By Cathy N. Davidson
In January 2014, HASTAC, the nonprofit open learning network we founded in 2002 and now 12,000+ network members strong, will be mounting an international #FutureEd initiative designed to inspire thousands of students and professors to think together in innovative ways about the “History and Future of Higher Education.”
In times of tremendous social and political change, such as during the Industrial Age—especially in those eras where radical new technologies rearrange the conditions of labor and the connections between areas of knowledge—education often is the means by which a new generation can be prepared for the challenges ahead.
Oddly, in the current era, the Internet has changed our world faster and more extensively than anything we’ve ever seen before. But the biggest drivers to change have come from outside rather than inside higher education. And not necessarily in a good way.
Legislatures incongruously slash public funding to education right when more, not less, investment in public education is necessary. At the same time, venture capitalists are clamoring to MOOCs. It’s not clear if that is from a desire to find the best ways to promote future learning or merely done with the hope of short-term profits.
Our #FutureEd Initiative is based on the idea that higher education today needs serious transformation, and that innovation should be led by the most serious stakeholders in higher education: namely, students and professors.
Let me be clear: I am not pro- or anti-MOOC.
In fact, as part of this initiative, I’ll be teaching a MOOC on “The History and Future of (Mostly) Higher Education.” I’m doing this for many reasons, chiefly wanting to learn what, if anything, we can learn about learning from this form.
[ Full article available at Inside Higher Ed: http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/higher-ed-beta/its-not-mooc-its-movement ]