Reconsidering Teachers’ Roles (IV). Yehuda Elkana & Hannes Klöpper: Higher Education Curricula, Technology and the Changing Role of the Teacher in the 21st Century

Notes from the UOC UNESCO Chair in e-Learning VIII International Seminar: Teacher Training: Reconsidering Teachers’ Roles, held in Barcelona, Spain, on October 6-7, 2011. More notes on this event: eLChair11.

Yehuda Elkana, Max Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, former President and Rector of the Central European University, Budapest, Hungary.
Hannes Klöpper, Founding Member of, Germany
Higher Education Curricula, Technology and the Changing Role of the Teacher in the 21st Century

We have to both rethink what we are teaching and how we are teaching it.

Subjects, people, systems and problems are now connected. Thus, dividing knowledge into disciplines seems not like the best approach to tackle with problems nowadays. Indeed, there is no universal model suiting every situation.

We are living in a new enlightenment that takes us from local universalism to global contextualism, we need a new movement that deals with new contexts.

A first thing to be addressed is the university curriculum. The curriculum structure is a barrier for change, and it does not represent the world as it is now. There is a need for curriculum reform as a pre-requisite for any kind of reform.

Universities and education in general should consist in interacting with and strengthening the communities they form part of. And people have to learn that no man is an island.

What the world needs is fast learners and adaptive problem solvers. Are Universities providing that? They have to be not critical thinkers within the frameworks that they are given, but critical thinkers about the frameworks themselves.

We need to go beyond training for the workforce or the transmission of knowledge, but towards challenging the system itself.

Standard undergraduate courses should be imparted in parallel with real-life based experimental seminars.


Pere Fabra: so, what are we doing wrong? how do we evolve towards a new paradigm or model?
Julià Minguillón: people usually enrol in a course, not a competence. So, how do we move forward? Klöpper: Surely there is a lot of room for deep transformations, not only evolutions or smooth movements.

Q: Concerning curriculum, is not only a technological or a methodological issue, but also political issues concur. How do you cope with that? Klöpper: certainly academic freedom is a must in order to have independence to propose and perform any desired changes. But it is neither academic freedom to pose resistance to change, pleading independence to put barriers to progress.

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UOC UNESCO Chair in Elearning VIII International Seminar: Teacher Training: Reconsidering Teachers' Roles (2011)