Jan 27th 2014

History and Future of (Mostly) Higher Education (Coursera)

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In this course we will learn about the features of higher education that were designed specifically to prepare workers and leaders for the Industrial Age, and we’ll strategize ways that, together, we can change learning--inside of school and out--for the world we live in now--and even to help improve our world.

Welcome! This course is designed for anyone concerned with the best ways of learning and thriving in the world we live in now. It's for students, teachers, professors, researchers, administrators, policy makers, business leaders, job counselors and recruiters, parents, and lifelong learners around the globe. The full, whimsical name of the class is: “The History and Future of (Mostly) Higher Education: Or, How We Can Unlearn Our Old Patterns and Relearn for a Happier, More Productive, Ethical, and Socially-Engaged Future.” That subtitle is inspired by Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen who has said that "all education is vocational" in the sense that it is our job, as educators, to help train people for the vocation of leading better lives.

Are we fulfilling that educational objective, from kindergarten to professional school? Or are we training students with the methods, philosophy, and metrics designed for the Fordist era of the Model T? Since 1993, when scientists made the Internet widely available, our lives, our work, our occupations, our culture, and our entertainments have changed tremendously. Far too little has changed inside our educational institutions, in the US and internationally, to prepare us for the demands, problems, restrictions, obstacles, responsibilities, and possibilities of living in the world we inhabit outside of school. This course addresses one key question: How can we all, together, work to redesign higher education for our future... not for someone else’s past?

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