Archive for November 19, 2012
Cool! Glad to see the discussion! Mike Hewner’s dissertation really supports the argument for requiring computer science of everyone and making it enjoyable, as a strategy to get people to explore computer science (the ACM/WGBH study suggests that few students will explore academic CS unless it’s put in their path) which creates the opportunity for students deciding to pursue more computer science.
Why doesn’t UC Berkeley require — or at least strongly encourage — nonmajors to take computer science? For a few reasons, none of which are particularly compelling. The computer science department would need to accommodate many more students. And the department would likely need to create a suite of introductory courses, rather than simply dramatically expanding its existing course for nonmajors, according to Garcia. This would be a challenge, Garcia says, but it’d be a worthwhile one.
Some people will no doubt charge that requiring a computing course would undermine the ideal of a liberal arts education by making the Letters and Science curriculum too focused on vocational preparation rather than intellectual exploration. But the terrible job market has already put the concept of a pure liberal arts education under scrutiny. If the liberal arts are to retain their credibility, they must be adapted to reflect changing economic realities. Not to mention the fact that, as Garcia and others have argued, computational literacy is a fundamental skill in the 21st century — it has nearly as strong a claim to a place in the liberal arts curriculum as reading or writing.
Well, this is depressing. The report describes three models of universities that Ernst & Young predicts will survive the MOOCopalypse. They believe that traditional “status quo” universities can make it, if they streamline. The other two models that they predict will succeed are “niche dominators” and “transformers.” Arnold Pears argues that an important key to success is to build on the advantages of having a physical campus.
Universities will not survive the next 10 to 15 years unless they radically overhaul their current business models, according to a challenging report released this week. The report claims that the current university model – a broad-based teaching and research institution with a large base of assets and back office – will prove unviable in all but a few cases.
Although the 30-page report by the international professional services company Ernst & Young refers specifically to Australia’s higher education institutions, its conclusions would apply to those in many other Western countries.