Tuesday 18 February 2014

New Offices for Southwark Council opened

Southwark Council are currently occupying the third and final building at Queens Road in Peckham, a major component in their Modernise 2 programme. This has been part of a continued rationalisation and upgrading of their workplace facilities including a Customer Contact Centre and space for administrative staff brought together from a number of locations. AMA with Mott McDonald and Overbury have helped the Council provide consistently more effective and appropriate spaces that not only bring the users together in the heart of the Borough, but also release other buildings and sites for better uses.
This follows on from the Council’s Modernise 1 programme which created an efficient and effective centralised facility for approximately 2000 workplaces in Tooley Street in 2009.

Inside Southwark's Queen's Road Offices
All pictures © AMA 2013

Tuesday 11 February 2014

The Future of Massive Open Online Courses

The burgeoning MOOC - Massive Open Online Courses - community of Europe met this week in the Rolex Learning Centre in Switzerland’s EPFL, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. This stunning and original building by global star-chitects SANAA, one of the most expensive university libraries in the world, is a symbol of belief in the power of place for the student experience in traditional universities, an ironic though attractive, location in which to debate the disruptive educational model of MOOCs at the eMOOC's 2014 European MOOCs Stakeholders Summit.

Over 400 attendees from universities and developers of the main MOOC platforms – Cousera, EdX, Miriada X, Canvas networks, Open2study, Futurelearn, France Université Numérique, iversity, among others – heard illuminating presentations on the benefits and pitfalls of MOOCs. The statistics are clear –  many people register for a MOOC, few become learners (i.e. watch at least one session), and even fewer complete the course and receive a certificate – typically around 5% of the registered learners. Most learners already have a university education, many at Masters level or above.

Two takeaway lessons for this learner. First, the possibility of MOOCs has forced traditional universities and colleges to focus on their existing students and the best form of pedagogy to ensure that both face-to-face and online learning are as good as they can be. Second, and most inspiring, is that MOOCs may in fact deliver a huge increase in global education excellence, improving dramatically equity of educational opportunity, especially for people of the ‘global south’.

Conference Twitter feed: #eMOOCs2014

Rolex Learning Centre © Wikimedia Commons license
Rolex Learning Centre © Alexi Marmot
What are MOOCs? © Creative Commons license