Whenever I hear of a new idea from a variety of media and people, all at the same time, it makes me think it may be an idea whose time has come.
Today’s example is the deconstruction of the college as the only institution of higher learning. In the past three days or so, I heard from Ricardo Elizalde (over beers and bloodies at the Dubliner) on the power of media in education and he gave me a way to learn about Scratch, a tool that teaches rudimentary programming — for free.
The NYT had two articles, one about how the high cost of college is preventing some older parents from retiring. The other one is about how a viable college education can be gotten for under $10,000. It won’t have a Homecoming football game but it will have the classwork.
Earlier this year I saw something about a free college online course, Critical Thinking in Global Challenges, and I enrolled. It’s just starting and only goes 5 weeks, but still.
And today Dr Margo Seltzer emailed on how “flipping the classroom” is working for the Computer Science class she teaches at Harvard. Going to a link that explains the “Flipped Classroom” explains how it is applicable to distance learning.
Something’s going on. And here’s something from tonight:
How Innovative Teachers Are Using Skype In Their Classrooms: to learn history from those who made it, to connect with politicians and authors, and other classrooms.
UPDATE: I published this on February 4; on the 26th I saw this in the HBR. Harvard is publishing a piece advising employers to disregard whether a job candidate possesses a college degree:
“In fact, I think one of the most productive things an employer could do, both for themselves and for society at large, is to stop placing so much emphasis on standard undergraduate and graduate degrees.”