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.