Final Report

The final report of the President's Committee on Disruptive Technology was submitted by the committee April 9, 2015.  The report contains six recommendations, and summarizes the activity of the committee. 

Six Key Recommendations

The six key recommendations are:

  1. Develop Online Courses and Online Programs
  2. Use New and Existing Video-Conferencing Infrastructure to Deliver Bi-campus Courses
  3. Provide Stable Funding for Innovation
  4. Foster a Culture of Innovation
  5. Leverage "Open"
  6. Join the MOOC Movement

The committee also recommends that its work should be concluded, and that the operational work of carrying out the recommendations be done through currently operating units including:

  • Centre for Enhanced Teaching and Learning (Fredericton)
  • Centre for Teaching & Learning (Saint John)
  • Joint AUNBT/UNB Impact of Technology Committee
  • College of Extended Learning
  • Faculties and departments on both campuses
Recommendation 1 - Develop Online Courses and Online Programs

In order to encourage the development of online courses the process for revenue allocation should be reviewed. Growth in audiences outside the local community has typically been a result of the creation of whole programs rather than individual courses (e.g. MEd, OHS Certificate/Diploma). Faculties and departments need sufficient financial incentive to develop and deliver online programs and UNB should create an environment that encourages the creation and delivery of more online programs. We recommend that UNB identifies and develops a pilot online program based on a new more attractive business model. Ideally this would be a bi-campus credit program, such as a course-based Masters degree.

Recommendation 2 - Use New and Existing Video-Conferencing (VC) Infrastructure to Deliver Bi-campus courses

Currently about 5 courses per term are delivered between the campuses using videoconferencing technologies. These include SOCI, APSC, EDUC, NURS and others.  Most of these courses are delivered from Fredericton, a few delivered from Saint John, and occasionally they are co-taught with instruction from both campuses. The committee recommends that Academic Units on both campuses identify courses that would be good candidates for video-conference delivery, and develop processes for recognizing units who extend their classroom to the other campus.  The existing facilities and support services (McLaggan 015 (F),  Oland Hall 120, 203, and Hans W. Klohn Commons 107 (SJ)) are existing facilities, but may not be sufficient for the need. There is also potential for leveraging existing infrastructure: Cisco (VoIP), Microsoft (Lync, Sharepoint, Exchange) and Polycom. Options should be explored to handle growth in this area.

Recommendation 3 - Provide Stable Funding for Innovation

Based on the work of the DT Committee the University has adopted Poll Everywhere,  a single classroom response system, but the ongoing  funding is perilous. The pilot projects for a classroom response system was funded from the Student Technology Fee (Saint John) and departmental budgets (Fredericton).  This points to the need for stable  funding for innovative projects. We recommend the CETL ‘Teaching & Learning Priority Fund’ as a model for handling the submissions, adjudication, and administration for funding innovative projects.

Recommendation 4 - Foster a Culture of Innovation

We recommend that a web presence be created and supported that documents and celebrates existing innovative uses of technology for teaching and learning at UNB. We also recommend that there be ongoing workshops and conferences, such as the #DisruptED2013: How innovative forces are changing higher education (Appendix III).  There is already a group sharing of bookmarks on disruptive technology in higher education that can also be nurtured. Other ideas for encouraging a culture of innovation include secondments and work exchanges for innovative projects.

Recommendation 5 - Leverage Open

Open Educational Resources, Open Journals, Open Research Data, Open Textbooks, Open Source Software - the culture of Open has a transformative power. The recent Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications  and the policy based at both UNB Senates have highlighted the need for institutional support for open access. We recommend support for the UNB Scholar Research Repository, and funding for the  Proposal to Encourage the Adoption of Open Educational Resources: Improving Student Outcomes Through Open Textbooks (Appendix IV) as a start.

Recommendation 6 - Join the MOOC Movement

Now that the hype cycle is reaching the slope of enlightenment it is time for UNB to develop at least one MOOC and to consider how UNB students will gain recognition for learning outside of the traditional face-to-face classroom. We recommend that Prior Learning Assessment be explored as a way to give credit to students completing learning through MOOCs delivered at UNB or elsewhere.

The full report with appendices may be downloaded here.