Why Is the Future of the University Never a University?


In August 2014, Graeme Wood wrote an article for The Atlantic titled “The Future of College?” The tease under the headline is: “A brash tech entrepreneur thinks he can reinvent higher education by stripping it down to its essence, eliminating lectures and tenure along with football games, ivy-covered buildings, and research libraries. What if he’s right?”

You don’t have to read beyond the tease to know that the “brash tech entrepreneur” really does not have a clue about what the “essence” of higher education actually is.

Perhaps lectures are an increasingly outmoded pedagogical method. But then, again, aren’t other “brash tech entrepreneurs” trying to sell MOOCs as a revolutionary “innovation,” and MOOCs are nothing more than digitally dressed up and delivered lectures. So, perhaps, it is not the lecture-method itself that is objectionable but the fact that there are no “entrepreneurial opportunities” in faculty who lecture on site.

Likewise, “football…

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