A week or two ago I posted a question about Open Courseware to the LinkedIn Q&A forum.
What’s your personal experience with Open Courseware? Open courseware is a growing phenomenon among colleges and universities throughout the world. Itunes U, MIT OpenCourseware, the Open Courseware Consortium, and a bunch of other institutions show the growth of the this movement over the last few years. Have you taken a free course online through one of the open courseware portals?
As a random exercise in memory I offer the following none too certain linkage between the former core curriculum of the MSI program at UMich and certain faculty members.
501 = Judy Olson. Contextual design all the way, baby!! 502 = Jeff Mackie-Mason. There has to be an economics course. 503 = George Furnas. Search and information retrieval to find our way out of the MoRAS. 504 = Michael Cohen.
Here’s a list of interesting items that crossed my radar in the last week. I don’t have much to add to what’s said below, this is more a manner of keeping track of my interests at this point in time.
The future of humanity
Bruce Sterling dialoging at the WELL Joe Bageant laying into American complacency. More from an anti-consumerist point of view. James Howard Kuntsler laying into American energy complacency Some thoughts on interesting technology
One of the greatest pleasures of being a student is taking a class from someone who clearly has an enthusiastic love for his or her subject. I was speaking with Jack Barnard about his information property class a few days ago and he asked me how I felt the class was going. I complimented him for the enthusiasm he brings to the class. It’s so much easier and more fun to study with someone who cares about their subject.
Another arrow in the quiver against education fell today. It arrived in Information Ethics, during a discussion of affective psychological development. We were climbing the ladders of development from meeting physical needs, to power, to adult approval, peer approval, self approval, on up to self-understanding and integration. But we stumbled, every last one of us involved in education, at competition with others. How can we operate at a level of mutuality and reciprocity when the academic environment keeps forcing us to be competitive?
Last weekend I was in need of some silly summer movie fun. Coincidentally, I was thinking about academia and the institutions of higher education. On a lark I went to see Accepted. I read the plot synopsis - rejected high school student creates his own ‘fake’ college to convince his parents that he is really going to amount to something - and thought it’d be a mild summer diversion. To my surprise it was a revolutionary reaction to current academia.
One of the topics that has been at the top of my mind over the last few months of summer has been learning communities. Universities, colleges, and schools play a very important part in education, but they shouldn’t be the only game in town. So I ask myself, what would a true learning community look like?
Here are some existing institutions that have inspired me and might be useful as seeds for supporting learning communities.
Complaints about the American education system are evergreen. “A Nation at Risk” was published in 1983 and catapulted the odious William J. Bennett to public stardom. We’ve been suffering through ‘books of virtue’ ever since. But the education reformist wagon goes way back. John Dewey gained a lot of fame and notoriety for his ideas on democracy and education. Further back into the nineteenth century we get Horace Mann.
So today I’m trying to imagine what a new education philosophy would look like:
I recently wrote about the common canard that education will allow us all to get good jobs in a world where outsourcing and globalization are the dominant economic paradigms. There are so many loads of bunk inside of that idea that it’s hard to know where to begin.
Brad DeLong recently posted some thoughts on this very issue. He wrote, in response to Greg Mankiw.
I don’t think this works particularly well.
Enthusiasm is lagging. It must be the heat. It got into the 80s today, with an afternoon thunderstorm. Tomorrow and Sunday are supposed to be in the 90s. And there’s no sign that the humidity is going to let up. The dewpoint is at 68, and it’s almost midnight. So as the physical world sends me into lethargy, the mind begins to flag as well.
It’s not all useless. I want to point out this new post about shared online and education and peer production by Jon Udell.