Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Online Tertiary Education

Thomas Friedman wrote an article in the NYTimes about the "revolution" in Universities .
Revolution Hits the Universities
Nothing has more potential to let us reimagine higher education than massive open online course, or MOOC, platforms.
I think this is a wonderful development and one that I have eagerly awaited. Having access to great education opportunities without having to travel will help me become a better evaluator. Already I visit www.betterevaluation.org; www.mymande.org and www.statistics.com for some of my personal capacity development needs. I might pursue formal credentialing some time in the future via this route.

I acknowledge that this move to online training is  a juggernaut that will not be stopped. I just wonder what the systemic effects will be? How much "blood" will be shed in this "revolution" before the necessary checks and balances will be implemented? As with all revolutions, its not going to have good effects for everybody!

One category of "deaths" that I foresee is that of the average university professor as a teacher.

 If everyone does a course with the "best" prof. in the world, the second and third best profs won't have teaching jobs anymore. The effects might be that we could end up with a dangerously monolithic way of thinking, with all kinds of implications for how we define problems, seek answers and develop the body of scientific knowledge. On the other hand, a common language may finally emerge, allowing more people to stand on the shoulders of giants to reach for diverse solutions in their diverse contexts.

Back when TV was introduced we had no idea what impact it will eventually have. I think we are standing in that exact same spot again...

No comments: