[iDC] DIY: nightmare for humanities, social sciences, media
gsiemens at gmail.com
Tue Sep 20 14:05:29 UTC 2011
I've been reflecting on this DIY discussion and questions about how it
relates to formal learning and such. At this point, I cannot imagine a
scenario or situation that will be more damaging to humanities, social
sciences, and, to a lessor degree, media scholars, than the large scale
breakdown of traditional universities. What system (certainly not patronage)
has given philosophers and scholars better support? Sure, artists will
produce art even if they are not eating. And have throughout history.
However, artists, thinkers, philosophers - people who shape our view of
ourselves and enable us to shape our future - are pushed to the margins of
influence if they are not connected to a system that amplifies their
influence and preserves their freedom to work.
Question: How do those of you who are calling for large scale educational
reform (I'm one, btw), but don't earn your living in the "practical
sciences" like engineering, math, etc., envision the future of your
discipline if the traditional system implodes? Who will pay the people whose
research and ideas influence decades in the future, rather than in the next
quarterly corporate report?
For example, Stephen Downes, Dave Cormier, and I are currently running an
open course on Change (http://change.mooc.ca/ - free to join if you're
interested). It's global - about 1700 involved, many from emerging
economies. All of us are doing this under the cover of a university or
research centre. I don't speak for either of them, in fact, I'm confident
they both disagree with me, but I need the system of the university to play
at the edges of learning and knowledge creation. Without that "protection" I
would be worrying about doing "practical" things that generate economic
While the economics of reform are never very attractive (we get passionate
about ideas, principles, hope, not about balancing our personal budgets),
they need to be considered. I don't hear the economic dimension of reform in
most calls for change. Or, if I do hear it, it's on par with the UK higher
education system imploding as public funds are removed and BPP-type
organizations flood the system.
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