[iDC] Has anyone seen this

Tom Novelli tnovelli at gmail.com
Thu Oct 20 16:04:20 UTC 2011

I see, you pasted that from Aaron Brower's blog post:

I've been lurking on the iDC list for a while... this time I'll bite.
I've asked myself the same questions several times over the past few
years - "What is college [nowadays] and why should I go?" - and I
failed to arrive at any compelling answers.

Basically this 2-year-old CHE report says colleges need to focus on
student convenience and low cost, specifically by (1) moving
everything online, including (2) mobile access via smartphones,
tablets, etc; and (3) posting online videos of all classroom
discussions.  "Colleges will need to offer those options in addition
to the face-to-face instruction."  Terrible advice, in my opinion --
telling colleges to pursue technological 'solutions' with a very poor
track record in colleges.  (Was this report funded by the ed-tech

For one thing, just about anything colleges can offer *relatively*
cheaply online (i.e. still quite expensively), can be and is being
offered for free by individuals and lighter-weight organizations with
purely altruistic motives, i.e. the 'open source' movement.
Furthermore, putting everything online and hence on-the-record will
stifle candid discussion.  In my late-1990s college classes, there
were a lot of candid discussions on history, politics, social
problems, biology, evolution, religion, bioethics, even chemistry and
engineering subjects.  Free speech and critical thinking were
fundamental aspects of the college experience.

I have a hunch that the successful colleges of 2020 will be the ones
that ignore the current 'online' fad, cut their IT budgets to the
bone, emphasize low-tech hands-on classroom and lab work, and stay...
collegial.  If technology trends hold, students and faculty will be
using their *personal* computing devices for research and
communication -- colleges will not be in the business of providing it.
 As for administrative IT used for grading, recruiting, billing,
finaid, etc -- I think colleges should seriously curtail it.  Colleges
should be in the business of learning, not of siphoning money to
Oracle, Microsoft, Apple, Google, etc.  Ideally though unlikely,
colleges will reduce costs to the point where government finaid is
unnecessary, thus curtailing the bureaucracy and other unfortunate
impacts of the finaid/inflation death spiral.  Or, new organizations
will arise to fill the void.


On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 1:16 PM, Saul Ostrow <sostrow at cia.edu> wrote:
> The College of 2020 according to the Chronicle of Higher Education
> Aaron Brower's scholarship and teaching focuses on the transition from high
> school to college, and on a variety of issues related to college student
> life and “integrative learning” innovations in college education. The basic
> idea is that academic and social outcomes are produced when college
> environments blend in- and out-of-class learning and experiences to create
> communities of students, faculty and staff who share common learning goals
> (i.e., learning communities).
> The Chronicle of Higher Education has posted the first of three research
> reports on future trends in higher education.  This first one, The College
> of 2020:  Students, reports trends of students--demographic information,
> interests, use of technology, which sectors of higher education are growing
> at a faster pace, part-time vs. full-time status, etc. Click here for the
> free executive summary.
> This is a well-done piece, and their primary questions, "What is college,
> and why should I go?" are exactly right.  One premise of this report is that
> two economic models of colleges will survive:  4-year residential and
> research institutions with already-recognized and respected brand names
> (privates like Harvard as well as public flagships like UW-Madison), and the
> for-profit institutions that rely heavily on on-line and flexible
> educational degrees.  Those that are somewhere in the middle are going to
> have a very rough time.  Here are some of the conclusions from the report:
>    * Fewer and fewer students will seek full-time, four-year programs due to
> their expense, inconvenience, and inflexibility of programs.
>    * Thus, an emphasis will be on providing cheap, convenient, flexible
> education that students can access anywhere.
>    * Three-year degree programs will proliferate.
>    * To attract more students, colleges may begin to offer one-year remedial
> programs to high school students who are not yet prepared for college work.
>  At the same time, adult education and college education will increasingly
> merge.
>    * At some point just after 2020, minority students will outnumber whites
> on college campuses for the first time.
>    * Even for universities that are largely residential, "hybrid" courses
> will increasingly become the norm:  classroom discussions, office hours,
> lectures, study groups, and assignments will move on line.
>    * Here's a quote I particularly liked because of things I've already
> mentioned about web 2.0:  "The Internet has made most information available
> to everyone, and faculty members must take that into consideration when
> teaching. There is very little that students cannot find on their own if
> they are inspired to do so. And many of them will be surfing the Net in
> class. The faculty member, therefore, may become less an oracle and more an
> organizer and guide, someone who adds perspective and context, finds the
> best articles and research, and sweeps away misconceptions and bad
> information." (emphasis added).
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