Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Shape of Things to Come

And as imagination bodies forth The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing A local habitation and a name.............W. Shakespeare, AMSND, Act 5, Scene 1

I'm trying to picture a world where most courses of study are MOOCs. Universities would almost certainly have far different shapes. Many or even most classes might need no local teaching whatsoever. Local professors or teachers would lose most of their autonomy and become merely assistants to the MOOC prof, leading recitations, labs and group discussion sections. If so, what would become of the Research mission of the University? Would it become even more focused in a tiny number of major research universities?

Would manpower intensive courses like music, art and theater become the province of specialty schools?

The crystal ball is very cloudy, but vast change appears to be coming.