Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World

Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World is a report on the impact on higher education of students’ widespread use of Web 2.0 technologies. The report was published in March 2009 by the Committee of Inquiry into the Changing Learner Experience.

The report concluded that today’s learners exist in a digital age which implies access to, and use of, a range of Social Web tools and software that provide gateways to a multiplicity of interactive resources for information, entertainment and, not least, communication.

Key findings of the report included:

  • The digital divide, the division between the digital ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’, has not been entirely overcome and persists in several dimensions: in access to, and engagement with, technology; the capability of the technology; and in individual competence.
  • Use of Web 2.0 technologies is nevertheless high and pervasive across all age groups from 11 to 15 upwards.
  • Using Web 2.0 technologies leads to development of a new sense of communities of interest and networks, and also of a clear notion of boundaries in web space – for example personal space (messages), group space (social networking sites such as Facebook) and publishing space (blogs and social media sites such as YouTube).
  •  There is an area within the boundaries of the so-called group space that could be developed to support learning and teaching.
  • The processes of engaging with Web 2.0 technologies develop a skill set that matches both to views on 21st century learning skills and to those on 21st-century employability skills – communication, collaboration, creativity, leadership and technology proficiency.
  •  Information literacies, including searching, retrieving, critically evaluating information from a range of appropriate sources and also attributing it – represent a significant and growing deficit area.

Read the entire report (including recommendations) online: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/publications/heweb20rptv1.pdf.