Kevin Carey excerpt from The End of College (published in the Washington Post)
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Kevin Carey excerpt from the End of College
Higher education is becoming increasingly diverse these days. One does not merely go for a degree, but for a wholesome education, quality academics, to learn about the finer aspects of life and to get an idea about a balanced version of life, combining work and leisure. Thus it is not mere book learning, based on dry facts, but application-oriented education, fun-filled tasks, and at the same time work with long and short term goals and purposes. Hence instead of going in for typical degree courses, one has vocational learning, professional courses, Open University and correspondence courses, online courses, to choose from an array of educational opportunities (Barnett 188). Kevin Carey, director of the Education Policy Program at the New America Foundation, a public policy think tank, in Washington, elaborates these ideas in his book, “The End of College: Creating the future of learning and the university of everywhere”. The main feature of his idea is the development of a digital learning environment.
CAREY’S IDEAS ON THE END OF COLLEGE
Carey wants an end to the whole present education system, with its mechanical rigidity. He wants a universal mode where education is free for all, i.e. higher education. He detests the brick and mortar confining classroom teaching, but prefers open platform education like online exchange, where one can sit at home, and attend classrooms, by selecting own choices of courses and tutors, receive one-to-one tutoring, or in small groups, so that global intelligence is promoted on a quality scale. Learning for learning’s sake, and also to do something useful, not a mundane nine to five job, where all creativity is stifled, and contribution is of a junk variety, is strongly criticized by Carey. The Open University is promoted by a lot of institutions like, OLI, Saylor, Udacity, edX, Coursera, etc. where people can enroll in long distance courses (Goodman et al. 269). The digital revolution has made course material available on the internet, in an electronic format, so one does not need to buy books constantly, which can be very expensive. The whole regular university system is an expensive affair, which needs a huge transformation, and this is a sure way according to Carey.
INNOVATIVE COURSE BY MIT BASED ON CAREY’S IDEAS
MIT has a seven-course sequence in computer programming, comprising introductory coding modules, computational thinking and data science, software designs, digital circuits, programmable architectures, and computer systems organizations. The length of the sequencing is dependent upon type and sector of work. So there can be few courses or many. But they will be variable according to individual needs, not rigid limitations of semester hours. The usual methods would be there like reading books, writing papers, solving problems, interacting and eventually making yourself get out in the wider world. There would be no ramming down of information by co-axial cable, in the Matrix style (Cummings 274). There would be lectures, using our imagination, weaving through our emotions in the narrative structures of enlightenment and exchange of ideas. But there would be a vast difference in the learning environment, deviating from the traditional, because it would be based upon the digital system. These courses would be designed by the best of teams, specializing in different subjects. Millions of educators will be collaborating on an open end system of idea exchange. Better networking effects, will bring in more users, generating more data and money leading to still further advancements.
Artificial Intelligence tests the individual aptitudes, and the competing bodies of existing colleges are still to be built up. A core system of education providers will be built up gradually, to facilitate students, by means of counseling, tutoring, videos, advising, study groups, learning aids, course notes, supplementary texts and whatever education technology has to offer, in specific aspects. The larger body of deprived people in education will be soon absorbed by this system in every corner of the earth. Open badges will keep track of student performance instead of the traditional grade system. Regular academic content will be used, but in a digital format, and taking regular tests will no longer be important. Assessment costs will be manageable, such as hiring people to grade testers by reading their work. There will be cost of human services, but the computer charges will be free. No fixed timings for class attendance will be demanded.
VALIDITY OF CAREY’S IDEAS
Carey’s system of the University of Everywhere is a radical concept no doubt and will be beneficial for all people on this earth, bringing education for all. But the question arises how much quality education can it provide for all? It can be a stepping stone for some classes. The economically deprived classes, who cannot afford a full university education can benefit from this. People who want to work and study are also liable to be benefitted from this. They could be economically depressed or just having a different way of building their lives. Next, adult education or lifelong education systems are some sectors that can benefit from this. Middle age, old age, homemakers who made a choice between career and marriage can definitely get something out of this tool. Then there are people who value their leisure time more, and do not want to attend rigorous classes in the university, hence they can avail this system as per their needs.
Thus it can be seen from the above citations, that quality education may not be got for all, but a large quantity can be absorbed, which is a kind of quality in itself. Serious academicians and researchers can benefit, but they need a rigorous university system to qualify. But definitely Carey’s ideas are taking shape to bring in global literacy, and this is one sure way by which global unity can be achieved.
Barnett, Ronald. Imagining the University. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. 2013. Print.
Cummings, William K., and Martin J. Finkelstein. Scholars in the Changing American Academy: New Contexts, New Rules, and New Roles. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer. 2012. Print.
Goodman, Roger, Takehiko Kariya, and John Taylor, eds. Higher Education and the State: Changing Relationships in Europe and East Asia. Oxford, UK: Symposium Books. 2013. Print.
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