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Message from Paris: Information is not knowledge

9-11 June 2015, Paris – International Council of Open and Distance Education (ICDE) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) hosted a Global High level Policy Forum “Online, Open, and Flexible Higher Education for the Future We Want – From statements to action: equity, access, and quality learning outcomes”

Aim of the Forum was to result in a sustainable vision and strategic directions in support of harnessing the potential of online, open and distance education to support students in the 21st century knowledge society. The Paris message – as it was named – contains 16 actions targeted at governments and institutions addressing the challenges and proposing concrete and urgent actions.

Students had strong voice at the Forum, rising concerns about quality of learning versus pure information provision, assesment procedures, teacher and student support systems, all in light of the new paradigm shift towards Student-Centred Learning where students are taking active role in their education as equal partners, where standardisation of pedagogical approaches and MOOCs are insuficient. Our Executive Committee Member Tijana Isoski presented what students need to experience from their teachers that will make a difference to equity in outcomes in higher education, basing her argumentation on PASCL project (Peer Assessment of Student-Centred Learning) and the survey among student representatives about teaching methods and teacher support in EHEA. We need teachers to be our guides and support trough learning experience, but alowing us students to take the steering wheel as equal partners in the process. We need problem based learning, being given a chance to think, understand and perform our knowledge. Presentation can be found here.
Participants highlighted importance of Online, Open and Flexible Higher Education, especially for lifelong learning (LLL) but rised concerns about quality of educational experience. While all information can be put online and shared with everyone with access to internet, highlighting that worldwide this is still a major issue, knowledge as the essence of higher education can not be provided just trough recorded lectures. Lectures are in fact the main source of unsadisfaction among students when it comes to teaching methods. Methods together with curriculum needs to be constantly revised and evaluated involving students and taking into consideration their needs and feedback. Even though open educational resources do not provide universal solution for access and knowledge availability, they can contribute in many ways and we need strong policy to support it- concluded the Forum.


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