A Monash University expert has questioned the place of digital technology for higher education, finding that sometimes the old way is still the best for students and teachers.

In the lead-up to a full-length live discussion, education researcher Professor Neil Selwyn has touched on a few of the talking points surrounding teaching, technology and the modern age.

“What we do with digital technologies in universities should be a direct reflection of our values regarding learning, teaching, research and scholarship” Professor Selwyn says.

“A lot of the new digital technology is actually strengthening and reinforcing long-standing problems in higher education that have been put in place 20, 30, 40 years ago. Teaching and learning is often still about instruction rather than interaction, and assessed work rather than active learning. We haven’t radically changed higher education.”

Prof Selwyn is planning to discuss the recent hype of internet-based education in the form of ‘MOOCs’, which he says: “seem to be simply increasing participation amongst people already involved in university-level education, rather than widening participation to those who were previously not able to.”

The public presentation, to be held on October 15 at the John Monash Science School, will also discuss ways that less desirable trends might be challenged, and possibly changed for the better.

“Technology poses a lot of questions, but certainly doesn’t provide solutions.

“As educators we should be interested in issues such as the public good, equality of opportunity and stimulating learners’ curiosity and imaginations,” Prof Selwyn says

“Yet all too often the dominant values of our educational technology are about administration and auditing, control and regulation. We really need to debate what digital education is for, and what are we trying to achieve.”

More information is available here.