[iDC] iCollege

George Siemens gsiemens at gmail.com
Mon Jun 21 14:05:50 UTC 2010

Hi Trebor - the heavy cost emphasis of education (on the learner) is not
reflected in all countries. Countries like Germany, for example, place far
less of a financial burden on students than countries like US, Australia,
UK, Canada, etc. In countries like US/Canada, government support of
education as a percentage of total cost shows a long pattern of decline. To
compensate, students pay more (obviously). But it is important to note that
our cost-centric view of education is not global.

"To succeed, however, the university will need to up its game
and make its boundaries more porous by meaningfully integrating emerging
ways of knowing and new social media (2)"

In this article:
http://www.ineducation.ca/article/systemic-changes-higher-education we
suggest that a) society creates institutions that reflect what is done with
knowledge in a particular era, and b) universities map reality. The role
that universities have played in society (in developing both individuals as
creative and critical thinkers and work-related skills) to date will
continue to be important. The structure through which that will be achieved
is very much up for debate. Learning networks, informal learning, porous
universities (open content, open education, open accreditation) represent an
enlargement of the university, not a full replacement. For example, medical
faculties are actively experimenting with case-based models:
https://meds.queensu.ca/courses/community/learningwithcases ...and numerous
universities and colleges are adopting cooperative education approaches:
http://www.cecs.uwaterloo.ca/about/ . Again, the current hype of diyu/web2.0
is an enlargement of education.

Education as a system is integrated with other societal systems (finance,
employment, government - state/provincial, national). As such (and this is
an argument Stephen Downes and I have every year during CCK) the impact of
informal/PLE learning will be limited until it becomes more systematized. Or
until the current system becomes less tightly integrated with the other
systems in society. Which is very unlikely as self-preservation reigns. As a
result, I fear that in spite of much passion and energy on the part of
proponents (of which I am one) of alternative education, it will remain a
largely marginal force as it fails to integrate with society's power

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