We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lapp√©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Does Online Boom Spell Doom for Traditional University Model?

Click here to access article by David Smith from Economy Watch
The internet has already revolutionised the working environment, the music industry, the media and shopping habits. It now appears likely that it is on the cusp of transforming the world of higher education with radical consequences for the future of higher education in both the developing and the first world.
Online education is the "next big thing" for investors looking to make a "killing" in the market. I don't think that there is any question that there are some advantages of adding programmed online courses to supplement educational goals. The huge threat that it poses is the way it will be integrated into education by those primarily motivated by profits. But, being a capitalist society with the ruling class more powerful than ever, it's primary focus will inevitably be on generating profits for the One Percent. Thus, if we are unable to mount an effective, organized opposition to this privatizing juggernaut, education about life in general will further degenerate into pure indoctrination.

After this basic concern, I'm also concerned with the suitable application of online education in various subjects. I can certainly see its advantages in teaching any sort of technical material. Where I think it is inappropriate, actually dangerous, is when it is used in subjects described as humanities. That is, subjects devoted to many aspects of history, literature, philosophy, social sciences, psychology, etc; any subjects that require critical thinking skills and their application in relation to values, perspectives, and morality.