Prof. Jim Taylor AM
Australian Digital Futures Institute
University of Southern Queensland
Professor Taylor began his career in educational teaching in 1974 as a lecturer in Educational Psychology at Charles Sturt University, NSW, Australia. In 1980 he moved to the University of Southern Queensland where he has held many positions including: Associate Head (Academic Services) of the Distance Education Centre; Professor and Director of the Distance Education Centre; Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the Global Learning Services; and in January 2009 he took up his current position of Professor of the Australian Digital Futures Institute.
His research interests have been focused on distance learning and more recently e-learning technologies. In 1999 he won the ICDE Individual Prize of Excellence which is awarded for having an active role in the International Council for Open and Distance Education and internationally over many years with significant contributions made to research and development in the field of open and distance learning. In 2007 he was awarded the Australian Learning and Teaching Council Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning for 25 years of sustained leadership in enhancing the quality of open and distance learning in higher education, both in Australia and internationally. Most recently, in 2009, he was appointed Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia for service to tertiary education, particularly in the areas of open learning, on-line and distance education, as an academic, researcher and administrator.
Professor Taylor's numerous publications include 27 articles on distance and e-learning. He has had extensive experience, both in Australia and overseas, in undertaking consultancy work related to instructional design and distance education. His has given over 50 conference presentations on distance learning and e-learning.
The increasing impact of the global financial crisis demands a proactive approach to the management of higher education institutions. Because of significant shifts in societal demand for access to higher education, variations in student demographics and present fiscal constraints, institutions of higher education need to devise and implement an organizational development strategy to ensure that blended learning become a structurally integrated element of the processes of learning and teaching. A recent special edition of International Higher Education focused on the demographic trends associated with the emerging universal aspiration for access to higher education, and associated projections that global student numbers will almost double to reach 160 million by 2025 (Klemencic, M. & Fried, J. 2007). In a similar vein, Alex Usher (2007) of the Educational Policy Institute predicted that at current rates of world wide growth, the number of students in post-secondary education will more than double in less than ten years. The fact that conventional classroom-based approaches to teaching and learning will not be capable of meeting this escalating demand for higher education is not widely acknowledged and represents a major leadership challenge. The need for innovative practices supported by new technologies to improve the productivity of teachers and learners has never been greater. In both developed and developing countries, blended learning -- with the majority of the educational process being delivered via the Internet -- will provide the only viable cost-effective means of sustaining flexible access to education and training opportunities. For institutions to survive and thrive in the increasingly complex environment of higher education, it is imperative that leaders generate an organizational development strategy, which will lead to blended learning becoming the core approach to learning and teaching.