Stretching the Mold: Web Applications as a Tool for Change

B. Collis (The Netherlands)


Web-based applications, course management systems, change in higher education, flexibility, stretching the mold.


In response to changing student populations and more competition among institutions, higher education is changing in a number of ways. One involves gradually offering students more choices in ways which "stretch the mold" of campus-based participation and traditional approaches to teaching and learning. In this paper, the Stretching the Mold Model is described and validated and the role of Web applications in this stretching process is discussed, with a particular example that illustrates normal practice at the University of Twente. A tool and guidelines for making "stretching the mold" more purposeful and systematic are described. Through stretching the mold, progress is being made to an eventual "New Economy" in higher education where students will have flexibility in both external and internal course organization as well as pedagogy. Web applications and in particular tools for reusable learning resources are critical in this evolution.

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