Archive for January 30, 2010

An Educational Extinction Event?

My colleague, Dick Lipton, asks a really interesting question in his blog: Could Georgia Tech (GIT = Georgia Institute of Technology) and all other universities simply disappear?

I think there is a danger that GIT as we know it today could disappear by 2035. Not just GIT, but all schools, colleges, and universities—at all levels. I think that there is a chance that they could all be gone. They will be replaced by something, but that something may be very different from GIT.

via An Educational Extinction Event? « Gödel’s Lost Letter and P=NP.

His belief is that the University (Uns) will be replaced by On-Line University (Ons).  I have significant concerns about that. Universities already widen the gap between rich and poor, by flunking out or not admitting the poor. On-line courses tend to flunk out even more students, and mostly at the lower-knowledge and poor levels.

I think it’s possible for on-line education to be even better than existing University education, in terms of improving learning and engaging a broader range of students.  CMU has done it in statistics. Computer science is a great target discipline for making it work better. The work has to happen first. If Uns disappear in favor of Ons, before we make Ons better, will lead to worse education for society, especially for weaker students.

January 30, 2010 at 11:39 am 6 comments

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