Online Courses Force Changes To Higher Education : NPR

http://www.npr.org/2012/12/04/166470215/online-courses-force-changes-to-higher-education

Looking at how we deliver education is definitely changing.  The lines of how college or ‘higher’ education is delivered are changing dramatically – and in many cases is in a wider and deeper level of discussion than we ever could have imagined even 30 years ago.

What should I expect my own children to be able to do – to learn, to be ‘qualified’ to do by the time they are 20 something years old?  In my day and time, I was honestly sold and believed the idea that a college degree translated into a job, that would secure my future financially (to some degree) and give me a way to provide for myself and my family. 

Any more these days the likes of Bill Gates and more prominently or recently Mark are challenging that prospect. What will I think of my own children if they decide not to go to college – if they decide to strike out on their own and ‘make something’ of themselves in a format very different from my own?  Because they do so, doens’t make their learning any less valuable, but it may make it less valued. 

More presently, what does it mean for someone deeply entrenched in the education scene today?  As someone who help to research, suggest, direct and formalize thought about an institution’s teaching and instruction mechanisms I find this evolution of education exciting, possibly frustrating and definitely distracting.  Education, to be sure, is always in a state of change. It’s funny to me the whole realm of standardization in education when we have yet to really standardize on anything but the idea that things should be ‘standardized’.  I wonder what the likes of education will look like 20 years from now?

  • Will we have degrees?
  • Will only specific professions have degree programs?
  • What will accreditation look like for schools that accept certificates from MOOC courses?
  • Would there be scholarships available for students taking a non-‘traditional’ path to learning?

I know I myself am providing products, services and expertise in a job and role for which I did not attend college originally.  Would this become the common expectation?  Sir Ken Robinson in his book The Element indicates that learning is rather less linear and more far more organic – that is that we can create the conditions for which something can be fostered, but that we can’t guarantee an educational outcome based on connecting point A to B to C.

Makes me wonder about the evolution of education itself – has it been linear – following a clear, directed path or has it been something different perhaps? 

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