate the students, (c) by students to find ideas how they can learn more effectively, and (d) by students and teachers to retrieve new and challenging information via the information super highway.
At http://www.abo.fi/hied/ you find the HiED index and several subindexes, where staff/ educational developers, teachers and students can find links to information that can be used to develop and improve teaching/ learning in colleges and universities. In the middle of November there were about 200 links to information relevant for people teaching or studying in higher eduction. Almost 1000 visits were registered at the HiED home page within one month, although the HiED has not been officially advertised yet in the national networks.
HiED is designed primarily to link existing sources and to build on national networks. It is already possible to find university home pages, staff and educational development organisations and descriptions of methods for teaching and improving student learning. Separate pages with links to many resources have already been created for some topics; case method teaching, problem based learning/ PBL, teaching of computer science etc. Within some months we hope to provide rather extensive lists of links to material in many other areas relevant for teaching an learning in higher education. The links between HiED and the "FIGIT electronic magazine" make it possible for educational developers to find examples internationally of "best practice" and case studies relating to the area "preparation of teachers for higher education". There will also be links to material to be used by students and teachers in different subjects in universities and colleges.
Do we need Internet in education? Do we need the WWW in higher eduction? At least in Finland the government and the Ministry of Education want to have computers in most schools, even primary schools. They want Finland to become an information society built on networks. The Finnish universities are well equipped with computers. Almost every teacher and researcher already has one in the office and many teachers have computers at home. Finland is one of the first countries in the world to have a broadband/ ATM network between most universities. During 1996 more than 200 million FIM will be used to increase the use of computers in schools and improve the computing skills of teachers and students. The reason is that everybody is expected to master the basic skills of the information society (OpM, 1995, 3).
The Ministry of Education states that information technology has radically increased the flow of information and the availability of research results (UVM, 1995, 44). Computers should be used for all kinds of teaching and research, for searching information on the Internet and publication of research results. I want to join other researchers and authors in saying: "It is an exciting time to be in education. The Internet offers new opportunities for students and teachers alike to learn in interesting ways" (Ellsworth (1994, p. xxiii). Hundreds of electronic journals, magazines and other publications have been started, more are emerging (Kroll, 1994, 405), and anybody can retrieve them.
The Internet has broken the shell around the computer and made it a communication toolbox for thousands of university students and teachers. Many teachers use the Internet in their courses in trade issues, economic development, the European Union and second language learning. Students even take part in real time conferences with students in other countries. (Wagner, 1995). For some people who have been "Internet Dummies", it can be enough with some hours of clicking and it starts a revolution. It can lead to the most fantastic, entertaining and educating experience in their fives. It can also lead to a completely new way of working. (McCloskey, 1994) Internet has enhanced simple, fast and cheap Professional communication. Even Email, Usenet News, Gopher and other plain text Internet tools have been very helpful - and still are. With a single message you can reach hundreds of colleagues on the Internet within a few minutes. There are many advantages of using the Internet in education. It can arouse the interest of students, enhance communication between teachers and researchers for sharing ideas and it has potentials to develop new relationships all over the world. (Pool, Blanchard & Hale, 1995) Yet, too many teachers - even in the universities - still do not use the advantages that the Internet offers.
Only during the last years most people have begun to realise the immense potential that Internet has for educators and learners of all ages. Many people already learn astonishing things only through information on the Internet. And people "meet" each other through Email, Newsgorups and the World Wide Web. This is rather natural for young people. Some older persons - like teachers - expect that it is hard to learn to use the Internet. But, the new Email applications and the introduction of the World Wide Web and the user friendly browsers have made it possible and easy for anybody to communicate and to find information about almost anything on the Internet. Now the Internet surfers do not even have to learn how to write commands. All you need is to use the mouse for clicking. it is time for all college teachers to start using WWW as a tool for learning but also for international networking and cooperation. Now we can publish on the Internet and share teaching tips and material we have produced in the most different subjects. This is what the paper is about: To use the WWW to find, create, publish and link information helpful for the development of teaching and learning in universities and colleges. We will help teachers and educational developers accomplish this in international cooperation.
The meeting decided to launch the Higher Education Development (HiED) International WWW presentation, as an online information service for faculty developers, teachers and students in higher education. Three persons were chosen to plan the first pages. The participating representatives of national networks promised to find people in their respective networks willing to join the HiED Web team. The first HiED Web pages were published two months later, in June 1995 at URL: http://www.abo.fi/hied/. The presentation now includes about 200 links to information useful in higher education. Yet this is only the beginning. Now the work really starts. We are now looking for people willing to cooperate with us to make the HiED a useful tool for staff/ educational developers but also for teachers and students. This is one reason for this paper. We want to find partners. You can be one of them. It is easy to contribute to this presentation as can be seen later. English is the common language of the presentation and the main search system. There will also be national pages in several other languages linked to HiED.
We try to motivate members of the national educational development networks to electronically publish ideas for teaching and learning as printed in leaflets and pamphlets and other non-copyrighted material. This material will also be linked to the HiED Web. We invite experts in different areas of Higher Education Development to publish their ideas on their university mainframe so they can be linked to the HiED Web. Everybody who visits the HiED home page is invited to contribute. By clicking "contribute" you find another page explaining different ways to contribute and a form for contributors.
Members of staff and educational development networks in member states are also invited to join mailing lists and visit conferences of ICED and educational development networks in different member states. Thus interaction through the Internet can also lead to sharing of ideas face to face and to personal friendship. The first place where you can meet other HiED contributors is the International ICED '96 Conference in Vasa (Vaasa), Finland, June 13-14, 1996. This conference, "Preparing University Teachers", is also announced at the HiED Web pages, where you can find the program of these two days, pictures of the venue and examples of the social activities. Other similar conferences will be announced later at the HiED pages.
In the UK a national project is under way to establish an 'electronic magazine' on teaching and learning in higher education, based at London Guildhall university under the direction of James Wisdom. Its information sources will be structured as a matrix with teaching within disciplines on one axis and topics (such as assessment) on the other. It will operate by commissioning overviews and outline frameworks on sources, case studies, key experts, etc, and 'publish' these as a prompt for viewers to react to and contribute to. Edited contributions will be added to the data base. The emphasis will be on structured organic growth controlled and edited by discipline and topic experts, rather than on random accumulation of unfiltered and unstructured material.
The pilot disciplines include Geography and the first topics include preparing university teachers. The growth of information and reader reactions and debates will be linked to other forms of communication such as journals and conferences. For example the material on preparing university lecturers has produced a debate and an accumulation of material which is being summarised as a keynote presentation at the International Consortium on Educational Development conference entitled 'preparing university teachers' in Finland in June 1996 and the outcomes of this conference are being published in a special issue of the International Journal of Educational Development. HiED can in the future contains the links to information in different countries, while the FIGIT electronic magazine will collect descriptions of good practice among educational developers. These two services will supplement one another in order to support teaching and learning in higher education all over the world.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper & Row.
Ellsworth, J. H. (1994). Education on the Internet. Indianapolis, IN: Sams.
Kroll, E. (1994). The whole Internet: User's guide and catalog. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly.
McCloskey, P. (1995). Foreword. In J. R. Levine & C. Baroudi, Internet for Dummies. San Mateo, CA: International Data Group.
OpM (1995). Suornalaisen tietoyhteiskunnan kehittaminen opetusministerion toimenpideohjelma vuosiksi 1995-1999. Helsinki: Opetusministerid.
Pool, T. S., Blanchard, S. M. & Hale, S. A. (1995). From over the Internet. TechTrends, 40(1) (January- February), 24-25.
UvM (1995). Kunskapsstrategi fur utbildning och forskning. Helsingfors: Undervisningsministeriet.
Wagner, J. (1995). Using the Internet in Vocational Education. ERIC Digest No. 160. Columbus, OH: ERIC/ ACVE.
1) that we have an international organisation for educational development which
students can find
educational developers can find
|Author: Rainer Nyberg, EdD|
Abo Akademi University
Box 311, FIN-65 101 Vasa, Finland
Fax: + 358 61 324 7302. Phone: + 358 61 324 7344
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