The EU

Google says the EU requires a notice of cookie use (by Google) and says they have posted a notice. I don't see it. If cookies bother you, go elsewhere. If the EU bothers you, emigrate. If you live outside the EU, don't go there.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Educational Alternatives

Before I read this article I had heard of free online courses by various institutions of higher education, but didn't know they had a collective name—Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs).  One doesn't get college credit for such courses, at least not directly.  After completing the course one can then go for a prior learning assessment.  This is disruptive technology.  Not enough to replace current college degrees, but we are on the path to a new approach to higher education.  The current education bubble, combined with reduced job opportunities for humanities graduates could force a revolution.  For example, we could give higher value to an AA and front load that AA with immediately useful courses, very task related, saving the other 60 credit hours for Continuing Education/Distance Learning for courses that round out a person, preparing them for leadership or management positions.  A little innovation and the current system could implode.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff


The New Englander said...

Thanks for posting this. I am taking a required Microeconomics course this summer. Price tag was near $800, and that's NOT counting books or a "final examination fee" that will come when I take the proctored final at a nearby community college. You would think I could've beaten that by shopping around, but despite VERY low overhead and tiny marginal costs for new student enrollments, it seems that the for-credit cartel has succeeded in keeping such prices artificially high.

Meanwhile, I am engaged in some heavy-duty self-study in CASE (Calculus, Accounting, Statistics, and Economics). There is a lot of free material online, but I am not afraid to pay, either...and when you "set the market loose" on this type of stuff, you find that you can purchase comprehensive, complete courses with lectures, notes, detailed texts, interactive help, thousands of exam questions with answers, etc. for about 10% of the cost of the for-credit stuff.

Then I've got things like Khan Academy and Open CourseWare to help me further. I like your assessment about where this is all headed. I don't have any particularly good insights to share about exactly HOW online ed will democratize the process and smash the higher ed bubble, but this is one of the most important trends to be paying attention to.

Anonymous said...

This post brings to mind one of my favorite campaigns. What is being addressed by the existence of free college level courses is "learning" vs. "education." I make a hard distinction between the two. "Education" is first a business and second a business process. Learning is a personal activity that can occur anywhere, any time. As a society, we need to grasp the significance between the two and prepare our youngest for a lifelong ability to "learn," not just as a means to an end, but as an enrichment to life itself.

We need to get away from the "what do I get for this" mentality. MIT has excellent FREE online courses in a number of disciplines...but you don't "GET" anything for taking them.....well...other than knowledge and understanding.

Today, in literally most professional/business pursuits, one is selected (hired) under the presumption that the BS, BA, MS, MA or even PdD has prepared the candidate for employment in that field. Certainly, at a minimal threshold level, that MAY be the case, however, great time and expense have been paid for trappings that are completely irrelevant to that employment, but essential to the business of education. I would propose that to get any job....ANY would need to take a qualification exam. When I applied for my pilot's licenses and ratings...I had to take a test...and I had to prepare for that test ON MY OWN...through my OWN effort. Nobody unzipped my skull and poured in "Commercial Pilot." One gets to be a good commercial pilot and continue enjoying life by personal study..that is endless....and personal practice....that is endless. The old standard of five takeoffs and landings in the preceding 90 days is a bureaucratic threshold that has nothing to do with reality. If that is all you will likely die doing it.

Another incredibly rich source of "learning" from the icons in every human field of intellectual inquiry is The Great Lectures that are sold by The Great Courses....a company who contracts with the leading experts in academia to record their courses and then sell them at a nominal fee. don't get "college credit" for taking the courses...all you get is the knowledge and understanding about a subject provided by the leading mind in that field.

And what learning is all about.