Changing The Way University Works

      “I only go to class if it’s a lab or we are doing something ‘hands on’.” A first year medical student was telling me that attending many of her university classes is a waste of her time. The mother of two young children she finds it much easier and more efficient to study at home by listening to lectures online. Her professors all have their lectures video taped and available on their websites. “At home I can fast forward through the boring or irrelevant parts and replay the important bits,” said the busy student. Even though she attends only a few of her scheduled classes she is still getting some of the highest grades in her cohort of students. If she needs feedback or discussion to clarify things she can chat with her fellow students online. Hearing stories like this makes one wonder how much longer most universities will be able to continue operating in their present form when so much learning is available on the Internet.

I am currently enrolled in an online course offered by an education platform called Coursera. It partners with universities and organizations world wide to offer more than four hundred courses online for anyone to take for free.  Coursera says their mission is to create a future where everyone has access to a world-class education, an education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families and the lives of their communities.

It is encouraging to think it is only a matter of time before everyone- no matter what their income, country of residence or age will have access to the electronic resources necessary to engage in life- long learning. Where will that leave our current institutions of higher learning? Will they still be relevant and appealing to potential students?  

Other posts about learning new things……..

Oh The Things You Learn

Learning Cool Things

Learning About the Chinese Cultural Revolution From Fifth Graders

     

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