THE FUTURE OF HIGHER
(All chapters are intended for continuing revision)
Volume I - Chapter One
(Last updated, Aug. 14, 2008) In Chinese following the bibliography
FORCES INEVITABLY CHANGING EDUCATION
"Lifelong education for all" has now been established as one of the most important goals for human society." (UNESCO 2005.) We here explore the thesis that a global electronic learning system--something entirely new--is needed to provide adequate lifelong learning opportunities for everyone on our planet. "Change is coming, (Duderstadt et all 2005) and the biggest mistake could be underestimating how extensive it will be. Also it will be inter-related with other global systems, such as a digital bringing together globally of health care records, and others discussed here in Volume Two here.
Humanity now has powerful new communication tools and now needs more powerful educational content to communicate. In the fall of 2005 UNESCO conducted online a seminar--involving experts in 87 countries-- on free `open source software' such as that offered by Rice University <http://cnx.rice.edu/>. that was being used in 157 countries. There since have been many UNESCO online workshops on specific needs, problems and technology.
So before turning to the developing world and poverty areas, Volume One here raises some questions and explores some ideas about how--perhaps through online conferencing--adequate plans can be developed for a global administration (coordinating the vast amount of courses and content offered) and funding system for global lifelong education. Also we assume here that a strategy for providing knowledge and learning, (Volume Three) especially for the underprivileged, cannot be separated from issues of health care, malnutrition, poverty and injustice. Needed reform and initiative probably must begin in the universities of the world, so we will explore that thesis here. For a European perspective see: <http://www.studymentor.com/studymentor/>.
Much of what is needed is being explored and developed in many conferences, many held entirely on the Internet. Needed change must also begin with a point of view, stated well by John Seely Brown (2001) that "learning is a remarkably social process" that occurs as the result "of a social framework that fosters learning" and not primarily as the result of `teaching.' It requires, especially in the development of new media to support learning, that "we must move far beyond the traditional view of teaching as delivery of information." As critical as information and IT are, they are only one of many forces in learning. Howard Rheingold in SMART MOBS: THE NEXT SOCIAL REVOLUTION; TRANSFORMING CULTURES AND COMMUNITIES IN THE AGE OF INSTANT ACCESS (2003) described forthcoming technology that is likely to transform all institutions, including those in education, beyond what we can yet conceive. So also have the Sept./Oct. 2004 issues of Educause and the online journal, Innovate from Nova University.
Robert Mueller, who brought imaginative leadership to the United Nations and then became head of the United Nations University of Peace in Costa Rica, said that he wanted to devote some of his retirement to imagining what the ideal university should be like. Who else will now accept this challenge? This online trilogy invites you to explore some--among many possible--new models of new roles for lifelong education research and leadership in lifelong learning everywhere' and not just in the training of teachers and staff. A process for teaching teachers and the informed public must begin.
A first role for higher learning in achieving these objectives is research. (Volume Two here) For example, is the ideal global virtual learning system ultimately to be a high-tech research institution in one location with electronic involvements all over the world? Or, at another extreme, is the virtual lifelong learning system of the future already coming into existence through collaboration in cyberspace/virtual space or whatever emerges in the digital and post-digital era? Is the ideal lifelong university to be a consortium of linked programs all over the world? Or. . .Rheingold (2003) described already existing online `research communities of the future.'
A second crucial role, part of a research strategy, is experimentation. Morton Egol in Educause, August 2006, reported an experiment that can meet the need of higher education to help reform K-12 schools in order for universities to be more successful. He is experimenting with "a new system design: the Community Learning Center (CLC)" He claims that `spectacular increases in student learning' occur when "the educational learning system design is rooted in discovery-based, self-directed learning and is linked to involvement with personal work." (More in this in volume Two, chapter 17 and in volume Three
The UNESCO 2002 "Education for All Monitoring Report" said that only 87 countries might be able to meet the `education for all' goal by 2015. However, UNESCO has reported that many countries with the largest populations were actually falling further behind. It was estimated that 35 million new teachers would be needed. So we ask how automated tutoring systems on the Internet may be used where there are not teachers or where teachers need online help because they are not well educated. The Geneva 2003 and Tunis 2005 `World Summit On The Information Society' projected as achievable goal, connecting all villages on the planet to bring "ICT's to all schools, universities, hospitals and research centers" during the decade following. <http://www.itu.int/wsis/>.
Higher Education should also be the place where needed new goals should be explored. Jonassen (2002) reported that 'learning in our society is bleak." So he wonders how a "social revolution in learning" can be encouraged. He has proposed the need for "a renaissance in thinking where learning is willingly and willfully embedded in every activity of our culture." We note public ignorance about learning in schools and note how little learning is valued in daily life as seen on television. "Commercial society seems to discourage learning and encourage ignorance--focusing more on entertainment-- in our everyday settings. Our society seems unable to accommodate multiple perspectives. Spector (2002), researcher in educational evaluation, has said; "I used to believe that I knew when learning was occurring." We will have more on that when we talk about research in education in 2.17. Here we are asking how real learning as well as needed skills can be provided for everyone on the planet.
Michael Dertouzos of MIT scoffed at the word `cyberspace,' saying that the word `motor space' was not used for the industrial revolution. The whole communications infrastructure, he said--Internet, telephone net, wireless net or whatever--"is obnoxious and is in the way" .Nor, he said, is it helpful here to talk of `virtual space’--beyond cyberspace--as a lifelong learning location? Yet, you, the reader, are right now in that electronic milieu. The sound waves around you are full of music, although you need a radio to hear it. The air around you is full of films, but you need a television set to see them. The air around you is full of voices, but you need a cell phone to interact with those voices. In the space around you is a vast library of information. This virtual space is full of vast databases and of university lectures and courses now, for example, going to sailors isolated on ships and next to astronauts on the space platform; and perhaps by the end of 21st century new kinds of learning experiences will be sent to people exploring other planets.
Alongside each of us in this space are more than six billion others, including illiterate people in the rain forest of Brazil, and some of the most disadvantaged, underprivileged people in the world in Africa. All that music, those voices, the drama, the news, the courses, vast stores of data and information, too, right now surround them also. It is there for them to use, not some time in the future, but right now. . .to bring them knowledge and learning opportunities, health care and economic opportunity. Oh, there is the `digital divide!’ and, more important, a `digital literacy divide.' Most do not yet have the technology, the `personal cell phone-type personal communication units’ (PCUs) that begin to bring together cell phones, the Internet, computer power, two-way broadband digital satellites, gigabit wideband optical networks, instant messaging, digital radio and so much more within the next few years. (2.1.7 and Vol. 3) Nor do they yet have `chips' in everything that will create smart `personal learning space '.But they could soon have battery powered transistor radios, and many have battery-powered TV sets and CD players and will also have those cell-phone model PCUs--sometime at a cost under ten dollars--that are already transforming adolescent culture in Finland and Japan. Prototypes for education costing fifty dollars already exist in Asia.
So former chancellor of the University of Wisconsin, Donald Hanna, listed eleven `strategic challenges' that higher education faces' among them are removing the barrier between academia and the public; strengthening interdisciplinary programs in new faculty to serve `interdisciplinary clusters;' emphasizing connected and lifelong learning; building strategic alliances; incorporating learning technologies into strategic thinking; transforming bureaucracy; and a `measuring program quality.' Now these must become global and lifelong.
The content, the curriculum is more important than technology if the Internet is to be used to provide education for everyone on the planet. Charles Vest (2004) of MIT explained how its comprehensive curriculum can be provided for all, in an article on "why MIT decided to give away all its course materials via the Internet." See: <<http://ocw.mit.edu/index.html>.He hoped that many educational institutions will do the same, together "building a web of learning that will enhance human learning worldwide...." available ""openly to anyone anywhere in the world." We recognize, he said, that access by people in the developing world is limited by a shortage of technology and a "lack of Internet access and connectivity." However, rather than letting that limit "our vision of the future." he has proposed that we accept it as a challenge to be overcome
Former president of the University of Michigan, James Duderstadt (2000), pointed to a storm of social change that already is sweeping across the academy. It may, he says, cause universities--and we would include schools (Zucker 2003)--to lose control of their own destiny. Of course he is not speaking of campus buildings, but of the true university that could function in another set of buildings...or online. Suppose eight different tornados hit a university town all at once, utterly destroying all the buildings on the campus. We would hope that very careful research might underlie the plans for how to rebuild them for coming centuries. See "Growing By Design," The March 26, 2004, special section on ARCHITECTURE AND CAMPUS PLANNING. Before rebuilding a university theater, for example, designers might look at the MIT Media lab’s design its own new building at MIT or for a fantastic new kind of opera house in Vienna, and might examine the `virtual reality theater’ at Iowa State, with three-dimensional images that change according to the viewer’s perspective, a wireless theater that surrounds visitors with computer-generated images on the floor, the walls, the ceiling. Such building designs have implications for future classrooms and laboratories (3.4.1) and the local electronic lifelong learning centers that will replace neighborhood schools; as does the 21st century Planetarium in New York City for exciting new kinds of science labs that can excite the unmotivated. (3.4) Digital TV, in this first decade of the 21st century, can soon bring astonishing interactive learning into every school and living room. Many high school students are also undertaking their studies and courses on line. <http://store.tcpress.com/0807742864.shtml>.
Larry Smarr (2003) called the situation not just with one terrible storm, but by several that converge upon it at once, creating chaos and violence on a scale that no one had expected.". Each of the impeding and converging storms listed below "are all happening at the same time and they are all going to merge into one large storm of `info-bio-nano technology.' And academia, as it exists now, is not well prepare for any of them, much less for all of them at once.
Our concern here,
however, is not with buildings, but with what Duderstadt (2000) called
the tidal waves of change now descending upon educational institutions to transform the
way they preserve knowledge, engage learners and create new knowledge. Eight
social hurricanes are crashing down on education, knocking down--not
the buildings--but, for example, the lecture method, the separation of departments and disciplines, the administrative bureaucracies,
and `little bits and pieces’ of research not adequately related to a larger
whole; and also much more that already is causing unease and forcing change. Yet for the most part educators are “propelled into a new
era with no (global) plan!” Bill Joy says with no adequate vision, (Joy 2000)
(1) THE POPULATION EXPLOSION (2.11.1) of the young and elderly
Who but the universities can keep humanity from being swamped and cynically disillusioned with inadequate solutions to social problems such as the population explosion? Soon half of the world’s population is going to be under age 20, and already there are a billion young people who ought to have higher education, but who can never reside on a campus or commute to one. At least four million of them are in the USA alone and economic cuts--higher tuition and less financial aid available--are increasing that number each year.. American universities already face the storm, even before we look at the rest of the world.
In the United States, for example, Maryland universities found themselves swamped by adult learners, the first wave of hundreds of millions of adults who are going to need continual retraining, lifelong education for the digital age. California, facing a budget crisis, does crisis does not have room for a tidal wave of a million more learners on the horizon, ending its dream of affordable education for all. Kentucky has worried that the health and prosperity of all of all Americans are also tied up with the necessity of providing education for the neglected underclass in the USA, the many teenagers who are dropping out of high school and who are in no way going to be prepared for jobs in the coming information age society. John R. Campbell (1998, 2000) has reported the transformation worked in America by the GI Bill and the early vision of the land grant universities, asks what is going to happen when even minimum wage jobs are taken over by robots or continue to disappear overseas? He notes that continuing learning and skills training are unaffordable to a great many rural young people and those earning the minimum wage. H. G. Wells pointed out that human society, even early in the 20th century, was already in a race between education and survival. And each year since then the disasters increase. (Vol. 2) Abraham Lincoln pointed out that the USA could not survive half slave and half free. Now it is increasingly clear that humanity cannot thrive in a world that is half ignorant, half hungry, often terrorist and half sick. SO “the demand for education,” Duderstadt says, “is going to be staggering.”
Without a driving vision (2.16) and realistic plans to provide adequate and better learning for a billion or more overlooked young people, humanity is on a path to disaster, to more wars, to massive illegal immigration, to more terrorism and to global-scale crime which is already so profitable that it can take control of small nations and offer million dollar bribes to their poorly paid police and officials. (2.13) A third essential step will be to make our learning tools human-centered “and help us finish the Information Revolution is to reach more people.” (Dertouzos 2000). At the beginning of the 21st century only a tiny 5 percent of the world’s population was able to participate. “And if we do nothing, matters will get worse.” We here will examine the thesis that information technology will make it possible to provide learning and needed skills for all. Fortunately in 2001 a series of online conferences, stimulated by many new programs and organizations, were seriously beginning to tackle `the digital divide’ at home and abroad. It must be closed “not just to be compassionate, but also to avoid the bloodshed. (Dertouzos 1999.)
A SECOND hurricane is the digitally-empowered entertainment culture--films, TV, pop music, computer games, streaming video on the Internet etc.--which dominates the lives of the world’s young, interfering powerfully with traditional styles of education. Altbach (1993) noted that education research has been more concerned with "influence of higher education on students that with the influence of students on higher education." Student interests, attitudes, culture and politics influence both their institutions and society, he finds, and this is true worldwide. Students are increasingly part of an international youth culture and are a bellwether group that may be "a harbinger of future societal trends" Education, like entertainment, has been a system that has controlled the learner as well as the TV viewer, deciding what the individual would be given. Now, Rose (2003) has pointed out, "there is a freight train coming at us." Control is shifting to the individual to choose rather than accepting what is handed out. First the VCR, then TiVo began to give TV viewers the option to watch what they want to watch when they want to watch it. Increasingly the same option is being given to learners.
Duderstadt pointed out that the rising generation, especially those soon coming now in secondary schools, are learning quite differently than we did, and from how we expect them to learn. Shaped by “robust visual electronic media --Sesame Street, cyberspace networks, video games, virtual reality--they learn through “participation and experimentation.” According to a Scientific American, November 2000 special report, the entertainment industry—as it becomes digital, d-entertainment—is going to become even more overwhelming. Already, students have little patience with lectures. Their tolerance for the traditional classroom, curriculum and four-year model may not last long, President Duderstadt says. A first grade teacher reports that her pupils now turn her off --like a TV commercial--whenever she starts lecturing. The rising generation responds to a curriculum of learning experiences, doing things interactively, seeing and touching instead of hearing lectures about experiences. Some positive aspects of this for learning are discussed in 3.1 and 3.2.
Again, this is a global problem (Levine 1993.) Films and TV are accelerating the rising expectations and demands of the world’s poor, sick and hungry. If educators do not act now to give them the knowledge and skills they need for a information age society, we may face disastrous chaos--such as seen in terrorism and at the turn of the century in Africa--that might may create longing for `the good old days of fascism and communism.' (See 2.13) Video games and computer games are helping youngsters learn to think in new ways that are changing pedagogy. The Inayatuliah-Gidley (2000) report on the future of universities worldwide, for example, warned that serious disillusionment with the present system is already rampant among students, (also seen by students from five continents attending the UNESCO world education conference in Paris.) So we of this generation, Duderstadt warned, must beware of seeing current students through the rose colored glasses of our own college experience years ago. Within a decade, he said, “hundreds of millions of young people will be linked together by the ubiquitous information technology” and their future is certainly not our present. “They will certainly incorporate and mix cultures from around the world to spawn new societies.” Planners for future learning should link together globally to cope with this social hurricane. Yet, Duderstadt said: “Newspapers in college towns give more space to intercollegiate sports than to academics.” He asks which universities are ready to give up being in such entertainment business which, he says, “is an alien culture”—isolated from scholarly learning—which “infects a highly visible portion of our activities.” In Volume III we will discuss alternatives to `just making education more entertaining, yet how the technologies of the entertainment culture may help.
A THIRD hurricane is the accelerating knowledge explosion. President Jackson of Rensselaer Polytechnic (2004) pointed out, for example, that 7000 to 8000 new medical abstracts are added each week making it impossible for any individual or team, to keep up new medical research and "new medical breakthroughs. The same has been reported for chemistry and the vast data that orbiting satellites and telescopes are bringing from outer space is just the `tip of the iceberg' as astronomers explore further and further into but one of what maybe many universes. She looks forward to `text mining' "that will `read' 250,000 pages and hour, .scanning reams of documents, categorizing information, and making links and visual maps" to guide researchers. Google and others are accelerating the putting of all information on line.
The vast amount of data exploding all over the world is increasingly a global problem, not only data from outer space, but also in the brain and from the ocean where thousands of new kinds of species are found in one bucket of seawater, and perhaps it will be millions as other oceans are explored. . Such a quantity will challenge all the world’s universities, working in collaboration, to manage oceans of data, to organize it, to transform it into knowledge and wisdom and into useful learning. Perhaps something marvelous is--in a decade or two--going to come out the work reported, for example, at the conferences of the American Association for Information Science, new ways to coordinate the vast data seen in the information explosion. But ultimately it must involve the teamwork of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of minds—even with automated machine aid--and must involve thousands of universities working together.(2.P.)
Rheingold (2000) suggested that the trouble with science is that it has become too successful. As Vanniver Bush pointed out years ago the rate and volume of scientific publication have overwhelmed the capacity of our old print-era technology.” So it became essential for each scientific document to be linked to “its intellectual antecedents and to documents regarding related problems…(for) “the entire body of relevant scientific literature to be collapsed into each individual document.” Creator rights are but one small issue in the swamping ocean of data that is not yet knowledge, and knowledge that is not yet wisdom. We will discuss electronic online textbooks and the Global Brain idea as partial solutions to this dilemma and to how teachers must change from `experts' to collaborators in the in discovery and search for information in a new global information/learning system. (1.4) (2.3)
A FOURTH social hurricane is seen in the rise of multiculturalism and its political implications. It is not only some Asian universities and schools that took a wrong step in copying elite European education. In a global strategy there must be a varied kind of learning institutions. Fernando Reimers of the Harvard School of Education argues that giving the same kind of learning to everyone will no longer do! For example, learning programs should also be designed for low-income and developing world learners which is relevant to their talents and needs, that involves their families and their unique culture and community. But education researchers and planners at present do not know enough about them to design relevant curricula that can be adapted for varied needs. Rare, he says, are education systems, policy makers and teachers that demonstrate sufficient respect for the `excluded’--such as physically and mentally challenged people--to organize education to fit their particular needs, culture and circumstances. Unfortunately much of academia suffers from an elitism in which the `elite nobility’ vendors, planners and researchers) assumes the right to decide what is good for the `peasants,' (learners and teachers) ’ often without enough attention to their real needs at all. (Incidentally, to these eight hurricanes Duderstadt would add political interference and radical shifts in government funding priorities.)
One illustrative problem area is the `mass assembly--line' production of international educational programs, e-textbooks and tests, needed for credits, admissions, degree and skills qualifications. Can tests be fair if they are not adequately adapted to each unique individual as well as to local dialects and languages, to local customs as well as the larger unique culture, to political and `correctness’ concerns? In Volume III we will point to some possible solutions that new technologies now make possible. Readings book, University in Ruins, points to a fundamental shift in culture. <http://www.louisville.edu/journal/workplace/issue6/cramer.html>.
A FIFTH hurricane is economic, and not just the question of how to fund learning opportunities for everyone in the world. With knowledge now seen as wealth, market-oriented economic globalization seems to determine the value of anything by its profitability, including lifelong education. Students become `customers.’ Universities talk of `marketing.’ President Duderstadt (2000) has said that many lament such a depiction of education as a business, nevertheless he sees the emergence of a global education industry. Many universities are increasingly operating in a highly competitive global marketplace, a knowledge industry. <www.uniconexed.org/
Already there are more students in for-profit and corporation-run universities than are in conventional higher education; more than 1600 US corporations have such learning programs such as McDonalds’s `Hamburger University’ and American Airlines Flagship University. Junk bond entrepreneur Michael Milken once said that he had a hundred million dollars for a for-profit university that would "steal the lunch’ of traditional universities.” Book publishers are offering online courses. Wall Street estimated that for-profit higher education would in four years increase from a two billion dollar to an eight billion dollar business worldwide. And take note! Some of these new competitors, Duderstadt warns, are sophisticated in using discoveries about how people learn from cognitive sciences which most present faculty are neglecting. Also for-profits develop strategic alliances to make use of ‘brand names’ like Wharton in business and MIT in technology. A university rector in Portugal said in 1999: “Foreign for-profit universities are invading us!”
Is education only for an elite? Shall the poor continue to get poorer, providing products at very low-cost, even slave-type labor? Or can the universities lead out in creating a global learning system, providing education for all, to create vast new markets that can improve the whole global economy, as online skills training help the poor get adequate incomes to enter the marketplace? <www.educause.edu/internetforum/2000/3.PDF> Derek Bok (2003), former President of Harvard, worries that universities may become subservient to corporations. Michael Lerner in TIKKUN magazine (Nov/Dec 2004) pointed out that the survival of humanity requires a different, less profit-oriented view of globalization. It must enable "the healing and transformation of our planet, of our social relationships, of our global economy, of our politics and of our inner selves," a kind of global liberation to achieve a society of justice for all. "That must involve a "world of peace, environmental sanity and global kindness."
He proposes, for example, that all corporations with annual expenditures of more than thirty million dollars be required every ten years to be called to a hearing where for a renewal of their charter they would be asked to report what they are doing further justice for employee and the public. Perhaps some of the same questions should be asked of all educational institutions on a periodic basis to justify what they are doing on global hunger, poverty and injustice.
Related to market globalization is a SIXTH driving force for change--pointed to by Duderstadt--is the deregulation of university monopoly. He said that universities have held a kind of monopoly by controlling accrediting systems, degrees and credentialing. Duderstadt said universities have already merged many of their activities, including their approaches to federal agencies and many major research projects. Also note the `University 21course sharing project.’ Competition in providing Internet courses, worldwide, is already sometimes almost ruthless. But Duderstadt notes, as in the restructuring of health care in America, restructuring alone may not succeed in improving the situation in higher education. What globally is to replace the old monopoly? See also President Emeritus of Cornell University (Rhodes 2001).
While such developments seem threatening to many in academia, how adequate are efforts to cope with social hurricanes? Or are social termites undermining foundations? Duderstadt quotes an exasperated university president as saying that the faculty may be the last constituency on earth to believe ”that the status quo is an option.” The research universities have become big business" and they no longer provide a significant intellectual culture for undergraduates. (Kats 2002) As classes become large and are taught by graduate students, undergraduates might just as well--as some begin to do--take their basic courses online even when living on campus. Perhaps faculty or tutors can advise students, work with them in some team projects, while undergraduates pursue individual learning. Thus perhaps faculty can have more time for research in their narrow specialized fields.
We will look at some alternatives in the next chapters and some of them must involve economies and more sharing. Also amore closer inter-relationship between education programs for all ages..
A SEVENTH hurricane is the acceleration of international electronic learning and distance or distributed education. In June 2000 the World Bank announced that it was taking seriously the likelihood that global electronic education is the best antidote for eliminating poverty in the developing world. Already the Chronicle of Higher Education, Sept 19, 2003, reported a survey that "57 percent (of higher education institutions) said that Internet-based courses...were already at least equivalent to lecture hall counterparts in educational quality. So shouldn't education for all in the developing world build from the bottom up in every rural neighborhood, replacing the idea of school with a 24-hour a day, 7-day a week electronic learning center? (2.17, 2.18) With the arrival of the Internet and Web, universities began to negotiate with similar schools in other countries to offer joint courses and others—fearing competition or hoping for profit—began to offer popular courses online. By 2002 millions of students in other countries were taking courses electronically, many from universities in Europe, Canada, and the United States but also increasingly from other countries. In fact, the largest numbers of courses offered overseas were from Hong Kong Already universities were treading on each other’s toes; soon the trampling may be more like a cattle stampede! See: <www.usq.edu.au/electpub/e-jist/docs/old/vol4no1/2001docs/taylor.html>
A partial antidote to prevent an unfortunate `stampede' might be a `partnership for a developing world’ plan among contracting universities--as part of a shared global curriculum. (1.1.7) Couldn’t each university, for example, offer at cost (or free) to the developing world on the Internet one high quality course in an area of its top expertise? Many higher education institutions are asking how else universities in poorer countries can keep pace with scientific research that is crucial to their future. One response to this need is MIT's project to put its entire curriculum online, available to anyone anywhere in the world. Many scholars use electronic networks for global-scale research projects and there might be discussion of how to avoid a messy “kludge. It might be avoided if all those involved in distance and electronic education, including business corporations, could be brought into some more comprehensive joint planning and coordination. (1.2.2) On lifelong education see: <http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/life/>
Some `experts’ are foolishly debating which is best: online education versus the residential campus. It is possible that virtual `distance education' may never equal the quality of the best campus-centered education; but academia does not face an either/or alternative. In 3.6 we will discuss a third alternative, hybrid courses and learning tailored to the individual. In any case, those adolescents who can afford it will long continue to go to residential campuses, to get away from home, for college sports, field trips, for fraternity house friendships, being on stage in live theater, for hands-on experience with intricate lab equipment, for face-to face counseling and often for superior face-to-face education. Also an increasing number of adults go to campuses for a wide variety of learning experiences. However, resident campuses cannot meet the needs of the billion students who are left out, for whom education via the Internet and telecommunications may be their only alternative.
Academia must beware of judging the future of global learning on the basis of present efforts and technology. The head of the University of Phoenix has said that distance learning was still in the buggy wagon stage of electronic education; and universities and schools that try to ride the horse-drawn buggy into outer space are going to be in unbelievable trouble. University problems “with distance education so far,” President Duderstadt (2000) says, is that learning is still too often thought of as information transfer, “overlooking how university-based learning actually occurs.” Real education, he says, is rooted both in experience and social interaction and it thus needs learning communities.
More important, something new and transformational is coming and present distance education efforts are but a foretaste of what is moving education into as radical a change as those that came with the invention of writing and then of printing. <http://www.distancelearn.about.com/>.
The EIGHTH hurricane is the technological explosion, but again beware! Education must NOT be driven by technology alone, especially by the primitive Model-T-Ford Rube Goldberg contraptions that today frustrate teachers, librarians, learners and researchers. The redesign and reconstruction of education must begin with a new global vision, with educational goals for the 21st century, with research to create imaginative new plans to meet those goals--and only then develop technologies that can help accomplish what needs to be done. To do otherwise, Alan Kay has pointed out, to try to adapt for education the existing technologies, created first for business and other purposes, is like trying to play music on an adding machine. In any case they soon will be outmoded.
Burnett (2003) foresees the digital revolution as disrupting--and will continue to disrupt--"what we mean by learning and and "how we organize our disciplines." To "think about interdisciplinarity in a networked world "is to think about disciplines in a different and evolving context;" a fluidity that will stimulate creativity. He proposes that learning research "is in the midst of a sea-change...in the underpinning for learning, pedagogy and education. "Information now flows from so many venues that what we mean by content needs to be examined from many different, sometimes conflicting perspectives.
Bill Joy of Sun Computers stirred up a storm when he described--in the April 2000 issue of Wired magazine--the crises that may arise when powerful computer systems begin to out-perform the human mind, so that we human beings may no longer control them or even understand what they are doing. A global system's driving new vision (1.1.10) must be rooted in a better understanding of whatever it is that develops intelligence, compassion, ethics, creativity, hope and personality--whatever helps transform evil into good! (2.2 and 2.16). And as human-machine cooperation is expected to enhance human intelligence. Skeptics say that most Africans will not have such interactive technology for decades. However, with cheap cell phones with Internet connections they begin to leap ahead of developing countries. Women of Africa already were showing signs that they will move more quickly into wireless space, one of many unexpected surprises ahead for those of us who use wires and cables to connect. See: <www.vita.org>, (2.18). Automatic translation will bring down language barriers. In 2004 Nokia was demonstrating in the Philippines a cell phone that could be put in the hands of a teacher download video from a satellite into any classroom.
It is urgent that planners and academics avoid limiting their planning to technology that now exists, or that soon will be possible; for example as Virtual TV--bringing together telephone, television and computers--that can have a thousand interactive channels with video for all kinds of interactive education, library services, cultural events and much more. (CME 1998) Already there are classrooms in which you can see and talk with people thousands of miles away as if they are in the same room with you. What will be possible when we have the billion-channel universe, if we have the molecular computer--which operates at the speed of lightning--inside of every learning tool? And what about virtual reality, holography, compression technology and thousands of other new technologies? The promise of a wireless connected world--which can make the developing world learners equal partners--is close to being realized. And if a global consortium would agree on the standards for the now being developed (Guttag 1999) inexpensive personal communication unit) `learning tool’--combining TV, computer, pager, cell telephone internet connections and much more, it could even now be mass-produced to make it affordable to billions of people. An important first step in that direction is the simputer that in 2001 was being developed in India. (2.18.2, 3.2) Meanwhile combinations of low cost current technologies --including CD-ROM, Internet access via cell phone, radio, etc., can be used to bring essential education to hundreds of millions of people.
Caution: We must beware of imposed standards, administered by government bureaucracies, which may–among other dangers—open the door to for-profit programs while closing it to needed variety and individualization.
All of the above social hurricanes affect global lifetime learning in one way or another and we must consider other barriers to the emergence of a global network and system, political, technological, financial, bureaucratic, and more. Perhaps we cannot yet imagine alternative blueprints for the architecture of a global learning system in virtual/hyperspace, and for any learning institution as it participates in an emerging global lifelong education system. (1.1.6) No one yet knows what architectures will emerge in virtual space. However, designers and `builders' will encounter many surprises along the way. It is likely that nearly everyone in education--and all the stakeholders outside—can now have a hand in creating and operating the global system if they choose to do so.
Just now, as education philosophers and researchers begin a journey of exploration into their future, networking planners should envisage themselves as riding a donkey along a jungle footpath. In coming decades that donkey will become a space ship, that footpath much more than an international electronic highway. Academia must now prepare for that journey into a space future, yet does anyone have no adequate road maps? And how can we create blueprints until someone truly knows what should be built? A space ship as metaphor can remind us of new technologies yet to come, technologies we cannot yet even imagine. Even those fantastic technologies must not drive education. New ones must be designed especially for learning, for achieving global goals yet to be established.
A space ship metaphor also reminds us that research into an adequate global lifelong learning system must explore at least three kinds of space: outer space, inner space and virtual space. The word `road map’ is inadequate. Airplanes and space ships do not fly on roads; indeed academics too must `map the stars.’ The World Wide Web is our path now through a confusing jungle of exploding knowledge and technologies but what next? Indeed, Gerschenfeld (1999) said, the Web may be just the trigger to set off much larger explosions in the 21st century. So we do not yet know what that electronic path will become. However there are proposals and experiments that suggest possible sky-maps and architectures for higher education in virtual space that is more than the satellite technology which is essential.(1.2).
Dertouzos (1997) foresaw infrastructure (3.8) will be “made up of all the information tools and services that enable its many activities to function smoothly and productively.” It will, he said, be widely available like the telephone. The Web and Internet are just a good start for a system that will make possible `numerous independent activities’ internationally. At a World Bank symposium on how to use distance education to reduce poverty the Internet itself was discussed as one possible model for the administration of a global learning system in cyberspace. As no one agency or interest group controls the Internet--it is an interconnection of many separate nets--so a global learning system might be such an online connection of many different kinds of learning institutions in many nations. So far, however, there is no Tim Berners-Lee (who got the idea for the World Wide Web) ready to work at it on his own time; nor does global education yet have anything like the `Internet Society,' a membership group that meets from time to time to work on problems. Perhaps in time some of the international professional, disciplinary and university associations will move into that function; for example to work better at issues in accreditation and achieving excellence.
Already in 1974 President Hesbrough was asserting that the provision of `education for all' in the world was not going to be possible by conventional means, more school buildings and more conventional teachers. New and more creative thought was needed, he said, especially for developing countries. As early as September 1988, President Jean Mayer of Tufts University chaired a conference at Talloires in France of forty-five university presidents from all over the world, an almost unprecedented meeting of educators from “all regions and many cultures” (Van Kamp 1988). The participants drafted a declaration, a call to all of the sixty million students and two million researchers involved in higher education from many countries. In a world “that is plagued by war, hunger, injustice and suffering,” the educators endorsed the exchange of information by communications based on relatively low-cost technologies that, they said, can provide access to computer networks and afford two-way television linkage among university classrooms in various parts of the world, thereby creating a truly “global classroom.” One step towards a global technological infrastructure for education has been taken by the GLOSAS/USA Global University project.
Since differences in regional perspectives and academic traditions will necessarily create diversity in teaching, learning and research, the UNESCO 1997 conference proposed that universities should make every effort to support regional academic associations and in other ways encourage the development of “regional centers” to assist in the organization of research, the exchange of information and curricula, and the development of faculty. Can reasonably priced—yet global-scale —communications and computer-empowered learning tools now thus make possible for all people the kinds of learning and research which the space age requires? This, `UNESCO’ said, “can enable research and teaching programs to increase a common understanding of the cause of conflicts and their resolution, the relationship between peace and development, and the sources of injustice and hunger. Thus the universities can “better discharge our responsibilities to educate men and women who will lead our societies in the twenty-first century.”
Do we see signs of an emerging `invisible’ international global lifelong education system even before its virtual institutional forms exist?
But who will plan and administer a global system? In addition to the above list of programs and functions, the term “emerging world virtual education system” involves much of that is not yet “seen” by many people in education and also that in a sense this emerging global learning system begins to exist as all electronic cooperation and exchange among learners, faculty, and researchers. Yet, Resnik (2001) has pointed out, "as scientific and technological advances are transforming agriculture, medicine and industry, the ideas and approaches to teaching and learning remain mostly unchanged." What society needs are better thinkers and learners, not just the passing on of information that is the focus of so much education today.
Following the Second World War, there were hundreds of proposals for world universities or other new forms of international education for intellectual enquiry and exchange among scholars of all countries and all fields of knowledge. For example the heads of eleven Latin American and seven European countries called a 1988 conference in Campinas, Brazil. They met to follow up on an idea--developed in 1983 at a conference of the International Association of Universities--about how to help colleges with low academic standards. The only way for developing countries to keep up, one participant said, “is the creation of a global system in which education institutions share their resources.”
So how is lifelong education to be brought to everyone in the world? Experimentation is underway For example, plans were made in 1999 at a conference at the University of Tampere in Finland, funded by the World Bank, USAid, UNESCO and United Nations development, the Soros Foundation, the Pan American Health Association, and some other international agencies interested in bringing higher quality education and health care to everyone in the world. Heading these ongoing demonstration experiments in 2001 were a United Nations economist, a former head of the UN University and the retiring head of the UNESCO division of higher education. <www.kagawa-jc.ac.jp/~steve_mc/asia-pacific>.Another proposal for next steps is here (3.10). See essays and sharing from many countries and many points of view on this project at <http://www.friends-partners.org/GLOSAS/Global_University/Global%20University%20System/UNESCO_Chair_Book/Bk_outline-D13.html>.
The GU system as been actively working to create a multi-billion dollar fund. When the leaders of G8 nations met in July 2000 the Japanese government offered to provide $15 billion dollars to close the digital divide between the rich and poor. By 2001 the offer was on hold, perhaps because other countries did not follow suit, but in 2002 the International Telecommunications Union was beginning such a trust fund. Japan also offered to send 10,000 information technology trainers to developing countries. (The U.S. Peace Corps in 2000 began to work on a similar project.) Proposals have been made to the United Nations for a large fund to be created to bring Internet connections to everyone in the world.)
The Europeans on Oct. 21 2000 took a first step towards “a multi-campus virtual university as a network for lifelong learning. ”In March 2001 the British Council held a conference to establish the premature British e-University, a step beyond the British Open University. In April 2002 plans were underway to create a virtual university for thirty nations--with population under two million--that were too small to have a separate university adequate for the coming age. They and Japan may be the best prospects for initial funding a global electronic education system. Commercial vendors can help by making and sharing profit on learners in rich countries,
Meanwhile, the World Bank was creating a controversial Global Distance Learning Network in partnership with government agencies, foundations and private companies: for example, with the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico, Chulalongkorn University in Thailand and the African Virtual University. By 1997 the bank network was already operating in 75 countries, harnessing Internet video, satellite wireless connections, electronic classrooms and more, --with the goal of closing the technology gap and educational opportunity gap between the rich and poor in the world. It is connecting a high-capacity communications network with varied kinds of learning centers in cooperation with partners like the Vietnam Development Center and the National Distance Education University in Madrid. In the years ahead, moving step by step, that learning network can connect to community tele-centers in every neighborhood and village school. IBM and the World Bank are working together on the prototype -- already in place in some pilot experiments -- of an affordable technology package for cooperative people-run neighborhood tele-centers. Internet connections are already in place in many developing countries; i.e., in the mountains of Peru on a truck that moves from village to village. (2.18.2) The paragraphs in this section simply report a few of a multitude of developments that are taking place worldwide.
Looking further ahead, many clues to the future are appearing. For instance, Internet 2 and its successor will in time be replaced by a global communications matrix and grid (perhaps somewhat like the grid that provides electricity to the public), much more sophisticated, affordable and comprehensive than existing worldwide telephone networks. Note that the long distance phone call USA to Japan that in 1999 cost $1.70 could cost only 16 cents in 2000. NOKIA and other firms were in 2002 ready to offer an inexpensive cell phone that could use the free airwaves to connect any learner anywhere in the world to Web based courses and segment videos. Nortel, the Canadian telephone company, was in 2000-01 putting wireless telephone, with Internet possibilities, into place all over Latin America. The August 2000 Unesco Courier, reported on the highly successful “village Internet program” in Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest countries. It was bringing the Internet into every rural village, creating jobs, providing new product marketing opportunities, giving access to health care, creating a computer literate younger generation in rural areas and providing access to global distance education. Note also the USA Leland Initiative for Africa, and an exploding number of other such projects. It was in 2000 predicted at M.I.T. that within five years a half billion people in the developing world would be using the Internet.
The Global Electronic Learning Conference, held August 9-13, 1999, in Finland brainstormed plans to establish an advanced (wireless and satellite) broadband Internet system to provide electronic distance learning (EDL) in major global regions (the Pacific/Asia, North and South America, and Europe and Africa); and to discuss the information infrastructure, contents and the institutionalization and funding of a Global System that would link regional electronic systems on each continent. Takeshi Utsumi of GLOSAS who for two decades pioneered in experimenting with and demonstrating technological possibilities initiated the conference. Some of those present wanted satellites devoted exclusively to global education, one of which perhaps would contain a large digital library that could be accessed by anyone in the world. Much of the focus was on global health care and tele-medicine since much of the initiative was coming from health care proponents. Roger Boston, who had experimented with technological possibilities, demonstrated how low cost existing and available technology can be successfully used to bring all kinds of education to the developing world.
Robert Bonn, first secretary of the GLOSAS/Global University project, early asked about the values embodied in education planning. Is the driving force of the emerging space-age education simply a further development of existing international course exchange and cooperation among scholars; or a dissemination of specialized western knowledge to the masses; or some kind of empowerment of local people to develop their own technologies/approaches to environmental/social problems? He asked about values such as sharing educational resources with more people, lower cost for the earth’s poor, orientation to democracy, focus on peace, and the creation of new educational communities. Others have asked how “every peasant” can get more adequate education in agriculture, medical treatment, sanitation, and community organization. There were dreams—but no idea how to fulfill them—for teachers in all countries to enrich each other’s experience; for Peace Corps young people in many countries to meet and share experiences; and for enlarging the vision and skills of political leaders. Others proposed joint scientific enterprises and research, aided by television, and cited the International Oceanographic project and the International Geophysical Year to show what can be done through cooperative effort on the part of the world’s scholars and scientists. The next step, however, would be to reach all the world’s students, and how could this be done?
In addition to values, Charles Ess has shown that there are serious ethical issues involved in using the western Internet and software technology with developing countries where the culture is radically different. <<http://www.drury.edu/ess/ess.html>
Many planners at the turn of the century still tended to think that electronic programs would be used to expand “extension courses.” Others proposed that smaller colleges and secondary schools could greatly enlarge and enrich their offerings by drawing upon such electronic resources (1.6.1); and to some it became clear that this could be true of any one university because, after all, no university can otherwise offer everything!
By 2001 large numbers of distance learners, sitting at their computer monitors, could participate in widely varied kind of learning experiences. Research was showing that when tested, and even when in prison, such distance students were often doing as well as—and sometimes even better than—the students who were actually sitting in the classroom. This was true not only for a Pennsylvania student who was connected to a classroom in Utah or Hawaii but also for a USA student enrolled in a class in Germany or Japan. So one saw the beginnings of a country-to-country sharing of resources that can enrich and bring enhanced quality into any school in the world, whether in distant jungle or isolated desert.
By 2004, however, something much more significant was also emerging, the possibility of bringing essential learning to everyone in the world; for people in the least developed areas of our planet--as well as those in poverty everywhere—and also to bring tele-medicine health care to all. Such possibilities were widely discussed in April 2000, for example, as over 4000 people from 130 countries discussed online the draft of the “World Development Report 2000/1: Attacking Poverty.” (Online then at <www.worldbank.org/poverty/wdrpoverty>). (2.12) Many ideas and possibilities will be reported here.
A New York University dean (London 1987) predicted the end of the university as most Americans picture it—four happy years on a resident campus. Half of American students by 1990 were older than the traditional college age. By the turn of the 21st century the average age of college students was over twenty-six and getting older. Many people complete their college educations or take graduate degrees on a part-time basis as commuters, taking courses across many working years. Many corporations operate extensive college-level training programs for their employees overseas, wherever they are; IBM, for example, was said to operate the largest “university” in the world and several such corporations have joined forces with universities to varied new kinds of educational opportunities.
However, as these efforts multiply--and unless universities and government bureaucracies can agree upon plans to guide and coordinate these electronic developments--the profitable share of education in the world may indeed fall into the hands of business corporations or for-profit educational institutions. When the NYU dean spoke of the “death of the university,” however, he also had in mind the numbers of college faculty around the world not engaged in serious research. (2.1) Humanity is entering a period of history in which we are confronted with overwhelming problems that require more comprehensive, coordinated research that must engage teams of scholars who are often scattered around the globe. That dean also reported an “education malaise” in which universities were failing to prepare students for the sort of world they had even then, much less for the space/information age in which they will live in by mid-21st century. In a time of rapid change and accelerated growth of knowledge, people need lifelong connections to learning. Electronic courses can be sent to people wherever they are, whenever they have need for it, and can be pursued part-time and at any hour of day or night. Many traditional programs are in fact changing rapidly to serve a globally interdependent society that requires much more than mere dissemination of skills and knowledge.) If a large percentage of learners want job oriented courses, on-campus life may become much less a life of the mind.
Grim Assessments. Some researchers on the future of conventional higher and lifelong education come to pessimistic conclusions. For example, a former assistant U.S. secretary of education (Finn 1997) predicted that rising tuition costs, current cultural trends, and enrollment-driven marketing may transform the average campus into “something akin to a resort or entertainment center that will be-part multiplex theater, part guest ranch, and part love boat, with the occasional uplifting lecture or brow-furrowing seminar thrown in for no extra charge.” Resident educational institutions may devote even more of their budgets to non-teaching staff that deliver counseling services, tend sports and other recreation, and enforce regulations. The faculty will know that they are paid for job training and not for research. Schools may use more part-time teachers. “Institutional governance will be a shapeless mess involving continual power struggles among four sets of forces: diehard supporters of collegial faculty governance; modern marketers pushing the university to respond to shifting demand and community needs; diverse campus factions seeking greater resources and status for their sectarian interests; and external regulators and funders pressing for greater efficiency and lower costs while imposing costly requirements.”
Saba (2002) compared the way business corporations have restructured to save money with information technology with the way university's have not achieved savings, indeed have increased their costs and loaded onto faculty responsibilities that should belong to a technological team. Another analogy suggests that it is as if the university added electricity service by requiring teachers to operate a generator in each classroom....and know how to repair it.
Rather than having a master plan for global lifelong learning, will separate institutions continue to improvise, looking for “a few ways by which providers could serve learners at lower cost?" Texas needs to serve an additional 500,000 students. (Gose 2002) Some recommended ways to do that have been:
Those suggestions, however, often look backwards rather that forward to entirely new possibilities. Perhaps it is not just the institutional forms of education that are `dying,' but the modern age that brought them into birth is coming to an end. Lukacs (2002) described the modern age that was born with the Renaissance, and how its "industries, institutions, forms of art and expression" have been crumbling to give way to the birth of a new era we cannot yet describe. Perhaps it will be a more adult `age of thinking' or rethinking everything. The term `primitive' is now applied to many disciplines from humanities (Solow 2002) to sports (Sperber 2000) to `Distance Education' which in its most advanced forms is probably still very very primitive.. (See Ford 2002)
Perhaps current distance education is already outmoded since so much of it at the turn of the century just seeks to reproduce the conventional lecture and classroom materials. So many would use `distributed learning.’ Enlarging possibilities propose a middle ground between the ideal and the existing reality. It is even more difficult to look ahead into what may be a revolutionary change in learning. For example, new information technologies have blurred the boundaries between on-campus and distance learning. Discussion of the future is complicated by the almost infinite variety of electronic programs and possibilities/ Today the electronic connection may be class to class or college to college and to workplace, as well as to individual students on campus or at home on another continent.
Conventional theorists have tended to think that a learner either attends a class in person or studies at a distance. Yet, in fact, half of the members of an on-campus class may be at a distant location. and a resident student may be taking courses electronically from another continent. A professor may use electronic segments, from a distance, for a resident class. Gershenfeld (2000) foresaw many if not most students spending part of a year on campus and the rest of the year online wherever they are. Electronic programs can enrich the lifelong educational possibilities of learners both at a distance and on campus. So we must move beyond the notion that electronic programs will be primarily for people who cannot come in person to attend courses on a campus or for graduate students who need access to up-to-date information in their research specialty. In any case at present, however, too much of what learners study is repeating the past. One future possibility is suggested by: <www.textweaver.org>
It now seems that the shape of global lifelong learning is not going to be determined by governments and universities alone. As Peter Drucker (1989) pointed out, continuing education of the already highly schooled, as well as of employees who need new skills, has become so important that “the business enterprise is increasingly going to be an educational institution.” Drucker also said that the `age when bigger was better’ is definitely over, which may well be true of traditional university and school programs. Instead of a global virtual system directed by one “hub” administration, there probably will continue to be a network of “hubs,” some in government, some in business, some in universities. All learning institutions are already undergoing a transformation as such hubs begin to interconnect electronically. It is not only technology that transforms education; rather, the technology—and perhaps the shock effect of its potential— opens the minds of educators and many learners to various new possibilities, ending some of the lethargy and resistance that have preserved so much obsolete `education.'
H. G. Wells in his 1938 book, World Brain, expressed concern over the enormous waste of human resources that results from outmoded styles of university education. He called for coordinated research and a new kind of less parochial university that could deal more adequately with large-scale global problems. It now appears that what Wells proposed is beginning to happen in those places where it can be helpful. A fundamental educational principle is crucial in the global renaissance of higher education has been is predicted by John Sculley (1988): every person and every culture, as well as every country’s educational institutions, have much to teach and much to learn. All peoples need to share what they have on a two-way basis, as equals—facts, science, knowledge, research methods, wisdom—so that ordinary people as well as scholars and political leaders everywhere can decide for themselves how to develop themselves and their learning communities for the good of all
Ford (2003) suggested that the post-modern university "will be problem-based" and must overcome the artificial divisions of the disciplines and their distance from the real world" and its needs, as will be essential for a global learning system.. Here in Volume I we will look at some ways in which that might be accomplished.
The Future of Higher (Lifelong) Education: For All Worldwide: A Holistic View