The Jig is Up

A brief history of the impending transformation of post-secondary education, just to clarify where we are, followed by some commentary. Dates are approximate as I’m working from memory on an airplane. Perhaps later I’ll turn this into a proper piece of writing with supporting links, etc., if folks find it interesting.

7x – The internet. Data can be routed from computer to computer. The cost of copying and distributing content begins its drop toward zero.

8x – Free software. The data that can be routed from computer to computer, including software source code, can be licensed in a way that guarantees users are free to tinker with and redistribute it.

9x – The web. The link is born (apologies to Nelson), and documents can be connected to one another.

9x – Courses go online. Syllabi and readings appear on faculty personal pages. Homework submission over email. The LMS will soon follow.

98 – Open source. Free software moves from the philosophical (software “should” be free) to the pragmatic (“things work better when source code is liberally licensed”). Several non-FSF approaches to sharing are brought under a common umbrella (Apache, BSD, etc.).

98 – Open content. Open licensing moves beyond software to all copyrightable works – photos, music, videos, and writings – including all forms of educational content. While the cost of copying and redistributing syllabi, readings, etc. has been approaching zero since the inception of the internet, there is now a legal way to leverage this technical capability.

0x – Blogs and wikis. Blogs democratize online publishing – anyone who can get to an internet-connected computer has a worldwide audience at no cost. Wikis drastically decrease the complexities involved in collaborative writing.

01 – Creative Commons – The rickety open content licenses are replaced by solid legal documents with better branding and a more capable, charismatic leader. The fledgling open content movement takes off.

02 – MIT OCW – MIT commits to publish much of the materials used in its classroom instruction as open content using a Creative Commons license.

04 – Open teaching (aka Wiley wiki model). Distribution of syllabi and readings via an open wiki, which the world (including students) can read and edit. Assignment submission by public blog posting, which the world (including other students) can read and comment on. Interaction and discussion between on-campus / registered students, off-campus / unregistered students, and faculty on public blogs and on the wiki.

07 – Unofficial Certificates. Open call for participation by the public in a university class operating on an open teaching model. Unofficial, non-credit-bearing certificates without the university brand are awarded to unregistered participants who complete course requirements. Formal students at other universities register for independent study credits at their home institution, and with the help of a cooperating faculty member convert their certificate into local credits they can apply toward graduation.

08 – MOOC – Open teaching scaled to thousands of students, with much greater flexibility given to learners.

10 – Badges – A standard approach / technology is proposed for credentialing informal learning achievements (like those earned by unregistered participants in an open teaching scenario). The validity of badges can be verified by third parties. (Note: nothing prevents badges from being awarded for formal learning experiences.)

11 – Stanford AI Class – Open teaching hits the public eye with 100,000 informal participants in an AI class offered by faculty at Stanford. Additional courses from Stanford are offered.

11 – MIT MITx – MIT announces that in 2012 it will launch an open teaching initiative under the MITx brand (TEDx, anyone?), but will charge an “affordable” fee for the end-of-course credential. The media goes crazy for this “revolutionary, no-admission-requirement approach,” apparently unaware of the dozens of open universities throughout the world. MITx announces it will open source the MITx platform, apparently unaware that competitors will use its open content and its open platform to initiate a race-to-the-bottom price war for its alternative credentials. (And no, the NC clause will not help them here.)

So here we find ourselves on the brink of 2012. Add (1) the current state of affairs described above with (2) the “Or Equivalent” language on every employer’s job description I have written about previously, and you get (3) imminent revolution in post-secondary education. Let me spell it out in case you’re having trouble putting the pieces together.

Say I’m Google, and I need to hire an engineer. My job ad requirement says “BS in Computer Science or equivalent.” I get two applicants. The first has a BS in Computer Science from XYZ State College. The second has certificates of successful completion for open courses in data structures and algorithms, artificial intelligence, and machine learning from Stanford and MITx. Do you think I’ll seriously consider candidate two? You bet I will.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the end of the tyranny of the degree. When big name employers accept another credential in place of a Bachelors, the jig is up for higher ed.

And it will absolutely happen during 2012. Before the year ends we’ll read stories of people who don’t have a degree landing very respectable jobs partially on the strength of these a la carte, informal credentials earned in an open teaching model. Now, this is not another typical “any day now something really cool is going to happen” empty ed tech prediction. This is an absolute, guaranteed certainty. The seed is in the ground, the sun will keep shining, the rain will keep falling, and there will absolutely be a harvest by year end. (I can’t help but point out here that back in 2009 I predicted that MIT would create a for-pay, online offering around its open content by 2012).

What are the potential impacts on the higher ed sector over the next five to seven years? A few modest ones come immediately to mind:

- As soon as employers start publicly accepting these alternative credentials, there will be a market for additional providers. A market means entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs mean innovation. Some of the innovation will benefit students in new, unimagined ways. Some of the “innovation” will find new ways to pillage and plunder from students while providing almost no benefit.

- Employment possibilities based on individual course credentials rather than entire degrees means a decline in traditional university enrollments. Why go into four years’ worth of student loan debt when I can get the eight courses I need for a job in 18 months? People in and out of the university system in 18 months instead of 48 means an instant doubling of higher education capacity in the US. Obama may hit his post-secondary goal for 2020 after all.

- The new employment value of “a la carte aggregation” means a significant decline in general education enrollments. When universities can’t bully students into taking gen ed courses by threatening to withhold their degrees, what will they do? General education will have to be sold to students on its merits rather than placed as roadblocks on the way to the courses they really want. Don’t get me wrong – this is not a screed against general education – I believe there’s significant value in general education. But universities are going to have to sell it to each and every student, individually.

- The drop in general education enrollments will destroy what’s left of the traditional higher ed textbook market, which subsists on volume sales of ridiculously over-priced books into high enrolling gen ed courses. (That is, the drop in enrollments will destroy the market if increasing pressure from openly licensed alternatives hasn’t already done it).

- The drop in general education enrollments will also impact the size of the job market for adjunct faculty.

- These declines in overall enrollments generally and in general education courses specifically will impact higher education’s funding model. However, if the decline in students from the population higher ed currently serves can be made up with new students from previously unserved populations, many people could benefit and funding could remain moderately stable. The transition in marketing, student acquisition, and appropriately serving this new group will not be straightforward.

- And while it goes without saying, a few universities will respond to the new climate by innovating internally (e.g., Stanford and MITx). Most will try to pretend that nothing of importance is actually happening, and that because they are “special” the new rules wouldn’t apply to them even if something was happening. A few won’t realize what is happening until it’s too late and will be caught completely off guard.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this analysis is the degree to which the fate of higher education will be dictated by the whims of industry. If higher education could somehow convince employers to boycott alternative credentials, none of the above would happen. However, because employers want more fine-grained information about candidates (what does a degree in “marketing” mean, anyway?) and students want to spend less time and money on school, this transformation (or one very similar to it) is inevitable.

Golly but it’s an exciting time to be alive!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://www.dr-chuck.com/ Charles Severance

    So finally after lots of folks predicting the end of the education world as “real soon now” for the past 20 years each time the technologies you cite were introduced, you are finally convinced that it is *finally* true that the world to end “real soon now”. And unlike all those other innovations which somehow failed to cause the end of the world, *this* one is right.

    Nothing is as simple as it seems. I would make the following claim: “In 2011, we are closer to the end of the world than we were in 2001″ – about 10 years closer as a matter of fact. I think it is not possible to estimate how much closer we are as a percentage.

    Well written, fun to read but no more correct than the predictions that people have made annually for the past 15 years.

    There is a danger in being a futurist based on “press releases” and “sound bites”.

    I think that by writing this response, I just earned the “Rain on a Parade” badge. I wonder if that qualifies me to work at the New York Times as a journalist… :)

    • http://opencontent.org/blog/ david

      Dr. Chuck,

      Thanks for the critique. No one hates hollow prognosticating more than me. Futurists tend to be very vague; the thing about predictions is that they have to be specific enough to be wrong.

      Shall we put a vanilla milkshake on whether we read a story about a person without a bachelors degree getting a job based on badge-like credentials before the end of 2012? Redeemable at the first conference we both attend in 2013? Then you can publicly call me out and say you have further empirical evidence as to what a wingnut I am. :)

      • http://wikieducator.org/User:Mackiwg Wayne Mackintosh

        Or an MITx learner gaining credit towards a formal degree from one of the 13 founding anchor partners of the OER university network who will be able to accredit OER learning in North America, Asia, Africa and Oceania. Not a certificate of attendance — “real” credit towards credible credentials.

        See recent meeting of founding anchor partners:

        http://wikieducator.org/OER_university/2011.11_OERu_Meeting_summary

        Bring on 2012!

      • Steven

        @David

        It depends on how you plan to measure that affect. I’d argue people have been hired left and right in high paying fields for a VERY long time now without merits of a degree to back them up (and I’m not just referring to hot positions like developer or designer). You can argubly say that in the next year or two, the media will blow it up more than the past decade and possibly that might bring more awareness overall but you certainly can’t say that it doesn’t happen already or have been. And its not as rare as you might think.

      • Pedro Pernías

        David, I’m agree 100% with you when you foresee next future. It is question of time and the actual economic crisis (university budgets reductions and others) probably will accelerate the change. 
        On the other side, in the Europe Union, the university world is quite different than in the USA, (in the administrative sense) probably due the strong  government regulations.  In 2010 “Bolonia” Higher Education system changed the framework for everyone. And probably we need to analyze how the things you announce will impact to the present status quo. Anyway, 2012 will de a flexion point, I’m sure.
        Pedro Pernías

  • http://twitter.com/jamestsanders James Sanders

    I have this vision of large cable companies and universities discussing strategies for maintaining the status quo….

  • http://followersoftheapocalyp.se dkernohan

    “If learning objects ever live up to their press and provide the foundation for an adaptive, generative, scalable learning architecture, teaching and learning as we know them are certain to be revolutionized.”
    David Wiley, “Reusability”, 2000.

    “I don’t think I care if learning objects are dead or not”
    David Wiley, “RIP-ing on Learning Objects”, 2006.

    “And it will absolutely happen during 2012. Before the year ends we’ll read stories of people who don’t have a degree landing very respectable jobs partially on the strength of these a la carte, informal credentials earned in an open teaching model.This is an absolute, guaranteed certainty.”
    David Wiley, “The Jig is Up”, 2011.

    Looking forward to your blogging in 2017, David!

    • http://opencontent.org/blog/ david

      @dkernohan It’s nice to know that someone is paying such close attention to my work.

      It should go without saying that the 2000 quote begins “If they ever live up to the potential,” which does not sound like a very hearty endorsement. But I’m quite confident in my 2012 prediction regarding people getting jobs based on these alternative credentials, and will hold myself accountable for it here on the blog come 2013. You will notice that the last list in the post is labeled “potential impacts,” and while I believe these are very likely, I’m not guaranteeing them.

      • http://followersoftheapocalyp.se dkernohan

        @David thanks for your response. It would be difficult to work in this field and *not* have a working knowledge of your contributions and positions over the past 15 years :-)

        I suppose the point I was making is that everyone who predicts massive revolutionary systemic change is generally wrong, and we are more likely to see a continuation of trends involving (as Stephen, above suggests) web designers and programmers being appointed via portfolios rather than certificates than the kind of wholesale shift you seem to be arguing for.

        I tell you what: if you can show me convincing evidence of a professional position (lawyer, doctor, architect…) being filled by someone with “alternative” credentials during 2011 I’ll buy you a night of beer at OpenEd?

  • http://learningcenter.nsta.org/impact Al Byers

    While the predictions of when the propositions put forth in this post may “lag” and are challenging to definitively predict, I do not think many would argue that the OER movement has advanced significantly beyond those early ruminations from a single institution, right? In general, looking back over time instructional technology (or technology in general) usually has an additive or cumulative effect to the affordances of the technologies that it precedes and/or supplants over time (e.g., video for learning is not new, but now consumable in smaller digestible digital chunks versus analog form, and consumed from wireless portable devices on-demand and “in-situ” ““and may be linked to collaborative discussions of like-minded colleagues in near real time, which may be supplemented with sharing of additional synergistic digital resources to support the same topic””thus, the value of that same video is greatly enhanced). I might suggest that the same type of iterative and innovative “movement” is being discussed here.

    Educational institutions will not go away, in-fact, their worth and contribution will be absolutely necessary, as validators and reviewers of the digital portfolios that will be linked to badges they award, authenticating the integrity and worth of the badge. It is not dissimilar to “certificates of proficiency” that are awarded by certain institutions or organizations that are at a finer grain size than an entire degree. Badges (or more appropriately the activities that they reflect) may be providing a smaller grain size of learning opportunity and a method of validating the skill or knowledge acquired regarding the same–and at a smaller price given the grain size. Badges may even be completely free on the front end, and the learner only pays when they “submit” for badge validation/authentication. I suspect that some badges may be worth more (or carry more weight) from institutions that are renown for that area of expertise than others (just like entire degrees now).

    If you’d like to see an early example of several different types of badges to support just in time, just enough, and just for me learning (SciPacks), see: http://www.dmlcompetition.net/Competition/4/badges-projects.php?id=2916. The push to provide differentiated learning in smaller chunks based on individual needs and learning preferences is expanding and the employers doing the hiring are major drivers. Institutions will and could continue to play a critical role in the process, and those that expand the granularity of their offerings may be seen as innovative leaders in this new wave that is coming.

  • http://opencontent.org/blog/ david

    @steven I gave a talk several years ago at KU Leuven about blogging. During the Q&A, one of the students quipped, “Blogging software doesn’t let me do anything new. I could regularly update my webpage using emacs before Movable Type came out.” But he had entirely missed the point. The point about blogs is that they make publishing orders of magnitude easier. When things are orders of magnitude easier, orders of magnitude more people participate in them.

    So yes, people have been hired based on alternative credentials before. But 2012 is the year when this got orders of magnitude easier to do; and, consequently, orders of magnitude more people will do it in 2012.

  • http://www.educationstormfront.com Crudbasher

    Hey David, great post! It’s not easy to put yourself out there like that. While the timing of what you wrote might be up for debate, I think you are right about the eventual outcome. I wrote about this on my blog. Education Stormfront

    Just remember, disruptive innovation is unthinkable. Until it happens.

    BTW, I still remember that night talking with you while walking back to the hotel in Banff. It was freezing but fun!

  • http://kylepeck.com Kyle Peck

    Thanks, David, for kicking off another hearty discussion on an important topic.

    Although I’m not going to be a gutsy as David and make and date any predictions, I am going to describe a “likely scenario” and, in essence, support his perspective.

    I envision an important transition taking place over the next decade or two, in which badging doesn’t spell the demise of higher education, but rather serves as the catalyst for a rapid (for higher ed) evolution that causes us to engage in real evaluation of each student’s knowledge, skills, and ability to perform. These changes may be more significant and may happen sooner at the graduate level, as undergraduate education is more about knowledge acquisition, the student/professor ratios are so high that meaningful assessment of actual performances is often not feasible, undergraduate education is part of this nation’s culture and that won’t turn on a dime (as my grandmother used to say). There are other reasons, too, but I’ll move on to my main point.

    I suspect that the badging movement will have a more significant impact on graduate enrollments, the length of time it takes to get a graduate degree, and the number of people who complete graduate degrees, as well as what a “course” is and how well higher education handles assessment.

    Rather than falling by the wayside or changing basic elements of the higher education culture and system (like degrees, courses, majors, etc), I propose that even some of the less innovative universities (like my own, Penn State) will recognize both the value of badges and the risk involved in ignoring them, and will offer badges based on successful completion of courses, or better yet, parts of courses. For example, in my own field, courses in a masters or doctoral degree might offer, in addition to academic credits badges for “Needs Assessment,” “Task Analysis,” “Learning Theory,” “Design of Constructivist Learning Environments,” “Online Teaching and Learning,” “Quantitative Research Methods,” “Qualitative Research Methods,” etc. The first institutions to do this might receive competitive advantage.

    However, for the badging movement to be truly meaningful, the assessments have to be REAL. We currently do a bad job of certifying that students can actually perform. In my vision of badges, there are badges that may certify knowledge, but there are other badges that CERTIFY skills. I believe that if badges ARE linked to real skills and ability to perform than they can change education. If not, they pose no threat.

    As an optimist (probably should have mentioned that at the beginning), I believe that the primary impact of badging will be to elevate the quality of assessment — in colleges and universities, in corporate training, and beyond. But real assessment takes time and costs real money. Where does it come from?

    Colleges and universities, I believe, will redirect their manpower from delivering knowledge (well-designed resources can do that for free) to assessing skills and CERTIFYING to employers that badge-holders are ready. Higher Education and K-12 education shifts from a major focus of telling to one of assessing and prescribing.

    Thanks, David and others, for the conversation.

  • Martyn Cooper

    The tight coupling between learning and employment saddens me. Some still choose learning for learning’s sake. Further OER approaches increase the possibility for that?

    • http://none Scott Johnson

      @Martyn, Thanks for mentioning the coupling of learning and employment. Were I still an employer it would be great to be able to hire from an endless supply of one-use employees. Clever little things, they train themselves at a feverish pace at no cost to me, are endlessly replaceable and really quite helpless to put thoughts together outside their “specialty” which is way easier to deal with than those smart-assed generalists with their questions, questions, questions, wild talk of benefits (and other silly frills), and innovative ideas that throw big wrenches into the rational business model that society was meant to be.

      If universities have become overpriced and irrelevant does it follow that we replace them specialty badge mills that train to the narrowest / quickest outcome to facilitate employment? Could overpricing be partly caused by our society starving education budgets over the last while? Can that be fixed by reinstating the concept of public education that we all share in paying for? And what’s irrelevant about being able to think outside your specific skill set? I thought we were supposed to advance to thinking across disciplines, not to choke off potentially exciting advancements by retreating to the smallness of being “useful” in the enrichment of the few.

      All the complaints about higher education are fixable, but require a level of social determination that seems lost to us. Ironically, it’s likely considered “backwards” to try and recover some value from what we already have and “advanced” to take the promising tools of the future and use them to really go backwards.

    • http://jaredstein.org Jared Stein

      I was struck by the lucidity of these predictions, and impressed by the thinking of those who have followed with comments. A few points that stuck with me:

      Martyn: “Some still choose learning for learning’s sake.”

      Scott: “And what’s irrelevant about being able to think outside your specific skill set?”

      David: “General education will have to be sold to students on its merits rather than placed as roadblocks on the way to the courses they really want.”

      As implied by other commentators on this fascinating topic, it may be that what we are witnessing is a cyclic reassessment of the fundamental value of education, realized by distinguishing the objectives of vocational education from classic ideals of liberal arts education. And while I disagree with the cynicism of Scott’s comments re. employers, I agree with his belief in the value of the genera/liberal education as a liberating force for the individual–both spiritually and physically.

      But is a liberal education still only accessible via the university, i.e. through a planned general education curriculum? And if ultimately a liberal education is something of personal, individual value, why do we need a degree for it? While I would be very proud of a Milton badge, my wearing it is going to be far less critical for my livelihood than my server-side programming, or project management software, or desktop design applications badges.

      So it may be natural that we decouple, or at least once again formally distinguish, vocational education and credentials from liberal education and credentials. Indeed, such a decoupling may lead to a flourishing of both, as their different objectives are themselves liberated from their sometimes conflicting interests. Might we not then look forward to a kind of educational renaissance? It’s not fashionable to be so optimistic these days, but some mornings I can’t help myself!

      • http://none Scott Johnson

        Jared,
        Cynical as I may sound, what I see happening in education makes me hopeful. Instead of concentrating on decoupling education from work preparation in order to re-insert liberal arts, why not recouple the system to all students? Something like a public system where a whole curriculum can be the goal. It doesn’t have to be a single curriculum averaged to fit everyone, I think we can manage serving a complex student base without leaving some out.

        The internet is going to facilitate this fantasy and it will happen with or without current system participation.

        You are right about this being a stage in a cycle. A time in the process to reclaim education as an inclusive process that incidentally teach job related soft skills no one wants to pay directly to support.

      • http://twitter.com/patmcguinness Patrick McGuinness

        “But is a liberal education still only accessible via the university, i.e. through a planned general education curriculum?”

        Indeed not. Perhaps a re-read of Bloom’s “The Closing of the American Mind” is in order, to beg the question of whether a true “liberal education” is accessible at our universities as well. Meanwhile, the Great Books that Universities don’t teach much are available for free online, no copyright, no restriction. A liberal education might be more gainfully realized outside rather than at the university, and we have the social networks now so that ‘learning’ is not either solo or institutional, it can be informal and social at the same time.

        “And if ultimately a liberal education is something of personal, individual value, why do we need a degree for it?”
        Agreed, we dont. Sometimes we march students through the things because ‘its good for society’ motivation, not because they’d do it on their own. The result is hollow degrees that signify a student was able to grudgingly march through a lot of material that he or she may or may not have cared about. (This is quite useful in finding employees who can punch a clock and perform at mediocre levels, just like they did in college! ;-) )
        As the decoupling accelerates, a marvelous thing may start to happen – students will be in a class, not to fulfill some ed requirement, but to learn for that particular course. That would be liberating for all.

  • https://mobimorphic.com/ Tony

    @dkernohan: California, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington already allow a person to become a lawyer simply by passing the state bar exam — no law school required (conversely, only one state, Wisconsin, allows you to enter the bar on the basis of a diploma alone). You might want to hedge your bet before Prof. Wiley accepts it. :-)

    Perhaps we’ll wind up with a model similar to that of some of the medieval universities, in which teachers were hired by the students (directly).

    However, I don’t agree with Prof. Wiley when he implies that MIT is setting off a race to the bottom. Having the actual MIT name (or MITx, or whatever it winds up being called) on your certificate will still carry considerable weight. The institutions that have a strong reputation for academic excellence will still be able to trade on that.

    Good teachers (and the rare institutions that concentrate on good teaching) don’t have much to worry about, IMO. The institutions that need to worry are the ones that have been teaching on the cheap (lectures with 1,000+ students, courses delivered by adjuncts and grad students) and using the revenue to pay administrators. If you don’t know your students by name, you may be in trouble. If your institution relies on underpaid adjuncts and graduate students to deliver the majority of your teaching, you may be in trouble (let me note here that I mean no disrespect toward adjuncts or grad students — they can and do provide first-rate teaching. My criticism is aimed at the university’s exploitation of those people).

    With respect to general education, I’m in favor of it as well. However, gen ed courses at most major universities offer so little student-teacher interaction that they could easily be replaced by open content and certification exams. There’s not really that much difference between a live talking-head professor in a gigantic lecture hall and the same talking-head professor on video, particularly if both courses use machine-scored exams (not that I’m a big fan of either live or video lectures as commonly delivered).

    • http://frankhecker.com/ Frank Hecker

      “Having the actual MIT name (or MITx, or whatever it winds up being
      called) on your certificate will still carry considerable weight.” But according to the MITx material, “any such credential would not be issued under the name MIT”. It seems like they’re trying to have their cake and eat it too: They want the online offering to benefit from the halo effect of the MIT brand, but at the same time they’re concerned about the risk of diluting that brand.

      Also, from another question in the MITx FAQ: “Will this platform offer MIT degrees? [Answer:] No. MIT awards MIT degrees only to those admitted to MIT through a highly selective admissions process.” It looks like the key way MIT will try to protect the value of an MIT-branded credential is to tie it not to students’ academic performance but rather to the fact that they were able to get into MIT in the first place. Suppose that every MIT course of potential interest to an employer ends up having an online MITx (or whatever) equivalent that covers the same material and is at the same level of difficulty. Also suppose we have two students: Student 1 is admitted to MIT, gets mediocre grades or worse, but squeaks through to get a “real” MIT degree. Student 2 can’t get into MIT (for whatever reason), but participates in the online offering, aces all the courses, and then gets some weak-sauce “sort-of-MIT-but-not-really” certificate. Long-term I wonder if MIT can credibly maintain that student 1′s credential is really superior to student 2′s.

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  • http://aprenderelfuturo.blogspot.com Edgar Altamirano

    This has happened. I was enrolled in AI-Stanford Course. Several of us with a 100% score have received an invitation to apply for a Job Placement Program:
    (AI-class – “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” online course)
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/242894285747091/

    Several posts in this facebook group:

    Amber Jain:
    Anyone among top 1000? Someone in other group posted this…He said that Prof. Sebastian sent out this mail: http://pastebin.com/wv989QDc

    Wesner Moise:
    I received this letter… I have a 98% on the midterm and 100% on the homeworks.

    Philip Wilson:
    I got one, although I’m definitely not “new” talent. ;)

    and so on…

  • Liz Renshaw

    Hello David

    A group of Change11 participants are curating a blogcalendar and we would like your permission to use this post in our blog. You will find us at http://moocblogcalendar.wordpress.com . You can contact me at Liz.renshaw01@gmail.com
    @gmail:disqus Awaiting your response  Liz

  • http://twitter.com/ShreyasRagavan Shreyas Ragavan

    I find your article extremely interesting.
    I had come across the MIT OCW a while ago but they probably did not have too much material back then or had just got started.
    I’d reasoned back then that there would definitely be a catch or difference in terms of the quality offered on-site.

    I came across it again a few days ago and there was a wealth of interesting class notes and lecture material available on the website. Another interesting and personally, very captivating concept is that of Piazza, though I suppose it is not very new (?)

    Especially in ‘developing countries’ like India where a large portion of talented children do not have the means to get themselves educated, the potential of OCW making a large impact is enormous. I would venture to say that, a decent internet connection has penetrated much faster and farther than real education has. The Indian education system is plagued by old assessment techniques emphasizing on rote learning and tired teachers who have little power in influencing students since they themselves are tired of the system and do not realize that they hold the reigns to the future. It’s a lot worse at the University level except at the premier institutes, which, as usual do not cater even to a handful considering our booming population.

    Inspite of education increasingly becoming a value-less business and quality becoming scarce with affiliations being made on the sly with monetary/political/brand power speaking very loud, I think the power of open access will definitely rise with strong supporters and probably end up refining the issue of assessing  true talent beyond ‘paper’ qualifications from fancy universities. 

    It would be difficult however to predict a time frame within which, this will happen, and employers with stiff backs and ‘proven formulae’,  whole-heartedly accept such qualifications as equivalent/sufficient to a full time, on site degree at an ivy league university. Anybody who is ‘lucky enough’ to afford it, would prefer the latter as it offers a wholesome experience that at many times cannot be matched by computer programs and broadband.

    For example, during my master’s abroad, in the University of Leeds, I learnt a lot just observing and interacting with my professors, the ones who are my idols in terms of the knowledge I want to gain and person I want to be. It’d be difficult to replicate a human being over the internet no matter how open and accessible ‘quality education’ becomes in the near future, with the current technology we have.

    However, I must say, at the moment, Open access is extremely useful in gaining add-on skills and keeping in touch with the subject at least.

  • http://twitter.com/ShreyasRagavan Shreyas Ragavan

    I find your article extremely interesting.
    I had come across the MIT OCW a while ago but they probably did not have too much material back then or had just got started.
    I’d reasoned back then that there would definitely be a catch or difference in terms of the quality offered on-site.

    I came across it again a few days ago and there was a wealth of interesting class notes and lecture material available on the website. Another interesting and personally, very captivating concept is that of Piazza, though I suppose it is not very new (?)

    Especially in ‘developing countries’ like India where a large portion of talented children do not have the means to get themselves educated, the potential of OCW making a large impact is enormous. I would venture to say that, a decent internet connection has penetrated much faster and farther than real education has. The Indian education system is plagued by old assessment techniques emphasizing on rote learning and tired teachers who have little power in influencing students since they themselves are tired of the system and do not realize that they hold the reigns to the future. It’s a lot worse at the University level except at the premier institutes, which, as usual do not cater even to a handful considering our booming population.

    Inspite of education increasingly becoming a value-less business and quality becoming scarce with affiliations being made on the sly with monetary/political/brand power speaking very loud, I think the power of open access will definitely rise with strong supporters and probably end up refining the issue of assessing  true talent beyond ‘paper’ qualifications from fancy universities. 

    It would be difficult however to predict a time frame within which, this will happen, and employers with stiff backs and ‘proven formulae’,  whole-heartedly accept such qualifications as equivalent/sufficient to a full time, on site degree at an ivy league university. Anybody who is ‘lucky enough’ to afford it, would prefer the latter as it offers a wholesome experience that at many times cannot be matched by computer programs and broadband.

    For example, during my master’s abroad, in the University of Leeds, I learnt a lot just observing and interacting with my professors, the ones who are my idols in terms of the knowledge I want to gain and person I want to be. It’d be difficult to replicate a human being over the internet no matter how open and accessible ‘quality education’ becomes in the near future, with the current technology we have.

    However, I must say, at the moment, Open access is extremely useful in gaining add-on skills and keeping in touch with the subject at least.

  • http://twitter.com/patmcguinness Patrick McGuinness

    I would suggest the ‘decline of general ed’ is, rather, the decline of the massive cross-subsidy of the rest of higher education in the large-scale overpricing of basic lower level College courses. Basic courses like Calculus or Psych 101 shouldnt be priced at more than the low-cost of an effective interactive online learning experience equivalent, and ‘bullying’ students to take those courses to get their degree is just a way to pay down the rest of the institution.Students and parents have already been using the AP route to get around some of that overpricing. And others ways are arising. At VeritasU, we are developing them. The entire lower College should and will be displaced by a much lower-cost, scalable, yet high-quality model.

  • http://www.learnmile.com/insights.html Education of India

    wow!! this one the nice post i have read so far.