Gary Brown has a profound article in the May/June 2007 Educause Review If you care about the future of higher education, read it–it’s only two pages!

There’s a lot there, for example, observation:

The metaphor embedded in that name—course management system—is perhaps the best indicator that a tool with the potential to crack open educational space and time constraints now provides mostly powerful leverage for the reigning dominance of in-the-box thinking—thinking that fails to leverage the social and burgeoning technological aptitudes of learners, fails to harness the power of collaborative learning and peer critiques, systems thinking, and global awareness, and most important, fails to cultivate learners’ pro-social instincts that ultimately make learning interesting.

The part that most resonnated with me was the following:

It isn’t just one course that matters; it is the sum of lessons and learning experiences inside and, more than ever, outside of the classroom, precisely where blogs, wikis, e-portfolios, and the Web have evolved to take us.

How can we help students see that an undergraduate degree is more than the sum of its requirements? How can we effectively reach students early–as first years, to help them embark on Gardner’s caravan of learning? How can we help students part way along see what they’ve accomplished and think about where they might be going?

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One Response to

  1. Shannon says:

    Thanks for sharing the article, I kept nodding my head in agreement with so many of the things said. Forget the fact that many people get jobs unrelated to their major, “…most of the future jobs for those students now entering higher education have not yet been invented.”
    I think from now on when people ask me what kind of job I am going to get with a degree in history I will say, “Actually the job I am going to get hasn’t been invented yet, so I don’t know!”
    You said, “How can we help students see that an undergraduate degree is more than the sum of its requirements?” Whatever the answer is, I think it will take a lot of work. The checklist mindset is so ingrained in students they might not even notice the caravan as it goes by. As long as higher education focuses on the checklist, students will continue to use it. It is the easiest path to get to the degree and they’ll do it even if they don’t have to skills that the degree implies.

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