Sounds like a crazy statement to make, but bolstered by my opinion that crazy is (sometimes) good, let me forge on. For hundreds of years we have been teaching in much the same way; teachers and professors standing in front of classes spewing out fonts of wisdom that are excitedly lapped up by their captive audiences.
The centuries have moved on; technology has advanced, and in its wake corporations have risen and fallen (Encyclopaedia Britannica, PanAm, Kodak) , jobs appeared and vanished (lift operator, switchboard operator, typesetter) - yet somehow education remains impervious.
A wayward time traveller flung unwittingly into our time from 100 years ago, suddenly appearing in a univeristy lecture theatre would have no angst besides possible confusion relating to the topic. Yet if our unwitting time traveler were to appear in a business office, he'd need to be tazered to quell his hysteria at the ominous "machines" surrounding him. How can this be? How can commerce and industry have moved so far yet education (largely) remain frozen like a long lost mammoth in the icy grip of tradition?
Maybe it's fear of change. Maybe it's the cost of change? Maybe it's access to the right people? Maybe...maybe...but whatever the "maybe" one thing is certain, an avalanche is coming. In the words of an essay recently published...
"The solid classical buildings of great universities may look permanent but the storms of change now threaten them...the obvious strategy – steady as she goes – is doomed to fail; the one thing you don’t do in the path of an avalanche is stand still!"
Institutions of higher learning must move, as the historian Walter Russell Mead puts it, from a model of “time served” to a model of “stuff learned.” Because increasingly the world does not care what you know. Everything is on Google.
But the avalanche is coming! An article published by MIT warns of the rise of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) that are sweeping the world. No longer are learners confined to learning from their local university - now they can pick to learn from the top professors from the top universities in the world - and often for free! These courses, using the power of the web provide complete courses on everything from medicine, to engineering, to business and more - Check our Standford's MOOCs.
When prominent U.S. universities began offering free college classes over the Web this year, more than half of the students who signed up were from outside the United States.
"Welcome class to your first MOOC lesson on History," the Professor says in the introductory video, "Universities, schools...do any of you remember them?" he asks.