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Dog says The Bigger need is total reform of general education. Technology, MOOCs, etc can play a role in this but my fear is that we will just retrofit into our existing and highly broken Gen Ed model and simply outsource students getting credit by taking X 101
Universities survived movable type, and they will survive the internet. Things won't change until 18-year-olds start deciding they want live at home with their parents until they are 22, and their parents agree. Or their parents decide they don't care if their own kids get a head-start on the other kids. In other words, we'll be here forever.
So said dinosaurs, newspaper printers, catalog makers, paper phone book publishers, record stores, Compact Discs, etc... "We'll be here forever..." I am not saying all higher ed is going online, but more professors, administrators and their universities better wake up and deliver a better product more efficiently, or they will be left standing in the dust saying "We were supposed to be here forever..."
You've got to have a better argument than "look Dinosaurs went extinct, you could too". Of course we should continue to strive to impart knowledge more efficiently, but that's been true since before the UO was founded.
I didn't just list dinosaurs... Just realize the landscape is changing. I'm not saying an apple should become an orange, but times they are a changing and I know too may in higher ed that cling to outdated traditions. Granted there are a number of fantastic professors who adapt and grow and deliver fantastic courses, but there are also too many who rigidly refuse to bend and one day will break.
For me the interesting thing is the interaction between academic settings, which it isn't clear what we are maximizing, and for profit companies, where its clear what we maxiziming. Elsevier and other for profit publishers have been two steps ahead when it has come to pricing strategy. Its as if we don't realize the universities are paying tons of money to journals for content the we are creating. Why do the publishers get keep all of that money, when the authors/editors/referees get essentially nothing? We are paying publishers money to access stuff that we are writing.....when are academics going to realize the millions that libraries pay each for licenses to journals could be going to stuff we care about? When other economic agents have clear incentives, and ours are not well defined, not surprising the other agents figure out how to extract the rents.
The internet is eagerly waiting to alter higher education, and radically. Particularly graduate education. If you doubt that it will happen, you are the next laid-off New York Times editor who 10 years ago confidently said she'd make it to retirement.
We're almost 15 years into the internet and it has altered education, but not in the ways being proposed here. But it's always a kick to read prognostications like those from Bog that are so sure of themselves.
The time frame is irrelevant. There is a point whena disruptive innovation becomes relevant and we are nearing it. It's not about the "experience" - that is a university/faculty point of view that ignores what many of our students/ families want: a credential at a reasonable cost. We are slowly losing the cost battle. If we start losing the credential monopoly, the disruptive innovation kicks in.The move is in this direction.http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/02/07/ace-deems-5-massive-open-courses-worthy-credit
Have you ever taken an on-line class? Yes, they can be helpful--but they are not at all equivalent to attending a class--especially a good class. Yes--to compete, the University will have to provide classes that are worth attending in person (many aren't)--but a good in-person class teaches you a lot more than any on-line class ever could.The Administration recently decided to charge LESS for on-line credits--giving students an incentive to take on-line classes over regular classes. The Union needs to address this. My guess is no faculty were asked about this "cheapening" of our degree. We will soon be "The University of Phoenix in Oregon" or some such.
Not to mention the instructor of an in-person class can actually write a meaningful letter of recommendation. Those seem to still have some meaning to employers gauging by the number of requests I get every year.
I'm not sure that Mr. Nesbitt, despite his exalted position as governor's advisor on higher education, knows what "methodology" means. While the form of a seminar (like the one he describes at PSU) may be old, I sincerely doubt any educator is using the same methodology used "centuries ago." In fact I doubt any educator is using the same methodology used thirty years ago. Disciplines evolve, and approaches within the discipline change--whether the content is delivered in a seminar or on line. What's scary here is that a person who has such power over education knows so little about its fundamentals.
The Larger need is complete change of common knowledge. Technological innovation, MOOCs, etc can be a factor in this but my worry is that we will just retrofit into our current and extremely damaged Gen Ed design.
What is "extremely damaged" about our Gen Ed design? Just curious. Every one (including dogs) seems to take this for granted, but without saying why. Surely the current Gen Ed design is the one we ourselves instituted--faculty and admin together--and can therefore be changed.
Dog SaysI have actually written about this nationally but in brief,a) Gen ED is usually delivered via the Mass Lecture approachwhich serves no one, in my opinionb) Gen ED does a poor job of addressing real world problems and an even poorer job of being interdisciplinary.In general the gen ed curriculum is the same as it was post WWII - X 101 in some discipline.c) general ed needs to be more skill focussedAttached is one of many examples one can find in the literature:#2: The Transformation of the General Education CurriculumIn survey after survey, corporate executives and the heads of their human resources departments say that they are looking to hire college graduates with well-developed writing, oral communications, and interpersonal skills and with global cultural awareness and understanding, whatever the graduates' majors might be. At the same time, these surveys suggest that employers have identified a deficit of these skills among college graduates. "While many businesses understand the value of hiring liberal arts graduates," notes Mark William Roche, "many hire business majors and then lament that their new employees lack the most important quality they seek: communications skills."5 Students, assuming that employers are interested only in their majors, frequently dismiss their general education courses. Faculties, for their part, are loath to conceptualize their general education and liberal arts courses as career-preparation and skills-building endeavors. In other words, there are disconnects among employers' stated preferences for graduates with the skills typically developed in the general curriculum, employers' commitment to hiring graduates who have demonstrated ability in these subjects, students' seriousness of purpose for their general education courses, and faculty's commitment to see general education in practical, vocational terms."General education," or the core curriculum, is in many ways a vestige of the nineteenth-century common curriculum—the subjects, studied in sequence, that defined a college/university education for every student. The rise of the elective system at the turn of the twentieth century meant that students could concentrate on a subject of their choice, a change that challenged the philosophy that all students should master a common set of subjects. General education was meant to maintain at least the spirit of that older curriculum, mandating classes that would provide all students with a broad grounding in a variety of subjects that would enable a generally educated person to work and live in the world. After World War II, as more and more students streamed into colleges and universities, the elective system became wedded more closely to post-graduation employment needs: students majored in a subject they expected to pursue as a career.
Dog references http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/changing-landscape-higher-educationhas many points relevant to many discussions currently occurring on UOmatters
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