Today I began the open online course “Current/Future State of Higher Education”. I skipped the introductions and read the article The Siege of Academe. Kevin Carey reports on what various start-up are doing to tap into the mostly untouched education industry.
He makes the point that many are avoiding taking on American colleges and are working in the unregulated private sector to create a “parallel higher education universe”. This aversion is directly related to political power, public subsidies and government regulation of colleges and universities through accreditation.
Many of the start-up mentioned focus on self directed type learning environments where learning is an isolated lonely experience. The focus does not seem to be on creating the best learning experiences but to make money. At the same time “peer review” accreditation results in those who are clueless about using technology to learn and continue to promote archaic modes of learning.
This is a classic clash between the inefficiencies of government intuitions and the greediness of the private business sector. The current system of higher education accreditation is broken . Start-ups are creating new ways of learning that focuses on profit not on the best ways to learn.
Can we create new forms of online learning where we learn by actively engaging, reflecting, and constructing our own understanding and then articulating it? From my past experience the answer can be yes. A good starting place is this Mooc. I’m looking forward to the adventure!