World Bank Webinar
April 1, 2020
Phil Hill –
Panel on The Great Pivot Online or Crisis Pedagogy? How to Support Higher Education’s Response to COVID-19.
The closure of college campuses is leading our client countries to scramble for virtual solutions. Some commentators are seeing this as a watershed moment for higher education across the globe: the ‘Great Pivot Online’. While that may be true, it’s not too late to pause and reflect on the best strategy to follow. For one, most students around the world still don’t have easy access to broadband or devices, while many universities and faculty aren’t quite ready to deploy so fast.
Secondly, there are strong path dependencies to technology adoption: as people become familiar with a technology, they find it difficult to adopt new (and better) solutions. Thirdly, there are strong information asymmetries in the market: we tend to hear about new technologies through word-of-mouth, rather than through diligent market research. Beyond these issues, there are other complexities to consider as well, such as contracting, procurement and licensing. The good news is that governments, higher education and the private sector have been investing for decades in connectivity and online learning strategies. There is a mature and competitive market with several well-known big players, open-source solutions, as well as some smaller new entrants. This is a key reason why some countries and some universities were able to transfer their operations online quickly. This clinic will try to help TTLs navigate some of these questions facing the EdTech market and showcase some initiatives being proposed. While mentioning the short-term, the focus of the clinic will be on the medium-term of the COVID response (i.e. the next six months).