Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tipping Point

Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

Sounds like he's talking about higher education, no? And if you don't know who "he" is, then you know what to do. What any 16-year-old would do: reach for your cell phone and Google any part of the poem. You'll know who and when and what before I can move on to the next stanza.

My point? Knowledge is no longer power. Bandwidth, the tools, and the smarts to use them are power. The man in the front of the classroom ceded power to Google years ago; he just doesn't know it. Here's a sign he'll continue to ignore, but is leaving some of us gasping:

Yee hah! as cowgirls say. Thrun snuck in the back door of HE through a pilot at San Jose State University. The first quarter went a bit rough, as we've come to expect from MOOCs, and then, they looked at the data and re-engineered the courses. They improved the experience overnight and the results look like SJSU retention and grades.

Without the cost, without the commute, without the lecture, without the pain. Open to all. 

My favorite lines from the short blog post?

Another way to achieve high pass rates is to be highly selective in the student admissions process. Elite private institutions are masters at picking the very best students, and consequently their graduation rates are amazing. We wanted this program to be the opposite. 

Yee hah to learner-centered courses and learner-centered cost. Yee-hah to access and doing the right thing. Read it. A few paragraphs that speak volumes on the future of education. Disruption from the outside is coming in.