A Tsunami?

Today’s guest post comes from Pamela Pollock, the Bok Center’s Instructional Specialist for International Teaching Fellows.

What is the future for universities, given the shift to thinking more seriously about the potential for online learning? The creation of EdX and all this talk about flipped classrooms are just the beginning. Everyone is talking and speculating… what will happen? Here at the Bok Center we are readying for what David Brooks is calling a tsunami.

The big question is how academics and professionals thinking about the scholarship of teaching and learning choose to approach this potential. Brooks prefers to take an optimistic view, as do we:

But it also compels colleges to focus on the rest of the learning 
process, which is where the real value lies. In an online world, 
colleges have to think hard about how they are going to take
 communication, which comes over the Web, and turn it into learning,
which is a complex social and emotional process.

 How are they going to blend online information with face-to-face
 discussion, tutoring, debate, coaching, writing and projects? How are 
they going to build the social capital that leads to vibrant learning 
communities? Online education could potentially push colleges up the 
value chain — away from information transmission and up to higher 

What do you think? Stay tuned! Exciting times ahead.

4 thoughts on “A Tsunami?

  1. Definitely an interesting thing- the web. It’s going to be a completely different world. I remember not liking Blackboard (an online learning tool) as I always forgot about it. But that was six years ago. Now I’m editing videos for nursing schools in Texas- so that they can fully utilize the internet! I am eager to see how they will go about discussions, homework, and questions from the students!

  2. I believe we are moving too quickly into the online education realm, and the effects of this type of education cannot be measured for a long time. In my opinion, online learning has both negative and positive aspects. I think some classes belong online, while many do not. Many institutions have lost a sense of educational rigor and integrity as they are forced to hop on the online train (or their numbers fall dramatically). I find it a bit sad actually, as many have forgotten how the common classroom filled with life creates ever-lasting personal and professional relationships.

  3. It seems that the pundits have been talking about a potential bubble in college education costs for a few years now. However, as long as there is still the idea that you must get a college degree to have any chance at financial success, there will still be demand. Furthermore, until the business world actually finds online education to be an acceptable alternative to traditional colleges and universities, it is unlikely that this bubble will burst any time soon. Just my two cents.

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