On Higher Education

Bonnie posted an interesting post relating to education – participate or perish.  She highlights the discourse around education is broken.

Refer to FB posting.

Who decide the future of higher education? Who are the “customers” of education? In an education business, are customers always “right”? When students are treated as customers, what would happen to professors, institutions, and education? Who should be on the spotlight? Without customers, what would happen to the education business?

It may be time for me to retreat for a deep meditation, at this time of turbulence. Sounds like a tectonic shift happening in Higher Education resulting from MOOC movement. We are in such a crossroad of “participate or perish” that we don’t quite know where we are heading. Do you know?

Bonnie Stewart i agree that education as a system is less about learning than it is about management of the ceremonial societal functions of credentialing, which is a business. but it isn’t a simple divide: institutional models had a particular way of weaving the two together, and that’s currently under assault on a number of fronts. making credentialing purely a business with a profit motive will effectively leave learning out entirely, which is why i’m pushing for something else that harnesses the org structure remaining in institutions but uses the capacities of networks too.

My comment:

Yes, so true, and we have to live with it, if that is the way education is structured. Have we tried to adapt, shape and change in a way that truly transforms education, as a community, with our transformative learning in action, especially with the early cMOOCs? It has ignited the passion of learning, for many, I think. Who want to see education left broken? May be there is a highway, though it is much more difficult for people to chart it out, as the money comes into the way. From a historical perspective, education has always been inter-mingled with business for profits, technology and culture. I do hope there are more visionaries who would take up the “lead” in truly transforming education, and not being lost in the craving of profits with greed. Learners and learning must come first, in building a better and stronger nation, and world.

Yes education = credentialism especially when getting HE is used as a gateway towards getting a good job, or obtaining a set of skills. There are some learners, parents in the west who might not see the linkage between getting a degree and a good job, as the modelling from famous people like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs revealed the exact opposite to those traditional belief.

If you get a higher degree like a Master in Education, does it mean that you could teach better? There are challenges when many famous people commented on education system – that teaching might be done better by those who might be “less qualified” and have not got a teacher qualification. Why? They don’t have the baggage that most teachers have to bear – formal lesson plans, structured linear curriculum design, individualised mentoring and coaching plan etc. Compare that to the video lectures, where some are talking heads, whilst others are short video clips with a few minutes of “rush-hours” of teaching, a summary of key points, followed with a quiz. Isn’t it deep learning? It doesn’t require much thoughts, except a good memory to keep answering the questions, and remember the right answers. How do they ensure good mastery learning? Is it even close? Only rote learning is promoted.

Take a look at the eastern education system, where examinations are used to evaluate students’ “rote learning”. I could recite a whole paragraph coming from a text, or following the steps in getting the right answers to a Math problem. Am I an A+ student? In this case, I could get my certificate, and a degree, but then what follows? The real world business doesn’t ask me to do what I have remembered, it doesn’t even know if I know how to apply those skills, until I have demonstrated that at work. So, why are so many students in the US falling out of school? Why are so many students in China so excited in getting into Higher Education, and to Universities? With university degree, those Chinese students would have hopes to get a better future. Does it happen in the US? This would take another blog post and discussion to share further. Here are some videos relating the Chinese Examination and Education System.

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6 thoughts on “On Higher Education

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