Monday, July 23, 2007

Disaggregated Education

There was an interesting article in the Chronice of Higher Education last week (brought to my attention by the redoubtable Andy Havens) about iTunes U, and a course on the future of the internet which has been rapidly moving up the iTunes U best-seller list.

It seems to me that in the future, disaggregated education is going to grow in popularity and facility. Imagine if you could take courses from the world's best teachers, regardless of where you or they wanted to live or who wanted to tenure them or even if they were still alive. (My favorite professor of all time, Dr. Milton Plesur, should have been recorded and saved for posterity. That man could make American history come alive like no one else.) Then you could sit for examinations based on the canon of knowledge needed in that field (law, biology, English literature) to gain your own accreditation. Yes, it would be harder for The Ohio State University to organize its football team under these conditions. (The "OSU World of WarCraft Buckeyes," anyone?) However, there are certain advantages that seem apparent.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree George. Having just completed the college search with my oldest child, I noticed some institutions are protecting themselves against this inevitability by emphasizing the "community of learning" and the sense of "place" and the "human exchange" at their colleges. Pat Martin

Anonymous said...

An interesting future, and one in which libraries will be even more confusing. Which, if any, library will be able to support students studying in such a piecemeal fashion? Will I be fulfilling the document delivery needs of a student taking a single open course here? Will vendors allow me to provide database access to that student? Will that student have access to more than one library database and/or physical collection, should s/he be taking open courses at many institutions? Or will these students be left with no library support for their open education? :-/

Anonymous said...

It sounds more like the British system than what we're used to. I would love to live in that world!