So after the summer break, students have arrived on mass to be introduced to the new city, the university, the various student associations, the student culture by the older students dressed up in some colourful boiler suit covered with patches from various interests and activities the student has accomplished over their time at the University. The woop… wooping has died down, the different types of music blaring out in different locations at campus are replaced by doors shutting and the learning begins.
I can’t help but reflect on the different leadership roles they will be meeting whilst learning in their different learning styles and wonder how they will perform, conform or quite simply leave and pursue another direction all together.
They will most likely meet a Hierarchical Individual leader, some one who makes sure they focus on clear performance targets, bringing the external requirements from Academia into the work & practice of their teaching, they will also meet many that are a Hierarchical collective leader who will add values and norms to their lessons building relationships with their students so that they build a strong community together based on trust (but only the trust that does not require input from all the students), before a decision can be made.
But there are 2 other leader types they will meet if they are lucky, (though I am biased of course) which are very few and far between:
The Distributed individual leader, a leader that responds to learner needs, who is not afraid to embark on new entrepreneurial ways of teaching and who likes to inspire a team of collaborators with diverse knowledge and skill-sets.
And the Distributed Collective leader, someone who inspires individuals to operate in networked relationships, motivating the students to share resources they have found and create a community of practice.
The beginning of the new leadership/faculty roles in education has begun. I am facilitating the course at KTH I took last spring, we have 12 enthusiastic faculty members that will be starting a new Open networked learning course in collaboration with Karolinska Institutet, Lund University, Linnaeus University, (Sweden) and Independent Institute of Education (IIE) (South Africa).
This course is to teach our faculty to involve inquiry into their own practice, give them an opportunity to explore and try collaborative learning in an open online learning environment with colleagues from different universities, disciplines and cultures (nationally as well as internationally).
It’s a matter of choice of what type of organisation we want to work in, what type of learning environment we want to work in, but also as a leader we need to be responsible in shaping that environment.
As EdX Rob Lue Faculty director quoted in Leaders of Learning
“I’m quite convinced that leading in digital education does require a taste for uncertainty. That ultimately, actually, I think leading in general requires a taste for uncertainty.There’s nothing I can think of where everything is certain. I do think what’s important, or exciting, in fact, about the space that we’re in right now in terms of digital education, is that the landscape is changing. So that we need to build an organisation and a leadership style that allows for a process of learning, a process of deep adaptation, as the environment changes very dramatically”.
- edX Leaders of Learning
- The community of Inquiry
- Community of practice Wikipedia definition
- Open Networked learning
- From Instructor to effective Online facilitator
From Instructor To Effective Online Facilitator