Today, a college degree comes with both student loans and career uncertainty. We used to count on college as the answer to the job market, but now we have to count on ourselves to take responsibility for our careers.
Both groups know something is wrong in the world of higher ed, but neither is responding in a manner that would provide hope. Yet amidst their fallacies, each group provides values that can lead to an exciting solution.
Modern economies and technologies require life-long learning. Education, like health care, must advance its content and delivery systems to keep pace with emerging needs. Distance learning will be one part of our educational future. But it won't be the only part.
How many times have you borrowed the opinion of a political pundit? How often have you retailed the wisdom of a best-selling book or an expert on TV? The ethical infraction is minor, but the crime against our intellectual lives is great.
The problem is that we've come to expect that every child has the right to attend any institution willing to accept him or her, regardless of the cost. And that somebody, somewhere, will foot the bill or forgive the loans.
Any sensitive theatergoer will tell you that live theater is a completely different experience
than watching the same thing on TV or your computer screen. Can the energy that an inspiring
teacher calls forth be funneled into a computer screen?
Before I left I promised my mom I would earn my degree eventually so she could hang it on her wall at home. Twenty years later I had a wife, two kids, and a good job working as a plant operator. The last thing on my mind was sitting in a classroom.
Unless we use technology to reinvent our current systems of education, we all will suffer as more and more people are left behind the learning curve, and left behind the mainstream of world economic development.
We have been investing more money per student, while outcomes have been flat. Faced with many challenges, we have turned to any potential solution. Many education policymakers hail technology, in particular, as the savior.