More on the University of the Future

Filed under: — Joe @ 9:52 pm

At BuzzMachine, Jeff Jarvis has a post on “GoogleU”–and it’s a theme that Will Richardson has picked up before and returns to again.

And of course it’s an idea I discussed (in SF terms) some time ago.

I think the idea is growing–the idea of open education, or distributed university, whatever you want to call it–where learning is by choice, and engagement is the motivation. I know it’s growing and discussion of it is growing in the edublogging community, but I’m also thinking about what students are thinking about it–or if they’re just doing it.

As many have mentioned, at least in our current system, credentialing is the big issue. But I’m thinking (and seeing) that students are perfectly able to separate what they must do for credentials (grades, enrollment and registration, degrees), from what they want to do (and will do) for their own learning (travel, social networking, wikipedia-ing, discussion forums, gaming, and working).

And a big part of the idea of the University of the Future is that we no longer will have such strictly-defined categories as “student” or “teacher.” When classes or learning can be for anyone, from anyone, then the person who is learning at the moment is the person who is teaching at another (or at the same) moment. And that person (or those persons) might be any age–any level of experience–not just anywhere or anytime in space or time in the world, but anywhere or anytime in their own life-space and life-time.

So “where are the students” or “what do the students think” becomes more of a limiting question than an opening question.


  1. I think, being a student (though accreditation and credentials are to be considered), it is a great opportunity for us to learn and enjoy what we are learning. It will need great will and determination though, but I think it will eventually produce responsible and determined students, traits which will be essential in the real world.

    Comment by evslink — 3/3/2008 @ 11:18 pm

  2. Imagine. A world with no distinctions. I guess that would mean no ranks too. That would be a bummer. Chekov would respect me even less than he does now. Oh, that’s right. I AM in the future. And I’m still skipper, but gotta run. Have to take that online University of Phoenix course on warp drives. Right now I’m pulling an F. Might get a WU.

    Rocket Man

    Comment by Fizbin — 3/13/2008 @ 6:33 pm

  3. Jim:

    I spent six years in med school learning how to deal with normal human crap and now I have to repair life forms with copper based blood and no frikkin sense of humor. So much for the course in bedside manner they made me take at “A” School at the Academy. “How are we doing” gets a blank stare and a nasty response like “I have a lateral schlerotic aneurism with a bacterial complication but I have no idea how you are doing” type crap response. And what does a simple country doctor do when you got some sucker in a red shirt vaporized? Still had to go to med school and I’ll be paying back those loans for who knows how long.

    Don’t worry about Checkov. I’ll up his meds.

    Country Doctor

    Comment by bones — 3/14/2008 @ 7:06 pm

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