The next moves in higher education could be critical to its future, but I see so much moribund thinking. I’m especially bothered by how our ‘subject area’ is taught – web applications, new media, social – or rather, not taught. But, the bigger picture is also really concerning, even to late-comers like me.
Some colleagues are busy with their online student tracking, e-portfolios (whatever they are) and old style ‘synchronous’ online delivery, yet as we speak, hundreds of thousands of people are learning new things via the web. Most of them are not using Moocs, or any formal trajectory of learning at all, they are just doing it for themselves. We constantly labour the issue of ‘guide on the side’, or the need for ‘the teacher’. My view is that most ideas relevant to the teacher concept as we knew it are now dead, or smell pretty funny (© Zappa).
This is not to say we do not need mentors and experts. We most certainly do. And we do also need staged learning – beginner, intermediate and so forth. What we no longer need is outmoded language, hidden agendas of perpetuating ivory towers and their residents, enlarged academic egos, pointless time wasting and endless procrastination. The huge budgets wasted in higher education institutes serve no public good or common purpose, they are simply arrogant feathering of nests.
I’ll be doing a bit more finding out on how universities are approaching the coming post digital age – strategically as well as L&T and course offerings, but with their ancient outlook on who should be doing what with IT (what IS that?), e-learning (again, meaningless), course subject matter and implications for the new social web, I am not expecting a great deal. To me, they are like rabbits in glaring headlights, protesting loudly about their own self importance, while at the same time, being completely clueless about what is actually ‘going on’. Tragic indeed.
As if in sympathy with my thoughts, the Internet spat back a couple of very relevant articles, at least for my ‘subject area’ – Smashing Magazine, a great source of all things web knowledgy, shared a piece on baffling web development terms, as well as a great article on the duty of web professionals to nurture and support their new up-coming colleagues in our constantly changing industry. Well done Smashing Magazine, succeeding where 90% of higher education fails 😉