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Collaborating online

Martin Bean, Vice Chancellor of the Open University gave a visionary and inspiring presentation on October 21st about a collective challenge we face in contemporary cultures of connectivity and access to information to transform the availability of such vast quantities of data into meaningful knowledge. Speaking at a conference convened by DASSH UK (the representative body of Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities in universities and higher education institutions throughout the UK), Bean focused on the shift he sees now for universities from a digital offer that simply packages information (the podcast lecture etc), to the support of communities of learners, underpinned by a constructivist understanding of learning processes (interactive apps and ebooks, online groups etc). Education, he suggested, has to collaborate with social networking. There is huge potential here. But he added that such a change will also be disruptive, not least because it challenges the standard models of large, fixed courses accredited by the Higher Education sector. However, what is needed, he argued, are structures that enable combinations of formal and informal engagement, scaffolding paths of enquiry through content, an open social cloud environment, smaller milestones that can be accredited, online offers populated with mentors. For more, see www.dassh.org.uk

In a nutshell

So why should you be interested in Learning in and through the Performing Arts?

The collaborative processes of the performing arts open a pandora's box of possibilities for artistic, personal and organizational development. They are subtle and multi-layered, embodied practices that can yield much more than what individuals bring to them, creatively and in terms of human exchange. My work is about continuing to develop these processes for the twenty-first century, so that artists can adapt to their changing contexts and enable their work to take root as creative entrepreneurs, and so that the processes of the arts can be shared and enhanced through exchange with other disciplines and across cultural contexts.